Freaks and Geeks

Harry Brighouse may have stirred up a hornet's nest at Crooked Timber by saying that Freaks and Geeks was the single best show on American television in the past twenty years.

But surely he is right about the bizarre misreading of one episode by Jake Kasdan, one of the former directors of the show. In the show in question, one of the early-adolescent "geeks" manages to start dating the girl he has adored from afar, only to discover that she is actually a vacuous Reaganite yuppie larva.

According to Kasdan, the audience is supposed to feel frustrated by this -- as if the kid has suffered some kind of defeat:

....he discovers what the rest of us have known from the beginning -- that she is a shallow nitwit, utterly unworthy of his time or attention. So, he loses. The audience's longing to cheer for him is frustrated.

But Kasdan is wrong. We were delighted that Sam discovered the true nature of the object of his desire. Not because it made him happy, exactly, but because his reaction to it showed that he knew himself, and [it] bode well, very well, for the future. He learned that his friends mattered more to him than she did, that he was, in the nicest possible way, too good for her, and got a hint that the constantly unreassuring message that he and Bill got from his parents that when they were older there'd be girls who would like them might, after all, be true. We, at least, were happy for him.

Exactly right. I don't think anyone who hasn't seen Freaks and Geeks can imagine just how beautifully developed the characters were. We've watched the show three times now -- first when it aired, then a couple of times since Rita got me the DVD edition as a birthday present a few years ago. The writing and acting were extraordinary, and it's safe to say it's something we'll revisit in due course.

I wrote about Freaks and Geeks for Newsday when it was on the air (though quite obviously doomed) and also did a column about Undeclared, which had some of the same writers and actors.

April 5, 2007 11:08 AM | | Comments (1)



Glad to hear you celebrating Freaks and Geeks. My wife and I got addicted to it, getting the discs through Netflix, and we were severely depressed after we watched the last one. I can't believe that show didn't last longer.

Leave a comment

Recent Work

Fidel Castro: My Life 
A review from Newsday
40 Years of "The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual" 
Marking the anniversary of Harold Cruse's great book
Style and Grace 
A review of a book by the late, great Grace Paley from ... sheesh, almost ten years ago.
Oh, Canada 
National identity -- going south?
The LaRouche Tabernacle Choir 
An interview with me about the LaRouche movement, on Pacifica radio in Los Angeles
Open Library 
An interview with Aaron Swartz, one of the developers....
Sailing From Ithaka 
The new report calling for a digital platform for scholarly publishing deserves a wide audience


Battle of the Titans 
Dinesh D'Souza and Alan Wolfe debating? Imagine a slime mold in conflict with a patch of mildew. It's just that inspiring.
To the Tehran Station 
Not about Edmund Wilson
more picks


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Quick Study published on April 5, 2007 11:08 AM.

Watch the Parking Meters was the previous entry in this blog.

True, That is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Ads

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.