We watch... so you don't have to.

TeeVee Mailbag XXV: Nuts To You!

Certain things we look forward to at the start of each day. That first taste of cheese danish as we settle into our desks. The bracing sip of coffee to wash that danish down. The way the morning sun glitters on the San Francisco Bay as we gaze out the windows of the plush TeeVee Inc. world headquarters. And, of course, that happy little voice emanating from our computers that says "You've Got Mail!" to let us that another reader took the time to write.

We know, we know. You've read 24 or so of these little mailbag pieces and by now, you think you know us. You think we're a bunch of blackhearted bastards running our ham-and-egger Web site who love e-mail only because it allows us to make fun of the very audience that makes us what we are today -- a ham-and-egger Web site run by a bunch of blackhearted bastards.

Guess you've been keeping up with the assigned reading after all.

But still, we love getting e-mail from you, the TeeVee reader, especially when you've got something interesting to say.

Take the nice letter we got the other day from Terra Stoddard of Seattle, Washington, who appreciated our coverage of the now-cancelled NBC series Freaks and Geeks.

Thank you so much for writing about *Freaks and Geeks* in the past! It's been wonderful knowing that someone cares about such a great television show. I know that *Freaks and Geeks* has touched an emotional nerve with me and a LOT of other people. It is the only show I have ever seen that truly captures the crazy, ugly, beautiful scariness of life, and with such affection and warmth. It even inspired me to fly from Seattle to Los Angeles last month to see the show featured at the Musuem of Television and Radio's William S. Paley festival. And I've NEVER been that way about a mere television show!

Anyway, just wanted to say thank you again for supporting *Freaks and Geeks*. I doubt there will ever be another show as truly inspiring as this one, and if it doesn't come back I just may be done with television forever. Because, when you've seen the best show ever done, really, why bother?

Why bother, indeed. Words that the producers of Shasta can take cold comfort in, as they cry themselves to sleep each night on their pile of money.

Still, we appreciate letters like Terra's. We sympathize with her plight -- after all, we wrote much the same thing the day it was shitcanned by NBC.

Yes, very sad. But to everything, there is a season. Death comes to all men. Don't let the bastards get you down.

Back to the grind.

That's when we got the letter from Patty Eberly.

To: cheersandjeers@tvguide.com, tvg.customer.service@tvguide.com, et@pde.paramount.com, life&cmontgomery@usatoday.com, cnn.feedback@cnn.com, letters@ew.com, editors.showbiz@starwave.com, netaudr@abc.com, teevee@teevee.org, webeditors@variety.cahners.com, news@web.nydailynews.com, kpperkins@star-telegram.com, d_ausoin@globe.com

I am writing to you in the concern of my favorite and critically aclaimed show Freaks and Geeks. It has been given lack of airtime and advertisement but it has a chance to be picked up again in the next couple of weeks. All I'm asking is for is an article or any other type of form of advertisement so it will get picked up by a network for next season or for the summer. I will be very greatful if you do this and trust me it won't be forgotten. I thank you greatly for your time.

Well. That's interesting. We've been included with such stellar members of the media as TV Guide, Enterainment Tonight, USA Today, CNN, Entertainment Weekly, Mr. Showbiz, Variety, the New York Daily News, and the Globe! Obviously Patty has decided that our site is so impressive, she's lumped us in with the mighty members of the media. And about Freaks and Geeks again -- well, who can blame her? It was a good show. Thanks, Patty.

Then we got a letter from Sarah and Gerry Denchwater, up in Canada.

As you may or may not know, NBC recently canceled an amazing show called Freaks and Geeks. They gave it a crappy time slot, didn't promote it and moved their time slot around or pre-empted it for othercrappy shows.

"As we may or may not know?" Of course, we know. A fine TV Web site we'd be if we didn't know what shows got canceled. You know, we wouldn't be surprised if Sarah and Gerry have never ever read our site! In fact, that whole "may or may not know" malarky makes us suspicious that -- why, yes! -- this might be a form letter!

Lousy form-letter sending Canucks!

You can probably guess what came next.

In a letter from Lin Almond, we learned:

Please support another network picking up NBC'c cancelled show Freaks and Geeks!

Kids my age need a show with characters they can identify with. This is a show that makes me feel better about growing up. This is a show that I can watch with my Mom!

NBC did not give F&G a chance! They did not promote it and moved it around in their schedule.

