Freaks and Geeks

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Sep 25, 1999 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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  • One of the best pilots I've seen in a long time

    Every now and then, certain shows arrive that reel in a core fan base and then fizzle out due to low ratings or not enough critical acclaim. The last show I could think of that suffered from this is "Arrested Development," but at least that show had the good fortune of having at least three seasons to establish a plot. Judd Apatow and Paul Feig's show "Freaks and Geeks" was given only an eighteen episode order due to low-ish ratings, and I must say, after viewing the pilot, I'm wondering how the show would've done in the current climate. Look at the cast the show had, at how superb the writing is, how realistic the show is without being too real or how it's willing to have ridiuclous things in it without going too far in that direction. It's disappointing that the show had to be cancelled, but it gives me an even better chance to look at the show as a whole and see how well it did considering it's short lifespan.

    The pilot was one of those episodes that made you feel like you got thrown directly into the middle of the action, as if you already know these characters. As a result, we get sucked into a lush world of high school society, where there are the freaks and the geeks. The way the show bounces back and forth between the two groups, sometimes focusing on individual characters in between it all, makes the show feel so rich with detail. The pilot tends to focus mainly on the Weir family, with brother and sister Lindsey and Sam as they trudge their way through high school, trying to figure out what they want out of their time here and how to deal with bullies. The Weir family is at the center of the show (in a way) and it's fascinating to be sucked into their world, where the father says very fatherly things such as "Jimi Hendrix cut class and you know what happened to him? He died!"

    But the Weir family isn't necessarily the core part of the show, despite the characters being the lead characters in their respective groups. There's the freaks, which consists of young versions of James Franco as Daniel, Jason Segel as Nick and Seth Rogen as a deadpan Ken. If you want to see all these actors before they became the huge names in Hollywood that they are now, watch this show for sure, but also watch it because you can see where Jason Segal's future characters are born out of; you can see where James Franco might get influence for his role in Pineapple Express.. and honestly, Seth Rogen is perhaps the one character who plays against type. He's a deadpan guy who spews some pretty great lines throughout the first few episodes. We follow the freaks through the eyes of Lindsey and how they come to tentively accept her into the group. There's also Busy Phillips who plays a girl named Kim Kelly. If you thought she was ridiculous in Cougar Town, wait until you see her here: she's vindictive and completely crazy in a much more realistic way than in Cougar Town.

    Then there's the geeks. The freshmen of the group are played by Samm Levine, John Francis Daly and Martin Starr, and throughout the first three episodes, they become the highlights of the show. They're all fairly awkward, with Sam (played by Daly) getting the brunt of the bullying in the school, while Neil (Levine) is the nerd of the group, sounding like a fifty year old accountant and Martin Starr plays the types of roles he's come to domninate in Adventure Land and Party Down, except a little less tame and just as hilarious. It's difficult to decide which group is funner to follow, since they have different styles of humor. I'm inclined to say the geeks, only because I'm not comparing the actors against their future roles.. Franco and Rogen are great here, but they sort of fade into the background next to Jason Segel, Linda Cardenelli and other actors.

    That being said, the pilot is written extremely well. Everything flows perfectly and Paul Feig has a certain way of introducing us to dozens of supporting characters right at the beginning and making us understand who they are, what makes them that way and where they may go in the future. If there's ever a show that's established a plot right off the bat, it's definitely this show.

    I've watched a few more episodes, so I know the show stays good, but the Pilot is just fantastic, a great bit of television that finds a good blend of drama and comedy and also somehow avoids a lot of the high school cliche's found in TV and movies these days. You can definitely see where Judd Apatow's raunchy humor would come from.
  • This is gonna be familiar and different and the same...

    The series feels like it's picking up from somewhere, unlike many pilot episodes. They nail the 80s feel perfectly, and the cast is a great fit. The Dodgeball game and the unexpected twist of hurting the handicapped kid made a great point on what kind of show Freaks and Geeks would be. It would be easy to say that Lindsay is the more relatable character, but really I think we can all identify with both her and Sam; there's a little freak and a little geek in all of us and that's why the show works. This is a good formula.
  • I can't believe how good it is.

    I absolutely loved this episode. We are introduced to some truly amazing characters: Bill, Neil, and Sam the geeks, Daniel, Ken, Kim, and Nick the freaks; Lindsey the ex-mathlete trying to become part of the freaks. We meet Lindsey and Sam's parents Mr. and Mrs. Weir, who have to be the most realistic parents ever shown on TV. In this episode Sam and Lindsey don't want to go to the homecoming dance. Their parents insist they do, with the reason that high school is about socializing. How they end up going is classic. When the geeks beat up the school bully was also great too. I love the all the supporting characters too. There is Lindsey's old friend Millie and so many more. In the end this is a great start to an amazing, albeit short lived series.
  • Amazing and true-to-life.

    Unfortunately, I did not watch Freaks and Geeks during it's original airing, but I did buy the series on DVD, having found out about it through an online quiz (I thought that I was going to find out whether my personality was that of a freak or a geek, not that I would be finding out which character from the series I was most like), and otherwise, I had no idea how brilliant this show would be.

