Freaks and Geeks
|Freaks and Geeks|
|Created by||Paul Feig|
John Francis Daley
Becky Ann Baker
|Opening theme||"Bad Reputation"
by Joan Jett
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||18 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Judd Apatow
|Running time||44 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Apatow Productions
|Original run||September 25, 1999– July 8, 2000|
Freaks and Geeks is an American teen comedy-drama television series, created by Paul Feig and with Feig and Judd Apatow as executive producers, that aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 television season. Eighteen episodes were completed, but the series was canceled after only twelve had aired.
A fan-led campaign persuaded NBC to broadcast three more episodes in July 2000; the three remaining unaired episodes were not seen until September of that year, when the cable network Fox Family Channel aired them in syndication. The complete series was later released on DVD, and is available on Netflix.
Freaks and Geeks has a devoted cult following. The series appeared on Time magazine's 2007 "100 Greatest Shows of All Time" list, as well as placing 3rd on their list of the greatest television shows of the 2000s (decade). In 2007, Freaks and Geeks ranked #21 on TV Guide's Top Cult Shows Ever. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly ranked it the 13th-best series of the past 25 years. The same year, AOL TV named it the Best School Show of All Time. In 2013 TV Guide included it in its list of The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time, and ranked it #1 on their list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon". It launched several of its young actors into successful television and film careers.
The show centers on teenage Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini) and her younger brother Sam (John Francis Daley), who both attend William McKinley High School during the 1980–1981 school year in the town of Chippewa, Michigan, a fictional suburb of Detroit (named after Chippewa Valley High School, which series creator Paul Feig attended).
Lindsay's friends constitute the "freaks" — Daniel Desario (James Franco), Ken Miller (Seth Rogen), Nick Andopolis (Jason Segel), Kim Kelly (Busy Philipps) — and Sam's friends constitute the "geeks" — Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine) and Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr) — of the title. The Weirs' parents, Harold (Joe Flaherty) and Jean (Becky Ann Baker), are featured in every episode. Millie Kentner (Sarah Hagan), Lindsay's nerdy, highly religious former best friend, is a recurring character, as is Cindy Sanders (Natasha Melnick), the attractive, popular cheerleader on whom Sam has a crush.
The show's starting point is Lindsay's transition from her life as an academically proficient student, star "mathlete", and proper young girl to an Army-jacket-wearing teenager who hangs out with troubled slackers. Her relationships with her new friends, and the friction they cause with her parents and with her own self-image, form one central strand of the show; the other follows Sam and his group of geeky friends as they navigate a different part of the social universe, and try to fit in.
Cast and characters
Recurring roles included Tom Wilson (as Coach Fredericks), Chauncey Leopardi (as bully Alan White), Shaun Weiss (as student Sean and the bass player in Nick's band), Joel Hodgson (as a salesman who loves disco), Trace Beaulieu (as Mr. Lacovara, the school's biology teacher), Joanna García (as head cheerleader Vicki Appleby), Kayla Ewell (as Maureen Sampson, a transfer student), Lizzy Caplan (as student Sara), Claudia Christian (as Bill's mother), Samaire Armstrong (as "Deadhead" Laurie), Ben Foster (as Eli, a student with a developmental disability), and Kevin Tighe (as Mr. Andopolis, Nick's father).
Guest stars and cameo appearances
One-episode guest stars included David Koechner (as a waiter), Kevin Corrigan (as Millie's delinquent cousin), Jason Schwartzman (as a student dealing in fake IDs), David Krumholtz (as Neal's brother Barry), Allen Covert (as a liquor store clerk), Rashida Jones (as Kim Kelly's friend Karen Scarfolli), Alex Breckenridge (as mathlete Shelly Weaver), Matt Czuchry (as a student from rival Lincoln High), Shia LaBeouf (as Herbert, the school mascot), Alexander Gould (as Ronnie, the boy Lindsay babysits while high), Bianca Kajlich (as a nose piercing punk girl), Jack Conley (as Kim Kelly's stepfather) and Ben Stiller (as a Secret Service agent). Leslie Mann, Judd Apatow's wife, guest-starred on one episode as a teacher.
The show's producers were resistant to stunt casting. For example, they resisted the network's suggestion that they have Britney Spears appear as a waitress in one episode. They thought such appearances would detract from the show's realism.
