List of Freaks and Geeks characters
The following is a list of characters from the television series Freaks and Geeks.
Lindsay Weir—played by Linda Cardellini—is the elder of the two Weir siblings. As a child, Lindsay was close friends with Millie Kentner. Early in her scholastic career at McKinley High School, she would be recognized as a bright and thoughtful student, as well as a brilliant member of the Mathletes. However, when her grandmother dies, she begins to question religion (she became an atheist after her grandmother, who was the most decent and good person she knew, said she saw "nothing" right before her death), social structure and the general direction of her life. She begins hanging out with a gang of less academically minded friends (known commonly as "burnouts" or "freaks") which worries both her family and her old friends (Millie in particular). She starts out being very deferential to the freaks and ignoring their rudeness towards her--mostly from Ken and Kim Kelly--but she loses any fear of them as the series progresses, and after she rightly calls them out for being selfish and having no futures, her ties to the group were solidified on a level of mutual respect. Despite her new social situation, she remains an intelligent and considerate person. She is continually questioning the world around her in order to find a place to fit in. She wears her dad's old army jacket most of the series.
Sam Weir—played by John Francis Daley—is Lindsay's younger brother. Like his sister, Sam has an excellent sense of morals and manners, though he's somewhat shy outside of his circle of friends. He has a slightly androgynous appearance and, being somewhat shorter and less physically developed than his peers, is often picked on because of it. He shares many interests with his close pals Bill and Neal, including television shows like Saturday Night Live, comedic actors such as Bill Murray and Steve Martin, and science fiction. Being so into such subjects while at the same time being somewhat socially impaired has left Sam and his friends labeled as "geeks". Though he enjoys being with his friends, he struggles continually to be seen as more than a geek (especially while trying to impress his school crush, Cindy Sanders), and does seem to be better-regarded by popular students like Cindy and Todd Schillinger than his friends are. Unfortunately, the constant bullying by kids such as Alan White often leads Sam to feel more embarrassed than cool. Entertainment Weekly selected Sam Weir as the son for "The Perfect TV Family".
Harold Weir—played by Joe Flaherty—is the head of the Weir household. Harold is usually stern and strict in his role as the dominant male in the family, but is also a loving father who is always trying to look out for the best interests of his children. Though Harold is frequently yelling at the dinner table about bad role models and dealing out sometimes unreasonable punishments, he has a good sense of humor and enjoys seeing his family happy. He works hard to support his family by running his A1 Sporting Goods store, though he is worried about the possible impact that megastores will have on his business. Harold's biggest concern with his children lately is that Lindsay is falling in with a bad crowd, and he has a strong distaste for her "burnout friends" although he later takes a shine to Nick after he gets kicked out of his house, by letting him stay at the Weirs' house and encourages him to practice drumming. Harold tells Lindsay that he is more helpful to Nick than to her because he expects more from her, and says that Nick's father is a "hard man" who reminds him of his dad; it's also strongly implied that Harold's father physically abused him. It is shown often that he is very proud of Lindsay for her intelligence and maturity and Sam for his kindness and morals. In the episode "Girlfriends and Boyfriends", Harold reveals to Lindsay that he lost his virginity to a prostitute while he was a soldier in Korea. Harold regrets that his first time was not special and comments that it was the "worst five dollars I've ever spent".
Jean Weir—played by Becky Ann Baker—is the caring homemaker of the Weir family. Jean is frequently making wholesome meals for the Weirs and trying to give her children helpful advice about school while they have discussions at the dinner table, although at times she appears blissfully aloof to the realities that her children are experiencing. Though she wouldn't mind more appreciation now and again, Jean is always kind and generous to everyone and loves nothing more than her family.
Daniel Desario—played by James Franco—is a cool and charismatic burnout. Daniel is usually known at McKinley High School for doing one of two things: fighting with his girlfriend Kim Kelly and/or skipping class. He is somewhat selfish and very manipulative but often pulls through to help his friends, and is the leader of the freaks. Daniel hides the fact that he is eighteen years old and has been held back two grades in school. Also, Daniel plays guitar. His rebellious and anarchistic view of society often lead him into trouble. Though he is socially confident and acts apathetic towards his schoolwork, Daniel is secretly insecure about the fact that he does not do well in school, and doesn't think he is smart enough to succeed. Daniel has an older brother who is a drug addict, and lives with his two parents; he is taking care of his (never seen) father, who is an invalid, and his mother is an understandably stressed-out wreck who has no confidence in his scholastic abilities, once saying she wouldn't much mind if he dropped out of school altogether and began working a crummy minimum-wage job to bring cash home to the family.
