Freaks and Geeks: Season 1 (1999 - 2000)

Season 1
Freaks and Geeks

Critics Consensus

Freaks and Geeks lampoons real-life adolescence while affectionately embracing every growing pain along the way with refreshing honesty.



Critic Ratings: 32


Audience Score

User Ratings: 251

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Air date: Sep 25, 1999

In the show's pilot, Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) wants to shed her straight-A image, while her nerdy, younger brother Sam (John Daley) tries his luck on the dating scene. Neal: Samm Levine. Daniel: James Franco. Nick: Jason Segel. Bill: Martin Starr. Ken: Seth Rogen. Kim: Busy Philipps. Mr. Weir: Joe Flaherty. Mrs. Weir: Becky Ann Baker.

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Air date: Oct 2, 1999

Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) reluctantly throws a keg party at her house when her parents go away for the weekend, but the evening takes an interesting turn when Sam, Neal and Bill put themselves in charge of refreshments. Sam: John Daley. Neal: Samm Levine.

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Air date: Oct 30, 1999

Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardinelli) continues building a tenuous friendship with the Freaks, going so far as to duck out of Halloween candy-giving duties with her mom (Becky Ann Baker) in order to smash pumpkins, bat at mailboxes, and egg trick-or-treaters with her new, would-be vandal buddies. Meanwhile, despite their English teacher's pleas to "grow up," Sam (John Daley) and the rest of the Geeks decide that dressing up and going door-to-door for sweets isn't beneath them after all -- so long as they don't get ahold of any tainted fun-size candy bars, of course. When the fateful eve arrives, however, all of the Weirs find that Halloween isn't what it used to be.

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Air date: Nov 6, 1999

Determined to help the glassy-eyed Daniel (James Franco) pass his algebra test, Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) holds an impromptu study session at her house. Feeling a bit mentorly himself, Daniel decides to give Lindsay's sex-ed-frustrated brother Sam (John Daley) some lessons in the reproductive sciences, courtesy of a porno reel. When Lindsay's tutorial fails to take, however, Daniel resorts to his usual study method -- cheating -- and, fed up with her math teacher, Mr. Kowchevski (Steve Bannos), Lindsay aids and abets his delinqent ways with dire results. Meanwhile, Sam and the Geeks gather to watch their loaner stag film -- and the newfound carnal knowledge leaves each Geek with a wildly different impression of the opposite sex.

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Air date: Nov 13, 1999

Lindsay's "you can do it" Midwestern work ethic proves to be at odds with the Freaks' laid-back approach to rock & roll in this pivotal episode of the short-lived teen saga. Now fully indoctrinated into the Freaks' hang-out/jam sessions in Nick's basement, Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) takes it upon herself to offer some constructive criticism, specifically: practice makes perfect, and "Anarchy's Child" makes a better band name than "Creation." Drummer Nick (Jason Segel) is the only one who's receptive to Lindsay's brainstorming; needless to say, ostensible guitarist Daniel (James Franco) and rest of Creation take umbrage to her band-wrecking ideas (dubbing her "Yoko" in the process). When Nick's stern father tells him to stop beating the skins and focus on his studies -- or else -- Lindsay takes pity and further encourages Nick to hone his talent, against all odds. Meanwhile, Sam (John Daley) has problems of his own, now that Coach Fredricks (Tom Wilson) is enforcing mandatory showers for every student after P.E. class. When his various evasive tactics fall through, Sam has to suck in his gut and take that long, cold walk across the locker-room tile to the communal shower room.

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Air date: Jan 10, 2000

The Geeks' outlook on life brightens when a new girl, Maureen (Kayla Elwell), joins their class. Maureen is everything Sam (John Daley), Neal (Samm Levine), and Bill (Martin Starr) look for in a young woman: she's smart, pretty, and, best of all, she likes to shoot off model rockets and make toilet jokes. As the Geeks fight over which one of them should ask her out on a real date, they realize that it won't be long before they lose someone as cool as Maureen to the popular kids -- and they try their best to stop her from crossing over to the other side. Meanwhile, Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) further ingratiates herself with the Freaks by offering to buy the whole group fake IDs so that they can go see the local band Feedback at a bar. Underage drinking proves to be more of a challenge than Lindsay once thought, however, when she has to go through two separate, increasingly sketchier counterfeiters (Rushmore's Jason Schwartzman and Slums of Beverly Hills' Kevin Corrigan) in order to be legit. Originally aired out of order between episodes five and six, "Carded and Discarded" marked Freaks and Geeks' return after its November 1999-January 2000 hiatus.

