Freaks and Geeks 1×18: Discos and Dragons

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Paul Feig | Director: Paul Feig | Aired: 07/08/2000]

Have you ever wondered what Freaks and Geeks would be like if it took place in the present?

The show was crafted for the 1999-2000 season. Yet the writers deliberately chose to take a step back, and examine an era almost twenty years earlier. But… was this decision really that important? Would the show have been less impressive if it had taken place at the time it was made?

Certainly, things would look different. Wardrobes would be updated, as would be lingo. Led Zeppelin and The Who would be replaced with Britney Spears and Celine Dion. Many things about the show would be affected.

Heck, “Discos and Dragons” would be especially affected. Everything about the episode feels like it’s from a different time zone. Disco dances. Dungeons & Dragons. The Grateful Dead. All these were prominent in the early Eighties, but by this time, they tend to feel a little outdated. So in including all of them within its running time, “Discos and Dragons” feels like it’s trying to emphasize the point that this show takes place in the past.

I’ve heard a number of suggested reasons for this show’s specified time period: The writers wanted to document a time when they were in high school, the better for them to associate with. The era allows the viewer to approach the show from a detached perspective, to make its emotional impact more unexpected and effective. The specific timeframe prevents the show from aging, since it’s always meant to take place in the past. But “Discos and Dragons” offers up another reason, one so sharp and subtle and beautiful that it took me several viewings to even notice it.

This reason (which I’ll get to in just a few moments) is just one of the many things that makes “Discos and Dragons” the masterpiece it is. As an episode alone, it shines. As a capper to the series, it excels. It is the finest episode of this beautiful little show, and it is now my pleasure to tell you why.

Let’s kick things off with the show’s final geek story. Sam, Neal, and Bill once again find themselves exasperated by high school’s pyramidal structure when some jocks “clean them out”. It’s yet another painful humiliation of their geeky adolescence – and the fact that they’ve only completed a quarter of their time at McKinley does not make it any easier.

Yet upon arriving at their audio-visual class shortly after, they receive an optimistic speech from their teacher, Mr. Fleck. A grown-up with a hint of a geeky core, Mr. Fleck “graphs” their lives for the foreseeable future, predicting low-paying jobs and booze for the jocks while prophesying influential positions and romances for the geeks.

This speech feels like the denouement of the geeky theme that the show has been subtly pushing at all season. While they may be low on the high school totem pole, Sam and his friends are facing probable success and fortune, if they can only endure the torture a while longer. This sums up the idea that the cliques of high school, as well-realized as they may seem, are really just a sham. Adolescence belittles the smart and praises the “cool”, before adult life flips the cards over and reveals which crowd contains the real winners.

It’s a tidy little message, but its effectiveness is credited to more than just the implications that it offers. In this scene, the show’s time period proves to be a surprising asset to the series. Were this show to take place in current times, the speech might feel like a sort of wishful fantasy, alluding to a future that feels intangible, and, in turn, implausible. But the fact that this show occurs 20+ years in the past makes it much easier to buy into its supposed future – after all, it’s our present. So we can more easily – subconsciously – visualize that the average MIT brainiac may have once been a school pushover who wore Vulcan ears to sci-fi conventions.

But Sam has a long way to go till he can hope for any MIT offers, and he isn’t willing to endure three more years of torment to get there. He wants to break free of the geeky stereotype that’s he’s been pinned with all season. When Mr. Fleck prepares a spool of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” for the geeks’ benefit, Neal, Bill, Gordon, and Harris all crowd around excitedly, but Sam merely stands back, unenthused. And when Harris invites the gang over for a game of D&D, Sam declines, saying that it’s a “geeky” game.

Now I often tend to describe Sam and his friends as “geeks”, but mainly as a collective term. And that’s really all there is to it… isn’t there? As Bill stated in “Chokin’ and Tokin'” [1×13], “it’s just a word”. But Sam is convinced that it’s more than that, and he now wants to disassociate himself from anything connected with geekiness. The irony of the situation is that by shedding his geeky skin, Sam outright admits to the stereotype he’s been personifying, which means he’s in a way surrendering to the unspoken high school system.

So what better person to get Sam back on the track of ignoring the caste system than a guy who insists on never conforming to any classification? In this episode, the respective worlds of geek and freak collide, as Sam learns a little something about the social order from Daniel – and vice versa.

