1. 'Discos and Dragons'
Air Date: July 8, 2000
Though we can all agree that a second (or a third, or a fourth) season of would have been wonderful and warranted, to think that "Discos and Dragons" wasn't a proper series finale — and a great one at that — is totally incorrect. Feig knew well ahead of time that this would likely be the show's final episode, and wrote it accordingly. "We actually shot that finale episode and then we shot four more episodes after it," explains Feig, who opted for quiet closure instead of a slammed door. "My only goal was to have everybody in a different place at the end of the episode, because that was going to be the thing with the series if it continued on. I could never get over how one year you're best friends with the nerdiest guy in school and then you go away for the summer and you come back and he's a huge burnout. He won't talk to you and he's got long hair and it's like, 'What the fuck happened? Who is this person?'"
This explains explain the subtle shifts in each of the character's behavior: Lindsay skips out on an academic summit to follow the Grateful Dead with Kim, while Daniel becomes a part of Sam, Bill, Neal, Gordon, and Harris' regular Dungeons and Dragons crew. (This leads Bill to wonder aloud whether Daniel "wanting to play with us again mean that he's turning into a geek, or we're turning into cool guys?" To which Sam responds, "I don't know. But I'm going to go for us being cool guys"). And while Ken maintains his position that disco sucks, the widest character arc comes courtesy of Nick — who, now drug-free, fancies himself a bit of a disco king, thanks to his budding romance with Sara.
It's in the small moments, like Nick's choreographed dance routine, that the show stays hilariously true to its mission to present high school in all its embarrassingly authentic glory, and to honor those years of transformation in a warm and refreshingly honest way. But about those dance moves? "Oh my god, Segel is such my hero," says Feig of Nick's moves. "We hired the guy who choreographed Saturday Night Fever to come in to teach Jason how to dance. I videotaped him rehearsing it — I've got to find those tapes — because I was directing it and trying to figure out what the dance was. He told me, 'The only thing I ask is that you not show me any footage of me dancing until we're done with the episode because I want to think that I'm great.' He said that Nick would think that he's great. I was like, 'You're on.' So that's what's so funny: He so commits to it because he thinks he's really good."
Best Line: "Fine, I'll be a dwarf. But my name is Carlos."