Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Freaks and Geeks Rewind: Looks and Books

Spoilers for the "Freaks and Geeks" episode "Looks and Books" coming up just as soon as I scarf down an entire mall pretzel...

In my review of the "Freaks and Geeks" pilot, I wrote that the series was, "at heart, a show about identity, how the hellfire of high school forges one for everybody, and how hard some people try to craft a new one for themselves." Though "Looks and Books" isn't one of my favorite episodes (mainly because of the Sam storyline, which I'll discuss more below), it's still one of the purest distillations of that theme. Sam tries on a new identity, Lindsay retreats to the comfort of an old one, and both Weir siblings discover that it's not as easy to change (or change back) as they had hoped.

The first half of the season charted Lindsay's assimilation into the freak world, with her parents' unease over this shift an ongoing issue. Harold and Jeans' distrust of the freaks came to the forefront in "The Diary" when they briefly forbade her from hanging out with Kim, and it takes over the discussion here after Daniel talks Lindsay into borrowing her mom's car to pick up some amps for a Creation gig and Lindsay gets into a fender bender because she's too distracted by the freaks.

I feel like I gave Joe Flaherty and Becky Ann Baker short shrift for their performances in "The Diary," so let me say a few words about them here. The scene where Harold tears into Lindsay is a spectacular display of pain and rage, perfectly played by Flaherty, Baker and Linda Cardellini. When Harold tells Lindsay, "I could send my own daughter to jail, you know that?," it's a line that's not dissimilar to all his "You know what happened to her? She died!" comic rants from the early episodes, but there is absolutely nothing funny about what's being said here. Flaherty just seems so defeated, so afraid for his daughter -- which is the main difference between Harold and someone like Cookie Kelly, in that he gets mad out of love and she gets mad out of bitterness -- and his mood is so completely atypical from how he carries himself in the rest of the series that, even if Lindsay hadn't already made up her mind to ditch the freaks, I imagine his expression would have scared her straight.

After a visit by a concerned Millie designed to remind both Lindsay and us that Millie is awesome, Lindsay digs through her closet to find an outfit from her goodie-goodie Mathlete days. When Lindsay appears in the kitchen with her hair neatly styled and her wardrobe conservative and ladylike (no Army jackets to be found), Jean is overwhelmed with relief. And yet -- and here's the brilliance of both Jean as a mom and Baker as an actress -- you can see just the slightest hint of ambivalence on her face, as if Jean knows this is too extreme a reaction, and/or that even though this is what she and Harold have been hoping for, Lindsay had seemed pretty happy with her new friends...

...whom Lindsay proceeds to forcefully tell off when they approach her at school like nothing traumatic happened, or like they're completely blameless in the crash. She tells them to go to Hell, that she's sick of them getting her in trouble, that Daniel's menstruation jokes are lame ("It's hard to pick up on the subtlety of your wit"), and in case they had any doubt about her feelings, says, "I'm tired of you using me. You're the most selfish people I've ever met in my life. I know you don't care about being smart or going to school or anything else, but just because your lives are such lost causes, don't keep assuming that mine is."

While Lindsay's outburst doesn't particularly phase Ken (he's never liked her) or Nick (he's delusional enough to think she's still mad about their break-up), it shakes up Kim and, especially, Daniel. It's one thing for him to think of himself as a lost cause, quite another to hear that sentiment expressed by the nicest, smartest person he knows.

The Mathletes -- with the exception of bitchy Shelly Weaver, who has assumed Lindsay's position as "first bloc" and likes telling jokes about Lindsay's freak pals -- welcome Lindsay back with open arms. Mr. Kowchevski briefly tries to play fair and bench Lindsay in favor of girls who've been practicing all year, but when Lindsay gets fed up with Shelly's arrogance and demands to have her spot back, he relents to give the team a better shot against Lincoln.

