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Freaks and Geeks

Updated on September 30, 2013

Freaks and Geeks Forever

Freaks and Geeks was an American television series created by Paul Feig and produced by Judd Apatow, that aired on NBC during the 1999-2000 TV season.

Although the show, considered a "dramedy", garnered much critical acclaim and a devoted cult following, repeated preemption and scheduling changes hurt the ratings.

It was cancelled after only 12 episodes had aired. A fan-led campaign caused NBC to broadcast three more episodes in July  2000, but three others would not be seen until September of that year when the cable channel Fox Family aired them in syndication.

It has since then garnered a cult following leading to the release of the complete series on DVD.

Only 15 episodes long, but oh so good! I could never understand what led the network to cancel this show, and thousands of rabid fans - ten plus years later - seem to agree.

To all the freaks and geeks out there (you know who you are), this lens is for you!

Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks

Show Premise

The show centered on a teenage girl, Lindsay Weir (played by Linda Cardellini), and her brother, Sam (John Francis Daley), both attending McKinley High School during the 1980-1981 school year in the town of Chippewa, Michigan. (The town likely got its name from Chippewa Valley High School located in Clinton Charter Township, Michigan. Paul Feig graduated from the school in 1980.)

Their friends, respectively, constituted the freaks - Daniel Desario, Ken Miller, Nick Andopolis, Kim Kelly - and geeks - Neal Schweiber and Bill Haverchuck - of the title.

Parents Harold and Jean Weir were featured and Millie Kentner, Lindsay's geeky, highly religious former best friend, was a recurring character.

The show's starting point was Lindsay's transition from her life as an academically proficient student, star mathlete, and proper young girl, with Millie as her like-minded best friend, to an Army-jacket-wearing teenager who hangs out with troubled slackers.

Her relationships with her new friends, and the friction they cause with her parents and with her own self-image, form one central strand of the show; the other follows Sam and his group of geeky friends as they navigate a very different part of the social universe.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks

Cast & Characters

Weir Family

* Lindsay Weir (played by Linda Cardellini)

* Sam Weir (played by John Francis Daley)

* Harold Weir (played by Joe Flaherty)

* Jean Weir (played by Becky Ann Baker)

Geeks

* Neal Schweiber (played by Samm Levine)

* Bill Haverchuck (played by Martin Starr)

Freaks

* Daniel DeSario (played by James Franco)

* Kim Kelly (played by Busy Phillips)

* Nick Andopolis (played by Jason Segel)

* Ken Miller (played by Seth Rogen)

Other Students

* Cindy Sanders (played by Natasha Melnick)

* Gordon Crisp (played by Jerry Messing)

* Sean (played by Shaun Weiss)

* Harris Trinsky (played by Stephen Lea Sheppard)

* Colin (played by Jarrett Lennon)

* Millie Kentner (played by Sarah Hagan)

* Vicky Appleby (played by Joanna Garcia)

* Todd Schellinger (played by Riley Smith)

* Maureen Sampson (played by Kayla Ewell)

* Alan White (played by Chauncey Leopardi)

* Eli (played by Ben Foster)

* Humphries (played by Michael Beardsley)

* Amy Andrews (played by Jessica Campbell)

* Howie Gelfand (played by Jason Schwartzmann)

* Mark (played by Mark Allan Staubach)

* Stroker (played by Shawn Soong)

* Herbert the mascot (played by Shia LaBeouf)

* Sarah (played by Lizzy Caplan)

School Staff

* Jeffrey "Jeff" Theodore Rosso (played by Dave "Gruber" Allen)

* Coach Ben Fredericks (played by Thomas F. Wilson)

* Frank Kowchevski (played by Steve Bannos)

* Hector Lacovara (played by Trace Beaulieu)

Other Family Members

* Gloria Haverchuck (played by Claudia Christian)

* Dr. Vic Schweiber (played by Sam McMurray)

* Mrs. Lydia Schweiber (played by Amy Aquino)

* Barry Schweiber (played by David Krumholtz)

* Colonel Andopolis (played by Kevin Tighe)

* Cookie Kelly (played by Ann Dowd)

* Chip Kelly (played by Mike White)

Freaks and Geeks DVD
Freaks and Geeks DVD

Guest Stars and Cameo Appearances

Early on, the creators of the show were not open to the idea of having guest stars on the show. A denied suggestion from NBC was to have a pop icon along the likes of Britney Spears to appear as a waitress in one episode.

Many of the program's crew, including producer Judd Apatow, thought that such guest star appearances would greatly detract from the show's quality and realism. However, more unknown "guest stars" would make occasional unhyped appearances on the show.

As the producers began to fear an imminent cancellation, Apatow's old friend Ben Stiller made an appearance as a Secret Service Agent in the penultimate episode of the program, but the appearance only aired after the series had been cancelled.

Other notable guest appearances were made by Joel Hodgson (in the recurring role of a salesman who loves disco), David Koechner (as a waiter), Kevin Corrigan (as Millie's delinquent cousin), Jason Schwartzmann (as a student dealing in fake IDs), and Ben Foster (who appeared as the mentally handicapped student Eli, and often hyped the show while promoting the film Liberty Heights).

