Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Freaks and Geeks

Go To

    open/close all folders 


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: She's a highschool junior when the series begins.
  • 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: Lindsay is super academically smart; probably more so than any adult depicted in the series.
  • 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 mistreating mentally disabled 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.
    • ...of course, this doesn't always work out for her, and on occasion her good intentions backfire, but the pluckiness is admirable.
  • Cool Big Sis
  • 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.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Among the Freaks.
  • Secret Diary: Mr Weir nosily roots through her diary to find out whether Lindsay is on drugs/having sex.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: As seen in "Noshing and Moshing" at the Schweibers' 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: Of the Freak posse.
  • 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 arithmetic 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: 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)
  • Abusive Parents: Both Kim's mother and her step-father are psychotically bad-tempered, and are shown to be both mentally and physically abusive, as detailed in the seminal episode "Kim Kelly is My Friend".
  • The Alleged Car: Her beat-up AMC Gremlin.
  • Alliterative Name
  • Betty and Veronica: A non-romantic version, she's the Veronica to Millie's Betty.
  • Broken Bird: Due to her fairly hellish home-life, as seen in the episode "Kim Kelly is My Friend".
  • The Bully: Early on in the series, to both Lindsay and Sam.
    Kim: Hey Karen, was this guy trying to break into your locker?
  • Character Development: Like her boyfriend Daniel, she goes through quite the rehabilitation process as the series progresses, starting off as an antagonising, mean-spirited bitch early on, but ending up as Lindsay's best friend by the finale, "Discos and Dragons".
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Warms up hugely as the series progresses, though still retains a tough, no-nonsense edge.
  • Foil: To Lindsay. Comes from a poor, broken home in contrast to Lindsay's more well-off and loving parents, gets poor grades in school to Lindsay's straight A's, starts off as a huge bully to Lindsay, who stands up for anyone who gets picked on, and so on.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Snaps at the drop of a hat, and isn't afraid to give those who annoy her a big whack on the arm if they piss her off (especially Daniel).
  • Hot-Blooded: Oh so very much.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Towards the end, especially in "Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers".
  • My God, What Have I Done?: She feels terrible when she realizes she ran over Millie's dog and befriends her out of guilt.
  • The Lad-ette: Enjoys beers, cars, swearing, fighting and sex. Mellows later on in the series.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: With Daniel. In "Kim Kelly Is My Friend" she reveals that she thinks she has to be "alert" and "a bitch" because he'd screw any girl he came across.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: Kim's family home and background is ostensibly far poorer than Lindsay's
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry
    Kim: Are you calling me irrational? Because I'll tear your head off, Daniel. I'll tear it off and I'll throw it over that fence!!

Daniel Desario (James Franco)
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Especially if he's James Franco.
  • Alliterative Name
  • Asleep in Class: Tellingly, whilst watching a careers guidance video.
  • Book Dumb: Daniel may not be academically minded, but he's a fairly smart, street-wise kid overall.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: He's smart but his fear of failure prevents him from trying.
  • Character Development: He starts out as an archetypal too-cool-for-school bad-boy, but by the end of the series, after several humbling experiences, he has become friends with Sam's group. There's also more stress over time on his academic and personal troubles, as he seems perfectly aware of his limitations but doesn't know how to break through them.
  • The Charmer
  • Cool Car: In different episodes he drives a Pontiac Trans Am and a Cadillac Sedan DeVille.
  • Cool Loser: Daniel is achingly cool, and a typical bad-boy, but he's been held back twice and certainly isn't one of the school's in-crowd by any means.
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority
    Mr. Rosso: You think you're pretty cool, don't you, Daniel?
    Daniel: No, I don't think I'm cool...
    Mr. Rosso: You don't think you're the Fonz or something?
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: Daniel especially so - it stands between him and repeating the school year...again.
  • Freudian Excuse: He comes from a fairly poor family and notes that he was basically written off as a child. The fact that none of his teachers seem to want to help him only compounds his feelings of inadequacy.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Wears a black leather jacket that fits perfectly with his overall vibe.
  • Improbably Cool Car: His (beat up) Pontiac Trans Am, the specific version of which is no earlier than 1979. Since the show takes place in 1980, it is highly unlikely that a high school student from a low-income family could afford what was then a fairly new car.
  • Hidden Depths: He confides in Harris that he is secretly worried about just how badly he is doing in school, and makes a genuine effort (after initial frostiness) to be useful when he joins the AV club.
    Harris: (to Daniel) You'd make a good Dungeon Master, I can tell.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a slacker who coasts on his charm but he does seem to want to do better but is uncertain of how. He also shows himself to be a caring friend. Especially towards the end of the series.
  • Mr. Fanservice: As is noticed In-Universe and out.
  • School Is for Losers: His attitude before Character Development kicks in, later on in the series.
  • The Slacker: Multiple times early on in the series, he is seen cutting class.
  • Troubled, but Cute: He comes from a low-income family, is shown to have some fairly serious self-identity issues as the series progresses, but is gorgeous nonetheless.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: His regurgitated sob-story when he's busted for cheating on a math test.
    Daniel: *sobbing*..and track 3 is the dumb kids.