To Lindsay's shock and dismay, though, the person she winds up bumping isn't Shelly, but Millie. Millie tries to take it like a champ because she cares more about Lindsay and the team than she does about herself, but eventually confesses that she's mad about being cut. This only stokes Lindsay's competitive fires -- a side of her we never saw as a freak, and something that helps explain why she sounds so unhappy whenever discussing her Mathlete days -- even more. Now it's not enough for her to win; she has to make Shelly look bad in the process. Even Jean notices after a while, asking Lindsay, "Are you having fun?"

While Lindsay's embodying the "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing" philosophy, Daniel's turning seriously introspective, wondering if maybe he should aspire to more in life than being the head burn-out. While patrolling the school grounds, he notices Harris absorbed in a Dungeons & Dragons manual. (Foreshadowing: Harris suggests Daniel would make a good dungeonmaster.) Daniel asks Harris what he thinks of him, whether Harris views Daniel as a loser. Harris, assured that he's not going to get beaten up for his answer, tells him, "No, you're not a loser, because you have sex. But if you weren't having sex, we could definitely debate the issue." Daniel talks about his difficulties with school and how he admires a guy like Harris who's comfortable doing his own thing without worrying what other people think about him. "You've got it pretty wired, huh?" he tells Harris. "I guess I do," Harries replies. "I don't have sex, though."

(It's a great scene for Harris, a bit less so for Daniel, in that I think he comes off as too articulate and self-aware, even for a storyline that's about him trying to challenge his own sense of identity.)

At the scrimmage with Lincoln, Lindsay generates quite the cheering section (essentially, the entire cheering section for either team), including her mom and dad and Kim, Daniel and Ken (Nick shows up briefly, then leaves because he doesn't want the freaks to know he's stalking another ex). As Lindsay displays the math chops that earned her the nickname "The Human Calculator," the freaks cheer wildly and, to Mr. Weir's surprise and confusion, hold up a new fender to replace the one that got ruined on Jean's car.

But even though Lindsay achieves the perfect outcome -- she kicks ass, the team wins and Shelly freezes up at a crucial moment -- she decides at a Mathlete slumber party that this world isn't for her anymore. As she's sneaking out to find the freaks, Millie stops her and asks whether Lindsay might still want to play Uno with her sometime, "When you've got nothing else to do?" Despite realizing that she doesn't fit in with the Mathletes anymore, the last few days have reopened Lindsay's eyes to the warm-hearted brilliance that is Millie, and she assures her they'll still be friends.

Lindsay runs off to hang out with the freaks -- who are, as part of their anti-loser crusade, preparing to go see the midnight showing of a foreign film -- but her relationship with both them and Millie is irrevocably changed after this episode. Where before Lindsay was trying too hard to fit in with her new crowd, going so far as to treat Millie (the symbol of her old life) dismissively, going forward she's more at ease with them, and with Millie. Instead of, say, walking on eggshells around Ken, she makes fun of him the way the other freaks do, and while she doesn't spend every waking minute with Millie, she also stops acting as if she's ashamed to know her.

(This also begins a new parent-child dynamic, as Lindsay temporarily has to sneak around with the freaks because of her father's ban. But we'll look at how that works down the road.)

The Sam half of the episode isn't nearly as interesting. It has a few very funny moments and it thematically parallels the Lindsay story (and sets up one of my favorite Weir moments ever, where Sam and Lindsay walk side-by-side through school with their new looks, and when Mr. Rosso compliments them, they thank him in unison), but sandwiched in between the demented comedy genius of the Bill story from "The Diary" and the devastating Neal plot from "The Garage Door," it feels slight and forgettable. (And, I should make clear, I'm judging this by "Freaks and Geeks" standards, not average high school show standards; this would easily qualify as the greatest "One Tree Hill" subplot of all time.)

Anyway, after seemingly putting a pin in the Cindy Sanders thing with "We've Got Spirit" (a wise idea, I felt, as there was nowhere to go with that storyline until the surprising turn it takes in "Smooching and Mooching"), the writers are already back to having Sam make a fool of himself to impress her.

Somehow still not understanding why Cindy likes Todd Schellenger instead of him, Sam starts taking relationship and style advice from Neal -- the only geek not to get any for the run of the series, and a kid who dresses, as Sam notes, like a ventriliquist's dummy (more foreshadowing!) -- and decides first to feather his hair, then, when Cindy fails to be impressed, to go shopping for a more contemporary wardrobe. (In one of the series' few "Didn't people look stupid back in the day?" moments, there's a camera pan through the cafeteria to demonstrate that all the "stylish" kids are wearing the ugliest shirts imaginable, while Sam's long-sleeve T is nothing to be ashamed of.)

After hitting up Harold for money and permission to go clothes shopping without his mom -- "Cut the apron strings!" Harold insists, as Jean seethes -- Sam makes mistake number two by deciding to get his extreme makeover at Silverman's, the disco polyester emporum last seen in "Carded and Discarded." In a sequence that nearly redeems the entire subplot on its own, Bill is forced to stuff an entire pretzel in his mouth to get around the store's no-food policy, and when the salesman (Joel Hodgson again) asks Sam whether he wants to be a stud or a super-stud, Bill -- his mouth full of pretzel -- urges, "Super-stud, Sam! Go for super-stud!" (Though it should go without saying at this point in the recaps: Martin Starr, brilliant.) The salesman talks Sam into buying a "Parisian night suit," a robin's egg blue jumpsuit that, as Neal correctly points out later, looks like the sort of thing old Jewish men in Ft. Lauderdale wear when they're tired of having to put on pants. Sam doesn't realize this, unfortunately, until after he's psyched himself up into super-stud mode (in a mortifying but really funny sequence that's nothing but John Daley dancing in front of a mirror and trying variations on his familiar "Oh, hi, Cindy") and entered the school in the thing.

The horrified and mocking reactions of the other students make it clear that Sam, like a member of the Bluth family, has just made a terrible mistake, and he tries to sneak out to go home and change, using the geeks (and, especially, Gordon Crisp) as cover. The school secretary catches him and forces him to go to English class, where the humiliation worsens when he's called upon to diagram a sentence at the board while all the guys cough "Homo!" (The teacher, having no clue how to talk to teenagers, tells them, "Now, Sam wearing something different to wear his individuality makes him a 'homo,' then I guess we should all be proud to be 'homos'!")

Sam tries calling home between periods, not realizing that his mom is watching Lindsay's Mathlete competition (and wouldn't that sort of thing be after school?), and is on the phone with a neighbor when Alan and his gang show up for yet another round of mockery. "Just when I think you're as queer as you can be," Alan sneers, "you go and do something queerer." Sam finally loses his temper and shoves Alan up against a locker (isn't it funny how often the geeks manage to get the upper hand with Alan, even for a moment?), and when Mr. Rosso breaks up the fight, Sam begs him for a ride home.

This leads to a half-wise, half-creepy scene at the Weir house where Mr. Rosso tries to convince Sam that it doesn't matter what other people think of him, illustrated by a story where he got humiliated -- and, it's implied, beaten (and maybe worse) -- by a bunch of rednecks at a honkytonk down South.

"It's all about confidence," Rosso tells him. "If I say I'm the coolest guy in the world, and I believe I'm the coolest guy in the world, then suddenly, I become the coolest guy in the world." That night, Neal and Bill sleep over and debate the wisdom of Mr. Rosso's words. Neal, for instance, already thinks he's cool, but no one else does -- which, Bill explains, is because he isn't. On the other hand, Bill thinks Mr. Rosso is cool and "some kind of a genius."

Again, it's not a bad subplot, but it feels like the show had already grown beyond this kind of story in the space of 10 or so episodes. If I wasn't watching the shows so closely together, I might appreciate it more.

