Freaks and Geeks
|Freaks and Geeks|
|Created by||Paul Feig|
|Opening theme||"Bad Reputation"|
by Joan Jett
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||18|
|Executive producer||Judd Apatow|
|Running time||44 minutes|
|Audio format||Dolby Surround 2.0|
|Original release||September 25, 1999 –|
October 17, 2000
Freaks and Geeks is an American teen comedy-drama television series created by Paul Feig and executive-produced by Judd Apatow that aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 television season. The show is set in a suburban high school near Detroit during 1980–81. The theme of Freaks and Geeks reflects "the sad, hilarious unfairness of teen life". With little success when it first aired, due to an erratic episode schedule and conflicts between the creators and NBC, the series was canceled after airing 12 out of the 18 episodes. The series became a cult classic, and Judd Apatow continued the show's legacy by incorporating the actors in future productions.
The series has appeared in numerous lists of the greatest television shows of all time, including lists by Time, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide and Rolling Stone. It launched most of its young actors' careers, such as James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Busy Philipps, John Francis Daley, Martin Starr, Samm Levine and Linda Cardellini.
Teenager Lindsay Weir and her younger brother, Sam, attend William McKinley High School during the 1980–81 school year. The show is set in the town of Chippewa, Michigan, a fictional suburb of Detroit (named after Chippewa Valley High School, which series creator Paul Feig attended).
Lindsay joins a group of friends who are referred to as the "freaks" – Daniel Desario, Ken Miller, Nick Andopolis and Kim Kelly – while Sam's friends constitute the "geeks", Neal Schweiber and Bill Haverchuck. The Weir parents – Harold and Jean – are featured in every episode, and Millie Kentner, Lindsay's nerdy and highly religious former best friend, is a recurring character, as well as Cindy Sanders, the popular cheerleader on whom Sam has a crush.
Lindsay finds herself attempting to transform her life as an academically proficient student, a star "mathlete" and a young girl into a rebellious 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
- Linda Cardellini as Lindsay Weir
- John Francis Daley as Sam Weir
- James Franco as Daniel Desario
- Samm Levine as Neal Schweiber
- Seth Rogen as Ken Miller
- Jason Segel as Nick Andopolis
- Martin Starr as Bill Haverchuck
- Becky Ann Baker as Jean Weir
- Joe Flaherty as Harold Weir
- Busy Philipps as Kim Kelly (credited after titles as "also starring")
- Sarah Hagan as Millie Kentner
- Jerry Messing as Gordon Crisp
- Stephen Lea Sheppard as Harris Trinsky
- Natasha Melnick as Cindy Sanders
- Ben Foster as Eli
- Chauncey Leopardi as Alan White
- Shaun Weiss as Sean
- JoAnna Garcia as Vicki Appleby
- Kayla Ewell as Maureen Sampson
- Lizzy Caplan as Sara
- Riley Smith as Todd Schellinger
- Dave "Gruber" Allen as Jeff Rosso
- Steve Bannos as Mr. Kowchevski
- Trace Beaulieu as Mr. Lacovara
- Steve Higgins as Mr. Fleck
- Tom Wilson as Coach Ben Fredricks
- Joel Hodgson as Joel, a disco clothing store manager and occasional DJ
- Claudia Christian as Gloria Haverchuck
- Kevin Tighe as Mr. Andopolis
- Jessica Campbell as Amy Andrews
- Sam McMurray as Vic Schweiber
- Amy Aquino as Mrs. Schweiber
- Ann Dowd as Cookie Kelly
Guest stars and cameo appearances
Guest stars included:
- Samaire Armstrong as "Deadhead" Laurie
- Alexandra Breckenridge as mathlete Shelly Weaver
- Jack Conley as Kim Kelly's stepfather
- Kevin Corrigan as Millie's delinquent cousin
- Allen Covert as a liquor store clerk
- Matt Czuchry as a student from rival Lincoln High
- Alexander Gould as Ronnie, the boy Lindsay babysits while high
- Steve Higgins as Mr. Fleck, the Geeks' A/V teacher
- Rashida Jones as Kim Kelly's friend Karen Scarfolli
- Bianca Kajlich as a nose piercing punk girl
- David Koechner as a waiter, in an uncredited role
- David Krumholtz as Neal's brother Barry
- Shia LaBeouf as Herbert, the school mascot
- Leslie Mann as school teacher Miss Foote
- Ben Stiller as a Secret Service agent
- Jason Schwartzman as Howie Gelfand, a student dealing in fake IDs
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, and first appeared in episode 4, "Kim Kelly is My Friend". Paul Feig, Gabe Sachs and series composer Michael Andrews appear uncredited as members of the fictional band Dimension in "I'm With the Band".