Several of the screenwriters appeared on the show. Mike White played Kim Kelly's oft-discussed injured brother, first appearing in the fourth episode, "Kim Kelly is My Friend". Paul Feig and Gabe Sachs appear uncredited as members of the fictional band Dimension in "I'm With the Band". Michael Andrews, the original score composer for the series, played the role of Dimension's lead singer.
The series' opening sequence depicts each of the main characters, with the exception of Kim Kelly (Busy Philipps) and Harold and Jean Weir (Joe Flaherty and Becky Ann Baker), having their high school yearbook photo taken as the song "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts plays.
The show ran for eighteen episodes, three of which were unaired by NBC and not seen until Fox Family began running the show in 2000, and the final three episodes were premiered at the Museum of Television and Radio prior to being broadcast on television. The list is ordered by the chronology of the storyline.
The show averaged 6.77 million viewers and was #93 in the rankings during its only season.
The script for the pilot episode of Freaks and Geeks was written by Paul Feig as a spec script. Feig gave the script to Judd Apatow, who sold it to DreamWorks. That company, in turn, sold it to NBC, who quickly greenlit the script as a pilot. Before the script was shot, Feig wrote a second episode at the behest of Apatow. He showed this second script to Apatow and pilot director Jake Kasdan, and they suggested that he combine the two episodes to form a stronger pilot. Notable additions in this new draft included the introduction of the character Kim Kelly and Lindsay Weir's recollection of her grandmother's death. Feig wrote a final draft after a read-through with the cast, this time incorporating into the episode a first formal meeting between Lindsay and the freaks (in previous drafts, Lindsay was already considered part of the group).
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Production
|1||"Pilot"||Jake Kasdan||Paul Feig||September 25, 1999||100|
|A group of high school students in 1980 faces various social struggles. Lindsay Weir rebels and begins hanging out with a crowd of burnouts, courtesy of an invitation from Daniel Desario. Her affiliation with this gang of freaks and her quitting the mathletes worries her family and her former best friend Millie. Her depression started after her attempt to stop the teasing of a special education student goes terribly wrong and ends in him being injured. Meanwhile, freshman Sam Weir struggles to find the courage not only to confront his and his friend’s bully Alan, but to ask cheerleader Cindy Sanders to the homecoming dance.|
|2||"Beers and Weirs"||Jake Kasdan||J. Elvis Weinstein & Judd Apatow||October 2, 1999||101|
|When the Weir parents go out of town for the weekend, Lindsay's new friends suggest she throw a party. Lindsay hesitantly agrees in the hopes of impressing Daniel, who has broken up with Kim. She asks Sam not to tell their parents and he agrees, though the thought of serving beer at a party worries him after going to a school assembly focusing on alcohol-related deaths. When Sam discusses the matter with his friends Neal and Bill, Bill suggests that they switch the real beer with non-alcoholic beer. Despite the fake beer, the rowdy teenagers begin to think they are drunk and Lindsay soon finds herself having a terrible time.|
|3||"Tricks and Treats"||Bryan Gordon||Paul Feig||October 30, 1999||102|
|Halloween soon approaches and Sam convinces his friends to go trick-or-treating with him. The neighborhood reacts awkwardly to the freshmen trick-or-treaters and matters only become worse when Alan picks a fight with the gang. Lindsay agrees to stay home and hand out candy with her mom on Halloween night. However, when she gets an invite to go cruise around town with Nick, Daniel, and Kim, she ditches her mom to hang out with them. Lindsay enjoys her first taste of vandalism with the Freak gang until she accidentally takes things too far.|
|4||"Kim Kelly Is My Friend"||Lesli Linka Glatter||Mike White||September 5, 2000[a]||103|
|Kim’s friend, Karen (Rashida Jones) bullies Sam, writing "Pygmy Geek" on his locker. Sam doesn't take to the label kindly and finds himself in an argument with Neal over who is geekier. Kim invites Lindsay to dinner, explaining that she needs to introduce a nice friend to her parents so they will stop hassling her to sell her car. After Lindsay realizes what an abusive home Kim is living in, the two flee the scene in Kim's car. When Lindsay suggests that Kim lie low at the Weir house, the Weirs find themselves in for a long night.|
|5||"Tests and Breasts"||Ken Kwapis||Bob Nickman||November 6, 1999||104|