Anyway, some other thoughts on "Looks and Books":
  • Speaking of "We've Got Spirit," how much of the freaks' overzealous cheering is to show their support of Lindsay, and how much is residual hatred of anyone from Lincoln?
  • More Kowchevski Vietnam imagery: When the Mathletes get all hot and bothered by the Lindsay-for-Millie substitution, he tells them, "This is just for tomorrow's scrimmage! It isn't the last chopper out of Saigon!"
  • Before They Were Stars guest stars: Look closely at the Lincoln Mathlete who beats Shelly; it's Percy Daggs III. I know Wallace was supposed to be a geek before he met Veronica, but I had no idea he was this geeky.
  • This episode features the first mention that Ken comes from money, and that his life plan is to wait for his father to die so he can inherit his company, sell it, and live in the tropics. In his own way, he's slumming with the freaks just as much as Lindsay is.
  • The same scene also features Nick's latest life plan: he's going to be a DJ -- "and maybe, um, a lumberjack."
  • It's a good Harris episode all around, not just with the Daniel heart-to-heart, but him counseling Sam on his new hairstyle and reassuring Gordon that it's okay to be big: "Besides, the world loves jolly fat guys. Burl Ives, Jackie Gleason, Raymond Burr..." (This then leads into a typical geek progression about Burr, culminating in Gordon telling the story of how he met Burr at the auto show, and how nice he was.)
  • "Freaks and Geeks" was rarely a visually adventurous show, but I love director Ken Kwapis's use of the ol' deep-focus shot in the sequence where Shelly chokes. Very Frankenheimer.
  • I really do wonder how much the Mathlete Lindsay we see here resembles the Mathlete Lindsay who existed before her grandmother died. I have a hard time reconciling this ultra-competitive hardass with the girl Millie so openly worships, but I think that's part of the point: Mathletes used to be fun for her, but now all she can think about is winning, especially if it'll show up the freaks who got her into so much trouble.
Up next (later this week, as I'm almost back on normal schedule): "The Garage Door," which turns the spotlight over to the show's two resident teenage stand-up comedians, Neal and Ken.

What did everybody else think?


Cinemania said...

Five words: More J. Geils Band, Please!

Anonymous said...

<nitpick>I think they mention in the commentary track that they used a split diopter in those mathlete shots. Not every day that you see a network TV show busting that out!</nitpick>

I always thought that Lindsay's assurance to Millie that they'd always be friends was perhaps made in good faith but ultimately doomed to be forgotten. But after reading your comment I can see your point -- it does kind of mark a turning point in her relationship with the Freaks and with Millie and shows a bit of growth on Lindsay's part. Also kind of authenticates her choice to be with the Freaks from that point forward, that it's not just a matter of rebellion or trying to be cool, but that she actually wants to be their friend.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has been reading you since the early NYPD Blue days before you worked for the Star I'm very happy to have (finally) found your blog. I remember looking forward to your weekly comments on one of the best shows ever on TV-they always added to my NYPDB experience.

One question-and I assume the answer is someone on your blog if I had been reading regularly-why Freaks and Geeks now?

Anonymous said...


You're right about Flaherty and Baker, but I think Cardellini deserves some recognition for this episode, too. Lindsay is "out of character" for almost the entire episode -- mean to the freaks, shaken and contrite with her mom and dad, and ruthless with the mathletes -- and Cardellini sells all of it.

I read the ending as bittersweet. On the one hand, Jean's question (nicely unanswered) is clearly important. Lindsay is having fun with the freaks, and she doesn't have fun (anymore) with the mathletes. On the other hand, I don't think Linday would repudiate the substance of her tirade at Daniel, either. I just think Lindsay realizes she has nothing to prove to the freaks, which frees her up to enjoy their company until she decides to move on.

Strangely enough, I believe this makes her the female counterpart to Ken. I always figured he didn't mind Lindsay's comments because: a) he has secret wealth/a plan for the future (Sell the company!) and b) he secretly gets decent grades. Admittedly, I offer b) without any evidence to back it up.