Numerous actors who starred on Freaks and Geeks would later appear on Judd Apatow's later TV series Undeclared, including Rogen, Segel, Levine, Starr, Phillips and Melnick, among several others.
The script for the pilot episode of Freaks and Geeks was written by Paul Feig as a spec script. Feig gave the script to producer Judd Apatow, who sold it to DreamWorks, where Apatow was under an overall deal. DreamWorks sold it to NBC, who greenlit 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 include the introduction of Kim Kelly and Lindsay's recollection of her grandmother's death. Feig wrote a final draft after a read-through with the cast, this time incorporating a first meeting between Lindsay and the freaks (in previous drafts, Lindsay was already part of the group).
The show ran for 18 episodes, three of which – "Kim Kelly Is My Friend", "Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers" and "Noshing and Moshing" – were unaired by NBC and not seen until Fox Family ran the show in 2000. The final three episodes premiered at the Museum of Television and Radio prior to being broadcast on television. The list below is ordered by the chronology of the storyline.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"Pilot"||Jake Kasdan||Paul Feig||September 25, 1999||100||9.17|
|A group of high school students in 1980 faces various social struggles. The show focuses on junior Lindsay Weir, who rebels and begins hanging out with a crowd of freaks, courtesy of an invitation from Daniel Desario; and her brother, freshman Sam Weir, who struggles to find the courage not only to confront his and his friends' bully Alan, but also to ask cheerleader Cindy Sanders to the homecoming dance. Lindsay's affiliation with this gang of "freaks" and her quitting the mathletes worries her family and her friend Millie. Her depression started after her attempt to stop the bullying of a special education student, Eli, goes terribly wrong and ends in him being injured, and is exacerbated by the recent passing of her grandmother.|
|2||"Beers and Weirs"||Jake Kasdan||J. Elvis Weinstein & Judd Apatow||October 2, 1999||101||5.58|
|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 his girlfriend Kim. She asks Sam not to tell their parents; he agrees, though an anti-alcohol assembly held at school causes him to hesitate over the thought of serving beer at the party. 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 when she sees that Daniel is back with Kim.|
|3||"Tricks and Treats"||Bryan Gordon||Paul Feig||October 30, 1999||102||5.02|
|Halloween approaches and Sam persuades his friends to go trick-or-treating with him. The neighborhood reacts awkwardly to the trick-or-treaters' outfits, and things only become worse when Alan picks a fight with the geeks. 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, Ken 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, pelting Sam with eggs as he walks home.|
|4||"Kim Kelly Is My Friend"||Lesli Linka Glatter||Mike White||September 5, 2000[a]||103||N/A|
|Kim’s friend, Karen, bullies Sam by 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 as Sam is assigned to write a 500-word essay about vandalism in school. 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 AMC Gremlin, which she inherited from her now-deceased aunt. After Lindsay finds out 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 as Daniel arrives to attempt to make amends.|
|5||"Tests and Breasts"||Ken Kwapis||Bob Nickman||November 6, 1999||104||6.14|
|When Daniel's Algebra teacher, Mr. Kowchevski, threatens to force him to repeat the class (again) if he doesn't pass an upcoming test, Lindsay offers to help him study for it. Daniel would much rather just cheat by getting the answers from her. Lindsay begs Mr. Kowchevski for an extension on Daniel's behalf, but Mr. Kowchevski dismisses Daniel as a loser who will never amount to anything; in fury, Lindsay steals the answers and teaches them to Daniel. They are immediately accused of cheating. Sam begins sex education class with Coach Fredericks but continues to be mystified by the punch line of a joke told by two athletes ("How do you think I rang the doorbell?"). Daniel tries to help Sam understand by giving him a pornographic film, but this only deepens his confusion. Eventually, Coach Fredericks steps in and, off the record, helps him understand the situation better, including why the joke ("So, there once was a guy with no arms and no legs--") is funny. Lindsay and Daniel are called before a disciplinary committee consisting of Mr. Rosso and Mr. Kowchevski, who proves Daniel cheated by asking him to re-take merely the first question of the exam. Daniel makes an impassioned plea about being pigeonholed as a dumb kid, but Lindsay realizes that it's the same speech, word for word, he used to motivate her, and bursts into helpless laughter.|