Nick Andopolis (Jason Segel)
  • All Love Is Unrequited: He never really gets over Lindsay, despite hooking up with Sara by the series finale.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Nick used to be a good student, and MVP on the basketball team until he got in with the Freak crowd.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: He has a huge argument with his father and storms out after he sells his drums.
    Nick: I hope you enjoy your peace and quiet!
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: As seen in "Smooching and Mooching", whilst staying over at the Weirs' place.
  • Cringe Comedy: "Lady L" anyone?
  • Dreadful Musician: He gets better after lessons though.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: In his pursuit of Lindsay, though it does begin to border on obsessional stalking as the series progresses.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: His dad despises his musical hobby and sells his drum set without telling him. Nick naturally resents this and even runs away from home in one episode.
  • Gentle Giant: He's 6'4", and was MVP on the school's basketball team in his younger years.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Where Lindsay is concerned.
    • Stalking Is Love: Turns up at Lindsay's bedroom window in the middle of the night because he claims he "couldn't sleep for thinking about her", and "had to see (her)".
  • Intergenerational Friendship: He and Lindsay's parents bond when Nick spends the night at the Weirs' home, to Lindsay's surprise. Harold at least sympathizes with Nick's difficult relationship with his dad, while Jean is just that nice to everyone.
  • Military Brat: His over-bearing father is in the Air-Force.
  • Nice Guy: The jolliest, most approachable of the Freaks, compared to snarky Ken, aloof Daniel and downright dangerous Kim.
  • Obsession Song: Oh God yes...his obsession over Lindsay compels him to write the following abomination:
    Nick: Lady L, La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la, That's the sound of L.
  • One Head Taller: He's a clear foot taller than Lindsay.
  • The Slacker: Less so than Daniel or Ken but still notable.
  • The Stoner: He's the biggest pot-head in the Freak group, even best-friend Daniel says so, though in the finale, he quits.
    Daniel: The guy's turning into a waste-basket.

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".
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: He's a witty guy who is implied to do well in school but doesn't seem to have interest in anything. His plan upon graduating is to sell his dad's business and move to Hawaii.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His most overt trait — practically everything that comes out of his mouth is a withering put-down.
  • 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: Of the Freak crowd; it's rare to see him crack a smile and his default tone is aching sarcasm.
  • 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: Comes across as a grumpy, snarky Jerkass but he has considerable hidden warmth, as revealed in "The Little Things".
  • Odd Friendship: Not so much a friendship, but in their few interactions together, Ken seems to like Sam more than he does most people.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: He plans on selling his father's business and retiring young.
  • The Slacker: Is never seen doing any sort of school-work, and it's implied he's smart enough to just coast.