|When Mr. Kowchevski threatens to force Daniel to repeat algebra for another year if he doesn't pass an upcoming test, Lindsay offers to help him study for it. Instead, Lindsay finds herself helping Daniel to cheat after Daniel manages to steal a test from the teacher's office and he asks Lindsay to help him fill in the answers. Mr. Kowchevski, suspicious of Daniel's surprisingly high grade, accuses the duo of cheating. When Lindsay becomes unsure of what to do, Daniel tells her they should deny everything. Sam begins sex education class and Daniel tries to help Sam with questions he has by giving him a pornographic film. After viewing it, he is even more confused.|
|6||"I'm with the Band"||Judd Apatow||Gabe Sachs & Jeff Judah||November 13, 1999||105|
|Nick realizes if he doesn't make a career out of being a drummer, his father is going to make him join the army. Lindsay attempts to remedy this first by pressuring the band to practice more, which results in the band breaking up when Nick thinks he is better than them. Lindsay then gets Nick an audition for the band Dimension. Unfortunately, the audition goes miserably and Nick comes to terms with the fact that his drumming isn't going to save him from joining the army. Lindsay tries to comfort Nick. Meanwhile, when the physical education department at McKinley mandates that all students must shower after class, Sam avoids the shower at all costs, afraid to be naked in front of his peers.|
|7||"Carded and Discarded"||Judd Apatow||Judd Apatow & Paul Feig||January 10, 2000||110|
|Sam, Neal and Bill befriend Maureen (Kayla Ewell), a very pretty and friendly new transfer student at McKinley. When the popular crowd shows interest in her, the geeks take Maureen out on a night of all-you-can-eat dining in an attempt to keep from losing her. Lindsay and the freaks try to buy fake IDs to see the band Feedback perform at a local bar. However, after they go through the trouble of getting their IDs and going into the bar, the group is stunned to find out who the hot local band's lead singer is.|
|8||"Girlfriends and Boyfriends"||Lesli Linka Glatter||Patty Lin & Paul Feig||January 17, 2000||106|
|Nick begins making more aggressive advances towards Lindsay, most of which end up making her feel more disturbed than love struck. Tension is created between Sam and Bill when Bill is paired with Sam's crush, Cindy, as a science partner.|
|9||"We've Got Spirit"||Danny Leiner||Mike White||January 24, 2000||107|
|Sam becomes the McKinley basketball team's new mascot after the former mascot (Shia LaBeouf) breaks his arm. He hopes to become closer to Cindy. Instead of winning her heart, however, he increasingly becomes frustrated with her apparent desire to be nothing more than friends as well as her obsessive crush over the basketball team's star athlete, Todd Schellinger (Riley Smith). He eventually becomes so fed up that he allows Neal be the mascot during a basketball game, though Neal is much more interested in getting laughs than following orders from Vicki (Joanna Garcia), the bossy head cheerleader. Lindsay tries to figure out the best way to break up with Nick. The freaks, meanwhile, have a sudden interest in sports and school spirit after they get beaten up by a gang of McKinley's rivals at Lincoln.|
|10||"The Diary"||Ken Olin||Teleplay by: Rebecca Kirshner
Story by: Judd Apatow & Rebecca Kirshner
|January 31, 2000||108|
|Bill is tired of being confined to deep right field during PE baseball games and always being the last one picked. He is constantly embarrassed by Coach Fredricks in front of his peers and is convinced he could be a great athlete if he was simply given a chance. Instead of confronting Coach Fredricks with this dilemma directly, Bill makes him two prank phone calls, one of which consists entirely of insults. Meanwhile, when Lindsay's parents fear that her new friends are having a negative effect on her, they forbid her from hanging out with Kim and Harold suggests that he and Jean look into her diary. When they do, what they read sends their marriage into a crisis.|
|11||"Looks and Books"||Ken Kwapis||Paul Feig||February 7, 2000||109|
|After Lindsay crashes the Weir family car while trying to help drive Daniel and his friends around, her parents indefinitely ground her and forbid her from seeing the gang of freaks ever again. Shaken up by the experience, Lindsay gladly abides and tries to reassociate herself with her old friends, including Millie. In the process, she rejoins the mathlete team and reveals her competitive side. Meanwhile, after a new hair style doesn’t impress Cindy, Sam decides to dress more attractively, buying a powder blue disco jumpsuit. The attire gives him nothing but negative attention.|
|12||"The Garage Door"||Bryan Gordon||Gabe Sachs & Jeff Judah & Patty Lin||March 13, 2000||111|
