Monday, June 13, 2005

[TV] Freaks & Geeks, The End

It’s over. And what am I left with? That Freaks and Geeks was a good series seems obvious. It was fearless in the way it induced flashbacks to all those moments that made me cringe during college.

But it was doing more than just the comedy of social dysfunction. Despite my early frustrations about the lack of continuity – specifically that significant changes in characters’ lives tended to be ignored in the episodes immediately following – F&G is essential viewing if you’re interested in seeing how a love of character translates to the screen.

The creators said they weren’t interested in building the series to a plot-driven cliffhanger but rather in developing an understanding of these people’s interior lives. So, the other way of looking at my continuity complaint is that the writers appreciated the essences of the characters … and made sure they fully explored them in one state before moving them on to the next.

That’s pretty much what the 2 final episodes are about. Moving on. In the penultimate episode (involving VP George HW Bush’s visit to the high school), Ken and Sam both deal with new relationships – leading to a scene where they share their problems with each other; a scene that is simultaneously a little contrived and exactly what I wanted to see.

Discos & Dragons is the finale for everyone else. Daniel learns to use his imagination through roleplaying, Nick might just pull his damnfool life together and Lindsey makes a choice after being confronted with her future.

These 18 eps form a perfect little portrait of these people’s lives. I guess the injustice is that Freaks & Geeks heralded the rebirth of the current era of good TV, with its deepening focus on character. If it’d come out a couple of years later, or screened on a more supportive network, we might all be loving it even now. Or talking about how jumped the shark after they graduated from high school.

We’ll never know (so I’ll just enjoy what we’ve got and try to get my hands on the DVD set again one day).

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