Freaks and Geeks returns to Much More
Judd Apatow is the king of the freaks. No, that’s not a comment on a secret alliance with Frank Zappa or the glittery disco band Chic. Rather, the writer, producer and director has built his career on telling stories of the underdog. He favours the shlubby guy, the guy whose hairstyle doesn’t quite suit his face, the guy who’s largely unnoticed by the cute girl who lives down the street. Until the final, glorious scenes of comeuppance, that is.
In Apatow’s movies, it’s epitomized in films like Superbad, Knocked Up or The 40-YearOld Virgin. On TV, there’s no better example than Freaks and Geeks. Created by Paul Feig and executive-produced by him and Apatow, the oneseason wonder still enjoys a small but passionate following, despite NBC cancelling it in 2000. And today, MuchMore airs a six-hour marathon of it.
A period piece set in 1980, the hour-long dramedy followed two groups of suburban Michigan teens whose middle-rung status on the social ladder led to all manner of angst. The freaks were socalled for ditching school, smoking pot and perpetrating acts of minor hooliganry. The geeks, meanwhile, sang the comedic praises of Steve Martin, attended sci-fi conventions and spent many a night playing Dungeons & Dragons.
The show was a breeding ground for future stars, including headliners James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Busy Philipps. The guest stars were equally impressive, boasting Jason Schwartzman, David Krumholtz, Rashida Jones and Shia LaBeouf, among others.
While many young adult shows of the time peddled cutesy dialogue, overly groomed teens and highwaisted pants not unlike modern-day mom jeans, Freaks and Geeks was different.
Although it comprised a mere 18 episodes (the final three aired only after NBC heeded fans’ pleas), Freaks and Geeks was nominated for three Emmy Awards and spawned two DVD box sets and two books. The January issue of Vanity Fair boasts a rare reunion photo spread, and, on the magazine’s website this month, there’s an extensive oral history and Feig’s ideas for a second season. Apatow is the guest editor of the issue (his new movie This is 40, the Knocked Up sequel, is in theatres now). If ever there were a time to Freak out, this is it. (Noon, MuchMore)
With 2012 reaching its end, ABC goes Back to the Beginning With Christiane Amanpour. In the two-hour special, the CNN correspondent visits historical sites of importance to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. (9 p.m., ABC)
Matthew Perry’s quirky new ensemble comedy, Go On, airs back-to-back repeat episodes Friday. Basking in its first fullseason order, it may be Perry’s best chance to front a show post-Friends that lasts more than a year. (8 p.m., NBC)
The Mob Doctor may be on its way out, but Mob Wives is still in the game. The Staten Island-based reality series airs its Season 2 reunion episode, in which Renee discusses Junior’s informant status, and Ramona and Drita’s animosity comes to a head. (10 p.m., Slice)