A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
A mixed bag. Themes addressed are empathy and self-control. The series explores self-awareness and expression, and in some cases, teens’ experiments with “finding themselves” result in positive growth. However, peer pressure often swings the other way, leading kids into negative situations like underage drinking and breaking family rules. On the plus side, the series does show realistic implications of much of this behavior. Other serious issues like family problems, marital infidelity, and cheating are handled in a thoughtful but humorous way.
Positive Role Models
Many of the teens appear to be models of how not to act -- ditching class, cheating, stealing, and defacing other people’s property, for instance, but their inner experiences and emotions show the other side of the coin. Many male characters are sensitive and share their feelings with their friends; the "geeks" are especially close and support each other through challenging times. The Weir parents are a constant presence in their kids’ lives and encourage responsibility and hard work.
Violence & Scariness
Brief fistfights and scuffles among teens rarely result in injury.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexuality is a common topic among teens, who talk about having sex and wanting to have sex. Couples kiss, make out, and touch each other suggestively (patting each other’s butts and fondling breasts, for instance), but there’s no nudity. Some storylines follow teens’ decisions to not have sex, which is presented in a positive light.
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“Damn,” “hell,” “ass,” and “bitch,” as well as “slut” and “loser.”
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink, smoke, and use marijuana, often without serious immediate consequences.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Freaks and Geeks is a witty, well-cast dramedy from Judd Apatow that ran for one season. It deserves its place among fans' favorites, but its content is too mature for tweens. Much of the show centers on fringe high school students who smoke, drink, and have sex (though that's talked about rather than shown) rather than striving for success in school. Language is another concern ("damn," "hell," "ass," and "bitch" are common), and there's plenty of stereotyping ("jocks," "burnouts," "in crowd," etc.). That said, the show does strive for some reality in its content, and its honest take on adolescent angst will appeal to teens and adults who tune in.
Is It Any Good?
Despite consisting of just 18 episodes, this series earned accolades among fans for its sharp writing and comical, but honest portrayal of the uncertainties of teen life. All of the characters struggle to identify themselves within the context of their social environment, and anyone who's lived through those formative years will relate to their feelings of uncertainty and angst. Freaks and Geeks boasts an extremely talented cast, evident by the fact that most of the members have gone on to notable careers in television and film.
Not surprisingly, though, this teen-centered show has a lot of content that's not meant for kids. There's underage drinking and smoking, some drug use (marijuana in small doses), a fair amount of language, references to sexual relationships among teens, and plenty of negative role models among Lindsay's friends. Those taking in this content from beyond the teen years can afford to chuckle over it, and the show does make a conscious effort to present some realistic consequences for unsavory behavior. In the end, though, tweens will absorb the wrong messages from what they see, so it's best to keep this one for yourself and your mature teens.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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