Judd Apatow went to my high school.
At least, that’s what I’ve concluded after finishing the first and only season of his cult classic “Freaks and Geeks.”
Despite the fact Apatow is 25 years older than I am, and the show is set in the early 80s, it perfectly captures my high school experience more so than any other teen show( and I’ve watched a lot.)
Don’t get me wrong, I love the O.C., but it really doesn’t capture the essence of a normal adolescence.
Early in high school I didn’t really take the time to look at what I wanted, and I spent a lot of time doing things I thought would look good for college: Field hockey, academic team, Key Club, stage crew for theatre and even a very unproductive stint as class treasurer.
Mostly I was padding my resume, but i think I was also trying to fit myself into a box,never quite finding the right one.
Watching all 18 episodes of Freaks and Geeks left me wishing that I had seen the show when I was still in high school. It took me until senior year to start to accept who I was and stop trying to fit in. Lindsay’s journey reminded me of my own struggles in high school.
I only wish I would have been more like Lindsay earlier in school. But then again, perhaps it is easier in hindsight to see our similarities than it would have been back when I was in high school.
Each of the main characters reminds me a little of my friends from high school or myself.
A lot like Lindsay, I found myself on the border between the “freaks” and the “geeks.” I was on the academic team, and I was friends with some geeks, band geeks, theatre kids and by senior year, a few of the freaks. (More coincidentally, I even had an olive green thrift store jacket that I was obsessed with and still have saved in a drawer at home).
The Sam, Bill and Neals remind me a lot of the guys I was on academic team with and my friends who could quote Monty Python verbatim.
Characters like Nick and Ken remind me of the kids I knew who were in bands and just didn’t care about school despite being in the advanced classes. I tried to stay away from the Kim Kellys (because, I mean, they are a little scary), but I empathize with her rough home life.
And coming from a rural, conservative area, there were more than enough Millies to go around.
So how did Apatow do it? How did he manage to condense my high school experience into 45 minute episodes and a cast of characters?
I think he must have went to my high school.
Or, more likely, he was a bit of a freak and geek just like me.