I’ve only recently started watching Freaks and Geeks, the TV series from 1999 that ran for one season. It’s about going to high school in 1982 (pretty sure that’s the date, given that the Who’s farewell tour is part of the plot of one episode). As someone who attended high school in the 1980s, there’s a lot with which I identify. I think there’s a little bit of fudging of memories of fashion, as I recall the disco/leisure fashion trend had long since died by 1982. Still, the issues of identity, of the exclusionary politics of various cliques, and of the sense of inferiority that often drove those politics match my memories.
It’s amazing how many of the actors went on to very strong careers, from James Franco and Seth Rogen to Jason Segel and Linda Cardellini. Having such strong performers lends a lot of believability to the episodes. Not that this is needed, because although there is some willing suspension of disbelief required considering the continuous cascade of events affecting the main character, the events themselves are entirely plausible. The characters are completely credible, and just when you think they’re going to go afterschool special, it turns out that no, no one has actually learned a lesson here, but they know what they are expected to say and do in order to avoid punishment or get their way.
The only season of Freaks and Geeks is available on Netflix in Canada, and if you haven’t seen it, you really need to check it out. Especially if you remember the 80s.
I give Freaks and Geeks 4.75 pop culture references out of 5. It’s a great series that sometimes strains plausibility but never breaks it.