The Weekly Netflix Recommendation

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As three post college grads, we are constantly trying to find ways of entertaining ourselves on a budget…which led us to three pretty serious Netflix addictions. Netflix never fails to feed our addiction for finding movies we’ve never heard of, or filling our need to binge watch shows we missed or just want to relive.  Each week, RPW will be posting about their Netflix finds. We hope you enjoy!

This weeks recommendation = Freaks and Geeks


This is definitely one of those shows that we missed. ‘Freaks and Geeks’ is a dramedy that was born way ahead of it’s time. Premiering in 1999, ‘Freaks & Geeks tells the story of siblings, Lindsey and Sam Weir, who are living in the suburbs of Detroit in 1980, desperately trying to survive high school. The show focuses on the Weirs’ adventures with their friends as Lindsey starts hanging with the influential “freaks” and Sam tries to learn how to make it through gym class alive with his best friends, the “geeks.”

The show is sometimes referred to as the anti-Dawson’s Creek. That’s because it’s completely different from any other American high-school story that we’re used to. Instead of glorifying the jocks or reliving the wonders of Homecoming, this show deliberately reminds you of the horrors of high school. It reminds you of all the gritty, horrible aspects like detention, judgmental parents, struggling to fit in, peer pressure, etc. This show is about rebellion. However, it’s less about hateful teens rebelling against their parents, and more about teens who really love their parents and don’t want to disappoint them. But, growing up can’t be avoided, so rebellion is sometimes inevitable.

The core of the show is the characters. You can’t help but deeply connect to each of them in different ways, especially as you start to see a little bit of yourself in Bill or Kim, or even Millie. And the acting is superb. This show was the first of its kind in many ways. It relied heavily on character improvisation and focused on ensuring that the characters looked and felt real. The actors were told to allow their personalities to shine through, so when you see Sam cracking up at his father, it’s because John Francis Daley thinks that Joe Flaherty is one of the funniest people alive. And, let’s be honest, ‘Freaks and Geeks’ could also be called Judd Apatow High School. This show starred Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segal, Martin Starr, John Francis Daley, Busy Philipps, and Samm Levine. This is the first time Apatow worked with any of them, and we all know the history that follows. We have seen so many hilarious pairings with these actors since then, including ‘Knocked Up,’ ‘Pineapple Express,’ and ‘Superbad’ just to name a few.  In this awesome interview with the cast of ‘Freaks and Geeks’ at the twelve-year reunion, Judd was quoted saying to Vanity Fair –

“Whenever I see an opportunity to use any of the people from ‘Freaks and Geeks,’ I do it. It’s a way of refusing to accept that the show was canceled. In my head, I can look at Knocked Up as just an episode of Seth’s character getting a girl pregnant. All of the movies relate in my mind in that way, as the continuous adventures of those characters.”

The series was cancelled in 2000 after a 18-episode run, but the show lives on thanks to Netflix, the Internet, and DVD sales. Since it’s cancellation, the show has continued to gain followers.  And, because of Netflix, which picked up the entire season for Instant Streaming in September 2012, the cult classic is still growing. If you haven’t tuned in, make sure you do. Each episode is 44-minutes commercial free, and you’ll savor every second.

Here’s a little taste of ‘Freaks & Geeks’ ~ Dining with Bill Haverchuck

Author: jennyo422

Born and raised in Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania graduate student, West Chester University alumnus, works in Penn's Development & Alumni Relations, lover of television, movies, fantasty football, and the Phillies.

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