Many of the writers appeared on the show at one point or another. Mike White, for instance, played Kim Kelly's oft-discussed injured brother.

Paul Feig and Gabe Sachs appear uncredited as members of the fictional band "Dimension" in "I'm With the Band". Michael Andrews, the original score composer for the series, plays the role of Dimension's lead singer.

Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks

Freaks & Geeks Episodes (Part 1)

"Pilot Episode" September 25, 1999 100 1

Lindsay Weir, seemingly losing interest in her more academically minded-friends, begins hanging out with a crowd of burnouts, courtesy of an invitation from Daniel Desario. Her affiliation with this gang of freaks worries her family and her once best-friend Millie. Meanwhile, Sam Weir struggles to find the courage not only to confront his bully Alan, but to ask cheerleader Cindy Sanders to the homecoming dance.

"Beers and Weirs" October 2, 1999 101 2

When the Weir parents go out of town for the weekend, Lindsay's new friends suggest she throw a party. She asks Sam not to tell their parents and he agrees, though the thought of serving beer at a party worries him. When Sam discusses the matter with his friends Neal and Bill, Bill suggests that they switch the real beer with non-alcoholic beer. Despite the fake beer, the rowdy teenagers begin to think they are drunk and Lindsay soon finds herself having a terrible time.

"Tricks and Treats" October 30, 1999 102 3

Halloween soon approaches and, in a sudden and desperate attempt to stay a child, Sam convinces his friends to go trick-or-treating with him. The neighbourhood reacts awkwardly to the freshman trick-or-treaters and matters only become worse when Alan picks a fight with the gang. Lindsay enjoys her first tastes of vandalism with the Freak gang until she accidentally takes things too far.

"Kim Kelly is My Friend" September 5, 2000 103 4

Kim Kelly's friend Karen bullies Sam, writing "Pygmy Geek" on his locker. Sam doesn't take to the label kindly and finds himself in an argument with Neal over who is "geekier". Kim Kelly apparently tries to bury the hatchet with Lindsay by inviting her over for dinner, but the evening with the Kelly parents goes from bad to worse and almost escalates into violence. When Lindsay suggests that Kim lay low at the Weir house, the Weirs find themselves in for a long night.

"Tests and Breasts" November 6, 1999 104 5

When Mr. Kowchevski threatens to force Daniel to repeat Math class for another year if he doesn't pass an upcoming test, Lindsay offers to help him study for it. Instead, Lindsay finds herself helping Daniel to cheat. Sam begins finding himself confronted with matters of sex, which he does not understand how to confidently handle. Trying to help him, Daniel gives Sam a pornographic film. After viewing it, however, he only feels more uncomfortable.

Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks

Freaks & Geeks Episodes (Part 2)

"I'm With the Band" November 13, 1999 105 6

Nick Andopolis realizes if he doesn't make a career out of being a drummer, his father is going to send him to join the army. Lindsay attempts to remedy this first by pressuring the band to practice more (which results in the band breaking up) and then by getting Nick into an audition for the band Dimension. Unfortunately, the audition goes miserably and Nick comes to terms with the fact that his drumming isn't going to save him from joining the army. Meanwhile, when the physical education department at McKinley mandates that all students must shower after class, Sam avoids the shower at all costs, afraid to be naked in front of his peers.

"Carded and Discarded" January 10, 2000 110 7

Sam, Neal and Bill befriend Maureen, a very pretty and friendly new student at McKinley. When the popular crowd shows interest in her, the geeks take Maureen out on a night of all-you-can-eat dining in an attempt to keep from losing her. Lindsay and the freaks try to buy fake IDs to see the band "Feedback" perform at a local bar.

"Girlfriends and Boyfriends" January 17, 2000 106 8

Nick begins making more aggressive advances towards Lindsay, most of which end up making her feel more disturbed than lovestruck. Tension is created between Sam and Bill when Bill is paired with Sam's crush, Cindy Sanders, as a Science partner.

"We've Got Spirit" January 24, 2000 107 9

Sam becomes the McKinley basketball team's new mascot in the hopes of becoming closer to Cindy Sanders. Instead of winning her heart, however, he increasingly becomes frustrated with her apparent desire to be nothing more than friends as well as her obsessive crush over the basketball team's star athlete Todd Schellinger. He eventually becomes so fed up that he allows Neal be the mascot during a basketball game, though Neal is much more interested in getting laughs than following orders from Vicki, the bossy head cheerleader. Lindsay tries to break up with Nick after many false attempts. The freaks, meanwhile, have a sudden interest in sports and school spirit after they get beaten up by a gang of McKinley's rivals at Lincoln.

Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks

Freaks & Geeks Episodes (Part 3)

"The Diary" January 31, 2000 108 10

Bill is tired of being confined to left field during phys ed baseball games. He is constantly embarrassed by Coach Fredricks in front of his peers and is convinced he could be a great athlete if he was simply given a chance. Instead of confronting Coach Fredricks with this dilemma directly, Bill makes him two prank phone calls - one of which is comprised of entirely insults. When Lindsay's parents, Harold and Jean Weir, fear that her new friends are having a negative effect on her, Harold suggests that he and Jean look into her diary. When they do, what they read sends their marriage into a crisis.