Daniel has always managed – in fact, preferred – to get through high school by the skin of his teeth. As we saw in “Tests and Breasts” [1×05], his cunning and charm have worked in his favor, letting him slide through class by astonishingly slim margins. But now, a miscalculation before his math final puts Daniel’s future in serious jeopardy, and after a follow-up plan involving the fire alarm is botched, he is forced into joining the AV group.

Unfortunately, Daniel proves no better at handling film projectors than he did writing calculations. His attempt to set up a film of Romeo & Juliet in literature class is nothing short of an embarrassment, from the moment Nick coughs “geek” into his hand to the moment Daniel attempts to start up the projector by hitting it, a la Fonzie. Even in his “punishment” class, Daniel can’t seem to do anything right. He complains about his predicament to Kim, but while she’ll gladly unburden her troubles onto Daniel at the slightest drop of a hat, she offers him no sympathy, instead only reminding him that his ineptitude is his own fault.

As unhappy as Daniel is with the AV arrangement, the geeks find themselves even more unsettled. The AV room has become their safe haven in school, a place where they can relax and have fun without worrying about jocks and bullies. Daniel’s arrival contrasts harshly with their environment, and they conspire to get him out. Or most of them do, anyway. Sam doesn’t make such a fuss over Daniel’s arrival, stating that they don’t really know him that well. It‘s another sign of his attempts to break out of his clique that he is willing to accept someone from another.

And when Sam finds Daniel staying after class, trying to teach himself how to work the projector, he finds a new sense of respect for the freak. Daniel refuses to pigeonhole himself into any specific category, but he is now willingly forcing himself out of the category of “slacker”. With Sam trying to be less “geeky”, and Daniel studying to become more so, it seems that the two have less in contrast than Sam originally thought. He now sees the perfect bridge between the life he once led and the one he’s trying to craft.

It takes a little convincing for Sam to get his friends to let Daniel hang out with them – and Daniel himself is reluctant at the idea – but before long, they’re all sitting down for a D&D game. As the game starts, Daniel feels like the odd one in the group, but he soon begins to adapt. The game itself is not dwelled upon, but we see enough to know that the characters, Daniel included, are having fun.

Many dungeons and dragons later, Daniel emerges the victor of the game – showing that he does not need to suck at everything. He’s clearly proud, but not as proud as the geeks are for having included him. Sam states that the fact that Daniel is hanging out with them doesn’t mean he’s turning into a geek – it means the geeks are turning cool. This puts a neat little bow on the message of the story. The cliques of high school need not remain forever locked in their predetermined positions. They’re in fact changeable, and the melding of seemingly different individuals can uncover a previously unknown bond of commonality, which can in turn lead to a surprising and surprisingly welcome friendship. More importantly, these pairings can convince the teens involved to step outside their boundaries.

And Daniel is not the only teen to step outside his boundaries this episode. Nick is also given an interesting story that takes him in an unexpected new direction while still keeping everything believably in character. Once a potheaded schmoe who longed after Lindsay and couldn’t drum his way out of a paper bag, Nick now finds a new girlfriend in Sarah and a new outlet in disco dancing.

Nick is still pretty sore over his breakup with Lindsay, and though he won’t admit it to himself or anyone else, he’s still hoping to reconcile with her. And what better way to stir things up again than by attempting to incite her envy? Sarah becomes the third point in Nick’s makeshift love triangle, a fact made easier since she’s had a schoolgirl crush on him for years. But while Sarah’s initial function may only be as a pawn, she manages to bring out a side of Nick even he was unaware of. Once a professed hater of disco dancing, Nick now finds himself caught up in the seemingly-dead fad.

Ken isn’t buying it, though. The freaks have made it a ritual to stop by the local discotheque every so often simply to inform its occupants that “DISCO SUCKS!” It seems unlikely to him that Nick would turn his own feelings about disco around so suddenly, or at all, and confronts Nick with the notion that it’s just a part of a scheme to make Lindsay jealous – though Nick, of course, denies it.

Ken plays the role of the naysayer in this episode, deriding disco and Nick’s helpless pining after Lindsay at every possible opportunity. His criticisms are less sardonic and more clear-cut than in previous episodes, which suggests that his personal tone has become a little directionless when both Nick and Daniel have left the group to try other lifestyles. (Alternately, it suggests that Ken’s relationship with Amy has matured him a bit, to the point that he’s discovering that straightforwardness has advantages over sarcasm.)