It is nice, we are sure, that young Lin can watch this show with her mother. But isn't it a wee bit unsettling that it's a television show, an entertainment, that makes young Lin feel better about growing up? Adolescence is painful, Lord knows. We do not have many fond memories of that time. But if solace was to be had here or there, it was not found watching television -- an activity as antisocial as they come, short of burning, looting and pillaging -- and especially not watching a television program about adolescents who cope with the plight of their age through friendship and camaraderie.

Next came a note from Elliot, who describes himself as a "23 year old male working at an internet start-up company" -- a statement that suggests he may be both a freak and a geek.

This email is attempt to be recognized by the media at large as a loyal die-hard fan of the aforementioned program.

Congratulations, Elliot. We recognize you as a loyal die-hard fan. Go get 'em, tiger!

Yes, Freaks and Geeks -- it's not just a title. It's a demographic.

Suddenly, our reverie was interrupted by a letter from GarbageND:

Hello. I am writing to say that I would like to see articles on the TV show"Freaks and Geeks." "Freaks and Geeks" was a wonderful show, but was canceled by NBC. The problem was, NBC didn't market the show well.

Indeed it didn't, as we wrote. But thanks for writing in, GarbageND, and especially for keeping it short!

Our next four letters all came from... hmm. GarbageND!

Hello. I am writing to say that I would like to see articles on the TV show"Freaks and Geeks." "Freaks and Geeks" was a wonderful show, but was canceled by NBC. The problem was, NBC didn't market the show well.

When we wrote GarbageND back to chastise him for sending us five copies of the same e-mail, he was kind enough to send his reply only once:

The reason I sent so many letters is because I am part of an organization to revive the show "Freaks and Geeks." I was told to send out five letters to each e-mail address I was given. I was also told that it did not matter if the letters were all the same. I was merely doing what I was told.

"I was just following orders?" Son, that mumbo-jumbo didn't cut any ice in Nuremberg 50 years ago, and it don't cut no ice with us now. Off to the gallows with you! Hang the mad dog!

We also received this note from the great Chip656795.... 14 times.

KEEP FREAKS AND GEEKS ON THE AIR, its the best show out there and will be aninstant hit if another station picks it up, its the only show I can watch these days, it has great actors, and witty and creative storylines.

Sure, that looks like a pretty good letter now. But by the 10th time, we've kind of gotten the point. Chip656795 really likes Freaks and Geeks. And, more important, he's a knucklehead.

Fortunately, we got this letter from Prowl280z only once:

Who wears "sunglasses at night" when the glare from the brilliant Freaks andGeeks is blinding at worst? The best TV in a million years depicts highschool misfits (teenagers from mars?) in tragically transitional 1980. With Joan Jett blasting "Bad Reputation" during the intro, this will evoke painfully poignant and gasping-for-air-funny memories from "the kids in america."

As any informed, media-savvy viewer knows, FnG has been victim of a freak accident: it was canned by geeks at NBC. No Bull, Compadre. This is our massive email campaign designed to resuscitate OUR FAVORITE SHOW.

First, thanks for all of your wonderful support in the past. Unfortunately, our efforts need a TREMENDOUS catalyst to generate enough momentum for us to be heard.

My email is a mere fraction of the great "Blitz" of emails being sent this week. As if this were not enough, we will be mailing peanuts to networks to indicate that our show, like Bill Haverchuck, will not succumb without a fight.

Peanuts. After F&G character Bill, who in the last episode of the series to be aired nearly dies from a peanut allergy. Cute. We'll even forgive the Corey Hart reference for that little tidbit.

Our next letter was from Blublustrk:

Who wears "sunglasses at night" when the glare from the brilliant Freaks and Geeks is blinding at worst? The best TV in a million years depicts highschool misfits (teenagers from mars?)

Hey! If we didn't know any better, we'd think that Blublustrk and Prowl280z were the same guy!

Next up, this note from ChekrdVans:

Who wears "sunglasses at night" when the glare

Okay, we get the idea, kid. Let it go. Instead, let's listen to what Sdark1138 has to say:

Who wears "sunglasses at night"

Maybe that's not the best idea. Perhaps we should sample the note from the entirely-differently-named Mdrcity:

Who wears

Moving on! A letter from Neal Walsh of Knoxville, Tennessee. And Neal, if you make one reference to Corey Hart, we're gonna kick your ass.

