“The geeks shall inherit the earth.”

As I mentioned before, Mike and I have been working our way through the 18 episodes of Freaks and Geeks that he gave me for my birthday. We finished the last of them on Thursday, and we’ve been watching commentaries over the past few days.

[Aside: On the subject of commentaries and DVD extras, can I just say that this is one area where I HATE being a Gilmore Girls fan? They never put anything good on their DVDs. Stupid Palladinos. Freaks and Geeks has 29 commentary tracks for their 18 episodes. Twenty. Nine. That was one reason Mike decided to get the DVD set for me – it’s the gift that keeps on giving.]

At first I thought Mike enjoyed the show a little more than I did, but then, yesterday, we were watching some commentaries or something and I turned to him and said, “It’s a shame they were cancelled because there were so many more stories to tell!” I want to know more about Bill’s mom and Coach Fredericks. I want to know what’s going to happen with Neal’s parents. I want to know whether Lindsay will ever fal for Daniel. I want to know if Daniel will keep playing D&D with the geeks. I want to know if Nick will ever get over Lindsay. I want to know about Kim and Lindsay’s summer. There are so many unanswered questions, and they did such a good job of setting us up for years of stories that we won’t ever get to see. It took me a couple of episodes to warm up to the show (similar, I think, to how it took Mike a bit to warm up to Veronica Mars), but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these characters over the course of the past month.

As we were finishing up the series, what stuck out to me the most was that, though I was nerdy/geeky in high school, I didn’t seem to have the confidence that Bill, Neal, and Sam had. They were often unhappy at how they were treated and how they were perceived, but they knew who they were and they stayed true to that (powder blue jumpsuits aside). Neal didn’t apologize for his sweater vests, Bill knew the ladies loved his dancing, and Sam dumped Cindy Sanders, the hottest girl in school, because he knew it was the right thing to do. In high school, I was too busy worrying about what everyone else thought to have as much fun as these guys had with their sci-fi conventions and their Halloween costumes. That’s not to say that they had it easy, because they didn’t. I could relate to some of their pain, too – getting picked last for gym class (which is why “The Diary” is my favorite episode), getting teased about clothes, being rejected by the popular kids. I especially enjoyed how they showed the struggle between liking someone of the opposite sex and wanting to be true to your friends. Everyone goes through that, changing but not feeling the space to be able to change. I think it’s probably true that when you’re geeky, it’s easier to be a girl than a boy. Lindsay had the Mathletes, after all. (And, nice touch for the Mathletes being all girls. Girls can be good at math, too!)

Mike and I both thought that Lindsay’s choice at the end was disappointing, but true to what her character went through over the season. I could understand a tiny bit of what Lindsay went through – when I was a freshman in high school, I hung out when some of the stoners because they were nice and accepted me for who I was. I never got involved in their culture like Lindsay did, but I understood the appeal, because . . . they seemed so much more relaxed. They had so much more fun. Lindsay’s decision to embrace her new life and new friends made sense, even though my heart sank while I was watching it.

Even more fun than watching the show was getting to talk about high school with Mike, remembering long-forgotten stories about embarrassing clothes (not as embarrassing as the powder blue jumpsuit), the crowds we ran in (Quiz Bowl was pretty much the same thing as being a Mathlete), and, of course, getting picked last in gym class (I wouldn’t have minded forgetting that story forever). In a strange way, watching the show made me more confident that I can overcome my residual fears of being left out, of being rejected, of being afraid to be who I am. Being a geek, after all, is something to be proud of.

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