Ken’s discotheque upstarts eventually get him into an argument with the DJ (who, amusingly, is the same guy who runs the nightsuit-carrying department store from “Looks and Books” [1×11]). The DJ’s whole-hearted claims that “disco is alive” easily outshine Ken’s attempts to deride the genre – without the other freaks to support him, Ken’s jibes only come off as pathetic. He gains no supporters in his declarations that disco is dead. Well, except for the club’s bouncer, who excitedly informs him that the discotheque will soon be shuffled out to be replaced with something of the rock-and-roll variety.

Lindsay puts a smile on for Nick, telling him how proud she is that he’s finally found a girl who can make him happy. She’s surprised herself when Nick informs her that Sarah’s spirit and encouragement has inspired him to quit smoking pot. Lindsay herself tried to convince Nick to stop taking drugs in “Chokin’ and Tokin'” [1×13], but was unsuccessful – and even ended up sniffing some weed herself. So to learn that another girl was able to “cure” Nick makes Lindsay feel a little ashamed of her own efforts – and if she’s really worked up over her failure to help Nick, could it be because… she has feelings for him?

Thanks to NBC President Garth Ancier, this question will never be answered. But it’s clear that Nick, despite his feelings for Lindsay, sees his conversation with her at the discotheque as the nail in their romantic coffin. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but Nick manages to handle it… with disco!

The scene where Nick dances to Heatwave’s “The Groove Line” is fantastic, with Jason Segel showing off some incredible moves. Nick begins the dance in his own personal funk, but by the time the second chorus rolls around, he’s completely immersed in the disco dance.

Unfortunately, the competition doesn’t go as well as he’d hoped. The next contestant wows the crowd with magic tricks – something Nick didn’t even know was allowed. Whereas Nick’s moves were in-tune with the music, and well-executed at that, his competitor opts to impress the crowd with razzle-dazzle. (There seems to be a distinct metaphor here for the way this series, for all the effort that went into it, struggled on the network against simpler but more eye-catching shows.) The story is left open-ended, but I’m guessing Nick didn’t walk away with trophy in hand.

The story and character developments I’ve already written about are impressive on their own, and would be more than enough to brand this a great episode. But the wonders of “Discos and Dragons” doesn’t stop there. It offers up a third story centering on Lindsay, one which ties up her story arc in a beautifully perfect way.

We’ve seen Lindsay change throughout this season, some ways more notably then others. She’s tried to carve a name for herself as an outcast, pushing away the academic achievements that were to set her on a path to a gratifying career. Numerous factors were responsible for this change – in particular, her grandmother’s deathbed admission that she saw nothing in the afterlife. Lindsay has made efforts throughout the season to appear rebellious, but has never fully succeeded – some aspect of her moral personality always holds her back.

In “Looks and Books” [1×11], we caught a glimpse of the old Lindsay emerging. Fed up with her freaky friends, Lindsay chose to return to her studies, and quickly joined back up with the Mathletes. Unfortunately, her competitive edge got the better of her, and in the end, she decided to return to her mildly rebellious ways. She was simply too good for the math team – and effectively, she was bored.

This appears to be another reason for Lindsay’s decision to join up with the freaks – she was so good at her studies that they simply ceased to be a challenge for her. That’s not to say she actually forsook her education, but that she just breezed through it with no real care. So when her teacher announces that she has been hand-picked to attend a state academic summit, Lindsay is nothing short of shocked. Having spent so much time ignoring her reputation, she doesn’t even realize how smart she still is.

Lindsay receives encouragement – and from her father, pressure – to attend the summit, but she’s less enthused herself. The episode plays around with the pros and cons of her situation, particularly in a lunchroom scene where a teacher informs her that he was once a summit attendee himself, right before he accidentally bumps into another student and labels himself a “clumsy clod”.

Lindsay receives support from Mr. Rosso, who offers her a Grateful Dead album to liven up her studying. Lindsay does play the album in her room, but it doesn’t do much to help her in the way of preparing for the summit. Instead, she gets caught up in the music, and is soon dancing spiritedly to “Box of Rain”. Later, when a couple of Deadheads inform her of their plans to spend the summer driving across the country and attending all of the Grateful Dead’s concerts, Lindsay is inclined to join them. If only it wasn’t for that pesky summit…

“Discos and Dragons” forces Lindsay to make her most crucial choice yet. The academic summit will put her on a path to the greatest colleges in the country, and not attending it could have drastic consequences on her future. But the Grateful Dead’s music has inspired something deep within her – far more than any other of the freakish experiences she’s gone through. This is not a case of her yearning to break away because she wants to leave her old lifestyle – it’s because she genuinely wants to begin a new one.

