XIPHOS AND THE QUICK AND DIRTY HIT #1:FREAKS AND GEEKS
This is a new idea I’m trying out it’s a short quick review about movies and TV shows everybody is probably already very familiar with and don’t require much writing about. At this point I think I’m just going write about things I like but I really haven’t worked out the rules as of yet that’s because when I thought of this, it was 20 minutes after midnight, I can’t sleep and I’m bored so this sounded like a good idea, we will see how it pans out.
Up first for the inaugural issue is the short-lived TV show by Judd Apatow and Paul Feig the excellent coming of age story Freaks and Geeks. If you don’t know about this show it had a tortured history at NBC circa 1999-2000. NBC moved it around, messed with it, didn’t support it and ultimately canceled it before airing all 18 episodes filmed.
The story is simple and well told and much of it is based on Paul Feig’s own high school experience in Michigan in the early 1980’s. The show revolves around brother and sister high school students Sam and Lindsay Weir played in near seamless perfection by John Francis Daley and the more than average looking Linda Cardellini. These two were absolute casting gold and truly became their characters. All the episodes center on the sibling much different high school life. Lindsay is trying to infiltrate the “freaks” the grungy, beer drinking, lower class pot and cigaret smoking rock and rollers and leave behind her good girl, upper middle class, star mathlete, excellent student persona; all without giving up the grades or her basic good nature. Then there’s Sam and his life long geek friends who like comic books, movies like Star Wars and TV. The geeks are just trying to survive as high school freshmen at the very bottom of the social pecking order.
I know I made F&G sound like an after school special sort of show but it really isn’t. The stories appear lighthearted and somewhat filtered through memory but they aren’t. What they are is a realistic look at how life was in the early 80’s and how kids behaved in the golden days before computers, the internet, cell phone and home video games when life was blissfully unregimented like it is for kids today unfortunately. Let me tell you it was a good time to be a kid. The episodes culled all the experiences that made high school such a unique experience in everyone’s life. There really isn’t anything else in the western world that is as universal an experience as “high school”. The writing was so spot on about those experience that I think anybody can connect with it. I know the 18-20 year knuckle heads I work with that have recently graduated loved F&G and keep rewatching it.
The other reasons that made F&G such a stellar show was the casting of the other leads and the guest stars. The Freaks are James Franco(I always forget he’s a pretty good actor) Busy Phillips, Jason Segel and the only weak link Seth Rogan. The Geeks are Samm Levine and Martin Starr. These two might just be the reason why the show was so great they rocked it hard. I laugh at everything Martin Starr does and says and Samm Levine’s impersonations were priceless, they stole every scene they were in even from each other. Joe Flaherty and Becky Ann Baker as Sam and Lindsay’s parents were perfect as mom and dad. Lastly the cars, the clothes, the references and especially the music were all era appropriate.
So in closing if for some odd reason you have not watched F&G I would highly recommend it the show is quality entertainment.