Kim Kelly is my friend. (I wish)

17 Dec

(Or, I’m OBSESSED with Busy Philipps .)

In looks, demeanor and circumstance, I am worlds away from Kim Kelly, the tomboyish bottle-blonde played by Busy Philipps on  Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000). Still, I marvel at her character. What’s most impressive is the attention to detail writer Paul Feig possessed when he brought Kim Kelly to life.

Or maybe it’s her jacket. I love how the characters on Freaks and Geeks are shown in the same outerwear week to week. They don’t have  a closet full of one outfit like Rocko, but Lindsay wears an over-sized army jacket in almost every episode, just as Kim wears that blue ski jacket, and it feels true to life.

Kim Kelly reminds me of a girl I knew growing up. She, too wore a ski jacket and bleached her hair irregularly so the roots would grow to thick blocks of dark brown on top. Her mother smoked in the house and she grew out her training bra before I had to start wearing one. Pink was her favorite artist and she referred to me as her “smart friend” to boys on the telephone, who would only ask to speak to me so that they could challenge my intelligence by asking the square roots of random high numbers. Needless to say, I didn’t pass these tests.

I was never as brainy as Lindsey Weir, but I did share her purported identity conundrum: how can you fit in with the burnouts when you come from a healthy, loving home?

Perhaps by association. Maybe that’s why I idolize Busy Phillips and the characters she plays.

Up until some unofficial polling (aka browsing Tumblr), I thought I was the only person that remembered, The Smokers (2000). Not the case! Although this movie has only garnered a mere 39% on Rotten Tomatoes and the plot is pretty bleak, it has the patience of Sofia Coppola movie and drama likened to that of  American Beauty.  The movie also features a quick montage in which Busy Philipps, Dominique Swain and Keri Lynn Pratt gallivant through town wearing (respectively) a face shield, a bunny mask and mouse ears while eating garish lollipops; sorta reminds me of “Ghost World” with more blissful naivete. Philipps plays a badass, (albeit a little misguided), who shoots guns and smokes a lot of pot and cigarettes.


Oh yeah, Thora Birch is in this movie, too. Source:

Oh yeah, Thora Birch is in this movie, too. Source:

Philipps was more recently in Cougar Town, where she played Laurie, the fun-loving, promiscuous assistant at Courtney Cox’s real estate agency. Laurie has good intentions, but still walks the walk of shame most mornings of her adult life. You can sort of think of her as Kim Kelly all grown up, although I think Kim would’ve grown up to be a lot smarter and more self-assured than Laurie.

I wouldn’t admit that I’ve even heard of Cougar Town outside of this post, but lame as it sounds, it had some redeeming qualities. For one, the lifestyle of the cast is enviable. Everyone is filthy rich and they find time to drink inordinate quantities of wine in each episode. The stakes are all-around pretty low, but if you watch it when you’re bed-ridden or in place of being productive, it manages to cut the bitterness of life. Busy Philipps laughs a lot during the show, and I can’t tell if it’s written into the script or if she’s “breaking.” Her laugh is deep, a little horse and hands-down the most genuine thing I’ve heard on television ever. If nothing else, watch the show for that.




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