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Air date: Jan 17, 2000

As Lindsay and Nick's romance intensifies, she begins feeling pressured to have sex; Sam gets dating tips from an unlikely source. Cindy: Natasha Melnick. Gordon: Jerry Messing. Millie: Sarah Hagan.

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Air date: Jan 24, 2000

Still reeling from a singularly creepy/embarrassing bonding moment, Lindsay (Linda Cardinelli) decides it's time to break up with the chronically stoned, oddly obsessive Nick (Jason Segel). When the other Freaks get wind of her plan, they beg her not to break his heart -- but Lindsay's investigation of Nick's previous breakup only encourages her to cut the cord. But Kim (Busy Phillips), Daniel (James Franco), and Ken (Seth Rogan) have problems of their own: a rival school's drive-by water-ballooning has them hell bent on retribution, and uncharacteristically supportive of their own McKinley High basketball team. Meanwhile, in yet another effort to win the favors of perky cheerleader Cindy Sanders (Natasha Melnick), Sam (John Daley) decides to audition for the recently vacated position of McKinley High team mascot, The Fighting Norseman. The bizarre Norseman head proves too big for him to fill, however, and as game day approaches, Sam begins to take out his nervousness on his buddies as well as Cindy.

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Air date: Jan 31, 2000

The bane of the Geeks' existence, gym class, serves as a focus for this episode of Freaks and Geeks, directed by former Thirtysomething star Ken Olin. Tired of being picked last for the class baseball teams by the jocks, Haverchuck (Martin Starr) takes matters into his own hands by swiping a faculty phone list and harrassing Coach Fredricks (Tom Wilson) at home. Meanwhile, inspired by reading On the Road in English class, Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) takes up the art of hitchhiking with pal Kim (Busy Phillips) -- and on the first try, she happens to hitch a ride with a friend of her father's. When they get wind of Lindsay's rebellious behavior, Mr. and Mrs. Weir sit down for a dinner chat with Kim's mother, Cookie (Ann Dowd), who implores them to read their daughter's diary so that they'll know what she's really up to.

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Air date: Feb 7, 2000

After she smashes up her father's car, Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) extricates herself from the Freak clique, deciding that she's better off with her former best friend, Millie (Sarah Hagen), and the rest of the prim and proper Mathletes. As Lindsay buries herself in her studies, obsessively prepping for the group's imminent math-off with a rival high school, the remaining Freaks begin questioning their own life ambitions -- however minimal they may be. Meanwhile, Sam (John Daley) and the Geeks, after careful analysis of high school dating patterns, come to the conclusion that feathered hair and polyester clothes are the way to a young woman's heart. But when Sam follows through on Joe Jackson's missive to "look sharp," he finds out he's in for a long, long day at McKinley High.

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Freaks and Geeks: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

High school students cope with life at a Michigan high school in 1980. Stories focused on sophomore Lindsay, who discards her straight-A image to hang with the burnout crowd and her freshman brother Sam, who's tormented by bullies but gets moral support from his nerdy pals.

News & Interviews for Freaks and Geeks: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Freaks and Geeks Season 1

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (17)

It's worth watching just to see baby versions of people like James Franco, Jason Siegel, Seth Rogan, Busy Phillips, and others, but it's also a genuine take on high school and the constant need to feel like you belong.

Jun 29, 2018 | Full Review…

Freaks and Geeks is tapping into something primal: adolescents' hunger to begin to understand themselves and their world. Freaks and Geeks is too honest to offer answers. But it affirms the value and the universality of asking the questions.

Oct 10, 2017 | Full Review…

The series is funny, humane, deadpan and realistic.

Jul 17, 2020 | Full Review…

During its short but perfectly formed run, it forced its audience to laugh through the awkwardness of adolescence.

Oct 23, 2018 | Full Review…

''Freaks and Geeks'' can't escape its sense of borrowed wonder. But at least it has some.

May 22, 2018 | Full Review…

At the very least ... this is a rare hour of TV with big possibilities.

Jan 23, 2018 | Full Review…

Freaks reminds us that we're often closest to our true selves when we're alone and not performing for our peers, particularly during our painfully self-conscious teen years.

Aug 7, 2018 | Full Review…

The young actors are natural and convincing, and the high school characters manage to be funny without too much Dawson's Creek glibness.

Oct 10, 2017 | Full Review…

Freaks and Geeks is that wonderful rarity among television series, a show that simultaneously lampoons reality and embraces it.

Oct 10, 2017 | Full Review…

This show only produced 18 episodes, but it's been lauded and beloved for 16 years since its unceremonious axing.

Oct 10, 2017 | Full Review…

The show deals with situations that we can all relate to. It is a very rare thing to see a television show with such love for its characters and its world - a true gem.

Oct 10, 2017 | Rating: 10/10 | Full Review…

Watching the show often feels like an out-of-body experience, as if one were watching oneself navigate through high school. This is exactly what makes the show so timeless.

Oct 10, 2017 | Rating: 10/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Freaks and Geeks: Season 1

  • Feb 12, 2021
    Perhaps the most endearing, well-aged, and paramount tv series to be cancelled after only one season, Freaks and Geeks truly is more a sensation to watch than ever. Despite its setting in the early 80's and related soundtrack (featuring the likes of The Grateful Dead, Billy Joel, and others), Freaks and Geeks' material pertaining to the high school experience is universal for any age group, especially as it has such an understanding of the social dichotomies. Yes, the teenage characters are essentially divided into two groups, but the rendering of these so-called "freaks and geeks" is anything but stereotypical, and while extraordinarily funny, the show never falters in terms of realism or sensitivity. There's plenty of drama to be had here, with the writers delving into serious subjects that still aren't regularly addressed on U.S. television, and the show also handles the realities of sex and drugs amongst American youth while keeping it modest enough to appease the FCC, but never do the tactics feel like sugarcoating. Watching Freaks and Geeks now, the series cast essentially reads as a who's-who of today's comedy A-listers, and not just of the main cast (which of course includes Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and James Franco), but numerous cameos throughout the show as well (which includes Liz Caplan, Rashida Jones, and Shia LaBeouf), and the show undeniably had some of the best child acting to ever grace the small screen. It's sickening to think that any station could abruptly cancel a tv series as special as this one, but we can all be thankful that everyone involved went on to have such flourishing careers. Still, even amongst masterstrokes like Bridesmaids, and Superbad, it's still logical to feel that Freaks and Geeks really was the best entry in the entire Apatow library, and now that it's streaming on Hulu (yes, with all the copyrighted music in tact!) it's the perfect time to watch and rewatch this gem.
  • Jan 26, 2021
    I graduated high school in 1984, which makes me exactly Sam's age in the show. The walk down memory lane is fun, but what makes this show great — even rewatching it now 20 years later — is how real it is. And to paraphrase Francis Ford Coppola, it's not just a TV show about high school, it IS high school. The emotions, the various versions of awkwardness they ALL go through, the stupid social situations we're all forced to endure at that age — they felt, and still feel, spot on. Add to that the fact that so many cast and crew have gone on to be major forces in Hollywood, and it's just a joy to watch this lovely little show. (I've now shared the first two episodes with my wife, and she said "It's a shame they couldn't have kept this series going!")
  • Dec 08, 2020
    This series hit deep on all the nostalgia and growing pains I've experienced and all that I haven't. It made itself fully relatable even for all the people that related to nothing in it. But, man, I related to a lot of this, which often made it hard to watch. This was such a fantastic show and it's so, so deeply saddening that there will never be any more of it. What a perfect cast, too. This show made me love Linda Cardellini.
  • Sep 13, 2020
    I didn't understand why this show is as popular as it is at first but it really stepped up its game in the second part of the season. The characters are layered, their relationships unexpected and complex and they tackle some really important issues. It's still quite 90s in a lot of ways - storytelling, directing style, subject matter, pace - but I do get it now.
  • Aug 11, 2020
    All around great show and future stars in their budding.
  • Jul 06, 2020
    I'll never understand why this show was never renewed, it was amazingly pee your pants funny. It would be nice if they tried a remake of the show
  • Mar 05, 2020
    Best high school show in the history
  • Jan 19, 2020
    As perfect as any season of television ever was, Freaks and Geeks' one-and-done nature didn't prevent it from being one of the most enduring beloved cult classics. It is near impossible not to fall completely in love with this show and its characters.
  • Dec 18, 2019
  • Dec 15, 2019
    This is in my opinion is a really ahead of it's time show. Really underground gem of a t.v. show based on teenagers in high school in the 70's. This show was the start of some of today's famous actors that kind of got there start here on this show. Love, love, love this show so funny.

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