Nick Andopolis—played by Jason Segel—is a member of the gang of freaks. He is friendly, mild-mannered, and kind, offsetting the somewhat caustic sense of humor that some of his friends share. Nick frequently uses marijuana; he was once a basketball player (a part of his backstory that comes from real life, as Segel was a star on his high school team) but was kicked off his team for drug possession. These days, Nick's overwhelming passion is music - more specifically, his 29-piece drum kit. Much to the objection of Nick's strict military father, Nick practices drumming frequently, usually neglecting schoolwork in the process and eventually leading his dad to simply sell off the entire drum set. Nick also has a tendency to smother his girlfriends with too much affection, which Lindsay Weir discovers firsthand after they begin dating.
Ken Miller—played by Seth Rogen—is wise-cracking and sarcastic. Whenever Ken opens his mouth, it is usually to let out a biting quip at the expense of someone around him. He has been friends with Daniel Desario since elementary school and later develops a relationship with Amy Andrews. He is very stubborn and doesn't back down from fights (in one episode, when asked if "he wants to go," he replies "I always wanna go!" as well as moshing enthusiastically in "Noshing and Moshing"). He is also very smart, considering the kind of people he hangs out with. At the party in episode 2, he quickly catches on when the beer is switched with non-alcoholic beer, but instead of telling everybody, he decided to make some money in the game of quarters ($87.00, in total). He is shown to have a softer side in the later episodes of the series, particularly in his relationship with "tuba girl" Amy, who matches him wit for wit, prompting Ken to fall for her. In episode 17, it is revealed that Ken's parents are very wealthy and that he was raised by a nanny. He also says his post-high school plans involve inheriting his grandfather's business when he dies, selling it off for a huge profit, and retiring to a lazy life in the tropics.
Kim Kelly—played by Busy Phillips—is Daniel's on-and-off girlfriend throughout the series. Kim is a tough, short-tempered girl and is known by the other students only for having sex and doing drugs. Because of her hostile nature, she is often at odds with Daniel, usually accusing him of infidelity, causing their relationship to be in constant disarray. However, despite their relationship troubles, over the course of the show it becomes apparent that both hold a deep affection for one another. She was originally mean to Lindsay and was reluctant to allow her to hang out in their group, but as the series progresses, they eventually forge a friendship. By the end of the series, Kim and Lindsay were best friends and spent most of their free time together. Kim lives with her disapproving mother, her illiterate stepfather, and her brother, a peculiar young man named Chip who sleeps on the living room couch. She doesn't get along with her parents, who criticize her for not getting good grades and for the company she keeps.
Neal Schweiber—played by Samm Levine—is a self-proclaimed comic genius and ladies' man. Unlike his friends Sam and Bill, Neal is usually very outgoing and often wants to be the center of attention. He is in love with his best friend Sam's sister, Lindsay Weir. He has an abundant amount of confidence and charisma, though it garners him no more respect or reputation than Sam or Bill. Neal is somewhat in denial that he is just as geeky as the rest of his friends. His father is a dentist and his mother a homemaker. His family is fairly well-to-do. Early in the series, Sam and Bill thought that Neal's father was "cool" because he enjoyed the same television programs that they did and shared a similar sense of humor, but their opinions of him–as well as Neal's–changed when they discovered that he was having an affair. He is Jewish, and humorously notes that he was once elected Treasurer of his class when "I didn't even run!"
Bill Haverchuck—played by Martin Starr—rounds out the geek trio, and is the geekiest of the geek gang. Bill is tall for his age, skinny and wears large glasses. Bill is unpretentious and gentle, with an understated but hilarious sense of humor. In addition to being a loyal friend, Bill is an avid fan of the television soap opera Dallas. He lives with his single mother Gloria Haverchuck. He is extremely allergic to peanuts and almost dies after Alan White plants some of them in his sandwich as a prank in the episode "Chokin' and Token". The reason for his serious medical problems is explained in the episode with his mother explaining how she used drugs and alcohol while pregnant with Bill.
- Natasha Melnick as Cindy Sanders, Sam's crush and a popular cheerleader. Sam and Cindy are strictly friends throughout the majority of the series. Sam tries many different things to get Cindy's attention, but all it does is bring them closer as friends. Cindy begins dating Todd Schellinger, the star basketball player. Sam is often Cindy's go-to person to vent about her relationship with Todd. After their break up, Cindy tells Bill that she likes Sam more than a friend. After a few dates, Sam finds Cindy to be boring, shallow, egotistical, and rude, as well as annoyingly political about her Republican beliefs (Sam isn't an avowed Democrat but dislikes the coldness and snobbery that's front and center in Cindy's conservative views). He decides they should stop dating in the show's next-to-last episode, and Cindy is angry at this news.
