Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series
Special Edition, Yearbook Edition
DVD | Box Set
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Unlike the beautiful teens populating most television shows in 1999, Freaks And Geeks,created by Paul Feig and executive produced by him and Judd Apatow (40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Super Bad), told the stories of the rest of us. At McKinley High in the suburbs of Detroit in 1980, were a group of outsiders; the stoners, the tough kids, the bad girls, the brains and the dorks. It was a smart, funny, authentic testimonial to the highs and horrors of high school for the kids who didn t fit anywhere. The show, fiercely loved and supported by its fans, was cancelled after 19 amazing episodes.
As a thank you to the people who have loved and supported this show, the Cast and Creatives all came together to create this special limited Yearbook Edition.
Previously available only via the Freaks and Geeks website, and now long out of print, this special edition contains all the original episodes, commentaries and special features of the Complete Season set, plus two bonus discs all housed in a loving recreation of a 40-page yearbook, chock-full of exclusive photos, memorabilia and essays.
Special Features on the the Yearkbook Edition's Two Exclusive Bonus Discs
* Museum of Television & Radio Panel
* Table Read
* Deleted Scenes
* Original Cast Auditions
* Raw Footage
* Mr. Rosso Live In Concert
* Photo Galleries
* NBC Promos
* Behind the Scenes footage
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Perhaps what appealed most to me about Freaks and Geeks was that it utilized much of my favorite music of the time - not what was most popular, but what I felt should have been. And all of the songs are incorporated only in ways which compliment the scenes or storyline.
Hearing "Whipping Post" play as Lindsay's walk down the school hallway turns into slow-mo sent chills down my spine. It was like Feig and Apatow somehow tapped into my head while I watched other shows and overheard me gripe about what music I would play "if only I had a show of my own..."
Freaks and Geeks also served as a foot-in-the-door for a few of the most popular actors now in film, including Busy Phillips, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogan, and James Franco, all who were unknown at the time. And keep an eye out for Ben Foster's brilliant portrayal of the mentally handicapped Eli.
Because I was also in high school during the era depicted, I recall much of the mentality, and can relate to it, however inane it may be. One example is a scene in which Nick and Daniel discuss just one of the many enigmas to befuddle stoners of the time:
Nick: "So, they're called Santana, right? But that guy who's singing... is not Santana."
Daniel: "No. Santana's the guitar player."
Nick: "Then how did he get them to name the band after him?"
Daniel: "I don't know, man. Maybe he's just a bad ass."
The primary appeal of Freaks and Geeks for most will certainly be the clever and hilarious dialogue. Having watched every episode several times now, it seems as if the dialogue gets progressively better. When the Mathletes argue over who should be on the team, and Mr. Kowchevski intercedes, "Ladies, this is just for tomorrow's scrimmage. This isn't the last chopper out of Saigon..."
...I crack up every time.
Simply put, Freeks and Geeks was all about subtlety in it's humor. The show didn't feel it was necessary to hit you over the head with a punch line then follow it up with a canned laugh track like 95% of the lame sitcoms on television today. (I'm looking your way NBC!) With this show, you would catch yourself laughing for the smallest of reasons.
Character and warmth were also very much the backbone of this series. Who could forget the sympathetic brother and sister relationship of freak Lindsey and geek Sam? And who didn't find themselves cheering for Sam as he attempted to turn the attentions of the popular cheerleader Cindy? Who could forget Nick with all of his awkward but humorous problems or Amy the troubled, spiteful "friend" of Lindsey? Of course there was also Bill, the ultimate geek and Neil the geek who wanted to be chic. Plus Millie the geeky dedicated friend of the ever changing Lindsey, and the incredibly hip, Alice Cooper singing guidance counselor? Finally there was also Lindsey and Sam's mother with her blind optimism and their father, the polar opposite.
The reason this show worked so well was that it was directed and filmed in such a way as to truely capture the awkwardness of the teenage years. In its direction it was brutal and honest which made it seem all that more real. I knew people in high school that were just like the characters in this series, I was one of them myself. In the real world, we are not all pretty people who live in adorable little apartments in New York, hang out in ultra hip coffee shops, and get laid on every date we go on. The real world is much less forgiving. It is confusing, and uncertain, awkward, and often times harsh. The spirit of these realities is exactly what this series captured, and it did it remarkably well. Whether you were one the freaks in high school or one the geeks, or even one of the popular kids who wondered how the other 95% of us lived, you should be able to relate to these characters.
As I mentioned before, it's a shame that more viewers didn't tune in to watch this series. I think one of the problems was that the characters were just a little too real for most people. They were normal looking, not glamourized and they didn't live fabulous lives or wear chic clothing. They were simple and down to earth and that made them real. Also, the show was shuffled around so often in the programing schedule that even its dedicated followers had a hard time keeping track of it. Here's some advice from a true geek at heart, Buy this DVD and enjoy it's humor, it's warmth, and it's realistically drawn characters. Re-live a little of those awkward teenage years yourself.