The 1999 teen series Freaks and Geeks starred many A-list actors before they became famous, and Shia LaBeouf had a guest-starring role as the school mascot Herbert in one episode. Taking place in the early ’80s, the show follows two groups of students at William McKinley High School in Chippewa, a fictional Michigan town. There are the “freaks,” who are rebellious misfits, and the “geeks,” who are smart and insecure. Despite having only one 18-episode season, the series has become a cult hit. Protagonist Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini) has a relatable journey of finding people who she can be herself with and the young cast gives strong performances.
Shia LaBeouf’s role as Sam Witwicky in Transformers defined the beginning of his acting career, along with playing Louis Stevens in the Disney Channel sitcom Even Stevens. The actor also received praise as Kale in the 2007 horror movie Disturbia. In recent years, LaBeouf has starred in more serious movies like The Peanut Butter Falcon and Honey Boy. Herbert is different from all of these other characters as he’s much more innocent. This is also the only time the actor guest-starred in a coming-of-age teen comedy series, but LaBoeuf’s small role in Freaks and Geeks was important, as it allows Sam to step into the spotlight.
Shia LaBeouf Played Herbert In Freaks & Geeks
Herbert appears in “We’ve Got Spirit,” the ninth episode of the Freaks and Geeks‘ only season, and is shown wearing his mask as the mascot for the team the Norsemen. Herbert appears to enjoy his role and dances on a table while the cheerleaders perform for the student body. Sadly, he ends up injured with a concussion and a broken arm. This ends up being good news for Sam, who takes over as the mascot and can now talk to Cindy Sanders (Natasha Melnick), a cheerleader who he likes. Herbert doesn’t have much screen time, but he affects Sam’s life.
Herbert helps Sam become an active part of his school community, which isn’t something that Sam ever anticipated due to his being ignored or bullied at school. Like Judd Apatow’s catalog of comedy movies, Freaks and Geeks features characters in awkward and humorous situations, and Sam enjoys being the mascot until he becomes envious of Cindy flirting with school athlete Todd Schellinger (Riley Smith). This is a milestone in Sam’s high school life, and he learns a big lesson in respect and patience when he talks to Todd and then realizes that the timing isn’t right for him and Cindy.
Herbert Helps Sam Become A Braver Person
Herbert has a big effect on Sam, who wants to use his new role as the mascot to ask Cindy to be in a relationship, but he ultimately understands that Todd and Cindy are dating and that it would be wrong to get involved. Sam gets a lot of advice from his friends, but it’s Herbert who encourages Sam to get comfortable talking to the popular students. LaBeouf plays Herbert with a lot of heart, and it’s an early indication of what an impactful actor he will become. While Freaks and Geeks never had a season 2, Herbert has a compelling, brief arc and helps Sam become braver.