- Sarah Hagan as Millie Kentner, Lindsay's geeky and highly religious former best friend and next door neighbor. During the first half of the series, Millie is struggling to keep Lindsay on the right track. She often looks out for her, like attending Lindsay's keg party to make sure everyone is safe. She also assists Lindsay in babysitting because Lindsay was too high on marijuana to function. Millie feels sorry for Lindsay because of her loss of faith. One night, Kim and Lindsay depart the Weir house and believe they ran over a squirrel. The next day at school, they learn from Millie that her lifelong pet dog, Goliath, had been run over by a hit-and-run right in front of Millie's house, which leads Kim and Lindsay to believe that they have run over Millie's dog. Kim befriends Millie out of pity and also she relates to Millie's situation. After changing her attitude, clothes, rebelling against her parents, even yelling at her mother telling her to go away and leave her alone, Kim and Lindsay begin to grow worried for Millie. It wasn't until Millie was about to drink her first beer when Kim admits she killed her dog. Millie and Lindsay leave together and go back to Lindsay's house to listen to records, confirming they will remain friends. Millie is not seen in the series after that.
- Jerry Messing as Gordon Crisp, a friend of the geeks. Despite being overweight and having chronic body odor from trimethylaminuria, Gordon tends to be optimistic and take things in stride. Gordon was assigned to be Sam's lab partner in the beginning of the series. We learn that Gordon also likes sci-fi and shows intellect. Sam admits to Gordon he didn't want to be his partner, but would rather be with Cindy Sanders. Gordon doesn't seem surprised and begins to give Sam very helpful advice to get with Cindy, and Sam decides Gordon is a good guy and begins inviting him to join the geeks on their activities. Gordon always has a positive thing to say even in the most negative or embarrassing situations, e.g. encouraging Bill that no one picks him first in softball because they're afraid of him, complimenting Sam's Parisian nightsuit, suggesting places for Sam and Cindy's first date, and convincing Daniel he would enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons because "you can pretend to be someone you'd never get to be in real life". Gordon is aware of his big size and agrees with Harris when he says that "the world loves jolly, fat guys."
- Stephen Lea Sheppard as Harris Trinsky, a calm and sensible student who gives good advice to the other students. Harris is the Guru of the Geeks and often the Freaks. He is full of wisdom and accepts everyone for who they are, and often thinks the best of them, even the Freaks. First, he suggests to Sam and his friends on how to fight off Alan the bully, as well giving them advice for how to act around girls. Later, he talks with freak Daniel when Daniel asks him "Am I a loser?". Harris says that Daniel isn't a loser because he has sex, but if he wasn't having sex, it would definitely be debatable. Daniel surprises Harris by thanking him, and also compliments Harris's happy-with-himself approach to life. Harris is 15 years old. Harris is often seen carrying a Dungeons & Dragons book, and is also the Dungeon Master much to Bill's dismay. Harris has a girlfriend named Judith throughout the show, who he often talks about even though she is only seen once. Harris is sarcastic in a dry way, and is well aware of it.
- Chauncey Leopardi as Alan White, the bully that picks on Sam, Neal, and Bill; the reason why is revealed in Chokin' and Tokin' after he nearly kills Bill in a practical joke gone wrong: he secretly enjoys science fiction and comic books, but Bill told him repeatedly he wasn't welcome to participate with them. After that, Alan is shown passing to Bill in basketball, despite Bill's lack of athleticism, also calling Bill "the King" because he walked out of Coach Fredricks's class.
- Joanna García as Vicki Appleby, the bossy head cheerleader. Throughout most of the series, Vicki is short-tempered and impatient with everyone around her. Vicki lets her nice side out in rare moments on the show, such as talking to Eli about Three's Company and showing compassion over Bill's coma. When Bill and Vicki were stuck in a closet playing "Seven Minutes in Heaven", she was her typical (rude) self until Bill angrily told her she was a jerk and honestly said he didn't want to kiss her or have anything to do with her. Vicki then apologized and surprised both herself and Bill by having a nice conversation with him about The Jerk and then happily kissing him (after swearing him to secrecy, of course).
