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Friday, June 20, 2008

Get Ur "Freak" On, Yearbook-style

Way back in the day -- like, November 2007 -- I boldly answered the Channel Surfing question, "If you had to save one TV on DVD set from a burning building" by declaring my love for the "Freaks and Geeks: Special Edition."

I take great pride in owning the Yearbook edition of my all-time favorite dramedy. I like the envious stares when people pull it off my living room shelf and realize that it's a comprehensive DVD set and not my own lame high school yearbook filled with photos of me in the Writers Club. (Yes, we had a Writers Club by default for taking Advance Placement Literature. It's a great notch on my resume.)

Quite simply, the "Freaks" Yearbook Edition from Shout! Factory is the finest DVD set ever assembled. People can touch it, but never borrow it -- an unwavering fact of life that has prevented a few friends and relatives from watching the complete series since they can only do so at my house.

For those who don't know, it's a real yearbook with the DVDs, including bonus footage galore, slotted comfortably in the back pages. Inside you'll also find tons of photos, comprehensive recaps of every episode and most important, tons of hilarious inside jokes (for example, classic yearbook messages involving little-used character, Stroker, and all-time "Freaks" fave, Nick Andopolis, complete with poor grammar and first-grade misspellings) that die-hard fans should eat up.

Am I bringing all this up to rub in your face, you sad, sad soul who only recently discovered "Freaks" because of Judd Apatow or Seth Rogen's rise to Hollywood prominence? Man, I wish!

Instead, good news all around as has a re-release of the special set listed for pre-order (Oct. 28) at $119. Yes, it's a fairly steep price to pay for entertainment (the original release also went for $120), and if you're new to the show, it probably isn't the most reasonable route -- though I guarantee it'll be your new favorite series, unless you had feathered jock hair like Todd Schellinger in high school. But if you're a fan and have never purchased the show on DVD -- or even if you already have the 6-disc retail box -- I can't stress this enough. YOU HAVE TO BUY THE YEARBOOK SET. Refuse and you'll be mercilessly mocked like Bill Haverchuck getting picked last for softball in gym class.

Anyway, if paging through your brand spankin' new Yearbook while doubled over in laughter as Millie and Nick sing "Jesus is Just Alright" isn't incentive enough to place an order, here's the rundown:

* Six hours of additional footage on two extra discs, including:

* Three live table reads

* One-hour Q&A with the cast at the Museum of Television and Radio, shot days before the show was cancelled

* Auditions, deleted scenes, promos, and outtakes

* Favorite scenes from producers

* Jeff Rosso and Feedback in concert

* A script that was never shot

* A special music and photo gallery

* 80-page yearbook, embossed and foil-stamped

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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