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Freaks and Geeks’ Legacy Holds Strong Despite Abrupt Cancellation

Linda Cardellini, Busy Philipps, John Francis Daley, James Franco, Samm Levine, Seth Rogen, Martin Starr, and Jason Segel in Freaks and Geeks (1999)

Despite only airing twelve out of the eighteen planned episodes, Freaks and Geeks, the American teen comedy-drama created by Paul Feig and executive-produced by Judd Apatow, has been regarded as one of the best teen dramas of all time, which is why it’s so great to see it finally gain streaming access on Hulu.

For me, as someone blessed with a much older sister, Freaks and Geeks represented this 1980s era of white cool that seemed so effortless, and it was through her that I saw it. As an adult, I can recognize how important it was to actually see working class and poor teens on television.

Teen dramas are notoriously middle-class and rich oriented—an element of wish fulfillment for teenagers who wish they could sit and eat lunch outside of the MET with headbands and shoes that cost more than some people’s phone bills and electric payments together. Poor kids do not have the ability to vagabond safely through life, climbing into taxies and limos when things get bad, with college as an expectation.

With Freaks and Geeks, and its closest equivalent Malcom in the Middle, we see that the “freaks” who have attached so hard to the rock movement (sans Lindsay) are from poor and abusive families. Many of them, like Daniel (James Franco) and Kim Kelly (Busy Philipps), have been written off by society, expected to accomplish little, and therefore act as such.

One of the moments that has always made my heart swell was how the show handled Amy Edwards (Jessica Campbell), who gets into a relationship with Ken (Seth Rogen). Amy was born an intersex woman, but is a woman and lives as one. She shares this with Ken, and he has a moment of angst about what this means, and if it means he is gay, until, in the end, he realizes that he loves Amy and it doesn’t mater.

It was also nice to see the character actually wonder if he was gay in a way that is stereotypical, but not terrible. It’s honestly more graceful than I expected, especially for the time.

The series ended on a cliffhanger, but much like Firefly, has lived on in higher esteem than some shows that lasted for several seasons. Despite the fact that I have a loathing of James Franco now, Freaks and Geeks remains a show that I love revisiting and still deserves to be appreciated for its candid and interesting look at teen life, even if it was too white.

Now a new generation of fans can find it, and rewatch it, on Hulu. About time.

Plus, in another bit of good news, according to Rolling Stone, the music will be the same as on the DVDs: “The show’s 18 episodes, meantime, also feature songs from artists like Grateful Dead, The Who, Cheap Trick, Van Halen and Rush. All of those songs should carry over from the original episodes through to the Freaks and Geeks episodes streaming on Hulu.”

Man … can we get the music rights for Daria back finally?

(image: NBC Universal)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.