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'Freaks and Geeks' nostalgia recap: Put me in, coach

Season 1 | Episode 10 | “The Diary” | Aired Jan 31, 2000

I’ve been crossing my fingers for a Bill-centric plot ever since he first professed his love for Dallas back in episode two, and Freaks and Geeks finally delivered. Sure, his plot plays second fiddle to Kim v. Lindsay and the whole diary debacle, but Bill is a bastion of good one-liners, and our foray into his dreams of playing shortstop was equally fun.

Bill, Sam, and Neal are picked last every day in gym class, as is typical for their geek species. This doesn’t seem to bother the latter two, who are content to play backup right field or whatever position their team makes up for them, but Bill hates it. With every class, he deflates more and more, especially when even Gordon gets picked before him—despite his tendency to sit in the outfield and pick daisies the whole game.

The idea of Bill being any good at baseball seems ridiculous, as maybe only Sam seems less comfortable with his body. Bill walks around like he has no idea what’s going on with his various limbs, but really, he just wants a chance to see if he’s any good at baseball.

He takes the matter into his own hands by stealing a list of teachers’ phone numbers from Coach Fredricks’ office. That night, he calls the coach, donning a parent’s voice and pretending to be Gordon’s dad. Gordon’s dad apparently isn’t too pleased that his son doesn’t get any playing time. Coach promises to fix the situation, and Bill hangs up, suddenly elated at the upcoming possibilities. Sam, on the other hand, realizes, “Oh great. Now we’re actually going to have to play baseball.”

Actually, Sam, you’re still in luck, because Coach Fredricks offers the shortstop gig to Gordon but continues to ignore the rest of the geeks. Time for phase two. This time, Bill calls the coach and launches into a tirade against him, complete with lots of stuff related toward butts and other insults you would expect of a teenage boy.

Coach Fredricks realizes what’s up and calls each of his gym students into his office to question them. When he gets Bill to reread the previous night’s tirade to him, the coach knows immediately that it’s him. Finally, Bill explains what’s been bothering him: He wants to play and get better!

For once, Bill gets a little victory. Coach selects the geeks as team captains, and Bill leads his team of misfits to a rousing victory. Well, maybe not. But he does catch a fly ball rather impressively, and the geeks celebrate like they’ve just won the Super Bowl.

Over in the land of freaks and surprising friendships, Lindsay and Kim are hanging out more and more. They couldn’t be more different, as evidenced by their dueling perspectives on hitchhiking (Lindsay references Jack Kerouac and all the exciting people they could meet! Kim thinks they need to point their boobs toward the road more!).

Their combined mischief eventually gets back to Lindsay’s parents, who think it’s about time they meet Kim’s mother to see if Kim is really the type of girl Lindsay should be hanging out with. After a few minutes of dinner with Kim’s parents, Harold and Jean quickly realize the answer is no, and they tell Lindsay to stop spending time with her.

Lindsay takes this as a joke, but she makes the mistake of telling Kim the blunt language her parents used to describe her. Despite her tough-girl act, Kim takes everything to heart, and she lashes out at Lindsay for not defending her. When Lindsay doesn’t understand why Kim is so upset, Daniel explains it best: “Kim is the rawest nerve there is.”

Meanwhile, Lindsay’s parents take some advice from Kim’s mom to read her diary. Their findings quell their concerns about Lindsay, who, as well established, is a pretty good kid, but they open up a new door on a whole other issue. Lindsay’s description of her parents? “They are the most boring, repressed people on the face of the entire earth. They say they love each other, but who knows? It’s probably just part of their routine. Anyway, can robots really be in love?”

Harold barely registers it, but Jean is crestfallen. Here she is, leading a life devoted to making her husband and children happy, and her daughter only sees her as some pathetic housewife who answers her husband’s every beck and call. In an attempt to spice things up, she gets creative in the kitchen and cooks a fancy meal of Cornish game hens for the family. Harold quickly derails this act of quiet rebellion by making fun of the food and disparagingly telling his wife that he’d rather make a sandwich than eat that.

It starts to seem like Lindsay’s harsh critique is right, but once Harold realizes why Jean is so upset, he reassures her that he loves their life and that everything he does is for her. Maybe stability in sameness isn’t so bad, if that’s what makes you happy.

We end the episode with Harold and Jean rediscovering, uh, old passions, and all the kids groaning at the realization of that. One bonus, though, is that happy, post-coital Harold and Jean no longer care that Lindsay is hanging out with a spitfire like Kim. Lindsay seems to have successfully regained Kim’s trust by standing up for her in English class and again at home.


Daniel: Who does she think she is? Let’s talk about it for four more hours and find out.

Kim: Are you calling me irrational? Because I’ll tear your head off and throw it over that fence.

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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