And as for the mathlete scrimmage during the day, I could imagine that the team might get out of class for a few hours. The more important point to make here is that, if I recall correctly, the answers given to all of the scrimmage questions make no sense.

The Sam storyline does seem out of sync with the previous episodes. But really it would have worked all right if Sam didn't talk about impressing Cindy specifically. In addition, I'm a sucker for a Rosso motivational speech ("What happened then?" "It's not important"), even if Neal refutes it handily.


Anonymous said...

I think one of the saddest images I remember from the series is when Lindsay says good-bye to Millie in that dark hallway. Thinking about Millie standing outside her bedroom door while her best friend leaves her behind still breaks my heart.

Anonymous said...

As someone who's favorite character on the show is probably Sarah Hagan's Millie (no autobiographical resonance whatsoever, I just found her compellingly written and performed), this comes close to a perfect episode for me. Millie's uncompreheding confrontation during the slumber party with the departing Lindsay reminds us--as Hawks or Altman always did and as most great TV series manage at some point--that we're watching the characters we are because of creative choice, and that really any of the troubled, twisted-in-knots, conflicted characters could have stepped up to the lead if required. Millie backlit in her doorway, trying to convince an old friend to stick around and convince herself the old friend is still worth having, is one of my most treasured moments of the series.

But my absolute favorite from any episode is the Daniel/Harris confab on the lawn. I'll agree, it's a bit writerly in deference towards Daniel, but it's such a masterly blending of disparate worldviews that it never fails to make me chuckle even as my tears are welling up. For these four or five minutes alone, the show earns every accolade.

Also agreed, Starr's reading of "Go for Superstud!" is simply magical.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, Alan! I never watched Freaks and Geeks before, but after reading a couple of your reviews, my husband and I started getting them on Netflix. I am so in love with this show! We have made it up to the Garage Door episode, so I'm really looking forward to your next review. I'm so glad to have been introduced to this gem of a show

Alan Sepinwall said...

One question-and I assume the answer is someone on your blog if I had been reading regularly-why Freaks and Geeks now?

I explained it in my review of the pilot episode, but the short version is I was inspired by seeing Knocked Up and uninspired by a lot of the early summer TV.

Good to have you here!

Alan Sepinwall said...

You're right about Flaherty and Baker, but I think Cardellini deserves some recognition for this episode, too.

Oh, absolutely. There's just so much goodness in each episode (not to mention so much story to rehash) that sometimes I miss the obvious points. Maybe it's going to be a trend where I'm like the Oscars, and I reward someone not for their best performance, but as a make-up. Get ready for tons of Cardellini compliments in my "Garage Door" review, and she's barely in that one!

I read the ending as bittersweet.

Lindsay's definitely giving up something by leaving the Mathletes behind, just as she'll give up something even bigger at the end of the series (which we'll talk about when we get there). But it's a choice, and she seems genuinely happier with the freaks -- especially moving forward from this episode, when she ceases being a hanger-on and truly becomes one of them -- in a way that she couldn't be any more with Millie and the Texas Instruments girls.

rhamilton said...

As a former mathlete myself, I did the competition problems in my head as that scene went past, and at least the clock one makes a little bit of sense - they've just strangely approximated the answer to the nearest tenth, instead of leaving it in terms of pi, which any actual competition would do.

I think when watching it though I had forgotten something about rhombuses, so I have no idea if that one's close.

Unknown said...

Just wanted to recognize Alan's work and all of the other great comments people have made about this show...

One thing that always bugged me about this episode, though, is that the accident is not Lindsay's fault. At all. Yes, she is a teenager driving her parents' car without their permission, and probably wouldn't have much recourse against a middle-aged driver regardless, but you just don't back blindly out of your driveway, even in suburban Michigan.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that "Looks and Books" is my favorite F&G episode. We get much more background into Lindsay, pre-freaks, as well as further insight into her relationship with her parents and friends. Sam's parisian night suit bit is a little over the top, but in the best sense. Even in the most ridiculous moments, there is so much more depth than is usually found on "high school" shows. I also have to say that the sleepover at Millie's is one of the truest ever depicted on television.

