Freaks and Geeks
Tests and Breasts
Original Air Date: Nov 6, 1999
Valentina D. – TwoCents Reviewer
Last time we saw Sam Weir, he was dressed in a sci-fi robot costume and trick-or-treating in an effort to capture his childhood and never let it go. Here we see Sam and the geeks leave behind childhood forever but in a way that affects Sam deeply. Lindsay, becoming more and more associated with the freaks, learns a lesson in the difference between helping a friend and being manipulated.
The geeks are sitting in sex education class. Of course when you throw a bunch of thirteen year old boys in this setting, chances are they’re going to laugh and crack jokes. Except Sam, who tells his friends to shut up multiple times which prompts Mr. Fredricks call Sam up to teach the class. Sam is embarrassed when it becomes obvious that he knows nothing about the female reproductive system and earns the nickname “Dr. Love.”
Just a few classrooms over, Daniel is also humiliated by his algebra teacher Mr. Kowchevski who tells him in front of the class that he’ll be retaking algebra next year if he fails the next test. Daniel, de facto leader of the freaks, has always been a poor student and isn’t very interested in school but Mr. Kowchevski’s comments seem to have affected him. Lindsay, being a math genius, offers to help him study and promises to teach him some shortcuts. It might just be because I really like James Franco but the show paints him as a character that you should hate on paper but when you see him on screen, you just can’t. That probably explains why Lindsay does what she does later in this episode, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
At lunch, Sam and friends realize how clueless they really are when they overhear a gang of jocks laugh hysterically at a dirty joke and don’t understand it. He feels even more awkward when his crush, Cindy, starts to talk to him and a classmate calls him “Dr. Love.” When they find out that even Harris gets the joke, the geeks make it their mission to find out for themselves.
Later that evening, Daniel shows up at the Weirs for a tutoring session and he’s completely unprepared and disinterested. He steps out for a smoke and finds Sam reading an anatomy book. Taking pity on Sam, Daniel tells him to find him at school tomorrow and he’ll set him up. Back inside, Daniel is surprised that studying might actually involve opening a book and decides to leave. He seems discouraged and apologizes for wasting Lindsay’s time. Lindsay is a good person and genuinely believes Daniel has difficulty learning but from a viewer standpoint, it’s easy to see that part of the problem is just sheer laziness.
The next morning, Daniel gives Sam a package and warns him to not lose it. He’s also got an easy solution to his algebra problems: with Nick keeping an eye out, he sneaks into Kowchevski’s office and steals a copy of the algebra test. He approaches Lindsay with the test and asks her to help him cheat. Here, we see glimpses of the old Lindsay who’s sickened by the thought of cheating and volunteers to ask for an extension on Daniel’s behalf. Things don’t go as smoothly as she thought when Kowcheski flat out refuses and calls Daniel a loser. In an angry furry, Lindsay decides to help Daniel cheat and writes out all the answers to the test on a cheat sheet. It works because Daniel ends up getting his first “A” ever. Kowchevski is rightfully suspicious and tells Lindsay received an anonymous note saying she helped him cheat.
The geeks gather around under a stairwell and unwrap what turns out to be a porno movie on a film reel. They make a plan to watch it at Neal’s after school and while Neal seems to be really into it, Sam and Bill look uncomfortable as ever. After Neal declares “that guy must have the best job in the world,” Sam is shaken and decides to go home where he’s completely lost his appetite for dinner. Kowchevski calls and tells the Weir parents that Lindsay cheated, a claim that she denies and she storms off. While she says she’s upset at her parents for not supporting her, I think she’s more upset at herself and letting Daniel talk her into it.
In the cafeteria the next day, Sam is still traumatized from the porno and can’t even look Cindy in the eye when she tries to talk to him. Soon, Sam finds himself in the place where this all started: sex education class. Mr. Fredricks makes the boys write down any sex-related questions they have anonymously and he answers them out loud, but makes Sam stay after class. His question, never revealed to us, worried his teacher and he explains he saw it in a movie. Mr. Fredicks has a long talk with Sam to make him understand pornos sensationalize things and aren’t reality. Sam comes away from the meeting relaxed and comfortable. So comfortable in fact, that he sees Cindy painting posters for a school cause and offers to help her.
Elsewhere, Lindsay is less calm than her brother. She and Daniel are facing a disciplinary meeting after school and Kim has told her that being “study buddies” doesn’t mean much to Daniel because he’d just get the answers from someone else if she were to stop helping him. Slowly, she starts to see the real Daniel and tells him she’s going to confess after he tells her to deny everything. He launches into a heartfelt speech about not liking being a horrible student and wishing he was more like her. According to him, he was placed on Track 3 –the “dumb kids”- at age eleven. Lindsay feels sorry for Daniel and agrees to lie. As charming as Daniel is, he’s also a master manipulator.
As Lindsay and Daniel wait to see Kowchevski, her parents arrive at the school because they decided to support Lindsay and fully believe that she is telling the truth. In the meeting, Mr. Rosso reveals that Kowchevski lied about receiving an anonymous note and thought he’d make Lindsay crack. Mr. Rosso and the Weirs have complete faith that no cheating occurred but just as it looks like Lindsay and Daniel are in the clear, Kowchevski proposes a surefire test. He produces a copy of the algebra test and tells Daniel to complete a problem correctly in front of the entire room to prove he did not need to cheat. After much writing, he hands Mr. Rosso the test which simply reads “Zeppelin Rocks.” Clearly, the two did cheat and Lindsay lied about the entire thing. In a seemingly noble gesture, Daniel sticks up for Lindsay by delivering the exact same speech about not wanting to be a dumb kid that he recited to Lindsay just minutes earlier. At this point, it’s evident to us that a lot of what escapes Daniel Desario’s mouth is just bunk and Kim was right. Lindsay picks up on this too, as the adults are silent and fall for his sob story while she bursts out laughing at him.
What did you think of this episode? Do you think Lindsay and Daniel will remain close after what he did? How do you think Daniel will evolve by the end of the series? Share your TwoCents below!
Next Week: Carded and Discarded