Lindsay tries to convince Harold to let her join her friends at a Who concert. Kim and Lindsay accidentally run over Millie's dog. Kim starts hanging out with Millie. Lindsay wants to tell ...
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Lindsay tries to convince Harold to let her join her friends at a Who concert. Kim and Lindsay accidentally run over Millie's dog. Kim starts hanging out with Millie. Lindsay wants to tell Millie the truth about her dog, but Kim does not. Meanwhile, Nick teaches himself to play guitar and writes a love ballad for Lindsay. Ms. Haverchuck stuns Bill with the news that she has been dating Coach Fredricks. Written by
"Stripes" wasn't released until June 1981, so they couldn't be discussing the movie during the '80-'81 school year. See more »
Millie is seen wearing a tee shirt depicting the cover of The Who's 1994 box set, "30 years of Maximum R & B." This is an anachronism since the episode is supposed to be set in the spring of 1981. See more »
I like that they went with a Who theme for an episode of "Freaks and Geeks", but that just goes for the songs. This is anything but a gimmick episode.
'Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers' ably shows the anxieties from the points of view of both teenager and adult (Millie losing her cherished dog, Goliath, and the Weirs' fear of letting their daughter attend a hedonist rock concert).
But it's Bill's story that leaves the real impression. It opens with Bill sitting there in front of Garry Shandling's stand-up routine on TV, grilled cheese in hand, laughing himself silly. It's a tiny capsule of fleeting happiness, and within just a few moments, we get a vivid picture of this kid's life. He finds solace in solitude before being wrenched back into reality when Mom announces she's seeing Coach Fredericks. It's just soul crushing for Bill, a character who's thus far had a monopoly on the one-liners. You can't even blame Fredericks, either, because he's also trying to make the best of a bad situation (huge credit to Tom Wilson in this role). I've never gone through this kind of thing and have never had to lash out at a broken home situation over which I've no control, but Bill's pain hits you where it hurts.
It does help that the episode isn't without its moments of levity:
Kim: "We killed Millie's dog!"
Ken: "Like with your bare hands?"
And it ends the only way it possibly can: with a ray of fragile optimism. Bill and Fredericks wind up in front of the TV in front of "Dallas", with Bill offering to share his favorite TV show. Those two scenes that bookend this episode (both TV-related) might be my two very favorites of this series.
I mean, it just doesn't get any better than that.
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