Sunday, March 18, 2007

Freaks and Geeks: Music and Memories on the TV

...I never got into Paul Fieg and Jason Apatow's Freaks and Geeks when it first aired in '99 as I was busy making the change from playing tunes on the road to staying put in Atlanta and working a full time day gig as a cook-- I spent the majority of my spare time checking bands at the Point, while swilling pints at the Yacht Club or disco-ing over at the Star Bar on Tuesday nights-- so watching the tube wasn't high on the priorities list...

...I didn't get turned on to Freaks until years later when I'd started writing; late one night, while staying at my mom's house for a visit, I was punching up something on deadline the next day and one of those TVLand-ish marathons was on in the background-- I got sucked into Fieg and Apatow's world and have been a fan ever since...

...after doing a little research, I found that what I'd saw that night was the whole shebang; there were no more episodes to be had as the show, as good as it was, was unceremoniously given the hook by the fine folks at NBC for whatever reason which made me wonder how dreck like Friends was given the VIP treatment but that's another post altogether...

...over the years I've met a grip of people who were into the show, some more zealous than others, but all loved the show for most of the reasons I did: it had heart......I was in high school in the mid-80s (Class of '89), it was a small, AP/college prep high school (with an average graduating class size of about 40 students per year) and I still found things on F and G that I could relate to-- John Hughes came close but not this close with his films. Be that as it may, the lengths that Feig and Apatow went to keep the show's edge and spirit, a no-no in the world of sitcom TV, might've bitten them in the ass because, as mentioned earlier, it was yanked without much fanfare-- adhering to originality is the garland of garlic, in the world of sitcoms, it seems. Check this quote:

"One of the distinguishing characteristics that separated Freaks and Geeks from similar television series at the time was its authentic soundtrack. The creators made it a priority to feature genuine, period-specific music that would help to create the tone of the show. Clearing such names as The Who, the Grateful Dead, and Billy Joel would prove to require much of the show's budget. Eventually, this would become an obstacle in releasing the show on DVD considering that no publisher wanted to go through the trouble of clearing all of the music for the series...the creators of Freaks and Geeks, however, chose to wait to release the DVD until they could find a publisher up to the challenge of gaining clearance for the music of the series, as not to upset the fans of the show. (The pop culture lovers over at) Shout! Factory eventually became the publisher to bring Freaks and Geeks to DVD with all of its music intact." -- you can find links to the article that held the above and find out a little more on the show/ cast/ creators here on wikipedia (the offical site is "closed for repairs" as I type this)...

...Pajiba's Seth Freilich wrote a most excellent essay here that demarcates the difference between freaks, geeks and nerds..which made me wonder which of these categories did I fit into when I was in school, the verdict: all three at various points...that's my story and I'm sticking to it...check this clip:

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