Ever since I introduced the late 1990s TV show “Freaks & Geeks” to my son a few weeks ago, he has binge-watched the entire one-season show (18 hours) at least 5-6 times on Netflix. It’s been nice reconnecting with the best show ever to be broadcast on TV about teenagers, if not one of the best series in TV history.
This particular scene is one of my favorites. It’s one where the geekiest of the geeks, latchkey child Bill Haverchuck, comes home after school to watch TV by himself. He catches an early TV appearance by comedian Garry Shandling and experiences a moment of unbridled joy laughing at Shandling and just hanging by himself. I know that many people paint the life of a latchkey kid as unbearably tragic. But speaking as a latchkey kid myself, sorry Dr. Laura, I had a f–king blast! And no, it’s not because I used the alone time to drink alcohol, do drugs, use my bedroom as a f–kpad, or look at porn. I realize this is anathema to common ideas of parenting these days, but sometimes kids just need one-two hours a day to do absolutely nothing but veg. Yes, socializing, exercising, doing school activities, etc. are important, but vegging is seriously underrated and kids these days don’t do enough of it.
Anyway, I love the way that The Who’s “I’m One” … one of the best, but least-heralded tracks from their great album “Quadrophenia” is used in this scene. One of the best uses of popular music for dramatic purposes ever.
First of all, you need to understand how much I loathe “Come Sail Away” by Styx. If it were a federal hate crime to discriminate against a song, I’d be doing hard time in federal prison for committing crimes against this one.
But … this song works soooooo damn well in this wonderful scene from the first episode of “Freaks and Geeks,” the greatest show in television history about teenagers … and if truth be told … kicks the a– of any of the “best” feature films ever made about teenagers.
This is a scene from the Homecoming dance, where freshman Sam Weir shows up at the dance because his crush, cheerleader Cindy Sanders, promised him a dance. She fulfills her promise and the dance between these two always lifts my mood. Some moments are so incredibly sweet that if you dislike them, there is something seriously wrong with you. As awkward as Sam is here, he has bigger balls than I did at the age of 14.
Of all the characters that I most painfully identified with on the genius short-lived TV show “Freaks and Geeks,” it was Jason Segal’s Nick Andopolis character. Well-meaning, but WAAAAAY too f–king sensitive and intense for the room, the writers/producers absolutely nailed a very certain personality type that’s difficult to articulate or depict.
I love the facial expressions of Linda Cardellini’s Lindsay character as she’s trying to take Nick’s display of “love” in. I also like the way Nick tries to process the news that Lindsay needs a break in a way where he’s using every ounce of his being to try and keep it “cool.” That’s very, very good acting on Segal’s part.
For the record, age and maturity have helped me develop a very good bulls–t detector for myself over the years. My gratitude to everyone who knew me back in the day and still finds me friend-worthy these days. I fully understand it wasn’t easy.