30 Days of Me: Day 03 - Your favorite TV program

Oh geez... this is a toughy.

Honestly, right now, I'd have to say I don't have one current absolute favorite, but 2 of my all-time favorites from are Freaks and Geeks and Pushing Daisies.


Freaks and Geeks aired for 1 season during the 1999-2000 TV season, however due to NBC yanking it's timeslot around, it's rating dropped and it was canceled prematurely - It had a good 2 week run, then it was taken off for football for a good month or so, returning for another week or so on a new night and then holiday programming began and it was gone until Spring where it returned for a few more weeks but on another night and then got pulled again for some other programming, returning for a few last episodes before it was gone forever (with 3 last episodes being aired later that summer to give it some kind of closure).

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_p6LvnZTumKQ/S9ieKgvdDZI/AAAAAAAAACk/eRD5acDbRHg/s320/Freaks_and_Geeks.jpgThe series follows Lindsay and Sam Weir who are high schoolers in 1980 and live in a fictional suburb of Detroit. We learn that over the summer their grandma died. Lindsay, a junior, begins to question everything in life, including her place in it and the direction she's going and dons an old army jacket and trades in her "good girl" status and the Mathlete club to hang out with the school burnouts, or "freaks" as they're referred to. She still struggles fitting in with them though while still trying to be the nice, considerate person she really is. Her younger brother Sam and his friends Bill and Neal are all freshman and quite the geeky trio, which in addition to normal high school hazing, they also get bullied and picked on frequently just because of their interests.

This was one of the few high school dramas/comedies that depicts high school in a pretty accurate fashion. Cleverly written and created by the likes of Judd Apatow and Paul Feig, clearly it was too smart for its time.

While finding it on TV during its original run was a pain, I tried to watch it as much as I could. It went into syndication for awhile on Fox Family (now ABC Family) where they aired all the episodes in order, including a few that didn't get aired when it was canceled early. When I heard there was a petition to get the series on DVD, I quickly signed up, although they wanted to include all the original music which was holding it up (the same reason there has yet to be a complete series DVD release of The Wonder Years). You can bet I bought it when it did come out though, watching all 18 episodes back to back, and then watching my favorites over and over...

This show had a great soundtrack, featuring all types of music that was big in the 1980-81 period and featured a great cast with tons of cameos! You had Joe Flahtery and Becky Ann Baker as Mr. and Mrs. Weir, with Dave "Gruber" Allen, Thomas F. Wilson (aka Biff Tannen from the Back to the Future trilogy), Steve Bannos, Trace Beulieu, Leslie Mann and Steve Higgins as the main faculty. There were lots of guest stars (some which had re-occuring roles), including the likes of Ben Stiller, Jason Schwartzman, Allen Covert, Shia LeBeouf, Joel Hodgson (from MST3K fame), Lizzy Caplan (from Mean Girls and True Blood), Rashida Jones (from The Office and Parks & Rec) as mean girl Karen, and Ben Foster as mentally handicapped student Eli and many many more!

http://img.webring.com/r/f/freaksngeeks/logoIt was also a launch pad for kickstarting the careers of many well known actors today - Linda Cardellini, who played Lindsay, went on to star as Velma in the Scooby Doo movies, as well the female lead in the comedy "Grandma's Boy" and eventually landing a regular role (as a blonde) on ER for its last few seasons. Busy Phillips, who played "freak girl" Kim, went on to play Joey's trouble roommate Aubrey on Dawson's Creek, had a few minor roles in films (such as Patrick Dempsey's "Made of Honor") and is currently on the show Cougartown. James Franco, who played "head freak" Daniel Desario and was Lindsay's crush for the first part of the series, went onto star as Harry in the Spiderman films and has had steady work in movies over the past decade. Seth Rogen played "freak" Ken and well, we all know he went on to become a huge comedy actor over the past 5 years, starring in other Apatow-related projects such as "The 40 Year Old Virgin," "Knocked Up," "Superbad," "Pineapple Express," "Funny People"... and the roles just keep coming. Jason Segal, who played "freak" Nick who was an aspiring drummer with a huge drum kit and was briefly Lindsay's boyfriend (the 2 also dated in real life for several years), has slowly been working his way to stardom, with a small supporting role in "Knocked Up" along side Rogen, a regular role on the TV show How I Met Your Mother and eventually having his breakout with his film "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" - which he wrote and is supposedly, in part, about his break up with Cardellini - and starring alongside Rashida Jones and Paul Rudd in the bromance flick "I Love You, Man."

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_JG8Xsu6_HC8/SbJLbSTuzaI/AAAAAAAAAIQ/YixqA8Hsmus/s400/freaks+and+geeks+ep+6.pngThe Geeks have also had their share of the big screen - John Francis Daley, who played Sam, went on to star in the cult movie "Waiting..." playing a new hire who gets shown the ropes of a restaurant franchise, and has become a series regular in the hit TV show Bones, playing pathologist Lance Sweets. Samm Levine, who played Neal, has had a hot and cold career, having made single guest appearances on numerous shows (including Lost), with minor roles in film such as "Not Another Teen Movie," "Club Dread," "Pulse," "Sydney White," "I Love You, Beth Cooper" and most recently as one of the Basterds in Quentin Tarentino's "Inglourious Basterds." Martin Starr, who played Bill, has had minor roles in many films, such as Tom Green's "Stealing Harvard," Will Ferrell's "Kicking and Screaming," "Knocked Up," "Superbad," "Walk Hard," "Adventureland" and Ricky Gervais' "The Invention of Lying."


