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The Boob Tube: Freaks and Geeks, The Office

Freaks and Geeks

Aside from the occasional special event, I don’t watch TV, and haven’t watched it regularly for nearly 2 years now. But even if I watched it as religiously as I once did, I still probably wouldn’t have caught a single episode of Freaks and Geeks. Which is a crying shame, because I finally saw a few episodes last night on DVD and they were easily some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen in a long time.

The brilliance of the show lay in its casting. I don’t know who did the casting calls, but whoever they are, they’re geniuses. There isn’t a bad performance in the bunch, though I definitely have my favorite. Even the minor actors and cameos are great as well, from that kid in The Royal Tenenbaums to Joel Hodgson and Jason Schwartzman — who appear in the same episode, and as disco store employees! And people wonder why I believe in a good and loving God!!!

Apparently, only 18 episodes were produced, and only half of those actually aired. But thank God for DVD. Not only does it bring us 4 discs of hobbit-y goodness, but it also gives sadly underappreciated TV shows a much-deserved second lease on life.

I also caught a few episodes of The Office earlier this week, and it’s good stuff as well. Filmed in the style of a documentary, the program takes a look at the life and travails of people working in, well, an office. There’s the boss who think he’s the funniest and smartest guy in the world (when he’s anything but), the power-hungry right-hand man, the buxom young secretary, and the bored and cynical newcomer trying to maintain his sanity.

It’s a bit of an acquired taste, I suppose — the comedy is all lowkey — but the performances are an absolute riot (especially the boss, whom you love to hate). I doubt this could become a hit in America — again, I think the style of humor would be an issue, and it can get pretty risque at times — but once again, DVD comes to the rescue.

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