Anybody who lived through the eighties would never want to relive the decade – or so such people claim. Despite the horrors of the decade, “Freaks and Geeks” premiered in 1999, taking on Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” as the theme for the show’s rebellious 1980 teenagers. Complete with attitude, edge, teenage awkwardness and some of comedy’s favorite names of the moment, the large number of viewers who missed the show should wonder why they never watched this piece of genius.
“Freaks” boasts one of the best crews people might not realize existed. The show’s creator Paul Feig has directed several episodes of “Arrested Development,” “The Office” and “Weeds.” Another person partly responsible for “Freaks,” Judd Apatow, is well-known these days for bringing us movies like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.”
Linda Cardellini and John Francis Daley play the sympathetic Weir siblings, Lindsay and Sam, and the story is mainly told from their perspectives. The show follows Lindsay’s search for identity and Sam’s struggle to fit in at McKinley High, while introducing the Weirs to the title cliques.
Alongside Cardellini and Daley, the series has a strong supporting cast that could easily be the cast list of a current movie. Breakouts include James Franco playing charismatic bad boy Daniel Desario, Seth Rogen’s cynical Ken Miller, and quiet burnout Nick Andopolis played by Jason Segel. Since the show, Rogen has appeared in several Apatow films, recently starred in Kevin Smith’s “Zack and Miri Make A Porno” and appeared in teen comedy “Superbad,” which he co-wrote. Franco and Rogen recently co-starred in the comedy “Pineapple Express.” Jason Segel is currently known for his role Marshall Eriksen on the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” and he appeared in “Knocked Up” with Rogen.
In addition to the main cast, “Freaks and Geeks” had a string of guest stars including Jason Schartzman selling fake IDs, “Transformers” star Shia Labeouf as the school mascot, a head cheerleader played by perky “Priveleged” actress Joanna Garcia, and a school bully played by Rashida Jones, who has since then starred on “The Office” and will star in the untitled non-spinoff from “Office” creators and Amy Poehler.
Unfortunately for fans, the show was canceled before its first season even fully aired, though the remaining episodes were eventually shown. Fortunately for everybody, thanks to TV on DVD, all the episodes are available in one box set, making the show accessible. Relive the house party (where the geeks replaced the kegs with non-alcoholic beer), the realization that crushes aren’t as perfect as some people might want to believe and a watchable mix of comedy and drama following the struggles of teenage outcasts.