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Characters: Freaks and Geeks
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    Freaks 

Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini)

  • The Ace: Starts as one but despite being a Freak, she still gets good grades. She just stops caring about them towards the end and ditches a University summit to follow the Grateful Dead.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Early on in the series, she appears to have a bit of a crush on Daniel, particularly evident in "Beers and Weirs".
  • Brainy Brunette
  • Bully Hunter: She doesn't take any shit from some of the nastier elements at McKinley High, and is seen variously:
    • Stepping in to protect her brother Sam from his arch-nemesis, Alan.
    • Calling out a group of jerks (twice) for mis-treating mentally handicapped student, Eli.
    • Taking on smug, patronising mathlete Shelly Weaver (and kicking her ass) at a "mathlete scrimmage".
    • Smacking the enormous Siedelman when he is harrassing a female student.
    • ...ofcourse, this doesn't always work out for her, and on occasion her good intentions backfire, but the pluckiness is admirable.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Enforced: the show was set in the Midwest, and Feig noted that tanned people in the Midwest were rare; California native Cardellini was required to have makeup that made her paler.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: As seen in "Looks and Books", where Lindsay opts for much girlier hair when she (temporarily) falls back in with the mathlete crowd after she gets sick of the Freaks' Toxic Friend Influence.
  • Extreme Doormat: A mild version when around the Freaks, as she is so eager to be accepted as part of their group that she bends over backwards to please them. She gets better, though.
  • The Hero: Along with her brother, Sam.
  • Hollywood Atheist: The death of her grandmother before the start of the series spurred her into atheism. Specifically, Lindsey was there at her deathbed when the grandmother confessed her terror at facing death in her last moments.
  • Kick the Dog: said episodes of her being an Extreme Doormat generally lead to this trope, but she really regrets it immediately and tries to make amends.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Her father's old army jacket, which is also symbolic of her transition to the Freaks.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Has this reaction when she accidentally eggs Sam.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Among the Freaks.
  • Secret Diary
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: As seen in "Noshing and Moshing" at the Schweiber's cocktail party, where she ditches the army jacket, puts on a hot dress, and deservingly attracts the (welcome) attention of the Schweiber's eldest son, Nice Jewish Boy Barry.
  • The Smart Guy
  • Soapbox Sadie: She represents a mild (and likable) example. Definitely in evidence when (at the time) Vice President George Bush pays a visit to McKinley High.
    Lindsay: Why did your staff reject my question? Are you afraid of engaging the students in an open discourse?
  • Teen Genius: As a former "mathlete", she is seen to be able to do complicated arithmatic in her head.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Used most evidently as a Plot Device in "Looks and Books".
    Daniel: C'mon Lindsay, don't be lame.
  • Wild Teen Party: She throws a house-party to try to impress the Freaks, as seen in "Beers and Weirs".
  • Yoko Oh No: Invoked. She inadvertently becomes this in "I'm with the Band", where she splits up the Freak's band when actually trying to get them to improve. Ken even calls her Yoko at one point.

Kim Kelly (Busy Philipps)

Daniel Desario (James Franco)

Nick Andopolis (Jason Segel)

Ken Miller (Seth Rogen)

  • A Day in the Limelight: He plays a mostly supporting, snarky-sidekick role in the series and isn't the subject of a main storyline right up until the penultimate episode, "The Little Things".
  • Deadpan Snarker: His most overt trait.
  • Gayngst: The above mentioned episode focuses on his sexual confusion on learning that his girlfriend, Amy, was born with both male and female sexual organs (although she is now purely female, physically).
  • Grumpy Bear
  • Invisible Parents: Unlike all of the other main characters, Ken's parents are never seen. From what he briefly mentions of them, they don't seem to have been around much in his life.
    Ken: I was raised by a nanny...Katherine.
    (When asked what his parents are like) Well...they're good at their jobs...
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: He plans on selling his father's business and retiring young.
  • The Slacker
  • The Stoic

    Geeks 

Sam Weir (John Francis Daley)