|6||"I'm with the Band"||Judd Apatow||Gabe Sachs & Jeff Judah||November 13, 1999||105||5.08|
|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 – consisting of Nick, Daniel on guitar, Ken on vocals and Sean on bass – to practice more, which results in the band breaking up when Nick demands they take it more seriously. 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 kisses him. 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. This leads to Alan locking him out of the gym with no clothes on, resulting in Sam streaking involuntarily in front of the entire school. (To his surprise, Cindy is impressed with his chutzpah.)|
|7||"Carded and Discarded"||Judd Apatow||Judd Apatow & Paul Feig||January 10, 2000||110||7.59|
|Sam, Neal and Bill befriend Maureen, 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: Mr. Rosso.|
|8||"Girlfriends and Boyfriends"||Lesli Linka Glatter||Patty Lin & Paul Feig||January 17, 2000||106||7.55|
|Nick begins making more aggressive advances toward Lindsay, most of which end up making her feel more disturbed than lovestruck. Tension is created between Sam and Bill when Bill is paired with Sam's crush, Cindy, as a science partner. Lindsay discovers that literally everyone, even her parents, assume she is going to have sex with Nick, unsure of what she herself wants to do. (Ultimately, Nick just wants to cuddle platonically, leaving Lindsay yet more confused.) Sam is able to spend more time with Cindy by joining her in the yearbook club, and the two bond only for Cindy to confess her crush on Todd Schellinger, the school's star basketball player, and thank Sam for his brotherly friendship. Sam continues to stand by her when Todd finally asks her out.|
|9||"We've Got Spirit"||Danny Leiner||Mike White||January 24, 2000||107||7.23|
|Sam becomes the McKinley basketball team's new mascot after the former mascot 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. 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, the bossy head cheerleader. Lindsay tries to figure out the best way to break up with Nick; she confides in her mother, who inadvertently breaks the news to 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||Story by : Judd Apatow & Rebecca Kirshner|
Teleplay by : Rebecca Kirshner
|January 31, 2000||108||8.22|
|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 Fredericks in front of his classmates and is convinced he could be a great athlete if he were simply given a chance. Instead of confronting Coach Fredricks with this dilemma directly, Bill makes two prank phone calls to him, one of which consists entirely of insults. While Fredericks is (reasonably) angered by the prank calls, he listens to Bill's concerns and gives him a chance to shine by appointing him captain the next softball game, during which time the geeks play with reasonable facility. Meanwhile, when Lindsay's parents fear that her new friends are having a negative effect on her, they prevent her from hanging out with Kim. Harold suggests that he and Jean read 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||6.98|
|After Lindsay crashes the Weir family car while trying to help the Freaks' band pick up gear for a gig, her parents indefinitely ground her and prevent her from seeing the Freaks ever again. Shaken by the experience, Lindsay happily abides and tries to re-associate herself with her old friends, including Millie. In the process, she rejoins the Mathletes team and reveals her competitive side, inadvertently impressing the Freaks with her mental prowess. Meanwhile, after a new hairstyle doesn’t impress Cindy, Sam decides to dress more attractively, buying a powder-blue disco jumpsuit. The attire only attracts negative attention toward him, and Mr. Rosso talks to him about the inner nature of confidence. Lindsay ultimately leaves the Mathletes again, realizing she's grown beyond them.|
|12||"The Garage Door"||Bryan Gordon||Gabe Sachs & Jeff Judah & Patty Lin||March 13, 2000||111||6.57|
