Given that she’s appeared in other shows as a rather nice person it’s hard to equate Rashida Jones with the image of Karen Scarfoli in the show Freaks and Geeks. Obviously a few famous faces showed up during the show but this was one that was kind of a surprise later on when people came to realize that the angry and ambivalent Karen was the same angelic person that went on to star in The Office and Parks and Recreation. To see someone turn from a heel to a good person on TV is kind of backwards in a way since you usually see the opposite if even for just a short while. Karen Scarfoli was just flat out nasty, mean, and rude to just about anyone that rubs her the wrong way. Of course playing a high school kid it’s kind of expected for teenagers to have mood swings, so her character is simply one of those faces you tend to meet in the hall and try to avoid as much as possible.
Being in high school is never easy and in this clip Karen is obviously having a bad day since her boyfriend has dumped her and she’s feeling out and out wretched for no other reason than because she can. However like anyone that might be feeling this way it becomes easy to pick on those that are smaller, weaker, and won’t fight back. Unfortunately that means that Sam is the perfect target since he’s too small and too weak to really offer up much of a fight. That means that Karen has no trouble picking on him since she’s obviously much stronger and not as bound by anything when it comes to tormenting him.
The thing with characters like Karen is that deep down they’re usually harboring some form of resentment that they just can’t let go even if the moment that brought it to the surface is long gone. They feel so miserable that they want others to feel their pain and as a result will gladly drag people down with them and make other individuals feel like utter garbage. It’s not recommended for anyone that’s down in the dumps but it does seem to bring those that do it a small measure of satisfaction, however brief. The only problem is that they have to keep doing it since the high that is provided by this action is very brief and isn’t destined to last.
Plus, the propensity for getting people back, such as for the word that she wrote on Sam’s locker, only gets bigger as time goes on. Those that strike first when it comes to tormenting others usually aren’t ready for the reactions that come next, and tend to whine and complain about when it finally does happen. It would be easy to say that this is what happens to cowards, but it’s also what happens to bullies. They simply can’t understand it when someone finally bests them at anything. But it’s highly satisfying when someone does.