School Days and Parisian Nightsuits: Every 'Freaks and Geeks' Episode, Ranked

In honor of the gone-too-soon show, we rank every episode of this cult TV classic, from good to great

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5. 'Pilot'

Air Date: September 25, 1999
"I just think we really got it right," says Feig of the introductory episode, which gives us a large enough glimpse of the show's basic set-up and most important characters to make us immediately care enough to learn more about them. Sam's storyline, in particular, was deeply personal to Feig. "The whole Sam story is basically all things that happened to me," Feig admits. "I had the bully. I was in love with the cheerleader. I asked her to go to the homecoming dance with me the day of the dance. So that was all torn from my experiences."

"We did a table read a day or two before we started shooting and we all felt like there was something wrong with Lindsay's character," recalls Feig, who calls it "a real turning point for me as a writer, because I remember going to Judd and Jake and saying, ‘I know what the problem is. It's that she is already part of the freaks, so we are just meeting her and her friends. Shit's too easy; she's already in there.' I told them: ‘Give me tonight. I'm going to go off tonight and I'm going to write this.' I holed up in my office in Burbank and did that rewrite to make it that Lindsay is new [to the group]. They don't accept her, they're suspicious of her, and Franco's character is the one who's ushering her into the world. That was a very distinct moment in my life."

That small tweak is what sets up the foundation for the entire series — the question mark for both Linda Cardellini's character and the audience as to which group she truly belongs, or whether someone can be defined by a single descriptor. Lindsay becomes the personification of this when she invites a mentally challenged student (wonderfully played by Ben Foster) to the dance. "I though about what stand somebody would make to try to tell the whole school to ‘fuck off,'" Feig recalls of his inspiration for this pivotal conclusion. "I thought that was a great way for her to show that's she's rebellious and all that, but that she has a good heart."
Best Line: "She's a cheerleader. You've seen Star Wars 27 times. Do the math."

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