The core concept: A incredibly funny, poignant look at the fringe groups — the Star Wars novelization-toting nerds (John Francis Daley, Martin Starr and Samm Levine) and the fake ID-seeking burnouts (James Franco, Busy Philipps, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel) — of one 1980s American high school, and the one girl (Linda Cardinelli) trying to transition between them.
How it leads to The End: This is the project that started it all, with the one-season dramedy first introducing Rogen to future repeat collaborators Franco, Segel and producer/director/writer Judd Apatow. Rogen apparently even features the show in This is the End, as Franco’s on-screen version of himself has obsessive, Freaks-themed artwork hanging in his faux-abode.
Memorable scene: It’s hard to narrow down my all-time favourite show’s (seriously — the only other show that rivals it for me might be fellow one-season wonder My So-Called Life) greatness to one specific scene. I’d pick any number of parts featuring Segel’s unforgettably heartsick Nick Andopolis, but since his role in This is the End is seemingly minimal (if not non-existent), I’ll just pick one featuring Rogen’s best as uber-freak Ken. At one point, Ken finds out that his girlfriend, whom he affectionately dubs “Tuba Girl” (she’s in the band, OK!), is quite different from all the other girls at McKinley High. Suddenly he’s forced to reevaluate his understanding of himself, and takes out his confused feelings, physically, on his best friend, Franco’s Daniel Desario. It’s a truly heartwrenching moment, especially coming from Ken, who spends the first half of the show simply providing the occasional deadpan comic relief, and the first time I truly understood the level of Rogen’s talent. No wonder he went on to star in Sarah Polley films and THE BEST EPISODE OF THE MINDY PROJECT EVER.
Survival kit status: I couldn’t survive without my two — yes, I said two — Freaks and Geeks DVD sets on a regular day, so I can’t imagine any reason why I wouldn’t want them around during the end of the world. In fact, I’d probably be watching Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr) eating grilled cheese and brownies while watching Garry Shandling do stand up when it/if it all comes down. Take a look at his face in the scene and you’ll understand how truly verklempt I feel watch every single minute of this pitch-perfect series.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmCpmEQD0L4]