    In an age where all of the high school-focused dramas and dramedies are blowing the problems that adolescents face everyday out of proportion and showing only the extremes, Freaks and Geeks found a much subtler and gentler way of touching on such subjects as bullying, dating, peer pressure (as in the pilot episode), and others later in the series. The interactions between the characters are natural and believable, and remind you of people that you know/knew in high school.

    I referred to this episode during a discussion about bullying with a ninth grade class that I was peer-tutoring. None of them had ever heard of the show before, but they connected to it and to the characters right away (and I think that most of them got hooked).

    The pilot was likely the most amazingly written of any I have ever seen.
  • An absolutely fantastic pilot for a great series.

    Shows like "Freaks and Geeks" are rare. Not often does a show this good come along, one in which nearly EVERYONE can relate to, whether or not they admit it, and when they do come along, it's almost always safe to bet your life's savings that it won't make it to a second season.

    The pilot for "Freaks and Geeks" introduces us to the freaks and geeks of a high school. Our main characters are brother and sister, and we follow their lives with their friends. Lindsay's friends are the "freaks", while her brother Sam is in the "geeks". In the pilot, Lindsay starts hanging out with the freaks, but encounters trouble with Kim Kelly, who doesn't like her. She also skips school and gets in trouble. Sam, meanwhile, is being picked on by a bully and is trying to work up the nerve to ask a cheerleader out on a date.

    There were many things to love about the pilot. Lindsay tried to do the right thing by defending a retarded classmate but ends up making things worse for him. She is also blackmailed, in a way, by her counselor to join the mathletes. The fight between the geeks and the bully was very fun to watch, as was Sam's interactions with the cheerleader.

    The show manages to avoid many cliches that usually populate teen dramas, yet occasionally is predictable. However, that doesn't mean it's any less enjoyable. I would say that this is the best pilot for a teen drama I've ever seen.
  • One of the best pilots ever

    I was so very lucky to catch this show when it originally aired in the country I live. I didn’t know this one was the pilot, I didn’t even know it was a show (I thought it was a movie or something) it was that good. a perfect script, perfect cast that most of them have become pretty known actors. and ohyeah, I had such an enormous crush on Linda, and I still have.

    what’s so damn good about the pilot? perfect script and way to introduce all the characters, even the jackasses.
    I’m usually into darker shows, with fantasy and neat special effects and fights. But this show is an exception, even though I didn’t go to high school during the 80’s, it still gives me the high school-sucks feeling and the way stereotypes are,

    Lindsey is a very confused teen, she lost her grandma and has changed ever since then. She decided that there is nothing good about life, she doesn’t want to be the math geek she used to be and starts hanging out with the freak kids who are pretty dumb and smoke drugs and don’t give a damn about school. She meets a few freaks and begins to like that lifestyle while everyone around her old life are pretty concerned.

    Lindsey also has a brother Sam who is going through the same, only he is a big geek and so are his friends. There is a jock that teases him and wants to beat him up and meanwhile he has a crush on a very beautiful girl and he gets the nerves to ask him out and she promises him a dance.

    The funniest during the episode was the father, everything he said didn’t made sense and every bad thing his kids did he told them that it will lead them to die.

    I love the chemistry between Sam and Lindsey, both are so different yet the same.
    The homecoming dance was very inspiring, Sam got his dance and Lindsey danced with a guy Eli who talked weird and because of her broke his arm even though she meant to help him.

    a brilliant pilot, in all the ways.
  • The cast is quickly introduced after a hilarious 2-minute opening giving the impression this show was a teeny-bopper soap opera.

    Very good pilot episode, considering most pilots have a lot of fine tuning to do. The only problem is the cast didn't look comfortable yet. Either way, a very good episode. I can see why it was a cult hit.
    The dodgeball scene had me laughing-out-loud(which does not happen often, I'm very fickle). I was hesitant at buying the show at first, but I'm glad I did.
  • Brilliance.

    Got the first season off of netflix from my friends suggestion. This is without a doubt the most solid pilot episode I've seen. Paul Feig's abilty to capture the high school experience in every capacity is spot on. I found myself so invested in the characters after the first episode I watched the rest of the disc immediately. Unfortunately I will have to pace out the rest because I want to space out the remaining episodes a bit.
  • Introduction episode to one of the Greatest Short-lived TV shows of all time!!

    Premiering on NBC on September 25th 1999, this show only lasted 18 episodes, but I dont see why. It is great.

    In the Pilot, we are introduced to the shows main characters.. students attending William McKinley Highschool in a suburb of Detroit Michigan in 1980.

    An academic profound girl named Lindsay begins hanging out with some potheads, leaving her other freinds behind. Her little brother Sam (a freshman at her school) deals with a bully at school, and takes on added stress by asking out a cheerleader to the Homecoming Dance.

    The writing in the inaugral episode is very brilliant, as is the acting. Just from watching this first episode, you can already make cross-references to kids from back in your High School days. This show is very fresh and rewarding.
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