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October 7th, 2000

Freaks and Geeks

TV shows come and go, but every so often there’s one that seems to be screwed from the start, no matter how good it is. One of these shows is Freaks and Geeks. This incredible hour-long comedy/drama series debuted in 1999 on NBC, airing on Saturdays at 9pm. Any show in that slot is destined for failure.

But while Freaks and Geeks didn’t get the ratings in that timeslot, it developed a cult following and got critical acclaim. NBC decided to give the show another chance by moving it to a prime slot on Monday nights. Of course, by this time the season was half over and people weren’t likely to try and tune in and try to catch up on storylines. After 15 episodes (and 3 unaired episodes) Freaks and Geeks was cancelled.

It’s a shame, because I’ve never watched a show where I’ve identified with the characters so well. This story of high school kids growing up in the early 80’s may have been set a few years before my own high school tenure, but its appeal is far-reaching. Rather than focusing on the “pretty people” like most UPN and WB shows tend to do, Freaks and Geeks told the stories of the kids that didn’t play football, the kids that wished they could date cheerleaders and couldn’t, and the kids that were counted out as losers by even their teachers. I can map every character in this show to someone I knew in high school, and I have a feeling most other people could do so as well.

These days, the show is airing on Tuesday nights at 8 and 9pm on the Fox Family channel. They’re also airing the three previously unseen episodes, which is nice, but unfortunately, they’re censoring out even little things like the words “ass” and “bastard.” In any event, it’s giving the show a bit of a new life.

If you haven’t checked out this show and you have Fox Family, I urge you to watch just two episodes. If Bill Haverchuck (the quintessential “nerd”) doesn’t have you laughing, I’ll eat my words. You can read up a little bit on the show at the official site or a great fan site. Also check out the episode guide, though you may want to limit yourself to reading about the characters, to avoid spoilers. -ram

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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