- Riley Smith as Todd Schellinger, Cindy's jock boyfriend. Todd is introduced as a mildly mysterious character. At first, you only see him through Sam or Cindy's eyes from a distance. It wasn't until Sam became a mascot that we see Todd and Cindy kiss. Later in the episode, Todd is shown to be a really nice person, talking to Sam as if they were friends. After Todd and Cindy break up and Sam and Cindy began dating, Todd confirms that he is a good guy when he bluntly tells Cindy he likes Sam and thinks he's a cool guy, and adds he's not going to fight Sam after she tries to manipulate him into a battle for her affections.
- Kayla Ewell as Maureen Sampson, a transfer student to William McKinley High School since her family moved from Florida to Michigan. ("Carded and Discarded") Maureen befriends Sam, Neal, and Bill, and the three of them show Maureen around the school. Sam, Neal, and Bill all like Maureen as she is nice, personable, and she enjoys spending time with them. Midway through "Carded and Discarded", Sam, Neal, and Bill try to stop Maureen from talking to Vicky out of concern that Maureen will join Vicky and the cheerleaders. By the end of the episode, Maureen has joined Vicky and the popular kids. She invites Sam, Neal and Bill to hang out with her and her new friends, but they decline. Maureen is shown again in the episode "Chokin' and Tokin'" when Bill goes into a coma, showing compassion and worrying over Bill's health. There was a very minor subplot in that episode showing Sam starting to like Maureen, but it never resurfaced again. Maureen also appears in a cameo in the episode, "Smooching and Mooching" where she is firmly in the popular camp but never comes across as anything other than nice.
- Shaun Weiss as Sean. Sean is one of the Freaks. He plays bass in Creation (Daniel, Nick, and Ken's band). Sean works at a fast food restaurant where he generally gives his friends free food as long as they buy a drink. Sean seems to be somewhat of a diplomat among the students, hanging out with different cliques.
- Jarrett Lennon as Colin, Harris's best friend. ("Pilot Episode") Colin is first shown at Harris's sidekick, but later shown on his own as a hardcore drama student. He auditioned for school mascot with Sam, saying Sam only won because of politics.
- Lizzy Caplan as Sara. Sara is shown throughout the series as a disco-loving girl who seems to have a thing for Nick. In the series finale, the two begin dating and she drags him into the disco dancing world. The Freaks are blown away by this because of Nick's verbal hatred of disco throughout the series. Sara tells Nick she thinks he still has feelings for Lindsay. Nick assures her he doesn't. Nick and Sara are still together when the series ends, although she doesn't realize (or admit) that Nick is not happy with her, and that all of his self-improvement steps during their relationship were actually a fruitless attempt to get back together with Lindsay.
- Mark Allan Staubach as Mark, a goofy guy who is hanging out with the Freaks. He is supplying pot to Nick in Chokin' and Tokin'.
- Jessica Campbell as Amy Andrews ("Tuba Girl"). Amy is a "friend of a friend" type to Lindsay. She is in the marching band but is anything but a geek. Amy has a sharp tongue and a sarcastic sense of humor that instantly attracts fellow Freak Ken. The two begin dating and grow very close to one another. Amy eventually tells Ken that she is an intersex woman. Ken is shocked and feels very uncomfortable at first, but later tells Amy he is sorry and he doesn't care. They are still together when the show ends.
- Ben Foster as Eli, a mentally handicapped student who believes Three's Company is the greatest show ever. Lindsay sees some students picking on Eli right after asking two girls to the Homecoming Dance. Lindsay stands up for Eli and asks him to the dance. After the two have an argument, Eli runs away down a set of bleachers, slips and falls, breaking his arm. The argument started when Eli took offense at being called "retarded" even though Lindsay didn't mean it in a hateful way, and the former insisting that he's "special". He tells Lindsay he hates her and he doesn't want to go to the dance with her. Lindsay apologizes to Eli at the dance and they dance together.
- Jason Schwartzman as Howie Gelfand. ("Carded and Discarded")
- Shawn Soong as Stroker, a friend of the Freaks. He has very long wavy hair and appears in nearly every episode, but is rarely seen talking.
- Shia LaBeouf as Herbert, the school mascot who wore the McKinley Vikings helmet until he broke his arm and Sam replaced him, later falling into a deep sleep because his misguided mother refused to let him sleep at home out of fear he'd lapse into a post-concussion coma. ("We've Got Spirit")
- Rashida Jones as Karen Scarfoli, Kim's "friend" who bullied Sam by graffiting his locker and writing "Pygmy Geek" in huge letters because she was on the warpath because her boyfriend Ricky (unseen) broke up with her. ("Kim Kelly is My Friend"), but after Kim is won over by Lindsay, Karen gets her own nasty locker ink in retaliation for having kissed Kim's boyfriend, Daniel.
