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'Freaks and Geeks' nostalgia recap: Watch out for eggs

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “Tricks and Treats” | Aired Oct 30, 1999

What could possibly go wrong for a 14-year-old boy when he straps on his mother’s bra and clothes and goes trick-or-treating as the Bionic Woman? Well, apparently a lot, and Freaks and Geeks doesn’t ease up on the humiliations that come often with being a teenager.

In the episode’s cold open, Sam and Neal concoct the world’s worst smoothie for Bill to drink, all for the grand prize of $10. Oh, the days of youth, when idiocy was often your best way to earn an extra buck. A couple rules, though, says Bill, who’s adamant that they don’t use any furniture polish or cut-up bits of sponge. Sounds like he’s been burned before. Somehow the resulting concoction, complete with sardines, chili (for texture, Sam explains), grape jelly, and other delights, is fine by Bill. “It’s not too bad,” he remarks, smacking his lips.

Halloween is here, but Sam says he’s too old for trick-or-treating now. Mama Weir disagrees, but she’s thrilled that Lindsay will pass out candy with her in their annual mother/daughter tradition. Neither of these two plans lasts long.

The next day, Sam’s English teacher lectures his class, complaining about the juvenile topics they all wrote their papers on. The novelization of Star Wars just doesn’t cut it anymore (sorry, Sam). She gives the class copies of Crime and Punishment, half of which needs to be read by Monday. Sam’s eyes widen in horror.

“Look how small the printing is,” he complains to Neal and Bill at lunch. “She says we have to be young adults. We’re not adults. We’re kids until we turn 18,” says Sam. In solidarity against growing up, he decides he wants to go trick-or-treating again. Neal takes a little convincing (he’d rather hang out with the hot-dog-on-a-stick girls from the mall), but eventually he agrees to go.

While Sam is doing his best to hang onto his fleeting childhood, Lindsay is trying to shed any last vestiges of hers. When Nick asks her out a double date with Daniel and Kim, she unhappily explains her plans with her mom. Kim, of course, gleefully makes fun it all.

Lindsay changes her mind when she spots Millie kissing a boy in the school parking lot. You can see the impact of this all over Lindsay’s face: If Millie of all people has a special someone, then what on earth is wrong with Lindsay?

Unfortunately, she doesn’t relay her new plans to her mother. On Halloween night, she dashes out on Mama Weir, who’s spent the entire day decorating the house, baking cookies, and getting her cowgirl costume just right. We haven’t spent too much time with the Weir parents on the show, but this moment when Lindsay ditches her mom is heartbreaking.

Still, the worst is yet to come. Sam gets decked out in his Gort costume (sweatsuit plus a homemade cardboard suit), and we get a delightful montage of Bill and Neal struggling with their costumes. Neal can’t perfect his Chaplin mustache without fluctuating between Hitler and Tom Selleck, while Bill sifts through his mother’s clothes to find the perfect Bionic Woman ensemble.

The geeks hit the streets and immediately get stared down by their fellow trick-or-treaters. No longer part of the 10-and-under crowd, they look out of place, and no one understands their costumes. One particularly mean candy-giver tells them they’re too old for this nonsense. “What the hell are you supposed to be anyway, the Tin Man?” she asks Sam.

Things get worse when the hot-dog-on-a-stick girls pass by, pointing and laughing at the boys. Alan the bully comes along too, and not only steals their candy, but beats them up as well. After trudging around for hours to fill their pillowcases, the battered geeks are left dejected and empty-handed.

Lindsay, on the other hand, is having a blast. She’s initially tense at driving around aimlessly with the freaks, particularly with Kim mocking her at every interval. But when the night turns destructive, she finally lets go and has fun. They take turns smashing pumpkins and busting mailboxes before deciding to pull out the essential tool of teenage vandalizing: a carton of eggs.

Like in previous episodes, Sam and Lindsay’s plotlines collide, though this time it happens quite literally when she drives past Sam and his friends, freshly beaten up and candy-stripped, and pelts them with eggs. Once she realizes she has egged her own brother, she’s devastated.

Lindsay drives back to apologize, but Sam stares at her disbelievingly and looks on the verge of crying. All he wanted was to be a kid again, but life just isn’t letting him. As he walks home, humiliated, his Gort costume slowly falls apart in a sad piece of symbolism.

He doesn’t out his sister to his parents for what she’s done, but he does manage to hit her with the last thing she wants to hear. “No one thinks you’re cool you know,” he says to Lindsay bitterly before resigning himself to reading Crime and Punishment. Lindsay ends up donning the costume her mom got her, looking like some sort of Shakespearean nightmare, and atones for her earlier cruelty by passing out candy with Mama Weir.

Whether they want to or not, the Weir kids are growing up.

Notables

  • Papa Weir: “Honey, the boy’s 14. He can miss a night of walking around the neighborhood, begging like a tramp.” Well, that’s one way to describe Halloween.
  • Millie: “Tommy and I don’t even French-kiss yet. Tommy says if you do before going out six months, you go to hell.”
  • I’ve always had a fear of baking something for a party and no one eating it, so I felt for Mama Weir and her homemade cookies that no one would touch. Come on, guys—you didn’t have to dump the cookies on her own lawn! Yeesh.
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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