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'Freaks and Geeks' nostalgia recap: Kim Kelly is my friend

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “Kim Kelly Is My Friend” | Aired Sep 5, 2000

Freaks and Geeks often feels like a Where’s Waldo game of future stars, and tonight was no exception. Minutes into “Kim Kelly Is My Friend,” we get the disconcerting sight of Ann Perkins spitting out the line, “My problem is your face, dirtbag!”

Only it’s not Ann Perkins, because we’re not in Pawnee, Indiana, with Leslie Knope and the gang. Instead, we’ve got a grumpy bully named Karen Scarfolli (guest star Rashida Jones), who’s picked out Sam as her new target. When Sam accidentally mistakes her locker for his and she sees him trying to open it, she hits the warpath. Karen quickly belittles Sam in front of his friends, even grabbing his arms and pulling his shirt back to mock his lack of armpit hair: “You can’t be 14, midget—you haven’t even hit puberty.” Then she writes “geek” on his locker with hot pink lipstick.

As always, things look a little rough out there for our geek brethren. This episode, however, focuses its attention on one of our least drawn out characters, Kim Kelly, who we’ve mostly seen snarling around in annoyance up to this point.

Fun fact: NBC actually banned this episode when season one was airing in 1999 because of the darker content. It finally appeared a year later on the Fox Family Channel. Today, 16 years later, this seems even more ridiculous, considering the content we regularly watch on television now; it’s not very light and fluffy these days.

Anyway, Kim is finally prepared to play nice with Lindsay and invites her to eat dinner her parent’s house. But Kim warns Lindsay that her parents are “seriously wacko.” Lindsay laughs it off, saying her parents are the same way. Uh-oh. Do you hear the sound of that? Sounds like a wake-up call for Lindsay. While Lindsay’s version of wacko means parents who might be lame but also really love and care about her, Kim is dealing with a harsher reality. Her parents are crazy, and the only family member she likes is her Aunt Kathy, who gave her a car. Except now her Aunt Kathy is dead because she overdosed on coke (guys, we need to find Kim some better role models, stat).

Kim’s house is rundown and dirty, and the inside features mores plastic sheeting than actual walls. It turns out Kim has been telling her folks all about Lindsay, although this fictionalized Lindsay is super-rich and has a vacation home in Benton Harbor where they go waterskiing on the weekends. It doesn’t take long for Kim’s mom to figure out the truth, and when she realizes Kim has been lying, she loses it and threatens to take Kim’s car away. Kim tries to run out of the house with the keys, but has to wrestle away from her mom and stepfather. When she and Lindsay finally flee the house, Lindsay calls her out on using her, but Kim inadvertently compliments her by calling her the only “non-loser” of the bunch.

They drive over to where Danny is hanging out, but they unexpectedly see him with Karen, and she’s sucking on one of his fingers. Kim doesn’t take this very well. She tries to run into Danny and Karen with her car, and then sobs later to Lindsay about how hard it is to hold onto a good-looking guy like Daniel.

They go back to Lindsay’s house, where, after the rough day she’s had, Kim delightfully accepts Mama Weir’s dinner invitation. Her dinner-table conversation topics could use a little tweaking, though, and the whole family looks awkwardly on as Kim complains that guys only want sex.

But Daniel shows up to the Weir house and, despite Kim’s initial rebuffs, his nice-looking face wins out. The two make out on the kitchen counter, much to the horror of Mama and Papa Weir. If they weren’t too sure about Lindsay’s new friends before, I can’t see their opinion getting any better now.

All is well, except for on the Karen Scarfolli front. Sam wipes off the initial lipstick branding off of his locker, but Karen adds a new insult in permanent marker: “pygmy geek.” Unfortunately, one of the teachers catches him trying to cross it out and he gets assigned a paper on how to treat school property.

Sam gets an unexpected ally, though, when Kim catches Karen flirting with Daniel, and she promises Sam that Karen is dead meat. “I’m just going to break her arms,” she says calmly, then adds a few other terrible things involving a wrench and fire. Eventually even Sam gets a little worried at the level of atrocities she’s willing to commit.

Ultimately, Kim keeps things simple, with a nasty bit of name-calling on Karen’s locker, and Karen storms away angrily, off to become a hopefully much nicer Rashida Jones character.


  • I would like to know exactly how many Fruit Roll-Ups stoned Nick got from the Weirs. He had quite the collection by the end of the episode.
  • When Kim explains how she has to be hyper-vigilant with Danny and any girls that like him, I couldn’t help but think of the CONSTANT VIGILANCE taught by dear ol’ Mad-Eye Moody.
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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