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: For anyone who ever felt awkward or had a tough time at high school at any point (aka a good chunk of the audience)....
  • Author Avatar: Sam = Paul Feig.
  • Butt-Monkey: If something humiliating is going to happen to one of the characters, it'll usually be him.
  • Catchphrase: "Oh, hi Cindy" whenever he starts a conversation with Cindy Sanders.
  • Cringe Comedy: Sam frequently finds himself in ball-shrinkingly humiliating situations, 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 (accidentally) by his own sister.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments although they often get him in trouble.
  • Fanboy: He loves comedians and comedy actors like Bill Murray and has a poster of Steve Martin in his room.
  • 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...
  • Height Angst: He's rather insecure about being somewhat short for his age.
  • The Hero: Along with his sister, Lindsay.
  • Heroic BSoD: A minor case after seeing his first porno in "Tests and Breasts".
  • Mistaken for Badass: He's stripped of his towel by Alan and has to streak through the school. Fortunately for him, not only does Cindy not see it, but when she finds out, her and the jocks all think he did it on purpose and think he's cool.
  • 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: Sam is overall a really good kid.
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 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)
  • Adorkable: He's incredibly awkward.
  • Daytime Drama Queen: He adores Dallas.
  • Disappeared Dad: It's mentioned that he has contact with his father, but it's quite rare and we've never seen him on-screen.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Gets to make out with the head cheerleader.
  • The Glasses Come Off: Played for laughs in the fight with Alan in the pilot.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Type 1. Bill looks like the archetypal nerd out of the Geeks, although he isn't exactly "intelligent" - He is witty and has amazing one-liners, but he's actually kind of dumb.
  • The Klutz: He's clumsy and more than a little uncoordinated.
  • Momma's Boy: He's been primarily raised with a lot of love by his mother, Gloria, to whom he remains very close.
  • Nerd Glasses: Of the large, clunky, unflattering variety.
  • Picked Last: A hugely upsetting issue for him — leading him to call Coach Fredericks out on it in an emotionally charged breakdown.
  • Plot Allergy: His peanut allergy, in "Chokin' and Tokin'".
  • Single Mom Stripper: In one episode, Bill worriedly asks his mom if she's going to start "dancing" again.
  • Wholesome Cross Dresser: As seen in the Halloween episode, "Tricks and Treats", where he trick-or-treats dressed as Jaime Sommers.
  • You're Not My Father: As seen when Coach Fredericks starts dating his mom.

Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine)
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Averted. Although it's not an important part of the plot, it comes up quite a few times.
    Neal: Last year I was elected school treasurer. I didn't even run!
  • Attention Whore: Exemplified when he buys his own ventriloquists dummy, which he does purely because he thinks people will admire him for it.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: From the outside, the Schweibers are a rich, nice Jewish family, though later episodes reveal his dad's philandering ways.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Neal thinks he's a ladies' man, so he's a Casanova Wannabe in training
  • Creepy Doll: His "figure", Morty.
  • Cringe Comedy: Even Sam and Bill are embarrassed by his ventriloquism skit.
  • Culture Blind: He's basically a little old man from the The '50s stuck in The '80s; the Writer's Bible described him as "a 50 year old Borscht Belt comedian wrapped in a 14 year old's body".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Somewhat more quick-witted than Bill and Sam, and is often confounded by what he perceives to be their juvenile qualities, though he's definitely Not So Above It All.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Neal has been in love with Lindsay since he was five years old and always showed himself to worry about her, but his dogged nice side really showed in "Beers and Weirs".
  • Extraverted Nerd: Highly confident, but still a massive geek.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY"
    Neal: It's SCHW-'EYE'-BER!!
  • Jewish and Nerdy
  • Jewish Smartass: Neal is Jewish and the snarkiest of the geek trio, even making quips about Jewish stereotypes like a borscht belt comedian, including joking that people wanted him to be a school treasurer because he was Jewish; his older brother is even snarkier.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Before Sam and Bill told him, everyone in his family except him knew his father was cheating on his mother. Poor kid.
  • Parental Issues: He reacts (understandably) very badly to the news his father is cheating on his mom.
    • Calling the Old Man Out: This comes to a head at the Schweiber's cocktail party in "Noshing and Moshing", where he uses his ventriloquism act as a platform to berate and humiliate his father.
    Bill: I told you that thing would take him over...
  • Sad Clown: It becomes clear over the series run that he uses humour to mask his insecurities.
  • Ventriloquism: In reaction to his father's cheating, so uses this as a prop to distract himself — and gain the attention he craves.

