With the release of ‘Get Him to the Greek‘ this week, it’s funny to think back to a time when the movie’s producer Judd Apatow was an underappreciated television writer on two equally underappreciated shows. If you’re a fan of Apatow or any of his regular cast members, you really owe it to yourself to check out both ‘Undeclared’ and ‘Freaks and Geeks.’
Where did you first see James Franco? How about Jason Segal, or ‘Bones‘ star John Francis Daley? Was ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin‘ the first time you took notice of Seth Rogen? All of these now-established stars got their start in one very funny series.
‘Freaks and Geeks’ is a favorite of mine, and it’s a show that was cancelled long before its time. It’s one of the funniest shows I’ve had the pleasure of watching and one of the most honest as well.
If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s easiest to think of it as ‘The Wonder Years’ for a new generation, set n the early ’80s. It focuses on the siblings Lindsay and Sam Weir. Sam’s a freshman in high school while Lindsay is in her junior year. Each is a member of their own group of outcasts. Lindsay hangs out with the “freaks,” who are stoners, musicians and petty criminals. Sam hangs with the ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ playing geeks.
In addition to the aforementioned stars of the show, you’ll get to check out MST3K’s Trace Beaulieu as a science teacher, Dave “Gruber” Allen as an ex-hippie guidance counselor, and ‘Back to the Future‘ bully Thomas F. Wilson as Coach Fredricks.
‘Undeclared’ picks up where ‘Freaks and Geeks’ left off – in college. It stars Jay Baruchel, who’s finally getting some well-earned roles, Carla Callo (who you may recognize as Daisy from ‘Californication’), Seth Rogen and humorist Loudon Wainwright (father of Rufus Wainwright).
It also has recurring appearances from Jason Segal, Amy Poehler of ‘Parks and Recreation,’ and Tenacious D’s Kyle Gass.
Like ‘Freaks and Geeks,’ ‘Undeclared’ is honest, funny and sweet all at once. Also like its predecessor, ‘Undeclared’ only lasted one season. Then again, it was a brilliant and funny show on Fox, and we know what that means.
If you haven’t seen ‘Freaks and Geeks’ or ‘Undeclared’ and you’re a fan of Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen or any of the stars involved, you’re really doing yourself a disservice.
Lucky for you, the folks at Shout! Factory – who specialize in cult classics like’ MST3K,’ ‘My So Called Life’ and ‘Max Headroom’ – have a bundle of both the Yearbook Edition of ‘Freaks and Geeks’ and the complete series of ‘Undeclared’ for just $99.
For some reason $100 seems way too steep for just 35 half hour episodes. I’ll keep putting off owning these shows on DVD until a big sale.
Freaks and Geeks was an hour show, not a half hour. Undeclared was a half hour, though.
Ah, thanks. I was a hair too young for Freaks and Geeks when it first aired, but I remember Undeclared fondly.
IFC is currently running Freaks and Geeks on both Fridays and Mondays at 11 PM, if you want to give it a sample.