If you have not ever seen the show i strongly encourage you to do so. I feel confident that you also will find yourself writing e-mails to people you've never met, begging them to put quality back into television.

Talk about a reason not to watch the show...

Fellow Volunteer State resident Neal Walsh chimed in:

Dear Arms of the Media

Good Lord. Next!

Sandy Brunt of Indianapolis, Indiana, piled on, opining:

As a 35 year old married mom with 3 young daughters, it was the highlight of my week after putting all 3 babies to bed.

That's gotta pump up the husband's self-esteem, huh Sandy?

Now, we've got to be honest here. We didn't appreciate getting all these letters -- approaching the century mark at last count. And we wrote many of our tormentors back to beg them to stop with the well-intentioned but nevertheless stomach-churning spam. A few people apologized. They were very nice.

Robert Miller was not one of those people. After repeatedly pointing out that he found our humble site to be "nothing short of obnoxious," Robert added:

I can assure you that I have never emailed you in the past -- I have never even heard of teevee.org --but you can't blame fans for trying to get some help so that they can save one of the best shows on television...

Your page goes out of its way to tout that it is critically acclaimed -- a mention of Freaks and Geeks and the MASSIVE amounts of email that you got would have been helpful. But you didn't do that. Instead of capitalizing on a good story that may help some folks, you chose to take the low road by sending hateful emails to everyone.

Gee, Rob. Way to butter us up. Where can we enlist?

Rob does not appreciate such sarcasm, incidentally.

You remind me of those band geeks I saw in high school -- they were the kids with the witty remarks, who thought they were so cool because they got carry around an instrument.

A school terrorized by band geeks? Where on God's green earth did this clown attend class?

Well, Robert Miller iced it. We now hate Freaks and Geeks. At this point, we're almost inclined to send letters of support and thanks to NBC Programming Swine Garth Ancier and his lackeys for killing a program that caters to annoying people. We're secretly hoping another network picks up the show... and then cancels it. Hell, we're even mulling forming our own network for the express purpose of canceling Freaks and Geeks.

Because you've irritated us. Frankly, we wish you people would just go back to playing Magic: The Gathering.

Folks -- it was a good show. No, it was a great show. It deserved better than it got, and it left the TV universe a better place for its existence. But when the big bell rings at the end of the day... it's still just a show.

It's not just Freaks and Geeks fans. This weekend, partisans of the can't-be-killed Star Trek franchise plan to demonstrate in front of Paramount to pressure the studio to get the franchise back on track -- by inexplicably insisting that the studio produce a series starring friendly but decidedly B-list actor George Takei.

Blame it on the booming economy, we guess. A flawed and corrupt electoral system? Ho hum. Economic disparity and racial divisions? Bo-ring. Some TV show is in trouble? Honey, get my megaphone! We've got some protestin' to do!

Chew on this: Fans of Freaks and Geeks are passing the hat to buy an ad in Variety to trumpet their cause. At last check, a full-page Variety ad ran somewhere north of $3,000 -- not a life-altering chunk of change, true, but certainly a fair amount of coin.

We can think of lot of good things to do with $3,000 and change. Buying ads on behalf of a TV show isn't one of them. Give the money to the American Cancer Society, to cystic fibrosis research, to anything that will actually benefit from its use. But an ad in Variety? Save your shekels. And develop some hobbies beyond the idiot box.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the letterstorm died down. But just when we thought we were safe, our Canadian correspondent, Sanj Arora, alerted us to this horrific news:

'battery park' has been cancelled!

They hear about these things much quicker in Canada, you know.

For a day we waited. Waited for the inevitable. The shower of e-mails, protesting the cruel bastards at NBC for whacking their beloved sitcom, starring their beloved Elizabeth Perkins. Eight messages from a guy in Biloxi beseeching us to send handcuffs to Scott Sassa in honor of the characters in Battery Park, who work in a police precinct. Strangers hitting us up for donations to buy billboard space in Burbank.

And it didn't come. Could it be? Could things be... dare we dream... settling down?

We knew we were home when we got the note from Eric Schmidt.

Regarding your review of "Get Real": Jason Snell is an idiot. I have 2 seperate graduate degrees and spouse has a graduate also.

Ah. Sweet normalcy. Thanks for writing, Eric. Thanks for making the world make sense once more.

Additional contributions to this article by: Jason Snell, Philip Michaels.


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