  • Adorkable: He really is.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Occasionally, but Sam and Lindsay get along pretty well and at worst, they just bicker.
  • Audience Surrogate
  • Author Avatar: Sam = Paul Feig.
  • Bishōnen: Sam is a realistic, geeky portrayal of this. He hadn't quite hit puberty yet, so his height, facial features,and voice made him a bit girlish-looking...just not in the exact "attractiveness" that the trope requires. Unless...
    • Had the series not been cancelled, then Sam's potential attractive-Bishonen might've been reached; John Francis Daley grew nearly a foot taller within the year after cancellation, and his voice would eventually crack.
  • Butt Monkey
  • Catchphrase: "Oh, hi Cindy" whenever he starts a conversation with Cindy Sanders.
  • Cringe Comedy: Sam frequently finds himself in ball-shrinkingly humiliating situations. If something humiliating is going to happen to one of the characters, it'll usually be him, whether it's being the main target of Alan and Karen's wrath, or hilariously embarrassing incidents involving public nudity, Parisian Night Suits or being egged (accidently) by his own sister.
  • Geek Physiques: Of the skinny, 103 pounds variety.
    Alan: Nice pecs Weir! You look like a flat-chested girl!
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Actually gets to date his crush Cindy. Of course, it didn't last, but at least he got to do the dumping when the time came...
  • The Hero
  • Heroic BSOD: A minor case after seeing his first porno in "Tests and Breasts".
  • Older than They Look: He's 14, but looks younger. Arguably, he looks 14 but is an aversion of Dawson Casting surrounded by straight examples.
    Karen Scarfoli: You don't even have any hair on your pits!
  • Naked People Are Funny: He was once locked out of the locker room completely naked.
    • Censor Box: As seen when he was forced to streak through the halls.
  • Nice Guy
  • Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times: Told to us by Neal in the first episode, partially the Trope Namer.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Him and Cindy.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: Sam spends most of the series pining for Cindy Sanders, but when they finally start dating, he finds they have nothing in common.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist

Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr)

Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine)

    Parents and other family members 

Harold and Jean Weir (Joe Flaherty and Becky Ann Baker)

  • Abusive Parents: In "Smooching and Mooching", it's implied that Harold's father was one of these.
    Harold: Nick's father is a hard man, and my father was the same.
    Lindsay: Yeah, I know the feeling...
    Harold: Lindsay, trust me, you don't.
  • Actor Allusion: Harold (played by former Count Floyd Joe Flaherty) donning a vampire costume in "Tricks and Treats".
  • Bumbling Dad: Harold takes himself very seriously, but his kids find him amusing at best and confoundingly frustrating at his worst.
  • Dad the Veteran: In at least one episode it's mentioned that Harold served in Korea.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Harold, occasionally.
    Lindsay: Daddy, if I started smoking I would tell you.
    Harold: Oh. Good, now I don't have to worry.
  • Extreme Doormat: Jean can be this with Harold, which is probably where Lindsay gets this tendency with the Freaks.
  • Fiery Redhead: Averted with cool-headed and mild-mannered Jean.
  • Good Parents: Ostensibly, compared to the rest of the cast's parents.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Harold can certainly be this at times.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Sam's dad is Count Floyd!
  • Housewife: Jean, of the traditional variety.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Harold disparages punk rock and the Sex Pistols in particular. Lindsay points that every generation has an example of The New Rockand Roll, a comparison that Harold makes a lame attempt at deflecting.
  • Jaded Washout: Harold is a borderline case. He works a rather thankless job (as the owner of a mom and pop sports store that, by the series' end, is on the verge of being overtaken by a giant mega-store). His family takes him far less seriously than he would like. And there are quite a few hints sprinkled throughout the series that he has a lot of past regrets (such as paying five dollars to have sex with a Korean prostitute, when he was a teenager). Nevertheless, he remains fiercely loyal to his family and in some instances shows a surprising amount of compassion and understanding for both his children and wife.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Although strict and stubborn, Harold is a loving father who is very proud of both his children.
  • Overprotective Dad: Harold, so, so much. Although he always gets overruled by Jean.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Jean.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Harold often employs this method:
    Harold: I had a friend that used to smoke. You know what he's doing now? He's DEAD! You think smoking makes you look cool? Let's go dig him up now and see how cool he looks.

