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Halloween, Growing Up and Freaks and Geeks

29 Oct

It’s been mentioned on several occasions over the past week here at TV Ate My Wardrobe that I love Halloween episodes and teen shows like My So-Called LifeBuffy the Vampire Slayer and Freaks and Geeks have produced some of my favorite takes on this candy/monster filled event.

Teen shows spend a lot of time with characters who are constantly questioning who they are in that very self-involved but perfectly acceptable adolescent way. My So-Called Life explores a classic urban legend as a mirror to Angela Chase’s personal drama and features a costume moment that is hard to beat as Danielle Chase dresses as her older sister. With Buffy‘s first Halloween outing they become the character of the costume they are wearing and this gives an alternate version of their reality as Buffy turns into the type of woman she mistakenly thinks that Angel is interested in. Remember it’s bad to change who you are just because you think it’s what a dude wants.

Halloween offers a backdrop to not only dress the characters we are familiar with as something completely different but to also explore other larger issues that these characters are experiencing.

F&G ep 3 Trick or Treating

The Halloween episode of Freaks and Geeks “Tricks and Treats comes early in the life of the show (episode 3) and it expands on the boys straddling the line between what was fun when they were kids and how they should behave now they are at high school. After deliberations they go for the first option and venture out trick-or-treating even though they’re probably a tad too old. They soon find this out when they get berated by everyone and end up on the receiving end of Lindsay’s own teen dilemma as she accidentally eggs her brother Sam. Lindsay is still trying to prove to her new friends that she isn’t just a straight A student and all round good girl; she does so by emulating their Halloween pranks.

F&G ep 3 Lindsay mailbox baseballSam and Lindsay Weir are both at crossroads and they should both look to Bill Haverchuck who throughout the series has fun with what he likes and generally doesn’t worry about what others think about him. Bill dresses as the Bionic Woman and has imaginary conversations with Steve Austin as he gets ready because Bill wants to enjoy himself and if this involves make up and stuffed bra then he’ll do it. Bill is a rare flower and you’re more likely to find people like Sam and Lindsay who do worry about the opinions of others because that’s how most of us operate and teendom only magnifies these feelings.

F&G ep 3 Bill Bionic WomanHalloween is when we can become something we are not and the boys go for the childhood aspect they are leaving behind, whereas Lindsay attempts rebellion and finds that she doesn’t really like this side of herself. When I talked about this episode with Julie over at This Was TV I mentioned nostalgia as a key element and this applies to most holiday days as some of the strongest associations come from childhood experiences. Halloween comes with a high nostalgia factor particularly when it comes to trick-or-treating and then before you know it Halloween becomes a whole different kind of event involving booze and sexy versions of things.

One of the reasons why Freaks and Geeks resonates with me even though I didn’t watch it when I was a teenager is that it perfectly captures the many conflicting feelings that come during these teen years; it doesn’t patronize in how it presents this and you immediately get the sense of what it was like to be that age no matter what decade it is set in. This Paul Feig written episode might come early in the run of this show but it manages to get to the core of who Lindsay and Sam Weir are, even if they are questioning the people they are becoming.

Freaks and Geeks makes my heart ache and feel warm in equal measure and this scene from “Tricks or Treats” shows why Bill Haverchuck is always a joy to watch.

 

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3 Responses to “Halloween, Growing Up and Freaks and Geeks”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Halloween Costume Tips from Felicity | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 29, 2014

    […] For more on Halloween and 90s teen TV check out posts on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Freaks and Geeks. […]

  2. Happy Halloween from Hack Into Broad City | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 29, 2015

    […] this isn’t a full length Halloween episode because I love Halloween episodes (see here, here, here and […]

  3. Teen TV Halloween Episode Round-Up | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 26, 2017

    […] this holiday as a way to portray the push and pull that is indicative of being a teenager here. And for This Was TV, I did a deep dive of this episode with regular teen TV team-up partner, […]

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