|Sam and Bill both admire Neal’s father (Sam McMurray) until Sam accidentally sees Mr. Schweiber hugging a strange woman. Fearing that Mr. Schweiber may be cheating on Mrs. Schweiber (Amy Aquino), Sam tells Bill and then Neal. Soon after, Neal finds an unfamiliar garage door remote control in his father's car. The three friends start hunting around the neighborhood on their bicycles, searching for the garage door the remote control belongs to. Meanwhile, Ken reveals his first crush to be on a girl named Amy (Jessica Campbell) who plays the tuba in McKinley's marching band. The freaks, along with Amy, go to the local laser dome to see a Pink Floyd laser show, but mistakenly arrive on southern rock night.|
|13||"Chokin' and Tokin'"||Miguel Arteta||Judd Apatow||March 20, 2000||112|
|Lindsay smokes marijuana for the first time. Moments later, her father reminds her that she had promised to babysit for neighbors that night. Afraid to babysit by herself, she pleads Millie to babysit with her. Millie not only takes care of the child they are babysitting, but takes care of Lindsay while she anxiously deals with the effects of smoking pot. The geeks are embarrassed in front of their peers when Bill reveals their allergies and ailments to Ms. Foote (Leslie Mann). Not believing that Bill is actually deathly allergic to peanuts, Alan puts peanuts into Bill's sandwich. After Bill eats one bite of the sandwich, Alan realizes that Bill was telling the truth and Bill is rushed to the hospital.|
|14||"Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers"||Judd Apatow||Judd Apatow & Bob Nickman||October 10, 2000[a]||114|
|Lindsay and Kim accidentally run over Millie's dog one night. Lindsay wants to come clean to Millie, but Kim threatens that if Lindsay confesses, she will react violently. Feeling guilty, Kim befriends Millie and asks her to join the freaks to witness The Who, live in concert. Meanwhile, Nick teaches himself to play guitar and writes a love ballad for Lindsay, and Bill, already having a rocky relationship with Coach Fredricks, is devastated to hear that his mother has been dating him.|
|15||"Noshing and Moshing"||Jake Kasdan||J. Elvis Weinstein||October 17, 2000[a]||115|
|While trying to escape his problems with his parents and Kim, Daniel becomes attracted to Jenna Zank, a dropout from McKinley who is into the punk scene. To try and impress her, Daniel changes his appearance and meets her at a punk show and brings Nick and Ken along as well. Trying to cope with the knowledge that his father is unfaithful to his mom and whether or not to tell her, Neal focuses all of his energy into his new ventriloquism act, neglecting school in the process. The Weir parents become intoxicated at the Schweibers' party, while Lindsay becomes attracted to Neal's older brother Barry (David Krumholtz), who is back in town from college. Lindsay is given detention after coming to the aid of a girl being attacked by a boy.|
|16||"Smooching and Mooching"||Jake Kasdan||Steve Bannos||July 8, 2000||116|
|After Cindy breaks up with Todd, Sam finally asks Cindy out on a date after she tells Bill that she has a crush on Sam and wants Bill to convince Sam to invite her to a party. Sam, Neal, and, Bill find themselves nervously attending a make-out party. Much to Lindsay's disappointment, the Weirs allow Nick to stay the night at their house after Nick's father sells his 29-piece drum kit.|
|17||"The Little Things"||Jake Kasdan||Teleplay by: Jon Kasdan
Story by: Jon Kasdan & Judd Apatow & Mike White
|July 8, 2000||117|
|After Ken's girlfriend, Amy, reveals to him that she was born an intersex woman, Ken questions his sexuality and his over analysis of his relationship with her leads him to the conclusion that he has to break up with her. Sam is having a terrible time dating Cindy, who reveals herself to be shallow, rude, and egotistical. He tries to find the courage to break up with her. Lindsay struggles with asking Vice President George Bush a question during an assembly.|
|18||"Discos and Dragons"||Paul Feig||Paul Feig||July 8, 2000||113|
|By chance, Lindsay and the freaks find out that Nick has been dating Sara (Lizzy Caplan) and she has been teaching him to dance for an upcoming disco competition. Daniel, afraid of failing another test, is caught trying to pull the fire alarm. As punishment, he is forced to join the Audio/Visual club. The geeks respond to his presence coldly at first, but they later invite him to a game of Dungeons & Dragons. As a result of Lindsay's outstanding grades, she receives an invitation to an academic summit at the University of Michigan taking place for two weeks during the summer. However, she is unsure of whether or not she wants to attend.|
On April 6, 2004, a six-DVD Freaks and Geeks box set was released through Shout! Factory. A limited "yearbook edition" set including two additional discs was also available through the official website for the show. Fans who had signed an online petition to get the show on DVD got priority in purchasing the special set.