A couple of my favorite F&G moments occur in this episode:
--Mr. Kowchevski: "Well, actually, I think that I'm the best person at math in this school."
--I adore the closing scene to Supertramp's "Take the Long Way Home". It's such a perfect use of a song in a show that already flawlessly employs music throughout its run.

Anonymous said...


It was the clock problem I was thinking of, though I seem to recall that the arccos/arcsin problem is either incorrect or not trivially solvable.

But I really don't mind this detail. In fact, I'm really fond of it. The whole scene makes clear that Lindsay's is very very smart without requiring her to sound overly technical or jargon-y. The actual answers to the question are irrelevant. The focus remains on the mathletes as people, not on the details of the scrimmage. (The only other show I can think of that did occasionally did something similar is Malcolm in the Middle -- though the take on Malcolm was of course parodic.)

It's just another instance of how this show was so good at keeping the focus on character. Consider how in this episode we learn that:

Millie's room is a mess -- she's kind of a slob.

Harris was an "accident" baby.

There's no particular need to share these details, except to add depth to even the secondary characters on the show.


Anonymous said...

This ep also has maybe my favorite Daniel Desario line in the series: "Who wants to be near you anyway? You're too sexy!"

Anonymous said...

It kills me that I finally caught up with Alan's reviewing, ready to be first to comment (D'oh) to be sidelined by a vicious migraine! I don't even know if anyone will be reading these anymore. Aaaaargh! ;)

Once again, Alan, thank you for taking the time to do these amazingly detailed reviews. I was thrilled to see in the comments that you've definitely gotten one pair of people hooked by doing this! "Your work here is done!" :)

I was a *huge* Veronica Mars fan, so even though you barely see him in the ep and he doesn't have his Wallace 'fro, you can definitely hear the recognizable voice of Percy Daggs III! That was so cool for me!

I agree that the use of music in this episode (as well as all others) was truly masterful. The chords of that Supertramp song were perfect...as an ending and a new beginning.

I really like this episode and I'm never quite sure why (though it could be Sam's dance/strut in the mirror which dissolves me into giggles every time.) I think it's Cardellini all the way. I totally agree with Alan's thoughts on Flaherty and Baker though. That dinner scene is really hard to watch. It's hard to remember what it feels like to disappoint your parents as well as yourself so thoroughly and wretchedly. If a show can bring that back in all it's horror no matter how old you are now they did everything right.

As much as she wasn't having any fun, I did love Lindsay showing us exactly what a "Human Calculator" she could be. I always enjoy Kowchevski's Saigon comments, but really dislike his end of the deleted scene where Daniel asks for tutoring.

Millie: such a beautiful bright spot....

I know I've seen this show many times, but I almost feel as if I'm watching it for the first time. I can't wait to see the remaining arc of the show. We're watching Garage Door tonight...the ep. that kills me. I can't wait for the review and comments. See y'all there....

Oh, and we're still saying, "Super-stud, Sam! Go with Super-stud!" around this house! :) Martin Starr is so brilliant! When will he get to come into his own in our here and now?!

Anonymous said...

If only Sam had just chosen "stud," huh?

Has anyone read Paul Feig's autobiographical "Superstud," the cover of which features him in his own Parisian Nightsuit?

Anonymous said...

Kate: I have! It's painfully hilarious! I've also read his other book, too, "Kick Me" which is even better. I'd definitely recommend them to any and all....

Anonymous said...

Okay, it's been a few months, but I just watched this episode and paused to solve the mathletes questions (with paper, pen, and google calculator), so I thought I'd chip in. All of their answers seem to be correct, though they always give a rounded number instead of the exact answer (presumably because it makes for better television).

