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'Freaks and Geeks' nostalgia recap: Bill's worst nightmare

Season 1 | Episode 14 | “Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers” | Aired Oct 10, 2000

“Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers” officially marks the stretch of Freaks and Geeks that NBC yanked before it could air, and what a shame, because it’s a good episode—though at this point, I think I can comfortably establish that they’re all good ones. Damn you, NBC.

This week, Bill gets to slip out of his usual role of comedic relief. A potential new papa has arrived in the Haverchuck household, and Bill is not too pleased about it—especially when he finds out it’s Coach Fredricks.

It’s already disorienting enough to see a teacher outside of school, but in your own home? That takes it to a whole new level. We know immediately that this isn’t going to fly with Bill. He faces each day at school as the quintessential geek, relegated to be the guy picked last in gym class, the guy who almost died because of a peanut, and so on. Home, at least, remains delightfully far from all that. He can just sit on his couch, eat a grilled cheese, and watch Dallas with no one to judge.

Coach Fredricks’ presence completely rids his home of that safety net. Plus, Bill just doesn’t like the guy. When Fredricks dismisses Bill Murray as a “wiseass,” any chance of Bill and Fredricks becoming buds vanishes.

The next day, Bill lashes out at Fredricks in gym class, eventually storming out (and leaving Alan to proclaim, “I never thought I’d say this, but Haverchuck is the king”).

Things only get icier as Fredricks settles in more and more at Bill’s house. Bill’s mom notices the tension and recommends Go-Kart City. Who doesn’t love Go-Kart City?

Fredricks goes all in, even buying Bill, Neal, and Sam (the latter two invite themselves) fake vomit and other high-school-boyish things, but once again, Bill is not impressed. The go-kart riding doesn’t go as planned either. Just when Bill starts smiling as he flies around the track in first place, Fredricks hits his go-kart and sends Bill crashing into a hay bale. Oopsies. “I hate you,” screams Bill. “You always have to win. You don’t care at all about other people’s feelings.”

It doesn’t seem like their relationship can plummet down any further, so Fredricks finally takes a chance and opens up to Bill. Sure, he’s probably a stupid gym teacher just like Bill thinks, but he’s also a guy who really loves his mom. Bill cries and doesn’t say anything, but eventually he comes around.

When Bill comes home one day to find Coach Fredricks watching basketball on his couch, he asks to switch it to Dallas. Then, quietly, he begins filling Coach Fredricks in on all the details of the show (of course it’s not just any show, but Bill’s favorite). Fredricks realizes with a small smile that there might finally be some hope after all.

Elsewhere at McKinley High, the freaks are gearing up to see The Who in concert, and Lindsay is doing her best to convince her parents that they’re wholesome and innocent and totally kid-friendly. As usual, Harold ain’t having it, but he at least gives them a listen (which gives us the wonderfully hilarious scene of Mama and Papa Weir trying to decipher the meaning of the lyrics “Mom’s got a squeeze box”—Jean’s bet is on an accordion).

Lindsay might not be the only renegade geek coming to the concert, though. By an odd and rather tragic turn of events, Millie is on track to become a freak too. The spark to all this? Lindsay and Kim running over Millie’s dog with their car. Not cool, guys. Actually, just plain awful, guys.

Millie is devastated by the hit-and-run of her best furry friend, and Lindsay and Kim are too ashamed to admit it was them. Out of guilt, Kim buddies up with Millie, and she convinces Lindsay to attend little Goliath’s funeral in Millie’s backyard. Then, just as Lindsay once did, Millie begins walking the path toward future freakdom. She hangs out with Kim, no longer cares about studying, and even wants to go The Who’s concert. Lindsay thinks Kim needs to tell the truth, but Kim calls her out on being scared of losing someone safe to run to from her “bad friends.”

It’s a fun twist seeing Millie in Lindsay’s shoes, and how much Lindsay hates it. Eventually, though, they realize Millie might be going too far when she starts to try a beer for the first time. Kim blurts out the truth, and in a flash, old Millie is back. Lindsay ends up skipping the concert to go hang out with her old friend, and once again, all is well.

Notables

  • How great is Nick’s song for Lindsay? Well, not great. It’s pretty terrible, and it brings us our greatest Ken moment so far: Ken absolutely smashes Nick’s guitar before he can sing a single line of that awful song to Lindsay. That’s the move of a good bro, Ken.
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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