Assertion!: Freaks and Geeks is not a good show. No, stop arguing. You know it and I know it, the show is no good. Maybe because we’ve all grown a little weary of Apatow formula of raunchy moralization tales, or because it just has hasn’t aged well, the show struck me as a toothless misfire.
I watched the whole series whilst on a 14 hour flight. You would assume, given the squalid circumstances, I would be endeared by anything that had more wit than Mr. Bean. You’d be wrong. Here’s why:
1. Stuck between an After School Special and a Boner Joke: The show has an inconsistent tone. Sometimes it busts the whole, ironic, self effacing wink wink nudge nudge ‘We’re Another Teen Show’ at the same time it sinks into all the cliche pitfalls: hopelessly out of touch parents, dreamy rebellious heartthrob, earnestness of youth, etc. etc. It’s like some one spliced in flashes of Superbad into the Wonder Years. But those flashes are too rare.
2. Does not break new ground on a genre: The anthropological study of quirky non-Brandon Walsh outsiders is nothing new. For fifty fucking years we’ve had movies and TV shows that have looked nostalgically upon teenage lone wolves (Literally, Teen Wolf!). Freaks and Geeks, while cutting edge in its casting of awkward, quriky, age appropriate Hebrew youths added no new insight to the plight of eating lunch alone.
3. Daria and Angela are way more compelling characters than Lindsay: The central character is the main flaw of the show. This chick grinds my gears to shit. She is infinitely predictable and unlikeable. Mostly because Paul Fieg and Judd Apatow are at their best when capturing adolescent male anxiety. They’re not too keen on the psychology of the vagina laden.
Most importantly: NO UNPOPULAR GIRL IS THAT PRETTY. Do you hear me? Not a one! Pretty girls always find an accepted niche. If they don’t they muck up their looks with plaid pants, baggy Pantera Tshirts, or greasy bangs. No unpopular girl has such perfectly blow dried hair, perky bust, sculpted eyebrows, and a dazzling smile. No sympathy for that chick. Angela and Daria on the other hand they were mad awkward and conflicted all the time.
But of course, there are moments when I burst with delight. It mostly comes from watching actual goofy 14 year olds play themselves. They have magnificent chemistry. So much so that show seems to drag whenever they aren’t on screen. I am also inexplicably attracted to Jason Segal. Seriously that guy could defile me in way that illegal in most God-fearing nations.
Go watch Deadwood.