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I finally checked out "Freaks and Geeks"

Geoff Wood

I started a new series on Netflix this week called Freaks and Geeks. I vaguely remember this show when it was broadcast on NBC in the late 1990s but never tuned in. It’s received a lot of cult praise since moving to DVD (a lot of that due to the achievements of its alumni) so I decided to check it out.

I’ve only watched the first few episodes but the show takes place in 1980 and concentrates on two high school cliques (as you would guess, one is the Freaks and the other the Geeks) and how they interact with each other and the rest of the early Reagan-area society.

The major attraction to the show is obviously because it’s the early (and, at the time, unsuccessful) work of producer Judd Apatow who is pretty much the king of comedy-production since The 40 Year Old Virgin came out in 2005. His other films like Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Knocked Up, Superbad have been successes (even ones that weren’t funny like Pineapple Express and Year One) and not only feature many of the top comic actors but also many of the people he’s worked with in this series.

The Freak-group in the movie includes several notables, such as the now famous Seth Rogen, Jason Segal (who plays Marshall in my favorite currently airing comedy How I Met Your Mother), James Franco (who now plays both comic and dramatic roles – he was great in Milk) and Busy Phillips (from Dawson’s Creek and apparently the new Courtney Cox show Cougartown that I’m not bothering to watch at all).

The Geek-group notables are Samm Levine (a young comedian trying blatantly to be Kevin Pollack but was also recently in Inglourious Basterds) and John Francis Delay (now a supporting actor on Bones).

Random guest actors that have showed up so far include Ron Lester (Billy Bob from Varsity Blues), Tom Wilson (Biff from Back to the Future) and Rashida Jones (of Boston Legal, The Office and currently Parks and Recreation).  It will be interesting to see whom else shows by the end of the 18 episode run.

It’s interesting to see the high number of cast members from this show that Judd Apatow has placed in his other projects. One such project was a series set in college called Undeclared - that one is in my Netflix queue and should be coming up soon.