As I mentioned, another show I LOVED was the short-lived Pushing Daisies, which aired on ABC from 2007-2009.

http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Cast-Photos-pushing-daisies-332796_1280_960.jpgThis little gem of a show focused on pie-maker Ned (Lee Pace) who has a gift - with a touch of his finger, he can raise the dead. However, touching them again puts them to eternal, final rest and they cannot come alive again; also, if he keeps them alive for more than 60 seconds, something (or someone) else must die in their place to keep the balance. Ned first learns of this gift as a child, when his dog keels over in the yard one day. Sad, he holds his dear pet and it magically comes back to life, however moments later, his mom drops dead. With the death of his mother, his father ships him off to boarding school, abandoning him. As Ned got older, he put his gift to good use, creating delicious pies and pastries with fruit that tastes as fresh as possible, although Private Detective Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) catches on to Ned's gift and enlists him in help solve cases and splitting the profit by sneaking into the funerals of the recently murdered, asking them about the last thing they remember (ie: "who were you with? who killed you?") and putting them to permanent rest.

All goes well, until Emerson has Ned raise Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel) from the dead to learn about her mysterious death - turns out Ned and Chuck were child best friends and sweethearts and he hadn't seen her since he was sent off to boarding school. He makes the hasty decision to not send her to final death and, not wanting to hurt who aunts (Ellen Greene and Swoosie Kurtz) who would think she faked her death and be hurt if they knew she wasn't dead, moves in above Ned's pie shop in the city - The Pie Hole - and helps out there while tagging along with Ned and Emerson on their cases. While Ned can't touch her or his dog Digby, the two have a cute, innocent relationship, improvising physical contact as best as they can (he installs a divider in his car with a reversible rubber glove so they can hold hands and they often kiss while holding a sheet of saran wrap between their lips). Pie Hole waitress Olive Snook (Kristin Chenoweth) is not pleased though, as she's had a long unrequited love for Ned for years and feels Chuck is ruining her chances of ever being with Ned. While trying to figure out Ned and Chuck's strange relationship, Olive accidentally comes in contact with Chuck's aunts and slowly begins to piece together the puzzle.

http://www.thepiemaker.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/pushing-daisies-1.jpgWhile the underlying plot of the series is the love triangle between Ned, Chuck and Olive, as well as Chuck trying to lay low from her aunts, each episode has Whodunit mystery to it, with Ned, Chuck and Emerson trying to solve a case that week. It had a great blend of whimsical fantasy with mystery, comedy and innocent romance. At the time it aired, it was one was best show on TV as it had plenty of fun for adults but was innocent enough to watch with the kids. While the first season was hyped and advertised very well (I heard about it thanks to the promo commercial that played during the movie preshow at the theater I was working at), unfortunately the Writer's Strike of 2007-2008 really was the downfall of this gem, cutting the first season short. When it was renewed for a second season and returned 9 months later, due to lack of hype and advertising, not many people knew it was back and the ratings suffered greatly. By November it was canceled and the last few episodes that were filmed were aired during summer 2009, just before the second season DVD release.

While the show was cute, clever, witty, cutting edge and humorous, it also featured a slew of guest stars playing the different mystery of the week suspects and villains, such as Jayma Mays (from Glee), Joel McHale (from The Soup), Stephen Root (Milton from "Office Space), Molly Shannon, David Arquette, French Stewart, Rachael Harris, Daeg Faerch (of "Hancock" and young Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's "Halloween"), Paul F. Thompkins (from Best Week Ever), Fred Willard, Orlando Jones, and Wendy Malick among many, many others. Paul Reubens (aka Pee-Wee Herman) also had a re-occurring role as olfactory expert Oscar Vibenius which was originally planned to become a main supporting role as it drove him crazy that Chuck smelled dead, but he couldn't explain why, despite his efforts to uncover the truth.

Other TV shows I like include:
The Soup, Community, The Office, Dateline: To Catch a Predator (I <3 Chris Hansen), True Blood, Entourage, Pawn Stars, South Park, Tosh.0, Glee, Caprica, Persons Unknown, CSI and CSI:NY, Metalocalypse


  1. I never saw Freaks and Geeks, but it seems to have a cult following of sorts. I wonder if you can get it on Netflix...

  2. I love Pushing Daisies!!! I own the DVDs, and they're so delightful. Not to mention that Lee Pace is incredibly easy on the eyes... One of the prettiest guys on TV, until they went and canceled the show :(

    I hear such great things about Freaks and Geeks, and I keep meaning to watch it. I think I saw a portion of the first episode, but I haven't had a chance to get back to it.

  3. Jess, it is on Netflix - all 6 discs, unfortunately it's not on Instant Watch yet though


What's your thoughts?