    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".
    • When Jean reads the "For My Eyes Only" warning at the beginning of Lindsay's diary in The Diary (which promises pain and death to anyone who reads it), Harold lets out a sarcastic Count Floyd-esque "Ooooh! Scary!"
  • And Starring
  • Bumbling Dad: Harold takes himself very seriously, but his kids find him amusing at best and confoundingly frustrating at his worst.
  • Dad the Veteran: Alluded to in "Tricks and Treats":
    Harold: I'm certainly glad we decided to celebrate Halloween. The last time I had this much fun, I was pinned down in a foxhole by the North Koreans.
  • 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: Particularly compared to the rest of the cast's parents but even generally. They support their kids, Jean readily identifies (or at least tries to) with Lindsay's issues and Harold identifies with Sam's problems with puberty.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Harold can certainly be this at times. His lighter and more fun side shows up more in the later episodes, though.
  • Happily Married: While there are occasional disagreements, it's clear that the Weirs are content with each other.
  • 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 Rock & Roll, a comparison that Harold makes a lame attempt at deflecting.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Harold believes that anyone who isn't a straight-A student and model citizen will die. Even though death gets everyone no matter what. He also has a habit of using world-famous rockstars like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin as examples of no-hopers, never pausing to consider that they actually made something of themselves before dying.
  • 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. Harold is also this, most of the time.
  • 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.
    • This even gets lampshaded by Sam:
    Sam: Dad, are any of your friends alive?
    Harold: The smart ones.
  • 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: He's basically Neal's hero — until his cheating ways are discovered.
  • 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.
  • Happy Marriage Charade
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Dr. Schweiber is a dentist.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Dr.Vic has been cheating on his wife for years but he still loves her and his family and he seems genuinely regretful of the damage his actions have caused.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Barry tells Neal that their father has been cheating on their mom with other women for years.

Barry Schweiber (David Krumholtz)

Gloria Haverchuck (Claudia Christian)

  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Dating her son's hated PE teacher, for example.
  • Mama Bear: She's very protective of her son, and really lays into Alan after Bill falls into a coma following Alan's peanut prank.
  • Playing Gertrude: The actress was only 34, playing the parent of a son about 14-15 (and a 17-year age difference in the actors). Not out of the realm of possibility, but still pretty young.
  • Single Mom Stripper: Although, she is now retired.
  • Stacy's Mom
    Neal: I can kinda see why Coach Fredericks is dating her. She is kinda hot.

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.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: His actions towards Nick are based around this principle though the cruelness tends to undermine any point he might have.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He's not exactly wrong about his son needing more focus and direction in his life (even Daniel, of all people, admits that the Colonel's more realistic about Nick's chances of succeeding in music than Nick himself). Problem is that his parenting style is so strict and intolerant that Nick refuses to see his side of the argument.
  • 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, Arlo: Jack Conley)

  • Ax-Crazy: They're both fucking nuts.
  • Abusive Parents: The episode "Kim Kelly is My Friend" was not shown by NBC in the initial run because of its portrayal of Kim's violent home-life.
    • A deleted scene showing Cookie and Kim interacting fairly civilly was cut.
  • Berserk Button: The notion that Kim had tried to pull a fast one by presenting Lindsay as a "nice girl" good influence causes Cookie to explode.
    "Benton Harbor Street...?"
  • Dumb Muscle: Kim's step-dad.
  • Dysfunctional Family: One of the most extreme examples depicted in a teen-drama. The scene in which Kim and Lindsay flee the house and try to escape in Kim's car whilst Arlo smashes the hood and Cookie screams through the windows is shockingly intense.
  • '80s Hair: Cookie's hair-spray edifice.
  • Evil Matriarch: Cookie — she's a tough, mean old broad.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: It doesn't take much at all to set either of them off, especially Kim's back-chat.
  • Jerkass: Both of them...
  • Joisey: Cookie's got the accent (and look).
    Cookie: GED OUDDA DA CAW!! (get out of the car).
  • You're Not My Father
    Kim: You're not my father, FAT-ASS!!

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)

  • Adorkable: "It's Lik-M-Aid. It makes my spit taste like fruit juice."
  • Brainy Brunette: Though not quite as smart as Lindsay.
  • 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's clearly a big fan of The Doobie Brothers.
    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.
  • Nice Girl: Millie can be a bit self-righteous but she's overall a good and friendly person.
  • 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. While she does come down after Kim reveals that she was the one responsible for running over her dog, it's pretty clear that she's become an at least slightly different person after this experience.
  • 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.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: On the cheer squad, so it's a given, although it doesn't translate into having fun or winning people over in her personal life.
    • To be fair, this comes across more as her and Sam not having enough in common, and she does have plenty of moments where she plays this straighter, especially in the early episodes.
  • 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)

  • Alpha Bitch: Even Cindy notes that Vicki is "kinda bossy".
    • It's also implied that she may be a Rich Bitch; her father is the local councilman that meets Harold Weir and appears to be of some repute.
    • Heel Realization: She becomes less frosty as the series progresses and in "Smooching and Mooching", she apologises to Bill when he calls her out for acting like a jerk while they're stuck in a closet playing "seven minutes in heaven". To make up for it, she proceeds to french the hell out of him.
  • The Cheerleader
  • Girl Posse: She's head-cheerleader and rules with an iron fist, it would seem. Although Cindy does admit that she finds her very rude and annoying.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: She's really irritable.
  • Pet the Dog: Shows genuine concern when Bill is in the hospital.
  • Lust Object: For Neal.

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: Joins the regular Geek posse about halfway through the series.

Harris Trinsky (Stephen Lea Sheppard)

Alan White (Chauncey Leopardi)

  • Arch-Enemy: To Sam.
  • Being Evil Sucks: 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).
  • The Bully: He picks on Sam and the rest of the Geeks mercilessly during the first half of the series.
  • Bully Turned Buddy: He has a My God, What Have I Done? moment after he nearly kills Bill by putting peanuts in his food (which Bill is severely allergic to), and visits him in the hospital where he confesses to Bill that he antagonized him and his friends because he himself had many things in common; Bill, in turn, invites him to a Sci-Fi convention he's going to with Neal, Sam, and Gordon. Alan ultimately backs out of going with them to the convention, but stops antagonizing the Geeks in subsequent episodes (and even goes as far as saying that Bill's "the man" when he talks back to Coach Fredericks).
  • Create Your Own Villain: He admits to Bill that he is angry because they left him out of their fun in the lower grades.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He's genuinely remorseful after putting Bill in the hospital.
  • 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's sincerely apologetic to Bill and is noticably nicer to them after this.
  • Jerkass: He's a vile little shit most of the time he's on-screen.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He makes his apology to Bill alone and completely unforced in the end, and lives up to his promise of never picking on the Geeks again.
  • 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

Sean (Shaun Weiss)

  • Ascended Extra: For one episode, in which he is the bass player in the Freaks (well Nick, Daniel and Ken's) band. And he is still a jerkass there.
  • Jerkass: If he isn't being a jerk to Eli at the start of the series, he is being a prick to Sam, or Lindsay, or Millie. This guy is just a complete jerk.

Maureen Sampson (Kayla Ewell)

  • Girl Next Door: Accessibly pretty, and a lovely personality too.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: The Geeks' reaction to her.
  • In with the In Crowd: downplayed, as she remains somewhat friendly toward the geeks after joining the cheer squad, but despite her initial promise to, stops spending time with them afterwards.
  • New Transfer Student: Transfers from Florida due to her dad's work.
  • One of the Boys: The Geeks are instantly smitten with her when she reveals a similar sense of humour and a love of firing off bottle rockets.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: Remains fairly friendly after taking up cheering and seems to be held in high esteem by the rest of the squad, given how her remaining scenes are all shared with head cheerleader Vicky.

Eli (Ben Foster)

Karen Scarfoli (Rashida Jones)

  • The Bully: She takes particular exception to poor Sam, giving him the nickname "Pygmy Geek".
    Karen (to Neal): What was that, Bilbo Baggins!?
  • Jerkass
  • The Lad-ette: A masculine, physically tough girl who is initially best friends the series' lead ladette, Kim Kelly.
  • Really Gets Around: Even hitting on Daniel, for which she (obviously) incurs Kim's wrath.
  • What Happened The The Mouse: never seen or mentioned again after Kim Kelly is My Friend.

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.
  • Head-Turning Beauty
    Ken: The Grateful Dead: music sucks, the chicks are HOT!


Mr. Jeff Rosso (Dave "Gruber" Allen)

Mc Kinley High School's principal and guidance counselor. The most seen of all the staff, Mr Rosso appears to be the functional head of Mc Kinley High School. A genuinely well-meaning person, his messages however are sometimes hampered by his old fashioned (in 1980) hippy attitudes and ways.