"Looks and Books" February 7, 2000 109 11

After Lindsay crashes the Weir family car while trying to help drive Daniel and his friends around, her parents forbid her from seeing the gang of freaks ever again. Shaken up by the experience, Lindsay gladly abides and tries to reassociate herself with her old friends. In the process, she rejoins the mathlete team and reveals her competitive side. Wanting to dress more attractively, Sam buys a powder blue disco jumpsuit. The attire attracts him nothing but negative attention.

"The Garage Door" March 13, 2000 111 12

Sam and Bill both admire Neal Schweiber's father until Sam accidentally sees Mr. Schweiber hugging a strange woman. Fearing that Mr. Schweiber may be cheating on Mrs. Schweiber, Sam tells Bill and then Neal. Soon after, Neal finds an unfamiliar garage door remote control in his father's car. The three friends start hunting around the neighborhood on their bicycles, searching for the garage door the remote control belongs to. Ken, a wise-cracking freak, reveals his first crush to be on a girl named Amy who plays the tuba in McKinley's marching band. Ken, Amy, Lindsay, Nick, Daniel and Kim go to the local laser dome to see a Pink Floyd laser show but mistakenly arrive on country western night.

Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks

Freaks & Geeks Episodes (Part 4)

"Chokin' and Tokin'" March 20, 2000 112 13

Lindsay smokes marijuana for the first time. Moments later, she remembers that she had promised her neighbors she would babysit that night. Afraid to babysit by herself, she pleads her once-close friend Millie to babysit with her. Millie not only takes care of the child they are babysitting, but takes care of Lindsay while she anxiously deals with the effects of smoking pot. The geeks are embarrassed in front of their peers when Bill reveals their allergies and ailments to Ms. Foote. Not believing that Bill is actually deathly allergic to peanuts, Alan puts peanuts into Bill's sandwich. After eating one bite of the sandwich, Alan realizes that Bill was telling the truth and Bill is rushed to the hospital.

"Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers" July 8, 2000 114 14

Lindsay and Kim accidentally run over Millie's dog one night. Lindsay wants to come clean to Millie, but Kim threatens that if Lindsay confesses, Kim will react violently. Feeling guilty, Kim befriends Millie and asks her to join the freaks to witness The Who, live in concert. Bill Haverchuck, already having a rocky relationship with Coach Fredricks is devastated to hear that his mother has been dating him. When Mrs. Haverchuck and Coach Fredricks become open with Bill about their relationship, Bill becomes increasingly frustrated until a visit to Go-Kart City evokes him to lash out at Coach Fredricks.

"Noshing and Moshing" October 10, 2000 115 15

Daniel becomes attracted to Jenna Zank, a dropout from McKinley who is into the punk scene. To try and impress her, Daniel changes his appearance and meets her at a rock show that he invites Nick and Ken to. Trying to cope with the knowledge that his father is unfaithful in the Schweiber's marriage, Neal focuses all of his energy into his new ventriloquism act, neglecting school in the process.

"Smooching and Mooching" July 8, 2000 116 16

After Cindy Sanders breaks up with Todd Schellinger, Sam finally asks Cindy out on a date. She agrees and Sam, Neal and Bill find themselves nervously attending a make-out party. Much to Lindsay's chagrin, the Weirs allow Nick to stay the night at their household after Nick's father sells his 29-piece drum kit.

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Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks

Freaks & Geeks Episodes (Part 5)

"The Little Things" July 8, 2000 117 17

After Ken's girlfriend, Amy reveals to him that she was born with ambiguous genitalia, Ken questions his sexuality. His overanalysis of his relationship with Amy leads him to the conclusion that he has to break up with her. Sam is having a terrible time dating Cindy Sanders, who reveals herself to be shallow, rude and egotistical. He tries to find the courage to break up with her.

"Discos and Dragons" July 8, 2000 113 18

By chance, Lindsay and the freaks find out that Nick has been dating Sara and she has been teaching him to dance for an upcoming disco competition. Daniel, afraid of failing another test, is caught trying to pull the fire alarm. As punishment, he is forced to join the Audio/Video club. The geeks respond to his presence coldly at first, but they later invite him to a game of Dungeons and Dragons. As a result of Lindsay's outstanding grades, she receives an invitation to an academic summit she can attend during the summer. However, she is unsure of whether or not she wants to attend.

Do YOU Love Freaks and Geeks?

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    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I watched the series on NetFlix. It was one of the first TV series I picked to watch. I was in high school in the time period of this series so it was funny to see it acted out.

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      I hope I'll get a chance to see this show on our cable... Terrific lens!

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 5 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I have never heard of this show. It sounds fascinating.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      I missed this one but I found the videos charming. Pinned to my TV I love Board.

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      I loved Freaks and Geeks! Last year I bought the dvd set, and it was great watching all the episodes again! Was a great series, was sad to see it go!