|Sam and Bill both admire Neal's father until Sam, at the mall with his mother, sees Mr. Schweiber hugging a strange woman. Mr. Schweiber tries to downplay the entire thing, claiming he is trying to buy Neal an Atari; Sam, fearing that Mr. Schweiber may be cheating on Mrs. Schweiber, tells Bill and then Neal. Soon after, Neal finds an unfamiliar garage door remote control in his father's car. The Geeks start hunting around the neighborhood on their bicycles, clicking the remote to find what the house it belongs to. Meanwhile, Ken reveals his crush on "Tuba Girl", a girl named Amy who plays the sousaphone in McKinley's marching band. The Freaks, along with Amy, go to the local laser dome to see a laser show where Ken and Amy kiss. Sam and Bill return home due to the late hour; Neal, alone, finds a garage door opening in response to the remote control and his father's car parked within.|
|13||"Chokin' and Tokin'"||Miguel Arteta||Judd Apatow||March 20, 2000||112||6.04|
|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 also 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. 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 right, and the latter is rushed to the hospital. This episode also reveals why Alan bullies Sam, Bill and Neal.|
|14||"Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers"||Judd Apatow||Judd Apatow & Bob Nickman||October 10, 2000[a]||114||N/A|
|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||N/A|
|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 to impress her, Daniel changes his appearance and meets her at a punk show. Meanwhile, Neal, trying to cope with the knowledge that his father is unfaithful to his mother and whether to tell her, loses interest in schoolwork and focuses his energy into his new ventriloquism act. He confesses the matter to his older brother Barry, who has come home from college to attend the Schweibers' annual party; Barry counsels him to keep it a secret. At the party, which Dr. Schweiber hosts for all his dentistry clients, including the Weirs, Neal is forced to perform his act and makes unkind jokes about the guests. Meanwhile, Lindsay flees with Barry, and the two kiss. Neal, confronted by his mother, tells her about the affair, and Mrs. Schweiber admits that she knows, and that she and her husband are "working on it". Meanwhile, Daniel loses interest in Jenna when he sees her kissing someone else, and is accepted back by Kim.|
|16||"Smooching and Mooching"||Jake Kasdan||Steve Bannos||July 8, 2000||116||4.07|
|After Cindy breaks up with Todd, she confides to Bill that she has a crush on Sam, communicating through him that she would like Sam to invite her to a party. Sam does. Meanwhile, Nick's report card is so unsatisfactory that his father gets rid of Nick's prize drum kit. Nick leaves his father's house, spending the night on Daniel's floor and then finagling an invitation to stay with the Weirs indefinitely. Mr. Weir takes Nick under his wing, encouraging not only his love of drumming but that he apply himself a little more aggressively, even paying for Nick to take his first drum lesson and offering him a part-time job. Lindsay, though pleased to see Nick flourishing, is upset to see her parents bonding with him much more easily than they do with her; Mr. Weir explains that Lindsay simply doesn't need anywhere near the help Nick does. Sam and Bill are dismayed, and Neal is delighted, to learn that the party will be a making-out party involving spin the bottle; Neal only succeeds at landing on Bill, whereas Bill's spins land three times on head cheerleader Vicki Appleby; though initially repulsed by his appearance, the two bond over Bill's confidence, and end up kissing. Sam, who retreats to a spare bedroom with Cindy, meets the same fate.|
|17||"The Little Things"||Jake Kasdan||Story by : Jon Kasdan & Judd Apatow & Mike White|
Teleplay by : Jon Kasdan
|July 8, 2000||117||5.26|
|After Ken's girlfriend, Amy, reveals to him that she was born an intersex woman, Ken questions his sexuality; his over-analysis of his relationship with her leads him to the conclusion that he has to break up with her. Meanwhile, Sam is having a terrible time dating Cindy, who reveals herself to be demanding, rude, and egotistical. He meets Ken by chance in a restroom, and Sam reminds Ken that he enjoys his relationship with Amy, which Sam cannot claim about Cindy; Ken finds Amy and reaffirms his care for her, while Sam solemnly breaks up with Cindy. All this takes place as Vice President George Bush visits the school. Mr. Rosso chooses Lindsay to ask the first question during a meet-and-greet assembly, but Bush's people censor her proposed question and request she ask about his favorite restaurant instead. She defies orders and asks him a third question: why he's scared to have an honest discourse with high-school students.|
|18||"Discos and Dragons"||Paul Feig||Paul Feig||July 8, 2000||113||6.75|
|By chance, Lindsay and the freaks find out that Nick has been dating Sara 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 – a group whose membership consists solely of the Geeks. They respond to his presence coldly at first, but they later invite him to a game of Dungeons & Dragons, where he excels. Lindsay, as a result of outstanding grades, receives an invitation to an academic summit at the University of Michigan taking place for two weeks during the summer. Confessing the pressure to Mr. Rosso, she is gifted his copy of the Grateful Dead's American Beauty, and she bonds with the music. She pretends to leave for Ann Arbor on a bus, but disembarks at the next stop where she and Kim meet up with two Deadhead classmates. The episode, and the series, ends as the four leave for a series of Grateful Dead concerts in Colorado.|
* ^ Initial airing occurred on Fox Family.
In a 2012 interview with Vanity Fair, Paul Feig detailed what would have happened to the characters if the show had continued: Lindsay would become a human rights lawyer, years after following the Grateful Dead. Sam would have joined the drama club. Neal would cope with his parents' divorce by joining a swing choir in school. Bill would join the basketball team, becoming a jock and leading to tension with the geeks. Daniel would end up in jail. Kim would become pregnant on tour while following the Grateful Dead. Nick would be pressured by his strict father to join the Army.
DVD and Blu-ray
On April 6, 2004, a six-DVD Freaks and Geeks box set was released through Shout! Factory and Sony BMG Music Entertainment. 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" box set was re-released through Vivendi Entertainment. 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.
In July 2015, Shout! Factory announced it had begun preparing for a Blu-ray release of the series. It was subsequently confirmed in December 2015 that Shout! would release the complete series on Blu-ray on March 22, 2016, and the set would contain all special features from the previous releases and the episodes in both their original aspect ratio and widescreen.
As of July 1, 2021, all U.S. DVD and Blu-ray releases have been discontinued and are out of print.
In October 2004, Newmarket Press released two Freaks and Geeks books: Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Scripts, Volume 1 and Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Scripts, Volume 2. Each book covers nine scripts from the series, compiled by Paul Feig and Judd Apatow. Extra content includes behind-the-scenes memos and notes, photos, additional plot lines and excerpts from the Freaks and Geeks series bibles.
Freaks and Geeks' creators made it a priority to feature genuine, period-specific music that would help to create the show's tone. Clearing such names as Billy Joel, Cheap Trick, the Grateful Dead, Rush, Styx, The Moody Blues, The Who and Van Halen required much of the show's budget. Eventually, this became an obstacle in releasing the show on DVD due to the difficulty and expense of clearing all of the music rights for the series. Music cues were changed or removed for Freaks and Geeks when it aired in reruns on Fox Family. However, Freaks and Geeks' 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.
In 2000, the cast of Freaks and Geeks was featured in an episode of the game show Family Feud hosted by Louie Anderson.
At Metacritic, Freaks and Geeks has a score of 88 out of 100, based on 26 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". On Rotten Tomatoes, the show has a score of 100% with an average rating of 9.67 out of 10, based on 27 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Freaks and Geeks lampoons real-life adolescence while affectionately embracing every growing pain along the way with refreshing honesty."
The show averaged 6.77 million viewers and was #93 in the rankings during its only season.