  • Adults Are Useless: Zig-zagged. He's genuinely sympathetic to the students and tries to help them out, but they aren't always receptive to his advice and his Totally Radical attitude often irritates them.
  • 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, especially in "Carded and Discarded" in which he's shown to be an amazing musician and frontman.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Depths: At first glance, he's a painfully uncool relic from the sixties. But he is smarter and more perceptive than he seems and often gives genuinely good advice.
  • Hippie Teacher: He's this to a T, even if you ignore his long hair, general attitude and musician background. He mentions protesting the Vietnam War in his youth, has a Carter/Mondale poster in his office and is even deemed a "security risk" by the Secret Service when George Bush visits the school.
  • 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.
  • Large and in Charge: He stands at 6'5, an inch above even Nick.
  • Mistaken for Gay: By Ken at one point.
  • Nice Guy: He may try too hard with his students at times, but there is absolutely no doubt he is genuinely looking out for them.
  • 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: He often tries to talk to kids and reach them instead of just punishing them.
  • 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...

Coach Ben Fredericks (Thomas F. Wilson)

The school's physical education teacher and Coach. Tries to be a no-nonsense teacher (and definitely is fixated on sports) but also shows himself to be a flexible, caring and attentive person, particularly when it doesn't involve sports.

  • Coach Nasty: He comes off like this to the Geeks, but he's actually a pretty nice guy once off the field.
    • Even on the field he's a pretty decent person, just one who comes across as overly passionate about sports. When one of the Geeks does something well, he's either impressed or downright happy for them.
  • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: Gets quite a few moments to show he's a lot nicer than he seems at first.
  • Teacher/Parent Romance: Starts a relationship with Bill's mother Gloria. Bill struggles with the relationship at first; but when he realises that Fredericks is genuine about the relationship (and is making the effort to get to know Bill better), he accepts it.

Mr. Frank Kowchevski (Steve Bannos)

Head of the Math Department at Mc Kinley High. While professional, he takes a no-nonsense approach to teaching and has little respect for deviance in his classrooms.

  • Deadpan Snarker
    Kowchevski: Actually Lindsay, I think I'm the best person at math in this school...
  • Jerkass: He's an unpleasant man who treats students poorly and makes no effort to hide his contempt for Daniel.
  • Only Sane Man: So he thinks.
  • Pet the Dog: He gets a few sympathetic moments throughout the series, like when he stops a kid who bullies Neal about his ventriloquist dummy, but they're mostly incidental.
    • In his deleted scene talking to Ken about being gay, he is pretty polite, understanding and articulate.
  • Sadist Teacher: A martinet who's more concerned with running an orderly classroom than connecting with students. It's especially evident in "Tests and Breasts" when he makes his contempt for Daniel abundantly clear, and shows no interest in Lindsay's offer to help tutor him.
  • 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.
    • A deleted scene has him inform Daniel that he is a former Marine.
  • 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)

English Literature Teacher at Mc Kinley. Somewhat of a faux-intellectual, he is snide and smug in most of his interactions with students.

  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's quite fond of insults that manage to be both flowery and cruel.
  • Jerkass: He's very insulting and cruel towards students and seem to take pleasure in humiliating them in front of his class.
  • 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".
  • Smug Snake: He has a very high opinion of himself and a low one of others and isn't afraid to express it.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: He clearly thinks he's this and makes his disdain for his students' intellectual abilities clear.

Mr. Fleck (Steve Higgins)

In charge of the Audio-Visual (AV) Department. Only seen in the last episode, he is highly respected and liked by the Geeks, and shows some understanding to Daniel when he is parachuted into his area.

  • Best Years of Your Life: Inverted. He tells the Geeks that, as bad things are now, life gets much better after high school.
  • 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.
  • Nice Guy: He's a pleasant man who comforts the Geeks about their current lousy situation.
  • 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 (Leslie Mann)

History Teacher at Mc Kinley High

  • 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

Mr. Hector Lacovara (Trace Beaulieu)

Mc Kinley's Biology teacher and possible Head of the Science Department. Regularly seen and heard, although he doesn't get a great deal of character development.

  • Dork Knight
  • Teasing the Substitute Teacher: Minus the substitute part. Even though he's a regular teacher, he gets little to no respect from his students. Even Neal feels confident enough (even though he is acting out) to make fun of him openly.
  • When I Was Your Age...: He excitedly tells Lindsay that he attended the same summit that she is currently invited to years earlier. It doesn't help convincing her to go, especially as she realises exactly how far it (hasn't) taken him in life.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: