While it only lasted one season, Freaks and Geeks is considered one of the best teen shows of all time. Set in the ’90s, the series follows Lindsay as she goes from the school nerd to a member of a group of freaks. At the same time, Lindsay’s brother, Sam, starts his freshman year of high school and struggles to fit in.
Freaks and Geeks perfectly portrays the high school experience of this time. The show isn’t only relatable, but it has hilarious moments and heartwarming scenes. Still, some episodes are more memorable than others, and these are the ones that the audience loved the most.
10 “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)
The first episode of Freaks and Geeks perfectly introduces the characters and premise of the show. This episode follows Lindsay Weir, a high school student who used to be a part of the nerds, as she befriends a group of freaks at her school. The show also focuses on Lindsay’s younger brother, Sam, and his friends, who are the geeks regularly bullied in their school.
However, compared to other, more in-depth episodes, the pilot leaves a bit to be desired. This episode barely begins to explore the characters, while later episodes will show not only how complex they are but also introduce more hilarious scenes and interesting dynamics.
9 “Noshing and Moshing” (Season 1, Episode 15)
“Noshing and Moshing” is a dramatic episode that still features many funny scenes. The audience follows Neal’s family life closely as he finds out that his father is cheating on his mom and struggles to decide what to do with this information. At the same time, Lindsay starts to hang out with Neal’s brother, Barry, but it doesn’t get far.
A lot of people wish Barry had been a constant character in Freaks and Geeks, but it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe if the show had had another season, Barry would have become a recurrent character. However, the best part of the episode is Daniel adopting the punk lifestyle and aesthetic to try to impress dropout Jenna Zank.
8 “Tests and Breasts” (Season 1, Episode 5)
Season 1, Episode 5 of Freaks and Geeks, “Tests and Breasts,” follows two main storylines, and both of them are funny and relatable. The episode revolves around Sam trying to understand a sex joke. At the same time, Daniel is about to fail algebra and manipulates Lindsay to help him cheat on a test, but he’s eventually caught.
Sam’s journey to understand sex is pretty relatable for any teen who grew up in the ’90s and had zero access to this type of information. The episode deals with this subject in a hilarious yet wholesome manner as Coach Fredrick eventually explains everything to Sam.
7 “Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers” (Season 1, Episode 14)
“Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers” is another outstanding Freaks and Geeks episode where the writers and cast perfectly balance humor, drama and character development. The episode follows Bill as he discovers that his mom is dating Coach Fredrick and struggles to accept it. Meanwhile, the nerd, Millie, tries to become a freak after Lindsay and Kim accidentally run over her dog.
This episode develops Bill’s character and portrays his anxieties, which is great since he has only been used for comedy relief. Still, the episode gets its humor from the freaks’ arc. One of the funniest scenes is Nick playing a song for Lindsay and Ken smashing Nick’s guitar, tired of Nick’s antics.
6 “The Garage Door” (Season 1, Episode 12)
“The Garage Door” is one of the most heartbreaking Freaks and Geeks episodes. The episode deals with Neal trying to find out if his father is cheating on his mother after Sam saw him hugging another woman in the mall. When he finds a garage control, he tries on every house until he finds the one and realizes that his father’s car is parked inside.
However, the episode also has a lighthearted and wholesome arc. “The Garage Door” also follows as bitter and sarcastic Ken Miller develops a crush on the “tuba girl,” Amy. He eventually asks her out, and the audience gets to see Ken’s softer side.
5 “Looks and Books” (Season 1, Episode 11)
As the episode title suggests, “Looks and Books” focuses on looks and how they affect the main characters of the show as she tries to reinvent their identity. After Lindsay crashes her car and her parents forbid her to see the freaks, she decides to become a part of the mathletes again and return to her nerdy persona. In the meanwhile, Sam decides to change his clothes and style to try to impress his crush, Cindy.
This episode is very relatable for the audience, as everyone had to deal with finding out who they were as teenagers. The episode is very wholesome, as it shows that the freaks truly care about Lindsay when they even go to her mathletes competition to support her. It could be said that this episode cements Lindsay’s friendship with the freaks, which is one of the reasons it’s in Freaks and Geeks’ top five episodes.
4 “The Little Things” (Season 1, Episode 17)
The second to last Freaks and Geeks episode, “The Little Things,” follows Ken and Sam as both of them struggle with their relationships. Sam realizes that he has nothing in common with Cindy, even though he spent most of the season trying to get her attention, and Ken panics when Amy tells her that she was born intersex.
“The Little Things” treats this subject with sensitivity and humor, and it shows the complexity of high school love as well as real-life politics. Sam and Ken have a chat in the bathroom where Ken realizes that Amy being intersex doesn’t matter and that what matters is that they have a good relationship, which makes for a really wholesome development.
3 “Chokin’ and Tokin'” (Season 1, Episode 13)
The core storyline of “Chokin’ and Tokin'” is Bill having a nearly lethal allergic reaction after Alan puts peanuts in his lunch, which makes it one of the most harrowing Freaks and Geeks episodes. The show follows many characters in the hospital as they deal with Bill’s near-death experience.
People don’t expect such well-written and insightful storylines from a teen show, but Freaks and Geeks always surprise its audience. This episode shows Bill’s mom struggling with the situation, Neal and Sam trying to process it, and Alan explaining why he did this and apologizing to Bill while he sleeps.
2 “Smooching and Mooching” (Season 1, Episode 16)
After many dramatic episodes, “Smooching and Mooching” comes to make things lighter. After Nick has a fight with his father, he goes to live with the Weir, and he creates a surprisingly positive relationship with Harold. The show truly portrays how good of a father Harold is, and it seems that Lindsay realizes it during this episode.
On the other hand, the geeks get to go to a make-out party when Cindy finally shows interest in Sam. Bill has a couple of hilarious yet wholesome scenes with the quintessential popular girl, Vicky, and Sam gets his get-the-girl moment with Cindy after he’s been pining for her the whole season. All in all, a very feel-good episode.
1 “Discos and Dragons” (Season 1, Episode 18)
As with many shows, the last episode of Freaks and Geeks has a special sense of nostalgia that has turned it into a fan favorite. The show ends with the geeks playing Dungeons & Dragons with Daniel as they both realize they aren’t as different as they previously thought.
Meanwhile, Lindsay has to face her academic future when she’s offered an invitation to spend two weeks at the University of Michigan. However, Lindsay ends up going with Kim on the Grateful Death tour. The episode is the perfect ending for the first season as it shows how much the characters have changed.
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