Tuesday, February 01, 2005

[TV] Freaks & Geeks: Make or Break

Episode 6 – okay so it had some involuntary nudity in it but really this was all about Nick and the episode was way more heartbreaking than I expected. Insights into his family life, his dreams; the whole ep had a melancholy feel to it – even though it got funnier and funnier as the second half wore on. Kind of like a humanised teen version of Bullets over Broadway.

I suspect Freaks & Geeks has anti-continuity. Based on what Lindsey did last night, it’s about people making choices that are terrible and yet somewhat repetitive. As if the storyliners have devised a parameter within which each character relationship will occur, then the writers just ring variations on it.

It’s a good strategy if you’re not sure about the strength of your show – that way you can showcase your funniest episodes first and hook viewers in, you can run episodes out of order because you’re not bound to a strict season-long storyline. This is what we did in lovebites (which also was not renewed). The danger is that people see your show as repetitive or static and given that F&G operates in the world of teen comedy-drama, people familiar with the genre might be expecting more forward movement.

OTOH, this approach allows you to mine more deeply for character moments. If you find a vibe that works on-screen, you can write another episode and apply more pressure to it. This way, character arcs emerge organically based on what you’re interested in.

Tonight’s episode will be make-or-break for understanding Freaks & Geeks’ approach to continuity. We know Lindsey just wanted to do a good thing, but what the hell was she thinking? I am interested, I want answers. I will be extremely disappointed if the show does not address it.

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