On November 25, 2008, the deluxe "Yearbook Edition" boxed set was re-released. The set features all of the episodes, commentaries, and special features of the "Complete Series" six-DVD set, plus two extra discs and deluxe packaging. It is packaged as an 80-page color yearbook with essays, pictures, and episode synopses.
|Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series|
|Set details||Special features|
|North America||April 6, 2004|
In October 2004, two Freaks and Geeks books were released, titled Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Scripts, Volume 1 and Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Scripts, Volume 2. Both published by Newmarket Press, each book covers nine scripts from the series as compiled by Paul Feig and Judd Apatow themselves. Extra content includes behind-the-scenes memos and notes, photos, additional plotlines and excerpts from the Freaks and Geeks series bibles.
One of the distinguishing characteristics that separated Freaks and Geeks from similar television series at the time was its soundtrack. The creators made it a priority to feature genuine, period-specific music that would help to create the tone of the show. Clearing such names as The Who, Van Halen, Rush, Styx, the Grateful Dead, The Moody Blues, and Billy Joel would prove to require much of the show's budget. Eventually, this would become an obstacle in releasing the show on DVD due to the difficulty and expense of clearing all of the music rights for the series. Many television shows (such as Dawson's Creek and WKRP in Cincinnati) had music cues changed or removed in order to facilitate relatively inexpensive DVD releases, as was done for Freaks and Geeks when it was seen in reruns on Fox Family. However, the creators chose to wait to release the DVD until they could find a company willing to pay for the original music. Shout! Factory, a music and video company specializing in comprehensive reissues and compilations, eventually brought Freaks and Geeks to DVD with all of its music intact.
Awards and nominations
The series received three Emmy Award nominations: creator Paul Feig was nominated twice for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, for "Pilot" and "Discos and Dragons". It won for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series (Allison Jones, Coreen Mayrs and Jill Greenberg). It was nominated for two Television Critics Association Awards, for New Program of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Drama. For acting, the series won for Best Family TV Series – Comedy and was nominated for Best Performance in a TV Series – Young Ensemble at the Young Artist Awards. For the YoungStar Awards, John Francis Daley and Sarah Hagan were nominated for Best Young Actor/Performance in a Comedy TV Series and the ensemble was nominated for Best Young Ensemble Cast – Television. The series also received several other nominations in other categories.
Undeclared and beyond
In 2001, several of the actors featured in Freaks and Geeks appeared in a new Judd Apatow college half-hour comedy called Undeclared, which aired on Fox Network. Apatow fought with the network to include Freaks and Geeks actors, but only picked up Seth Rogen (who was already committed to the show as a writer) as a regular cast member. However, Jason Segel became a recurring character, Samm Levine, Busy Philipps and Natasha Melnick guest-starred in multi-episode arcs, as did prominent Freaks and Geeks guest stars Steve Bannos (who played McKinley High math teacher Mr. Frank Kowchevski) and David Krumholtz (who played Neal's older brother, Barry Schweiber). Martin Starr was prominent in another episode, and a scene with Sarah Hagan was shot, although it was cut for television broadcast. The show was also canceled during its first season.
In June 2010, it was announced that IFC had acquired the rights to air both Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. Freaks and Geeks's 18-episode run on IFC finished with all episodes having aired as of October 29, 2010. Undeclared's IFC run began on November 5, 2010. Both shows have also joined TeenNick's line-up as of June 13, 2011. Freaks and Geeks is currently airing on FXX.
In May 2013, Seth Rogen said he—and others—would be open to appearing in a Freaks and Geeks film, but Paul Feig played down the idea.
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Freaks and Geeks|
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- Paul Feig walks us through Freaks And Geeks – 2012 series retrospective at The A.V. Club
- The Trouble with Paul Feig – New York Times article
- Paul Feig: What Would’ve Happened to Every Character in Freaks and Geeks’ Lost Second Season (Drugs! Pregnancies! Republicanism!) – Vanity Fair