Why Is It So Hard To Say Goodbye To Freaks And Geeks Every Time?

I have watched all 18 episodes of Freaks and Geeks straight through three times now and it gets harder and harder to say goodbye to its characters each time but that bittersweet emotion I’m left with is of the same flavor as that with which I look back at my own high school experience and that’s the point. Facebook has made high school reunions irrelevant, the mundane lives of those friends and acquaintances from so long ago scroll down our feeds every day, pushing information, entertainment and sometimes revulsion to each of us, threading the needle of the present moment from a spool of past experience that sources in the earliest days of our formal education.

But it is extremely hard to conjure up this nostalgia and pin it down in any creative channel, whether literary, cinematic or musical. Prior to 2000 I would have said that no show did this better than The Wonder Years but the more I've watched Freaks and Geeks, it has eventually pulled that honor away from whine-mouthed Kevin Arnold.

There are only 18 episodes of this show to treasure but wow does it pack a punch when compared to the drivel most shows produce in their first season. There are four shining moments within these 18 hours that I feel highlight the value of this show and set it apart from every other comedic period piece.

The Loser

It has to be  hard as an actor to play a geek and this is where Martin Starr really shines. Not to be mean but it never feels like acting when you watch him work his magic. He also always feels like someone I used to know and really by the end all the characters leave the same impression.

 

7 Minutes in Heaven with Vicky

Not to laud Bill's character as the entire show but the sweetest victories need to be displayed and Bill's wooing of the second hottest girl in school, turning from a hostile hell wench into a cheerleader in heat, is one of the greatest victories of geekdom ever displayed on television. I can't imagine a better song to showcase this scene that Someday Lady You'll Accompny Me by Bob Segar-just a perfect scene that I love dearly!

 

The Truth About Jocks

Never a truer truth was uttered. For further supporting arguments, please review the aforementioned Facebook feed.

The Grateful Dead Changes Everything

If a group of NBC executives came to you, as the Executive Producers of a show that had deployed 12 amazing episodes of serial television, and told you that you were to be cancelled, forcing you to abort your creation in the third trimester, what better soundtrack for you to burn the bridge down than with American Beauty by The Grateful Dead (it really does make everything in life tolerable). And what better way to have your main character set fire to the future that others wanted for her than to follow the aforementioned band at a time when their never ending tour offered a perfect way out for the protagonist caught between being a Freak and a Geek.

And finally, it was a stroke of genius to invoke the death of disco in the last half of the last episode because the network executives who continue to cancel amazing shows long before their prime--are the ones still dancing to it.

 

I really enjoy missing this show and I hope you do too.