- Alex Breckenridge as Shelley Weaver, the head Mathlete whom Lindsay is determined to humiliate for spreading false rumors about Kim, and who later freezes and embarrasses herself at a competition where Lindsay's brilliance wins the day. ("Looks and Books")
- Samaire Armstrong as Laurie, a Deadhead.
- Renee Cohen as Judith, Harris Trinsky's girlfriend. She only has one on air appearance, where she says, "Oh, Harris! You're so bad" before kissing him. Judith has particular tastes, liking scented oils and plenty of time with Harris. They are a very affectionate couple.
- Dave "Gruber" Allen as Jeffrey "Jeff" Theodore Rosso, the hippie guidance counselor who often serves as a confidant to the main characters. His attempts to appear "cool and hip" often make him seem stupid, and he is shown to occasionally use his position in authoritarian or otherwise inappropriate ways. Nevertheless, he genuinely cares for the students, often identifying their problems and offering cogent advice in an upbeat manner. It was revealed in a conversation with Lindsay that he contracted herpes from a woman he met at a bar and also stated that he had sex in a van at Woodstock. He also discusses his anti-war protesting history when he was a student at UC Berkeley, and ends up giving career guidance advice to an unhappy Secret Service agent (played by Ben Stiller). In the episode "Carded and Discarded," it is revealed that Rosso is lead vocalist for a local bar band, "Feedback."
- Tom Wilson as Coach Benjamin "Ben" Fredericks, the PE and Health teacher. Though gruff and a bit of a meathead to the geek characters, he can be friendly and seems to be happy in the rare instances when the geeks succeed in class. He is later shown to be dating Bill's mother and goes to great lengths to win his acceptance.
- Steve Bannos as Frank Kowchevski, a petty, unpleasant math teacher who has it out for the freak characters, particularly Daniel. He is also the coach of the McKinley Mathletes group. In a deleted scene for the episode "The Little Things," it is revealed that Kowchevski is gay. He is also a Vietnam veteran and his hatred for Daniel comes from seeing him as "one of the guys who will get you killed" when he was in Vietnam.
- Trace Beaulieu as Hector LaCovara.
- Leslie Mann as Miss Foote.
- Steve Higgins as Mr. Fleck, the A/V teacher who is well liked by the geeks. He advises the boys on the high school hierarchy and how the lives will turn out for the jocks who bully them.
Other family members
- Claudia Christian as Gloria Haverchuck, Bill's mom. She raises Bill alone and works as a waitress. She previously worked as a dancer. Gloria blames herself for Bill's many medical problems, hinting that she was taking drugs and alcohol while pregnant with him. She cares for Bill very much and works hard to give him a good life. ("Chokin' & Tokin'" and "Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers")
- Sam McMurray as Dr. Vic Schweiber, Neal's dad. He is initially liked by Neal, Sam, and Bill as he shares their sense of humor and television program favorites. However, they later discover he is cheating on his wife, Neal's mother Lydia, whom he met in college. This news upsets Neal ("The Garage Door").
- Amy Aquino as Mrs. Lydia Schweiber, Neal's mom. She is aware of her husband's infidelities and comforts her son by telling him that she has only a few years left with him as her child at home, and plenty of time to deal with her husband in future years. ("The Garage Door")
- David Krumholtz as Barry Schweiber, Neal's charismatic older brother. He is well liked by the group and Neal looks up to him. He attends College in Wisconsin and hasn't chosen a major yet. Although he claims to have been a bigger Geek than Neal in high school, he reinvented himself as "the handsome, dashing Jew" once he got on campus. Lindsay is attracted to him and kisses him enthusiastically at his family's party. ("Noshing and Moshing")
- Kevin Tighe as Col. Andopolis, Nick's dad. He is very strict and dislikes his son's so-called musical ambitions. ("Smooching and Mooching")
- Ann Dowd as Cookie Kelly, Kim's catty mom. ("Kim Kelly is My Friend" and "The Diary")
- Mike White as Chip Kelly, Kim's alcoholic older brother who was attacked by the police when he was minding his own business and now sleeps on the couch all day with, according to his mother "water on the brain." ("The Diary")
- "TV: Breaking Down the List", Entertainment Weekly, #999/1000 June 27 & July 4, 2008, 56.