I never watched Freaks and Geeks when it was on TV. My mom tried to get me to, trying (unsuccessfully) to relay a funny scene involving Bill Haverchuck, but I resisted. So I never watched it and as it was martyred on the pyre of “TV Too Good To Live,” I continued to refuse to jump on the bandwagon.

Years later, I was reading an interview on The Onion’s AV Club with Linda Cardellini, and she talked about a specific scene from the finale, where she gets on a bus, and what she wanted that moment to be. I was intrigued by what she said, and decided to give in and get the DVD box set.

I’m so happy that I did.

What’s strange about the cult popularity of Freaks and Geeks to me is that it’s not really as cult-y as you’d think–you don’t need to catch up on complicated relationships or plot events. Each episode, while sometimes specifically connected to the others (but more often not) is pretty self-contained.

Some thoughts: 

I was surprised by how unlikable Lindsay, the main character is–and this is not a bad thing. Standard TV and movie writing seems to be hinged on having a likable main character, but, like most of us during our teenage years, Lindsay is by turns cruel, confused and deceptive. She has moments of great compassion and heart but also makes decisions that will sabotage her future without listening to advice to the contrary. Incredibly smart, she hides her potential and turns towards her friends instead of her family and her future. Basically, she’s an extremely realistic depiction of what most of us were (and are) like, and I still think about her today and wonder where she’d be.

Busy Phillips as Kim Kelly. Wow. I’d say she’s the best thing about the whole series: her hair, her facial expressions, her voice and especially her blue puffy coat (how many dissertations could be written about that coat, how it singlehandedly evokes the 1980s; I hope she still has it). More than any other character, she seems the most like a real person. We see glimpses of her humanity through her tough facade, but never enough to feel fake.

It was cool, too, how a significant plot thread throughout the first (and only) season is the developing relationship between Lindsay and Kim, from their initial hatred (Kim pegs Lindsay as a poser, saying that while she likes to play dress-up with the freaks, Kim “shoplifts from [Lindsay’s] dad’s store”) to the final episode, where Lindsay makes a sacrifice to help Kim escape her dead-end life.

The last image in the series is Lindsay getting off a bus that’s she’s supposed to take to an academic summit for gifted students (that she’s told her family and “straight” friends she’s going to), and getting off where some of her Grateful Dead-loving classmates are waiting. They’re going to follow the Dead around the country for the summer, and as Lindsay walks up to them, we see Kim joyfully welcome her–they climb into the van together.

At the beginning of the series, it looked as if it were going to be about Lindsay’s unrequited crush on James Franco (Kim’s boyfriend), but that element was quickly dropped and at the end, how refreshing and cool is it that the biggest love story is about the friendship of a middle class, ultrasmart girl and her poorer, tougher female friend?

More to come…

My day:

Wake up ridiculously early with body burning as hot as a star, but without the covers, am suddenly way too cold. Try to fall back asleep while achieving some sort of compromise and without lapsing into surprisingly frightening werewolf dream.

 Wake up again less ridiculously early but close enough not to be restful, decide to finish pizza from last night and watch the final three episodes of Freaks and Geeks.

Be moved waaaaaay too much by the final scene between main character Lindsay and her dumb-but-sweet ex-boyfriend Nick who’s spent most of the series trying to win her back. He’s got a new gf and she realizes how much happier he seems with new girl (Lizzy Caplan from Cloverfield), which he admits in a great knife-twisty way, but then she turns and his face crumbles–he was lying! He wants Lindsay back and is still broken-hearted over her! Lindsay, walking away, not seeing this, does a similar face-crumpling; Nick (my crush, Jason Segel) watches her walk away in slow motion. Knowing that it’s the final episode of the one-season-then-canceled series and where I am right now in life, I almost cannot take it: my heart feels as if it is being shredded as they show Nick’s face aching under the bowling alley colored disco lights.

Go to work to add some finishing touches to enormous and unwieldy comic book project, am surprisingly inspired to whip up a great closer to the guide. Feel great sense of accomplishment, validation of talent and general editorial rock star-itude.

Attempt to wrangle some PDFs down to a more manageable size for an e-mail project and fail miserably.

Call snarky friend C., whom I have seen in forever and make a lunch/dinner plan with him. On way to his house, am driving south on Highland and stuck at the Hollywood/Highland traffic light. Someone dressed as Jason Voorhees, holding a machete (plastic, I hope), runs across the street towards the Chinese Theater. No one bats an eye. Sometimes I feel very happy to live in LA.

Show up at C.’s apartment while he’s in the shower and have to wait outside the gate in the chilly air with only a short-sleeved shirt on. Banana trees out front have bunches of green fruit and really cool, hanging-bell/lamp-like “flowers.”

After letting me in, C. primps (I am so jealous of his full head of hair) and I watch the show he has on: Visions Of Ireland, a travel program that’s just beautiful shots of countryside: porn for the wanderlusty. Dream of running off to Ireland ruined by perky PBS (yet a different name for it though) hosts coming on and begging for money.

Lunch/dinner at Jerry’s Deli (C.’s pick, not mine) is typically horrible. Except for The Era Of The Yummy, I have never really ordered anything there I love. Love the Beverly Center-adjacent location the best though (hate Studio City, for example) and C. is his usual grumpy, hate-the-world self. I can appreciate him for the prickly pear he is though, and am suddenly struck by the thought of how long I’ve known him: more than two years. We talk about things we did back when we first knew each other and it seems like a lifetime ago. Feel very old and slow compared to the mad rush of time.

On way home, get text from M. at work, asking me if I’m going to the IN Los Angeles party for a mutual friend. Wasn’t going to but am game, so rush home to try and de-limp hair (failure) and pull myself together handsomely (failure). While driving all the way back to the part of time I just left, my friend B. from Kentucky calls to discuss the random Myrtle Beach vacation I pitched in a frenzy over the weekend. As usual, he talks my ear off and I have to step on his conversation to keep him on target. Verdict: he’ll see if he can round up some of our Kentucky friends to go.

Make it to La Cienega and park, thinking event is Beverly Center-adjacent. Instead, is five million miles away, and get a long walk in. Show up and see M. and his boyfriend, who are so sweet and excited to see me that I feel guilty somewhat. Do the rounds and see tons of people from work and work-related events, talk to the guest of honor and hear some really nice things from him. He looks great–he had liposuction even though he didn’t need it, and he’s looking really svelte and chiseled-face-handsome. I, on the other hand, feel fat and overly warm and flat-haired and duck out as soon as I can, walking the continent back to my car.

An episode of Deal Or No Deal my sister and I attended as audience members is on tonight, and I call my family to see if they spotted us on there. They taped it for me and apparently we are featured three or four times but none of our over-the-top “NO DEAL!!!!!” reaction shots. Sister and mother begin squabbling and suddenly I miss home so much it hurts. I wish I were laying on the carpet in their den watching the show with the dogs and my parents and sister and her fiance so bad that I almost start to cry. Instead, I drive up Sunset and maneuver through Laurel Canyon, part of me realizing how strange it is that I am familiar with Los Angeles geography, that I have no fear at all driving anywhere.

On way home stop at Ralph’s and get some cinnamon dulce de leche ice cream. Recently my craving for sweet things has been out of control and I find myself wanting to eat junk food at all hours, even when I’m not really hungry. Wonder what that’s all about and realize it’s simple: I’m depressed. The body reveals what the heart has hidden.

Come home and can’t believe it’s only 7:30. It feels like weeks have passed since I woke up. Do not want to think about elephant in room or include it in blog entry, so leave that part out.

Sit down in little car, buckle myself in, and wait for the roller coaster to start up the hill of another week all over again.