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'Freaks and Geeks' fan recap: When the parents are away ...

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “Beers and Weirs” | Aired Oct 2, 1999

In “Beers and Weirs,” we visit a classic storyline that’s a mainstay on any teen drama: The parents are out of town, so it’s time for a party! But Freaks and Geeks eschews the usual tropes of all hell breaking loose, and instead we get a high school party that’s rather ordinary. No casualties, no calamities—just Bill getting drunk while watching an episode of Dallas.

But I’m fast-forwarding a bit.

To start things off, the parents announce to the Weir kids that they’re going away for the weekend. Papa Weir (also known as Perpetually Grumpy Weir) wants to hire a babysitter. “I can just see you guys eating candy for breakfast and drawing pictures on the walls,” he declares, which is a rather innocent worry considering his kids aren’t 5 years old. Nevertheless, the baby Weirs convince their folks that all will be okay, and they can stay home alone.

Later at school, the freaks perk up when they hear Lindsay has an empty house for the weekend. Kegger, kegger, pleeeaaase, they beg. Lindsay agrees, though not without a little dose of peer pressure from Queen-of-the-Freaks Kim. We seem to be in the early stages of a battle for James Franco’s—ahem, Daniel’s—heart, and Lindsay looks pleased when she hears Kim and Daniel have broken up.

Meanwhile, our geeks aren’t too happy with Lindsay’s new friends and this upcoming party. Sam is worried about getting into trouble, and we find out Neal has the hots for his best friend’s older sister. These freaks? They’re bad news. Neal knows this because he’s been watching Scared Straight!

Now for a conveniently timed school assembly with our Sober Students Improv Players. We learn the dangers of drugs and drinking from our young thespians, Nick, Millie, and Cindy, and Sam’s eyes can’t get any bigger when Mr. Rosso shows pictures of former students who died from drunk driving. The geeks have got to get on this, and fast.

Bill thinks up the master plan: They can switch out the keg at the party with a nonalcoholic beer. This idea is actually pretty genius, except that it ignores the placebo effect. Even if these kids aren’t drunk, they’re still going to act like it.

Nonetheless, the plan is a go. The geeks hit the liquor store and roll home an entire keg on a little red wagon through their neighborhood. Oh, you darling geeks. Then Neal does his best to distract Lindsay with his smooth conversation skills while Sam and Bill switch the kegs.

Poor Neal tries to be suave, but after struggling to open a bag of chips and telling an awkward Jewish joke, he seems destined for friend status. Even more embarrassing, Bill accidentally sprays himself in the crotch with the keg, leading Lindsay to believe he wet his pants. Again: oh, you darling geeks. I get your pain. It’s okay. And Lindsay, to her credit, doesn’t make fun of Bill (though she does look mildly concerned).

The build-up to the party is ultimately a red herring. After hearing so much talk about the dangers of drinking and watching the geek’s master plan to swap kegs, we expect something big to happen. That is, after all, the lay of the land in this kind of plotline.

In truth, it’s an uneventful party for our characters, even a touch boring, but we do get to enjoy the various interactions of all our major freaks and geeks under one roof. And, on a realistic note, this party looks much more akin to its real-life brethren where, similarly, a lot of hype often leads to nothing much happening.

Sam and Neal spend much of the party as self-designated security guards, making sure things don’t get out of hand. Sam is concerned, though, that everyone still seems drunk, and Neal realizes a placebo effect is at play. “What if they trash the house because they think they’re drunk?” Sam worries.

A few older guys show up, and by older, we’re talking wrinkles and gray hair. This seems like the potential spark to cause the party’s demise, but even the old guys end up being relatively tame.

Lindsay and Daniel share a nice moment in her bedroom looking at her old photos and trophies. There’s definitely chemistry between the two, but Daniel remains a mystery. Later, Lindsay seeks him out, only to find him making out with Kim on her bed (“Don’t worry, we threw your teddy bears on the floor.”) Cue our first minor teen heartbreak. Lindsay finds solace with Nick outside until he ruins their hug by fumbling for her bra strap. Nick’s excuse: he’s wasted and John Bonham died. Close, Nick, but no cigar.

All of this sends Lindsay crying to her parent’s room where Neal attempts to comfort her. He admits he’s loved her since he was 5 years old, but that just makes her cry more (a bit harsh, miss). But when everything seems to be going downhill and someone announces they’re getting another keg (one probably with alcohol this time), Neal saves the day by pretending to be an annoyed neighbor and calling the police. His reward: a kiss on the cheek from Lindsay. Everyone leaves sober and in good spirits—except Bill, of course, who’s passed out on the Weirs’ carpet.

Notables

  • Bill, at the liquor store: “You think they sell Yoo-hoo here? I’m kind of thirsty.”
  • Neal, explaining the troubles of being the one Jewish kid at school: “I was elected school treasurer last year. I didn’t even run.”
  • Millie after being offered a beer: “No thanks, I prefer to get high on life.”

I could watch an entire episode of Bill getting drunk and watching Dallas. I imagine his commentary would be golden.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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