When her family and friends bid her farewell just before she boards the bus for the academic summit, it seems like the sort of perfect picturesque ending that the show has given us hope for without ever leading us to believe in. Lindsay is pretty and prepped – she’s even replaced her green Army jacket with a button-down green sweater. Even more sweetly, she gives Neal and Bill each a kiss on the cheek just for showing up. And then, following a brief good-bye between her and her mother, during which Mrs. Weir tries to hold back her tears, Lindsay boards the bus and heads off to take her life in a brand new direction.

Only… not the one her family is thinking of. Lindsay gets off the bus at a later stop, climbs into a van with the Deadheads, as well as Kim, whom she graciously invited on their cross-country tour. Off goes the sweater, on comes the jacket. And they’re off. Lindsay has made her choice.

I’ll state that I find the last scene of this episode to be a little dark and unsettling, since it essentially means that Lindsay is throwing away what may be the greatest opportunity she’ll ever receive. But I fully understand her reasons, and even kind of – in the very back of my mind – approve of them.

It’s with a mixture of emotions that I watch the van pull away. On the one hand, there’s a sense of sadness in watching Lindsay completely turn her back on her education in favor of a cross-country music tour. On the other hand, there’s some real joy in watching one of the show’s central themes – independence – be wrapped up so neatly and skillfully at the show’s end.

Oh, wait… I’m mostly watching the scene with sadness. Because the show’s over.

But man, what an ending. “Discos and Dragons” may not be the greatest finale I’ve ever seen – the closing episodes of both Angel and Firefly still top it – but it’s still a fantastic conclusion. Nearly every single one of the show’s themes, along with many of its character arcs, are perfectly tied up in the space of forty-two minutes. Freaks and Geeks may be on its way out, but it closes the door with a resounding slam.


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ “Carlos the Dwarf”. Need I say more?


[Score]

EXCEPTIONAL

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17 thoughts on “Freaks and Geeks 1×18: Discos and Dragons”

  1. [Note: StakeAndCheese posted this comment on June 23, 2013.]

    The thing is, I don’t think that Lindsay is sacrificing her future so much as she is irrevocably betraying her parents’ trust. Even though she isn’t going to the summit, she’s still going to get into a great school; she’s just that smart, and the University of Michigan would love to have her, even if she doesn’t get into an Ivy. This is just a detour in the course Lindsay’s life.

    The real sacrifice is that she will never, ever have the same relationship with her parents after this.

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  2. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on May 9, 2014.]

    “”Discos and Dragons” may not be the greatest finale I’ve ever seen – the closing episodes of both Angel and Firefly still top it – but it’s still a fantastic conclusion.”

    Okay, you’re not going to sit here and tell me with a straight face that “Objects in Space” is a better finale than this episode is.

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  3. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on May 10, 2014.]

    I think “Discos and Dragons” works a little better as a speculative finale, but “Objects In Space” is, by a slim margin, the superior episode.

    Though I don’t think I’ll ever be reviewing Firefly, I may one day write an essay on “Objects In Space”, and how it’s one of the most brilliantly conceived episodes of television I’ve ever seen.

    If you think “Discos and Dragons” is better, though, I can support that. They’re both pretty much perfect.

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  4. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on May 10, 2014.]

    “Objects in Space” is a very good episode. It’s just really underwhelming as a finale is all. Jubal Early floating off into deep space is nowhere doesn’t sum up what Firefly‘s all about; the episode gives us some good insight into everyone’s character, but it feels like the show got cut off halfway through the season.

    Whereas this episode is the best ending this show ever could have had. I genuinely can’t imagine a Season 2 of Freaks and Geeks.

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  5. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on May 11, 2014.]

    I strongly disagree. In my opinion, “Objects in Space” is the best finale firefly could possibly have had.

    This is not a show about the Jedi council, or the plucky band of rebels who destroy the Death Star. Serenity turned it into a story of the group’s struggle to broadcast the truth and defeat the villainous Alliance, but in all honesty it was never about that either, which is why I found the ending of the movie to be wholly unsatisfying, and not the note I wanted the ‘verse to go out on.

    No, firefly is a show about the people living on the edge. Mal and his crew were never going to defeat the Alliance or even make any difference in the larger scheme of things – all they cared about was keeping the ship in the sky. In the end, life goes on, and “Objects in Space” captures that idea perfectly. No, Jubal Early floating into space doesn’t feel like a finale or give closure to the main characters, but I’d argue that’s exactly the point.