    Harold: I knew a girl who had pre-marital sex, do you know what she did on homecoming night? She DIED! Of an overdose. Heroin.

    Harold: You know who used to cut class? Jimi Hendrix. Know what happened to him? He DIED!. Choking on his own vomit.

    Harold: You can't cut corners in life! You know who cut corners? Kennedy! Kennedy cut corners when he was running the Bay of Pigs. A lot of good men lost their lives because of it. You know who else cut corners? Janis Joplin -
    Lindsay: DAD! what are you talking about?!

    Harold: There was this kid in my neighborhood when I was growing up? Scott Byron. He kept on trick-or-treating until he was well into his twenties. You know where he's living now? At home, with his ninety-year-old mother. He's the laughingstock of the community. Never took a wife, either.
  • Sexless Marriage: AVERTED.
    Jean: Nobody's home. You wanna have a little sex?
    Harold:[Beat] Okay.
    [both run for the bedroom]

Dr. Vic and Lydia Schweiber (Sam McMurray and Amy Aquino)

  • Broken Pedestal
  • Cool Car: Dr. Vic drives a Corvette.
  • Cool Old Guy: How the Geeks see Neal's dad...before his cheating is discovered.
  • Extreme Doormat: Lydia - she knows her husband is cheating, but never voices her feelings.
    • Good Parent: However, she only does this to spare her sons the misery.
  • Handsome Lech: Dr. Vic, although he isn't a bad guy per se, but rather seems to regret not living as much as he could have and seems entirely aware of how much pain his actions cause. They could have shown him as an unrepentant Jerkass but the writers admirably took the more mature path.
  • Happy Marriage Charade
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Dr. Schweiber is a dentist.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Barry tells Neal that their father has been cheating on their mom with other women for years.

Barry Schweiber

Gloria Haverchuck (Claudia Christian)

Col. Henry Andopolis (Kevin Tighe)

  • The Captain: He's a tough military man and very strict with Nick.
  • Creepy Monotone: He comes across as far more imposing because he doesn't shout.
  • Military School: Where he keeps threatening to send Nick, if his grades don't improve.
  • Stealth Mentor: He claims to be looking out for Nick's future, which in essence is true, but the way he goes about it is incredibly harsh.
    Col. Andopolis: End of conversation...

Cookie Kelly and Arlo (Cookie: Ann Dowd)

Chip Kelly (Mike White)

  • Parental Favoritism
    Cookie: My son Chip, he's a doll. Kim...she's another story.
  • Police Brutality: Kim's older brother was beaten up by the police and appears to be brain-damaged.
    • Empty Shell: Following the above incident, he lies on the couch all day sleeping and "never parties".

Eugenia Desario

  • The Caretaker: Daniel's father is an invalid, and his older brother is a drug addict.
  • Parental Obliviousness
  • Skewed Priorities: Rather than encourage her son Daniel to go to school (when he insists he needs to go), she's more concerned with him running errands for her.
  • Unnamed Parent: Daniel's parents are not named in the show - he calls his mother "ma".

    Other students 

Millie Kentner (Sarah Hagan)

  • Brainy Brunette
  • Betty and Veronica: A non-romantic version, the Betty to Kim's Veronica.
  • Foil: Again, to Lindsay. Good student, goes to church, listens to her parents and cares about school in contrast to Lindsay, possibly reflecting what Lindsay used to be before she joined the freaks.
  • Christian Rock
    Millie: (singing) Jesus is just alright with me! Jesus is just alriiiiight!
  • A Friend in Need: Helps Lindsay out when she's stoned and has to babysit.
  • Holier Than Thou
    Millie: I haven't had anything to drink, and I'm having more fun than any of you!
  • Moral Guardian: She acts like this to Lindsay, and is constantly trying to bring her back into the mathlete crowd, early on in the series.
  • Not Herself: Following the death of her dog, Goliath, she goes slightly off the rails and starts hanging out with Kim of all people and plans on attending a Who concert with the Freaks.
  • Saintly Church
  • Secret Relationship: In "Tricks and Treats", Lindsay discovers she's in one of these (albeit without having reached the French-kissing stage) with a guy she met at summer church camp.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys: In-universe.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Millie sort of acts as the latter to Lindsay's former.

