Tuesday, January 11, 2011
"Rock Box" Track of the Day: The Who, "I'm One"
Why's it part of the "Rock Box" playlist?: It's featured in the 2000 Freaks and Geeks episode "Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers."
Which moment in "Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers" does it appear?: The wordless sequence where latchkey kid Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr) comes home from school looking rather miserable after a not-so-great day, makes himself a grilled cheese (with chocolate cake on the side), flips on Dinah Shore's talk show Dinah! and laughs his ass off to a set by Dinah's guest comic Garry Shandling.
During the outstanding two-part WTF episode where he interviewed Freaks and Geeks writer/producer Judd Apatow, host Marc Maron said the "I'm One" sequence was the Freaks and Geeks moment that resonated with him the most because it relates to how "comedy was really one of the few things that made [Apatow and I] happy, that made us feel good, that took away the pain, that gave us the sense that things were going to be okay."
Apatow, who co-wrote "Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers," lifted the "I'm One" sequence from his own life as a child of divorced parents who found refuge in comedy and watched hours of stand-ups on talk shows after school. "I was at my fantasy world watching Michael Keaton do stand-up on The Mike Douglas Show, and I couldn't have been happier," Apatow told Maron. "I look back on it as a great time. I don't think, 'Oh, that was so sad. I was alone in my room.' I was like Bill, laughing my ass off, watching Jay Leno in 1979 on The Mike Douglas Show."
Because the freaks half of the episode revolved around a Who concert, every existing song during "Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers" is a Who track, except for "Summer Breeze" by Seals and Crofts (this was a few years before the CSI franchise introduced the band's songs to a new generation of viewers). No other track on the show perfectly encapsulates Bill, the geek who's most comfortable in his own skin and with his lot in life ("I'm a loser--no chance to win") and doesn't care what others think of him ("And I can see/That this is me"). His sense of humor helps take away the pain.