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Pop Pedestal: Lindsay Weir

Though I'm sure many Bitch readers are already fans of Freaks and Geeks, I had to take this week to celebrate the main character in an amazing ensemble cast: Lindsay Weir (played by Linda Cardellini).

Lindsay Weir, a white teenage girl with dark hair, stands in front of a trash can that says McKinley HS on it

The Pedestal Profile: After her grandmother's death (which takes place before the series begins), Lindsay becomes disillusioned with her life as a high school mathlete and embarks on a journey of suburban teenage rebellion. She quits the math team and attempts to join the gang of "freaks" at her school, much to the concern of her parents (Joe Flaherty and Becky Ann Baker) and her guidance counselor (Dave Gruber). Caught between her new friends, her old friends, and her family, Lindsay spends most of the show trying to figure out where she belongs.

Lindsay and Kim, a white teenage girl with blond hair, sit on the bleachers
Admirable Qualities: Lindsay's most obvious virtue is that she is a great friend. She manages to retain her relationship with childhood friend and former math teammate Millie (Sarah Hagan) throughout the series, despite Millie's suspicious attitude towards the freaks, yet is loyal enough to stick up for her new group of friends to Millie and her parents. Lindsay's kindness seems to make her friends in every clique—along with the freaks and the mathletes, she's got pals in marching band (Amy, played by Jessica Campbell) and is cool with her younger brother Sam (John Francis Daley) and his friends. Her ability to float between groups encourages disparate cliques to connect in often hilarious ways.


[Millie performs the Doobie Brothers' "Jesus is Just Alright" at a party. Nick joins in.]

Lindsay thinks the best of her friends, to the point that she occasionally overestimates their talents (like Daniel's willingness to study algebra or Nick's rock star potential), but she's always willing to help them out and tries her best to steer them in the right direction. She's fierce when it comes to defending her friends and family, even when she's not completely sure that they have her back.


Four shots in two minutes. Could this pilot BE any cooler?

Another of Lindsay's best qualities is that she's smart and proud of it; she seems to excel in every subject, but she's best at math. Though she sometimes tries to downplay her good grades to fit in with the freaks, she doesn't ever lie about her achievements or dumb herself down for their benefit; she even uses her knowledge to defend Kim Kelly's (Busy Phillips) trenchant analysis of On the Road and does her best to tutor friend/crush Daniel Desario (James Franco).

Her Influence: She's so cool that Nick even writes a song about her:

Freaks and Geeks, though unjustly canceled after a single season, received its due in the DVD market and became a cult hit, bolstering the successful film careers of its creators Judd Apatow and Paul Feig. The show re-aired on IFC in 2010 and is currently airing late at night on TeenNick.

That's Not All: Her wardrobe is pretty low-key, but Lindsay still managed to become my fashion icon because of her trademark army jacket and gold hoop earrings. I'm a sucker for consistency.

Think of Her When... You're trying to fit in. Or when you're trying to stand out. Or when you're stoned and afraid that the whole world is just the dream of a napping basset hound.

Lindsay sits on a couch looking stoned and freaked out.

Previously: Abed Nadir, Captain Turanga Leela

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Comments

3 comments have been made. Post a comment.

I discovered Freaks and

I discovered Freaks and Geeks on DVD about a year ago, and I immediately related to Lindsey.  However, as the series went on, I started to realize that Lindsey tended to take a more supportive role in the storylines (i.e. there's an episode where Lindsey helps each of the "freaks").  I agree with you that this was part of her character, but sometimes, it felt like the writers were more interested and invested in other characters.  I really enjoyed the show, but I was also a little shocked when I found out it was supposed to take place in the Detroit metro area in the 1980s.  I grew up there (in the 1990s) and my neighborhood was full of immigrant families. In fact, most of my friends growing up were the children of immigrants (or immigrants themselves).  I don't know if that part of the show was an accurate and the communities just changed that much in 10-15 years, but that felt like another odd bit of erasure by the writers.  

Thank you!

I also wanted to add that I'm really enjoying this series and your other posts, Sara.  It's great to find somebody discussing and enjoying the same characters that I love to analyze.  

Yeah Lindsay! I related to

Yeah Lindsay! I related to this character as well, and so did my mom, who I found out had an experience very similar to the one where Nick sings "Lady" to Lindsay, haha. The episode where she tutors Daniel made me so uncomfortable, because I could see my high school self getting into a similar situation. She's not a saint, but is doing her best to follow her moral compass.