    I think it’s probably best summarized by this quote from the pilot

    Mal: We’re still flying.

    Simon: That’s not much.

    Mal: It’s enough.

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  6. [Note: Alex C. posted this comment on May 11, 2014.]

    I think that on a purely technical level, as an individual episode “Objects in Space” might be a slightly higher achievement than “Not Fade Away”. IIRC, Joss Whedon has called OiS one of the three best episodes of television in his career (the other two were “The Body” and “Once More With Feeling”).

    However, “Not Fade Away” really did function as an almost flawless finale to Angel as a series, and for that at least, it probably does deserve to take the prize.

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  7. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on May 11, 2014.]

    Define ‘purely technical level’, Alex. If by that you mean the sum of direction, music, cinematography and so on, then you could very well be right. If you mean thematic depth, then it’s a closer call, but “Objects in Space” still edges the lead with its existential musings. If you mean how it stands alone as an episode as well as it works as a finale, then I’d be tempted to agree with you.

    But if you compiled a list of all the great scenes in “Not Fade Away” and contrasted them to “Objects in Space”, then it’s clear which one is the winner. Angel signing away the Shanshu Prophecy, enlisting Lindsey, the appearance of Anne, Spike reading his poem, Wes’s conversation with Illyria, Angel biting Hamilton, Lorne shooting Lindsey, Wes dying, the final scene in the alleyway … there’s a reason this is without a doubt the greatest episode Angel ever achieved. It brings the series to a perfect thematic finish while packing a huge emotional wallop, and it manages to take characters I cared nothing about (Lorne, Lindsey, Angel, to a certain extent Gunn and Illyria) and make their send-offs more powerful than I could possibly have hoped for. In those last moments in the rain-drenched ally when the Fang Gang made their final stand, I cared about them more than I did Buffy at the end of “Chosen”, and considering how ambivalent I was for much of the series, that’s an unbelievable achievement.

    It’s just occurred to me that both in structure and sentiment this comment is very similar to your one on “Becoming Pt.2”. Some link between the episodes? Quite possibly.

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  8. [Note: Alex C. posted this comment on May 11, 2014.]

    Very nice comment, FV – you’ve echoed my sentiments more or less to a tee.

    By “purely technical level” I do refer to the episode’s achievement as the net sum of all the various elements of craft that go into making it. “Objects in Space” has that in spades – it’s a marvelously intricate, layered episode, by almost any critical measure.

    But you’re quite right that in terms of sheer emotional and thematic power, “Not Fade Away” leaves it gasping in the dust, for all the reasons that you mention – and a few more besides.

    I really like your idea of a link between “Becoming Pt.2” and “Not Fade Away”. In structural terms, there’s definitely some overlap between the two: a steadily building cascade of exquisitely showcased character moments, blending a full range of emotion from humour to tragedy, culminating in a burst of action resulting in a bittersweet victory, succeeded by an emotional coda dwelling on the aftermath and consequences.

    In the pantheon of Whedonverse finales, I believe that “The Gift” is definitely the best of them, but “Not Fade Away” and “Becoming Pt.2” vie with each other just below that level. “Graduation Day” (both parts) is probably the tightest and most seamlessly executed, but somehow doesn’t feel quite as weighty as the big three.

    Curiously enough, the finale that I think “Objects in Space” is most comparable to is “Restless” – precisely because they both eschew the conventional trappings of a finale in order to capture the thematic essence of the seasons which they conclude (a thought to keep in mind for when I finally get round to that extended post on Season 4).

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  9. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on May 11, 2014.]

    It’s interesting you see a parallel between “Objects in Space” and “Restless”, because I think if any firefly episode evokes the spirit of the season 4 finale it would be “Out of Gas”. They both examine the characters and their dynamics in somewhat surreal fashion – with focus on dreams and flashbacks. Of course, OoG focuses specifically on the ship Serenity, but they have a similar vibe to them.

    Honestly, I think if any finale managed to ‘capture the thematic essence of the season which [it concludes]’, it would be “The Gift”, what with the harkening back to “Fool for Love” and all.

    I’m greatly anticipating that Season 4 post, Alex. Inspired by the controversy over season 3 vs 7 on that forum thread, I decided to rewatch the entire series in full to see whether my opinions changed, and as of mid-season 5 I’m thinking 4 might be my new favourite. Obviously the Adam arc is poor, but the character work and themes really resonate with me, and it has many of the best episodes and quotes in the series.