Cindy Sanders (Natasha Melnick)

  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's not so much a bitch per se, but it's pretty shocking when we finally see her flip-side.
    Cindy: You're supposed to be nice! That's the only reason I'm going out with you in the first place!
  • Class Representative: For the young Republicans club.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Prior to dating Sam, she only comes across as perfectly pleasant, just a little shallow and ditzy perhaps. Her character Face-Heel Turn into a bossy, controlling shrew is abrupt and surprising.
  • Girl Next Door: How she comes across prior to dating Sam.
  • Lust Object: For Sam.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Justified, as it actually shows the downside of dating someone you barely know. Sam has to break up with her.
  • Strawman Political: When Sam starts dating Cindy and we find out just how rude and vapid she is, we also find out she's a staunch Republican.
  • Tsundere: Type B. This previously unseen side of her personality emerges when she starts dating Sam.

Vicki Appleby (JoAnna Garcia Swisher)

Todd Schellinger (Riley Smith)

Gordon Crisp (Jerry Messing)

  • Big Fun: He shows an infectious enthusiasm for the Geeks favorite interests: sci-fi, Dungeons & Dragons, etc.
    Harris: The world loves a jolly fat guy.
  • Fat Guy
  • Geek Physiques: Of the clinically obese variety
  • Hidden Depths: He's seen to be quite an intuitive, astute guy and offers Sam relationship advice about Cindy.
  • Nice Guy: Once he's taken up by the Geeks, he's seen to be a very complimentary, constructive friend.
    Gordon: (When he learns Sam is finally dating Cindy) She's the one who's lucky - you're a catch!
  • The Pig Pen: He's not messy, but due to a medical condition (trimethylaminuria), he reeks.
  • Sixth Ranger

Harris Trinsky (Stephen Lea Sheppard)

Alan White (Chauncey Leopardi)

  • Arch-Enemy: To Sam.
  • The Bully: He picks on Sam and the rest of the Geeks mercilessly during the first half of the series.
  • Heel-Face Turn: He does this briefly, but only after almost killing Bill by hiding a peanut in his sandwhich, to which he did not realise Bill was deathly allergic. A small amount of Redemption Rejection in that he does not take the Geeks up on their offer of friendship, though he is noticably nicer to them after this.
  • Jerkass
  • Jerkass Fašade: In reality, he's an unhappy, lonely kid but can't bring himself to hang out with the Geeks, despite sharing the same interests (comic books and sci-fi).
    • Create Your Own Villain: And as it turns out, he admits to Bill that he is angry because they left him out of their fun in the lower grades.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He really never meant to hurt Bill and is devastated when he finds out what he did.
  • The Napoleon: His short stature probably explains a lot.

Amy Edwards (Jessica Campbell)

Sara (Lizzy Caplan)

  • Ascended Extra: She's one of the show's recurring extras before her big spotlight in the finale.
  • Disco Dawn: She loves it, despite the backlash against disco at the time.
    Sara: We're going to dress up like ABBA!
  • Fangirl: She admits to having had a crush on Nick for years.
  • Genki Girl
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: The actress is better known as Janis Ian in Mean Girls.

Maureen Sampson (Kayla Ewell)

Eli (Ben Foster)

Karen Scarfoli (Rashida Jones)

Shelley Weaver (Alexandra Breckenridge)

Mark (Mark Allan Staubach)

Eugene Seidelman (Ron Lester)

  • Fat Bastard: He's literally spherical...and a bastard.
  • Giant Mook: He's one of the nastier elements at McKinley, picking on Sam and Lindsay on occasion.
  • Jerkass: So much so even teachers enjoy putting him in his place.
    Kowchevski: Siedelman knock it off! Why don't you pick on someone your own size - there's a bus in the parking lot.

Laurie (Samaire Armstrong)

  • Granola Girl: She's a flaky Deadhead, and befriends Lindsay in the series finale.
  • Hello, Nurse!
    Ken: The Grateful Dead: music sucks, the chicks are HOT!

