June 2009: Staff Picks
Freaks and Geeks, is in my opinion, exactly what a sitcom should be: it has a unique, yet universal plot line with endearing characters. Though it came out in 1999, I only started watching this past year while pretending to work at my summer job, and it took only one episode to make me fall in love with the characters.
The show follows two groups of students during the 1980s—the freaks and the geeks. The freaks are seen through the eyes of high school student Linda Weir, who is transitioning from mathlete good girl to an army-jacket–wearing malcontent. Her brother and his friends represent the storyline of the geeks. Despite taking place over twenty years ago, you will connect with the experiences the characters go through—the triumphs and insecurities of being a teenager.
While the plot itself is hilarious, it’s the actors that really bring it to life. Freaks and Geeks has brought to national attention some of today’s biggest stars. The show’s producer, Judd Apatow, has produced some of the funniest movies to come out in the past two years. He is the man responsible for producing such films as Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Step Brothers to name only a few new ones, not to mention one of my all-time favorites from my youth, Heavy Weights. Apatow has been loyal to those in this show and continues to use them in his film projects, propelling them to stardom. He collaborated closely with Seth Rogen on Super Bad and Pineapple Express and with Jason Segal on Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Apatow’s most recent film, Adventureland, stars my favorite geek, Martin Starr.
The show got great critical acclaim but horrible ratings, and was cut after only 12 episodes (18 were filmed). Despite its on-air failures, it has become a much-beloved cult classic. It can be purchased used for around 40 bucks (new will cost you a bit more), but the more affordable option is to rent it. Freaks and Geeks is my all-time favorite show, and I recommend it for anyone else who doesn’t live in the idealized world that most sitcoms portray.
Okay, I think I might be in love. His name is Billy, and he frequents the Laundromat, has a steady job, has a PhD in horribleness, was recently accepted into the Evil League of Evil, and can sing. Oh yeah, he’s an evil genius. He has a video blog that is as entertaining as he is charming and adorable. We have been talking about blogs on the site recently, and I just had to pass this one along.
To see Billy (and also fall in love), just go to drhorrible.com and scroll down to the button that reads “watch it right now.” The three-part, 42-minute video blog is full of daring heroics, evil genius-ness (yes, that’s a word), witty banter, and catchy songs. The blog was crated by Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind such cult favorites as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and now Dollhouse. Dr. Horrible was listed as number 15 on Time magazine’s list of the best inventions of 2008. Seriously.
So if adorable evil geniuses, cheesy superheroes, amazing musical numbers, and brilliant dialogue sound like something you can fall in love with, then Billy is for you. Now, I have to go tweak my application for the Evil League of Evil and work on some plans to rule the world… or something.