Freaks and Geeks

The cast of the television show Freaks and Geeks

I just finished watching all eighteen episodes of Freaks and Geeks. Although I had seen most of the show when it originally aired, I hadn’t watched some episodes until now.

Freaks and Geeks is a TV show that aired for only one season in 1999-2000 but has since gained a cult following. The show centres around teenagers belonging to two distinct social groups: the “freaks” and the “geeks”. The show explores themes of identity, fitting in, and the pressures of adolescence in a way relatable to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.

For a millennial born in the 1980s and growing up in the 1990s, this show captures the essence of the decade. It portrays an era before smartphones, social media, and other technological advancements when teenagers had to navigate the complex social dynamics of high school in person. The show is also a nostalgic trip back to when music, fashion, and pop culture were different from what they are today. Freaks and Geeks is a timeless coming-of-age story that resonates with me today. Lindsey, who has been a geek with a new love of rock music, starts to relate to the freaks and befriends them.

It’s incredible how well the show has held up over time, even though it was only on the air for one season in 2000. Watching the show in 2024, it has aged well. The themes of identity, fitting in, and finding oneself are as relevant today as they were back then, and the show’s realistic and nuanced portrayal of adolescence should resonate with viewers of all ages.

Even though the show is set in the 1980s, it doesn’t feel outdated or irrelevant. For others my age, the show’s lack of reliance on technology and social media makes it seem relatable to a simpler time. The show’s focus on human connection, personal growth, and self-discovery is timeless and will always be relevant.

While it’s unfortunate that the show only lasted for one season, it’s also a blessing in disguise. The show ended on a high note, with its characters in a good place and its storyline wrapped up satisfyingly. If the show had continued, it would have lost its magic and become less memorable. As it stands, the show remains a beloved cult classic that will continue to resonate with viewers for years to come.

Growing up in Aotearoa and attending high school between 1998 and 2001, I found myself relating to the plot despite being from a different country and period in time. The show’s themes of identity, fitting in, and finding oneself were relatable to my experiences growing up. Sam and Cindy’s relationship is too real compared to similar situations where I pursued a particular girl for superficial reasons that didn’t end up being the best choice.

Also, how could you not relate to Bill settling down for a TV dinner at home alone? I loved nothing more than a Friday night at home, alone with a pizza dinner in front of the television.

Like the characters in the show, I went through a period of transition where I moved from being a “geek” to a more rebellious and non-conformist personality, which the show depicts as a “freak.” I ultimately found myself while still sticking to my geek tendencies, carving my niche in high school for better or worse.

When I think about it, Freaks and Geeks is a timeless coming-of-age story that captures the universal experiences of growing up and trying to find one’s place in the world.

As someone who grew up in a different country and time period, I find it fantastic to see how the show resonated with a kid on the other side of the world. It continues to be a relatable and nostalgic trip back to a different and, in a way, a simpler era.

I was listening to Freaks and Geeks while writing this post. If you grew up like me, you might enjoy it too.

View this page on GitHub.