    Teachers 

Coach Ben Fredericks (Thomas F. Wilson)

  • Coach Nasty: He comes off like this to the Geeks, but he's actually a pretty nice guy once off the field.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: It's Biff Tannen!
  • Jerk Jock: Subversion. He actually turns out to be quite nice.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As seen when he risks losing his job to have a more frank discussion about sex with Sam after realizing that he's seen a pornographic movie.

Mr. Jeff Rosso (Dave "Gruber" Allen)

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Gives this speech to Daniel before sending him to the AV club.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: For all his eccentricities, he's a genuinely good guidance counsellor and is usually right about the students' problems.
  • Cool Car: "Boattail" Buick Riviera, circa 1971-73.
  • Cool Teacher: Tries to be this and mostly fails spectacularly. But he's still pretty badass at times. He even plays in a rock band.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In the Halloween episode we find he keeps multiple jack-o'-lanterns on hand, in anticipation of their getting smashed in by pranksters.
  • First Name Basis: In the pilot he tells Lindsay to call her "Jeff" when he's trying to gain her trust. She does so until the end of the episode, when he tells her that maybe she'd better start calling him "Mr. Rosso" again.
  • Hippie Teacher
  • Honor Before Reason: He believes in what he is doing so much he doesn't even mind the admittedly crappy salary.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: As seen when (then) Vice President George Bush visits the school.
  • Mistaken for Gay: By Ken at one point.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Although he appears foolish, he is quite intelligent and usually preempts the kids' problems.
  • Politically Motivated Teacher: On occasion. Of the liberal persuasion, naturally.
  • Psychologist Teacher: He's the school guidance counselor.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure
  • Totally Radical: In universe, his attempts to relate to the kids just reeks of this trope.
  • When I Was Your Age: Relates to other students this way. Sometimes it works...mostly it doesn't.
    Rosso: I.have.herpes...

Mr. Frank Kowchevski (Steve Bannos)

  • Deadpan Snarker
    Kowchevski: Actually Lindsay, I think I'm the best person at math in this school...
  • Only Sane Man: So he thinks.
  • Sadist Teacher
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: When Rosso presses him on his unscrupulous methods for proving Daniel cheated on a test...
    Kowchevski: Let me tell you something. I knew kids like Desario in Vietnam. Those were the kind of kids that got you killed.
  • Straight Gay: Seriously. Watch the deleted scenes on the DVD...all is revealed when he's called upon by Mr. Rosso to help out Ken with his Gayngst.

Mr. Casper (Ron Marasco)

  • Ambiguously Gay: He has an overtly camp manner.
  • Apathetic Teacher: As seen with the despairing attitude he displays towards the pupils in his English Lit class.
    Casper: *sigh* pearls before swine...
  • Break the Haughty: He's pretty pompous, which makes him a prime target for back-chat from his pupils, such as when Lindsay ripped apart his attack on Kim by proving her opinion on Kerouac's On the Road book valid.
  • Sadist Teacher: He's a waspish, bitchy sort, and reserves particular venom for Daniel when he is trying to set up a projector for his class in "Discos and Dragons".

Mr. Fleck (Steve Higgins)

  • Cool Teacher: Easily amongst the nicest of the teachers at McKinley, he heads up the AV club that the Geeks enjoy thoroughly.
  • Mentor Archetype: To the Geeks - he's more like a friend than a teacher.
  • Seen It All: He reassures the Geeks on the high school hierarchy and how the lives will turn out for the jocks who bully them.
    Fleck: ...and yes, Mr. Jock who cleaned me out, I will have fries with that.

Miss Foote

  • Cool Teacher: Like Mr. Fleck, she's far nicer than most of the McKinley staff. Even Alan shuts up after she gently chides him for teasing Bill in class.
  • Hot for Teacher: Bill is especially taken with her, and goes all dreamy-eyed during her history class in "Chokin' and Tokin".
  • Hot Teacher
  • Hey, It's That Guy! : Leslie Mann is married to Judd Apatow and frequently appears in his works.

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