10 Life Lessons I Learned from “Freaks and Geeks”

Arguably the best show ever to grace television, “Freaks and Geeks” taught me more useful life tips in one season than high school did in four years.

1.) Be yourself.   Yes, this is the most corny piece of advice given to every adolescent, but it is also the most important rule that I learned from Lindsay Weir and crew.  You can get good grades and still be friends with the bad kids, you can be a nerd and still land the most popular girl in school, and trying to change yourself to make somebody else like you will inevitably end in tears.  Just do whatever floats your boat, and if people don’t like you for it, they probably suck anyway.  We all saw what happened to Daniel Desario when he tried to transform himself into a “punker” just to impress the hot cashier at the convenient store- he wound up alone and pissed off, with nothing to show for it but some egg white in his hair and a bloody half-pierced nose.

2.) Dancing to disco music is a surefire way to impress the ladies.  I mean, come on, is there a better moment in the history of television than when Bill shows off his best dance moves to some synthed-out disco?  Just remember ladies, never cut a guy off “mid funk.”

3.) Army jackets are sweet.  Not only do I genuinely love these types of coats, but I also love that Lindsay wears hers in literally every episode.  Finally, a TV character who isn’t sporting a new and different piece of clothing every time she appears on screen!  If Lindsay can wear the same jacket every single day for a year, so can I suckaassss.

4.) Sometimes the “bad guy” is just a sensitive dude with no friends.  We all have that one person in our life that we love to hate, whether it’s because they make our life miserable, or because they’re just a miserable person.  But one thing that “Freaks and Geeks” taught me is that sometimes the meanest people are the ones who have been hurt the most.  Sam, Bill, and Neil’s worst enemy, Alan, tortures them on a daily basis.  But one day he reveals to Bill that he bullies them because he’s jealous of their crew’s friendship; when they were younger, they all unknowingly ignored Alan, and he never made any of his own friends.  His hurt feelings eventually morphed into anger, then fast forward a few years and he has become the world’s biggest jerk.  Everybody has a soft side, peeps.

5.) “Our bodies are merely a shell which conceal our heavenly souls.”   My favorite quote of the entire series, spoken by oddball Harris Trinsky.  And in my opinion, truer words have never been spoken.  It’s silly to think that our outside appearance is capable of causing shame and embarrassment- it’s what’s on the inside that counts (gotta love cliches)!  You go, Harris!  6.) If your significant other doesn’t like “The Jerk”, that’s a deal breaker.  Sam Weir deals with lots of strange and off-putting behavior during his relationship with his dream girl, Cindy Sanders, who ironically enough turns out to be a total creep: her obsession with giving him hickeys, her constant Republican elitism babble, her desire to only socialize with the football team, and the fact that she allegedly “cut the cheese” in front of Bill without a hint of remorse.  But the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back is not when she refuses to wear the heirloom necklace that Sam gives her as a gift… no siree, it’s when he takes her to see “The Jerk” and she complains incessantly that the movie….. ISN’T FUNNY.  You can walk all over Sam Weir, but he will not let you walk all over Steve Martin.  Take heed, folks- if your companion doesn’t think the “I was born a poor black child” speech is hilarious, it might be time to end it.

7.) If you believe you’re cool, you become cool.  Ahh, the sage and knowledgeable Mr. Rosso.  If I had a guidance counselor like that in high school, maybe I would have spent less time skipping class and more time having brilliant repartee with the Vice President like Lindsey Weir did.  Anyway, when Sam decides that the only way he can become cool is by buying a “French Night Suit” and dressing like Tony Manero from Saturday Night Fever, Mr. Rosso once again saves the day by explaining that being cool has nothing to do with how you look; the only way to become cool is to believe you’re cool.  Then everybody else starts believing it, too.  Mr. Rosso knows what’s up.

8.) “Lik-m-aid makes my spit taste like fruit juice.”  Millie’s breakfast of choice while waiting for the bus every morning is Lik-m-aid… a packet of neon green powdered sugar that’s eaten using a stick made of solid sugar.  Also known as FunDip, it is essentially Red Bull for children.  I used to eat this when I was a kid and it was so sour it would make my tongue bleed.  But it’s true, it makes your spit taste like fruit juice. 9.) Friends are about quality, not quantity.   Lindsay and Sam both know that it’s better to have a couple of good friends than to have a lot of crappy friends.  Sam, Neil and Bill are there for each other through thick and thin, and tell each other everything, no matter how embarrassing (Bill even reluctantly admits to Sam and Neil that he once pooped his pants at school. Whoops).  And while Lindsay has her fair share of problems with Millie, Kim, Nick, Daniel, and Ken, they still always end up proving to her that they’ve got her back.  Hey, it’s always good to know you have friends who will talk you down during a pot-induced panic attack, or who will buy a new bumper for your parents’ car after you accidentally total it.  That’s a true buddy right there.

10.) The Grateful Dead can cheer anyone up.  And maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll end up liking them so much that you decide to blow of math camp and go on summer tour instead! Gotta do what you gotta do, kids.


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