Awards and nominations
The series received three Emmy Award nominations: creator Paul Feig was nominated twice for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, for the episodes "Pilot" and "Discos and Dragons", and it won for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series (Allison Jones, Coreen Mayrs and Jill Greenberg). It was also 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.
The series appeared on Time magazine's 2007 "100 Greatest Shows of All Time" list, and placed third on the magazine's list of greatest television shows of the 2000s. In 2004 and 2007, respectively, Freaks and Geeks ranked No. 25 and No. 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 No. 1 on their list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon". In 2016, it was named the 11th-greatest television series of all time by Rolling Stone.
Cancellation and legacy
One of the cited reasons for its early cancellation was its inability to gain an audience due to its "erratic scheduling" and poor time slots, competing with the high-rated Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The producers created a website for the series, but NBC would not share its URL because "they didn't want people to know the Internet existed; they were worried about losing viewers to it," as explained by Judd Apatow. Freaks and Geeks was only averaging under 7 million viewers, while other NBC series such as Frasier and Friends were averaging over 14 million viewers each.
NBC and the creative directors of Freaks and Geeks did not have the same vision for the series. After the network picked up the pilot, Garth Ancier replaced Scott Sassa as president of NBC Entertainment. Ancier "didn't understand public school life" and its relevance because he went to a boarding school and then on to Princeton. Creator Paul Feig expressed the "irony of the situation", as everyone involved wanted Freaks and Geeks to be a success, but the network didn't understand the concept of realistically showcasing life as ordinary teenagers. Jake Kasdan and Judd Apatow had multiple arguments with the network concerning "lack of victories" in the script and that the characters needed to be "cool." The writers wanted to produce something that would represent the average high school experience, but the network wanted to produce something that would make high school seem cool. Because the network did not think the series would be a success, they let the writers add things to the script that they "wouldn't have if they thought the show would resurface the next season", like the use of the phrase, "ambiguous genitalia". Apatow said in 2014 that "Everything I've done, in a way, is revenge for the people who cancelled Freaks and Geeks."
In 2001, several of the actors featured in Freaks and Geeks appeared in a new Judd Apatow college half-hour comedy Undeclared, which aired on Fox Network. Apatow fought with the network to include Freaks and Geeks actors, but the network 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, and 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.
Syndication and cast reunions
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 lineup as of June 13, 2011. Freaks and Geeks aired on FXX from 2013 to 2014.
A reunion of several cast members and producers of both shows took place at the Paley Center for Media's PaleyFest on March 12, 2011.
A documentary directed by Brent Hodge chronicling the history and production of Freaks and Geeks and featuring interviews with the cast and crew, Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21, 2018. The documentary had its television debut on July 16, 2018, on A&E.
- ^ Rao, Sonia (January 27, 2021). "How 'Freaks and Geeks' Went from Misfit Dramedy to Cult Classic, as Told by Its Cast and Creators: 'People Just like It so Much That It Thrusts Itself from the Grave'". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
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- ^ Longo, Chris (September 2, 2013). "Freaks and Geeks: The Enduring Legacy of a Short-Lived Show". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on April 24, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
- ^ "Paul Feig Directs All-Star Cast in 'Bridesmaids'". My Fox Detroit. May 10, 2011. Archived from the original on March 3, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
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- Freaks and Geeks at IMDb
- Official website – Freaks Perspective (archived)
- Official website – Geeks Perspective (archived)
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- Freaks and Geeks
- 1999 American television series debuts
- 2000 American television series endings
- 1990s American comedy-drama television series
- 1990s American high school television series
- 1990s American teen drama television series
- 2000s American comedy-drama television series
- 2000s American high school television series
- 2000s American teen drama television series
- Coming-of-age television shows
- English-language television shows
- NBC original programming
- Television series about families
- Television series about siblings
- Television series about teenagers
- Television series by Apatow Productions
- Television series by DreamWorks Television
- Television series set in the 1980s
- Television series set in 1980
- Television series set in 1981
- Television shows filmed in Los Angeles
- Television shows set in Detroit
- Television works about intersex