AB’s Weekly Obsession

Freaks And Geeks: The Complete Series DVD CollectionFreaks And Geeks: The Complete Series DVD Collection

Thank goodness I decided to bring my MacBook on vacation last week. The DVD player in the house we rented was broken, and I’d have been really pissed if I couldn’t have watched the Freaks And Geeks DVD box set I’d scored just prior to leaving.

Freaks And Geeks was a TV series that lasted only twelve episodes before NBC pulled the ultimate boner move and cancelled it. A few more episodes were aired due to fan pressure, but the damage had been done: The best coming-of-age TV show of all time was caput. In 2004, after years spent working to secure the rights to all the original music that was used in the series, Shout Factory reissued every episode on a six-DVD set.

So, why have I dedicated my Modern Drummer blog this week to the show? Well, one of the main characters, Nick, brilliantly played by Jason Segel, is a drummer, and the show’s creators used this thread as a major thematic element throughout the series. In fact, in the very first episode, Nick, who after a week is still visibly mourning the death of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham (the show is set in 1980), convinces lead character Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) to cut school so that he can show her the gargantuan drumset he’s constructed in his garage. Nick is the only person in Lindsay’s life who recognizes the difficulty she’s having finding her place in the world, and decides that by sharing his passion with her, he’ll be able to convince Linda that if only she could find her own “big, gigantic drumkit,” she’ll be okay.

Later in the series, Nick struggles with his old-school father, who insists that if he doesn’t improve his grades, it’s off to the army, killing his dream of being a drum star. In that same episode, Nick auditions for the hot local band, with heartbreaking results.

Anyone who identifies themselves as a drum “freak” will immediately identify with Nick’s exploits, and those who pay close attention might even pick up on a couple Modern Drummer references. (Hint: Don’t miss the extras!) And if you, like Nick, are at the beginning stages of your drum career, you might even want to lend your copy of this awesome collection to your girlfriend, boyfriend–even your parents. Maybe they’ll more clearly understand your often-denounced life path. Rarely has the concept of being a drummer been rendered with such intelligence, compassion, and humor.

Adam Budofsky is Modern Drummer magazine’s managing editor.