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  10. [Note: Keith posted this comment on February 23, 2015.]

    Interesting take on Lindsay’s journey. I disagree, though. I read her return to the Mathletes (and subsequent re-quitting) not as merely leaving the trappings of academia out of boredom. I got the idea that Lindsay was disgusted with how the Mathletes seemed to spend an awful lot of time and energy sniping at each other, jockeying for better position on the team, gossiping, and generally being annoying overachieving windbags a la Tracy Flick from Election. If you could posit a question that the character of Lindsay Weir was attempting to answer, it would be “what would a smart high school student do with clarity?”

    If she could clearly see her place in the world, her future, and what was really best for her body, mind, and spirit, what would she do? We learn here that Lindsay not only kept up her grades, but kept them up well enough to qualify for the academic summit. So she’s not trashing her future by hanging with the Freaks. At the same time, she is turned off by the overachiever persona – for one, it’s exhausting and boring. For another, look at the Freaks – they have zero interest in Mathletes, and yet a bunch of them show up (with a sign!) to loudly cheer Lindsay on, simply because she is their friend and they want her to succeed.

    Millie is the same kind of friend to Lindsay that the Freaks are – she’s loyal, caring, and supportive, but the rest of the smart kids sure aren’t. Lindsay knows that she has the opportunity to spend college and possibly grad school rubbing elbows with the top 1% of academic achievers in the country by going back to her overachiever ways, and she turns it down. She has clarity. She knows that by keeping her grades perfect, she can get into most any school, even without extra-curriculars. She realizes it’s far more important to hang around with people who like you, who support you, and who cheer your accomplishments without conspiring behind your back about how to bring you down. And perhaps most importantly, she realizes that following the Dead around in a van will teach her more about herself and the world, than she’d learn from any amount of studying and extra-curricular activities.

    In a way, I think Lindsay is almost an aspirational character, in the sense that she seems wiser than a real high school student could be. I really get the feeling, largely through some phenomenal acting by Linda Cardellini, that she is affirmatively deciding the fate of the rest of her high school years, including a no doubt incredibly strained parental relationship, by skipping the summit to follow the Dead. She’s tried on a new persona, and found it to her liking, and realized she can pull it off without damaging her future. Very few kids have the wisdom and clarity to make decisions with an eye towards the future, but then, perhaps that’s the point. Maybe Lindsay really is just that smart and that forward-thinking.

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  11. [Note: Flamepillar112 posted this comment on July 5, 2016.]

    This is indeed a great episode, and it’s certainly not the last great television episode to have a Dungeons & Dragons game in it 😉

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  12. [Note: unkinhead posted this comment on July 13, 2016.]

    The ending is spectacular, a bittersweet embracement of independence. So glad the writers had the balls to make a decision like that. I haven’t felt so saddened by the ending of a tv show as I have for Freaks and Geeks (both watches), especially not in my adult life (IIRC I felt the way about Buffy in my pre-teens).

    It is an absolute travesty this show only got one season, but it’s practically perfect in its short bitter length.

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  13. [Note: unkinhead posted this comment on July 14, 2016.]

    Wanted to add that the song “Ripple” (The Grateful Dead) is an excellent choice. It fits the implications of the ending perfectly, but it always perturbed be that they left out the most correlating lyrics (it’s the very next verse actually, and they skipped to the ending while the bus was driving away):

    There is a road, no simple highway,
    Between the dawn and the dark of night,
    And if you go no one may follow,
    That path is for your steps alone.

    Maybe they thought it was too on-the-nose? I don’t know, seems fitting, it should have at least resumed in the fade-to-black. Oh well.

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  14. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on July 14, 2016.]

    I think they omitted those lyrics on purpose, since they seemed a bit on-the-nose. But those familiar with the song could easily make the correlation.

    Few shows have as rich and resonant a soundtrack as Freaks and Geeks, and with “Ripple,” they maintained their excellent record of music up to the very end.

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  15. [Note: Zach posted this comment on August 11, 2016.]

    That’s what I figured, but I mean, if there’s a chance to be indulgent with something like that it’s the ending of a cancelled series. 😦

    I wonder how they would have gotten Lindsay back from her tour had it somehow been picked up by another network.

    I can see the script now.

    “Lindsay returns home and realizes she has to go to school (college) after having an enlightening acid trip with her fellow dead-heads.”

    😉

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