Skip Nav
27 Quotes From Supernatural's Crowley That You'll Definitely Need in Your 20s
27 Vintage Shows on Netflix You Need to Binge Next
Game of Thrones
Arya and Bran's Innocent Hug on Game of Thrones Might Have Devastating Implications

Freaks and Geeks Speak: Part One

Over the weekend, a group of Freaks and Geeks alumni — cast members Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, Samm Levine, Martin Starr, Busy Philipps, Dave (Gruber) Allen, and Steve Bannos and creator Paul Feig — took the stage at San Francisco's Sketchfest to share their memories of the great, underappreciated show. I was there, and over the next few days, I'm going to share some of their best stories with you. Let's get started:

  • Paul Feig said that when the series began, all of the writers filled out questionnaires about their own best, worst, and most memorable high school experiences. When someone came up with something truly awful, Feig said, his reaction was: "Oh, that's a terrible story! We'll use that on the show!"
  • Cardellini, who played geek-turned-freak Lindsay Weir, said sometimes she'd think the stories were so awful or out there, they had to be made up. "Then you would look at Paul, and you'd see the earnest look on his face and the sadness in his eyes, and you'd realize that most of this happened to Paul."
  • Feig said he set the show in 1980s Michigan largely because that's what he knew best, but he also had a few specific reasons for that setting: He wanted it to be set in pre-AIDS times so that people were afraid of having sex because they were afraid of sex itself; he wanted his show to be pre-cell phone because technology restricts interpersonal interactions; and he wanted to show Midwestern life because it's so common and real.

More, including Feig's inspiration for Lindsay, if you

  • Feig said most of the characters were based on people he knew, but Lindsay was a composite character based largely on his own journey. He had been raised in a religious household, and at the time he created Freaks and Geeks, he was turning toward atheism. "Any crisis I was going through at the moment," he said, "I put onto Lindsay."
  • Feig believes that if the show had premiered a couple of years later, it might still be on the air. It came on right in the middle of game show mania, and it would get pummeled by Who Wants to be a Millionaire and was replaced by NBC's attempt to revive 21. It was one of the lowest-rated shows on NBC at the time, but it was still getting 7 million viewers a week, more than some current network shows.
  • Some members of the cast said they realized what an unusual experience it was to work on Freaks and Geeks. John Francis Daley, on the other hand, said he thought it was the norm to do shows that good, ". . . and then I did The Geena Davis Show." Busy Philipps said she didn't realize how tough things were on normal network TV shows until she appeared on Dawson's Creek, where she was told that it didn't matter if she screwed up because they'd just cut to Katie Holmes anyway.
  • Feig said making the show was so touch-and-go that they approached each episode as a stand-alone independent film. The final episode that aired, "Discos and Dragons," was actually shot out of sequence, so it would always be there to close the series.

Tomorrow: cliques on the set, hopes for a second season, and a fantastic James Franco story, courtesy of Busy Philipps.


Join The Conversation
Dianna Dianna 9 years
Never saw F&G until I typed in JAMES FRANCO over at YouTube and a bunch of the episodes came up! Watched 'em & then went out & bought the DVD series! James' 'Daniel Desario' is pure attraction! Can't wait to read what else happened on the set of this show!
missmari missmari 9 years
Yes! Thanks so much for this story. Freaks & Geeks is one of my favorite shows. I love the actors, and I'm so glad that they've all gone on to work on other projects (like Knocked Up & Superbad). I love that Judd Apatow reuses these great talents in his films. These are actors that once the show was canceled, I thought I would never see again. So glad your showcasing the wonderful show here.
sassy-sugar sassy-sugar 9 years
i loved this show. i wish it still aired. i didn't know the complete season was out. i will have to look for that. great show.
avienndha avienndha 9 years
Ugh, such an amazing show. Can't wait to hear more stories...
gonedelirious gonedelirious 9 years
i remember when this show came out, and I didn't miss a single episode. About a year ago I rented them, and got my boyfriend hooked (even though he hates just about anything 80's). Now I'm obsessed with How I Met Your Mother (that has Jason Segal who was Nick on F & G). I would love to see more F & G, but how would they do that now, 9 years later?
lala788 lala788 9 years
i love this show , i miss her , i wish i was there!
Advah Advah 9 years
My flatmate has the DVDs and keeps talking about it, looks like I'll have to borrow it from her!
pargie pargie 9 years
I loved this show! Thanks for the post!
radarkitty radarkitty 9 years
I've always heard such raves about this show, but never watched it. Netflix here we come!
penguins268 penguins268 9 years
This is exciting! I love this show!
amh678 amh678 9 years
I didn't realize that James Franco was on that show until I saw the picture above!
juju4 juju4 9 years
I just bought the series on DVD after having seen it through Netflix about a year ago. I love lending the DVDs to people and getting them hooked. My mom, sister, and my husband's co-worker are already rabid fans.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
i really loved that show too! i didn't see it until a friend sat me down with the Netflix of the first season. i was so enthralled with the series (and James Franco!) and i got so bummed when i found out it was cancelled. :( Bring it back!
mudnessa mudnessa 9 years
ok now i have to get my dvd's out and re-watch the series AGAIN . . . love this show!
ur_momm ur_momm 9 years
LOVE IT! my best friend has it on dvd! such a good series, i think people just thought it was trying to be a that 80's show... i donno, i loved it.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
Thanks Buzz! Easily one of my most favorite shows. I remember being devastated when it ended...
lilchibi lilchibi 9 years
this made my day...thank you so much. i miss this show so much...its one of my all time favorite shows ever.
Nitrobezene Nitrobezene 9 years
I miss the show
BethEsme BethEsme 9 years
This post has made me so happy! I adored Freaks and Geeks, really wish I could have been there...
Here's How Busy Philipps Brings in the Big Bucks
Michelle Williams and Busy Philipps Friendship Pictures
Busy Philipps's Travel Tips
Busy Philipps's Elf on the Shelf Instagram Pictures 2016
From Our Partners
Latest Entertainment
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds