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'Freaks and Geeks' nostalgia recap: Behind closed doors

Season 1 | Episode 12 | “The Garage Door” | Aired Mar 13, 2000

Neal’s dad on Freaks and Geeks is a cool fellow. He’s fun to hang out with, he lets the geeks stay up late watching TV, he supplies them with endless ice cream and soda, and he even buys an Atari for Neal as soon as it comes out.

There’s a catch to it, though: Mr. Schweiber seems to be getting cozy with a lady that clearly isn’t Mrs. Schweiber.

The uncovering of this sends our geeks into territory way beyond their maturity level, and we get to witness a new side of Neal, who’s usually our self-appointed comedian.

All of this unfolds after Sam goes shopping with his mom and spots Mr. Schweiber hugging a woman very closely. Despite Mr. Schweiber’s best attempt to downplay this bit of PDA, Sam immediately knows something is off. He tells Bill, making him promise to keep it a secret, which lasts all of 10 seconds. When they break the news to Neal that his dad might be cheating, Neal quickly denies it, angrily accusing Sam of being jealous, and harshly pointing out that Bill doesn’t even have a father.

Later, when he’s calmed down a little, Neal searches through his father’s car and finds a second garage door opener that, damningly, doesn’t open their door.

At this point, Neal realizes the worst must be true, but he doesn’t know how to process this. Up until now, Neal has had the best dad of all of his friends—not absent like Bill’s, not a conservative grump like Sam’s. Now, though, he realizes his father’s lies and his own naiveté in believing everything was perfect.

Despite knowing the inevitable, Neal recruits the geeks for a mission to find the mystery garage door that the opener works for. They search around town for hours on their bikes, bemoaning how anyone could cheat on their wife. Bill and Sam eventually leave Neal to pedal around neighborhoods on his own when it gets too late. At last, a door opens when he clicks, and he sees his dad’s shiny red car parked in someone’s garage.

This devastation to Neal in turn magnifies Sam’s love for his own parents. They may not be as flashy as Mr. Schweiber, but they’re consistent and caring. When Sam comes home after the tense search with Neal, Harold and Jean surprise him with an Atari, and he tears up as he hugs them close. It’s a touching scene.

Things aren’t quite as dramatic over with Lindsay & Co. Instead, we get a rare look beyond Ken and his trademark sarcasm. It turns out the guy has a heart after all. Who knew it would end up beating for a tuba player in the band?

Daniel plays a key role in Ken’s new love, as well as in his own yo-yo of a relationship with Kim, and in the continuing awkwardness between Lindsay and Nick.

With Kim, Daniel is trying out a new technique to just agree with everything Kim says to avoid any fights. Not much changes, though, as they continue to bug each other until it’s time to make out again.

Nick and Lindsay are still on completely different pages, with Nick hopelessly in love and Lindsay just trying to be nice. Daniel’s advice? Cold shoulder all the way. Again, maybe not the most helpful advice, but at least things don’t seem to get worse between our recently broken-up pair.

Meanwhile, Ken is in completely new territory, as he’s never really had a crush until now. Daniel can hardly believe it when he hears the news, and he quickly sets out to help his friend snag this special someone. Lindsay, equally shocked by the revelation that Ken could actually like someone, secures him a date with tuba-playing Amy, who expresses a particular interest in Ken’s sideburns.

All six of them head to the laser rock show, and somehow Ken successfully locks lips with Amy, despite Daniel’s rather elementary advice of just staring at her long enough until they have to kiss.

Perhaps Daniel is a love guru after all.

Notables

  • Daniel’s advice to Nick about Lindsay: “Don’t sing to her. Geez, man, we don’t want to be friends with you after hearing about that one.”
  • We officially learned Bill’s worst memory (or so we hope): “Remember that time in science class when I tried to sneak out a fart but it came out a poop and then I had to flush my undies down the toilet? Do you think I wanted to tell you guys that?”
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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