What angle in radians does the hour hand of a clock sweep out in 48 minutes? 2pi/15 (.4188...), which they round to .4. 48 minutes is 4/5 of an hour, an hour is 1/12 of a circle for the hour hand, and a circle is 2pi radians. Multiply those numbers together to get the answer.

What is the area of a rhombus with long diagonal 10 and larger angle 100 degrees? 50/tan(50) (41.95...), which they round to 42. I did this by drawing the two diagonals, which divides the rhombus into 4 congruent right triangles each with a leg of length 5 opposite a 50 degree angle. Simple trig says that the other leg of each triangle is 5/tan(50), and just do one half base times height, times four, to get the answer.

What is x if Arcsin(x) = 2 Arccos(x)? sqrt(3)/2 (.8660...), which they round to .9. Arcsin(sqrt(3)/2) = 60 deg, which is twice Arccos(sqrt(3)/2) = 30 deg. You can figure this out if you deal with these trig functions by drawing a right triangle with hypotenuse = 1. The equation is saying that one acute angle is double the other, which means you must have a 30-60-90 triangle. Those have legs of 1/2 and sqrt(3)/2. Since Arcsin is bigger than Arccos, you want the leg opposite the larger angle, which is the longer leg, sqrt(3)/2.

If a sphere is inscribed in a cube, what is the ratio of the volume of the sphere to the volume of the cube? pi/6 (.5235...), which they round to .52. Each edge of the cube has a length equal to the diameter of the sphere, 2r. So just divide the volumes, 4/3 pi r^3 divided by (2r)^3.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed that Lindsay decided to quit the team at the end of this episode. Her frustrations with the Freaks lack of aspirations don't just seem like a knee jerk reaction to the accident. The Mathlete competition with The Freaks cheering her on is so uplifting because they're finally getting to see her shine and show off her gifts, not just as a brain who unexpectedly treats them kindly.

It's obvious that Lindsay has no business at that sleepover anymore. But if she's truly beginning to transcend rigid ideas about identity, shouldn't she allow herself the possibility of hanging with the Freaks *and* tearing shit up at Mathlete competitions? Maybe it's all too much for her to digest at once. But something tells me that her career as a Mathlete wouldn't have been over and done in Season Two.

Anonymous said...

First, I have to confess that Freaks and Geeks has become my personal religion and that, unfortunately for friends and family, I am evangelical about it.

For me the very best moment in this episode is when Kim appears to cheer Lindsay on at the Mathlete scrimage. Kim is proving that she is a true friend to Lindsay and at the same time is realizing that only she can make something of her life. I don't see anybody else mentioning it here, but it makes me cry every time.

This blog is old by now and I know no one will read my post, but I felt it had to be said, for Kim's sake.

Anonymous said...

This show came out in high school, and somehow my mom also liked the show - her favorite character was Bill - and we watched this particular episode together and we both came to the same conclusion concerning Lindsay's fender-bender: IT WASN'T HER FAULT. The other driver should have looked before backing out.

Anonymous said...

Someone above said the answers to all the scrimmage questions "make no sense". But, in fact, they all do make sense: they are all the correct answers rounded to the nearest tenth of an integer, with the exception of the Lincoln student who reports the correct answer rounded to the nearest hundredth of an integer.

In general, the mathematics on this show has seemed to me well-vetted, with the minor exception that once, on the board in the background behind the math teacher, the power rule for differentiation was written as "n x^n - 1" rather than "n x^(n - 1)" (that is, the "- 1" was written as though it wasn't in the exponent where it belonged).

Anonymous said...

Random thought here, years later. When Cindy mentions having to go home to change her clothing because she supposedly sat on some chocolate, I thought of the episode where Bill witnesses her farting on the chair. Maybe Cindy actually has some type of bowel problem, and the chocolate...wasn't chocolate?

Anonymous said...

These aren't really reviews or commentaries or opinion pieces are they, they're more like very extensive synopsises. Not sure quite what the point of going over the plot in such detail is to be honest?