Freaks & Geeks | Sarah King

Even if you’ve never heard of this show, I can guarantee you recognize the majority of the actors – Lina Cardinelli (Velma from those real life Scooby Doo movies), John Francis Daley (Dr. Sweets from Bones), James Franco (no explanation needed), Seth Rogan (what isn’t he in?), and Jason Segel (Marshall from How I Met Your Mother). Intrigued by this stellar cast? Good.

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Image from: forbes.com

Although Freaks and Geeks is more of a dramedy than a sitcom, I couldn’t help but think about this show when reading about families in sitcoms and watching this week’s episodes because of all of the different family styles reflected in this show. The central family is the Weir family with Lindsay (Cardinelli) and Sam (Daley) as the children. The Weirs are a “typical” nuclear family of 4 in the 198os. The head “freak,” Daniel Desario (Franco) comes from a broken and abusive home. Nick (Segel) comes from a single parent household with an unsupportive dad. Each character comes from his or her own unique family background which shapes who they are.

Outside of the blood-related families, this show also represents the family-like relationships found in friend groups.  There are essentially two groups in this show – the freaks and the geeks. In each, the characters find a sense of belonging and support. This is especially important in the “freaks” group because many members lack a solid family foundation at home.

Freaks and Geeks is one of my favorite shows for many reasons. It hilariously shows the awkwardness of the high school years while also highlighting serious topics such as abuse and teaching important life lessons. Even though this show only ran for one season, it’s a great one in my opinion. It’s on Netflix, so check it out!

-Sarah King

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7 Responses to Freaks & Geeks | Sarah King

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I’ve never seen Freaks and Geeks but I do agree with your point that dramadies, although aren’t automatically looked at as the prime examples for family structures, give us arguably better depictions of families than sitcoms. The realistic aspects of a dramedy I find to be more appealing than sitcoms because it lets the audience know that not everything will work itself neatly in 30 minute intervals. However, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of these dynamic, channeling but ultimately loving relationships between families and friends. -Courtney Green

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I’ve never seen Freaks and Geeks before either but I have heard many great things about the show from my friends. Based on what you have said about how the show features a family, it made me think of the reading in our book about the ever changing definition of family. I’m interested to see how they portray a family in the show and what kind of family “definition” the show creates. I think it would be interesting to compare it to past and present definitions. – Katie Thevenow

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I really liked how you brought up “family-like relationships found in friend groups.” I think this should be a separate section in our Sitcom textbook because friend groups are a sort of family, and I think most shows, nowadays, revolve around groups of friends. Rather than showing blood-line family ties, shows tend to focus more on friend groups and the drama between them (for example, Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, etc.).
    -Jenna Romano

  4. mediaphiles says:

    Freaks and Geeks is so good! I love the way it portrays adolescence and feminine sexual development from the older sister’s perspective. Lindsay is a complicated and nuanced chracter I think could be explored in future blogs!

    Elyse Conklin

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I find this show very interesting because it is a true exploration of adolescence. Lindsay is struggling to find her place in the world and, in high school, those types of thoughts stem from an early age. Lindsay is the typical bookworm, who had trouble making friends. Nevertheless, she did not like being referred to as “the smart girl” all the time. She wanted to branch out and find herself instead of being influenced by her family, who do accurately portray the notion of a “nuclear” family. I wish this show stayed on the air (instead of being cancelled) because the “ending” was a cliffhanger during a very big decision that would have ultimately affected her deeply oblivious family. It was a chance to make her family aware of their imperfections and actually address them in the next season.

  6. mediaphiles says:

    Kim also comes from a home where her mother and stepdad are both abusive, and I will always recall the episode where Lindsey comes over for dinner as one of the most difficult things to watch.

    – Reece Guida

  7. marymdalton says:

    I love this show! Best thing Judd Apatow has done. It is tender and funny and authentic. Watch it!

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