Freaks and Geeks are still Popular

Video Source: Canuck21 May 29th, 2009

This post has been inspired by an authentic ‘YPCT’ moment that I experienced during my school holidays, and it stemmed from my family’s interaction with selecting TV entertainment. With 2 teenager daughters in the house, several of our conversations during chill-out time are about ‘what should we watch on TV?’. Firstly though, on quick reflection about TV, can I say that although I am not a huge TV watcher, I am a fan of its ability to adapt. It is quite an amazing old technology which has been transforming itself for more than 85 years, now allowing us to carry it around in our pockets if we really want. Its adaptability has been heavily aided by digital technologies, as the concept of watching TV is no longer looking at a specific device to catch up on a TV series or film, but is considered more the act of viewing content on whatever device you wish to use. Within this statement lies the process in which my family discovered the iconic 90’s TV series ‘Freaks and Geeks’.

A showcase of digital literacies soon began when my eldest digital native found a GIF image posted on the social media site Tumblr, by someone who she follows. It sparked her curiosity, so then headed to Google for more information. Up popped a Youtube library with the complete series for season one ready to view. As a cautionary step, she perused the comments left by other Youtube viewers to assess the general vibe of the shows content and then watched the pilot episode on her Apple laptop. Once shared with the rest of the family, we began the 18 episode journey with ‘Freaks and Geeks’, while using Air Play to watch it on the family TV screen. The writers had cleverly layered the show’s themes to cover points of view from a 14 year old brother, 16 year old sister and their very stereotypical 80’s parents.To get a feel for the theme and targeted audience, here is a quote from a google search:

Growing up circa 1980, a misfit high-school student and his pals are probably destined to become new media millionaires, but right now they’re stuck in school, where all the girls are a foot taller and bullies terrorize the gym class. Meanwhile, his older sister is flirting with the dope-smoking bad boys, cutting classes and questioning the point of getting good grades.

While devouring the one and only season over a week of holiday rest, we began adding ‘remember when’ scenarios into our conversations and inserting character’s punchlines. We would discuss the situations that certain characters put themselves into and tried to predict what was going to happen to them in the next episode. By the time we finished the season we had joined the fandom and could not believe that there was only one season ever made. In true digital native form, my youngest daughter jumped into action and searched online for more information about the series. She managed to uncover a huge cult following provided via blog articles, websites, and even an interactive game which was featured on Youtube. What’s great about this interactive game published by the Fine Brothers, is the option to choose your own adventure, where you take control of Lindsay Weir as she tries to find herself in high school. Play the game, and try to win!

Video Source: Fine Brothers October, 2013

I suppose that the main point of this very informal post is, that without today’s technological advancements made available to the masses, this interactive and ongoing conversation with digital connectivity would not be happening. Of course, we would have found some other form of entertainment to fill in our spare holiday hours, but the immersion of the digital literacies needed in our lives often goes unnoticed. Once upon a time, if you missed watching a TV show, you had to wait for the re-runs, but now it can begin with a simple GIF image to spark the adventure …. go figure?

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