18 Freaks and Geeks Facts You Haven't Read Before

Behind the scenes facts about Paul Feig and Judd Apatow's one season comedy classic Freaks and Geeks including which unlikely pop superstar was meant to star in one episode to help boost ratings, which embarrassing storyline actually happened to the writer Paul Feig and, what each Freaks and Geeks character would have been doing in season two if it had been commissioned. 

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Freaks and Geeks is the unmissable American teen drama written by Paul Feig and produced by Judd Apatow in 1999. 

Protagonist Lindsay Weir is a bookish, maths-loving student with high educational prospects however after witnessing the death of her Grandmother, she rejects her previous identity to search for something else in life. This leads her to join the burnouts or the "Freaks" comprising of lost souls Daniel Desario (James Franco), Ken Miller (Seth Rogen), Nick Andopolis (Jason Segel) and, Kim Kelly (Busy Philipps). Lindsay has a younger brother Sam (John Francis Daley) who is trying to navigate his first year of high school despite being labeled a "Geek" alongside his friends Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine) and Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr).

If you have discovered Freaks and Geeks and want to know a little bit more from behind the scenes about why it sadly only lasted for one season and what Paul Feig thinks would be next for each of the main characters, then here are 18 facts that you will definitely enjoy. 

1. Only 12 Out Of 18 Episodes Of Freaks And Geeks Were Aired

Eighteen episodes of Freaks and Geeks were completed but the series was cancelled after only 12 of them had aired. NBC broadcast three more of the episodes after a fan campaign and the last were shown on the Fox Family Channel. Freaks and Geeks has been made available via streaming services since and is often included in lists of the greatest television shows of all time. The final three episodes were showcased at the Museum Of Television And Radio (now the Paley Center for Media) before airing on television.

2. Britney Spears Nearly Starred In Freaks And Geeks

NBC pushed Paul Feig and Judd Apatow to include celebrity cameos to boost Freaks and Geeks ratings including having Britney Spears star as a waitress in one episode. They claimed it would detract away from the realism of the storyline. Apatow claims that Freaks and Geeks was heavily inspired by The Last Detail (1973) and Harold and Maude (1971).

3. The Freaks And Geeks Writers Appeared In Front Of The Camera

Several of the writers including the Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig appeared in cameo roles. Feig alongside Gabe Sachs, and composer Michael Andrews appeared in the episode “I’m With The Band” as the group Dimension. Writer Mike White played the role of Kim Kelly’s layabout brother Chip.

4. The Pilot Of Freaks And Geeks Is Episode 1 And 2 Combined

Paul Feig wrote Freaks and Geeks as a speculative script which he gave to Judd Apatow. Apatow sold it to DreamWorks, who later sold it to NBC and made a pilot. Feig ended up combining his ideas for the first and second episode into a strong pilot. This allowed for an earlier introduction to Kim Kelly and Lindsay being introduced to the group of “Freaks” - initially she was already involved with them.

5. In Season Two Kim Would Be Pregnant And Daniel Would Jailed

During an interview in 2012, the Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig told Vanity Fair his plans for the characters if a second season was made. Lindsay Weir is seen following the band, The Grateful Dead at the end of the first season with Kim Kelly instead of fulfilling her educational potential. Feig suggested that Lindsay would go on to become a Human Rights Lawyer after years of being a Deadhead.

Her brother Sam Weir would have joined the drama club. His friend Neal would join the swing choir in order to help him get through his parent’s divorce.

Unsurprisingly Paul Feig confirmed that James Franco’s character Daniel Desario would end up in Jail and Kim would become pregnant while following The Grateful Dead. Nick Andopolis, played by Jason Segel, would be pressured by his Father to give up drumming and join the army.

6. You Can Purchase The Scripts Of Freaks And Geeks

Freaks and Geeks has two books accompanying the show which include 9 scripts in each as well as extra behind the scenes content, photographs and additional plot lines.

7. Paul Feig Was Nominated Three Times For An Emmy

Despite being only 18 episodes long, Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig was nominated three times for Emmy Awards including Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series for the “Pilot” and the episode “Discos and Dragons”. Time Magazine placed Freaks and Geeks as third in their list of Greatest Television Shows of the 2000s.

8. Freaks And Geeks Was Cancelled Due To Scheduling Issues

Many fans are still mind-boggled when it comes to the cancellation of Freaks and Geeks. One of the reasons cited for its failure was its inconsistent scheduling competing with higher rated shows such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Freaks and Geeks averaged under 7 million whereas more established comedies such as Frasier and Friends were averaging 14 million viewers per episode.

Equally the network NBC were concerned that depicting the ordinary lives of teenagers without any big successes for them in the scripts wouldn’t be exciting for viewers to watch.

The Executive Producer Judd Apatow said to a reporter at Variety in 2014 that “everything [he’s] revenge for the people who cancelled Freaks and Geeks”! He also revealed in the interview that he uses cast and crew from Freaks and Geeks wherever possible in his work.

9. John Francis Daley Is The Only Cast Member Playing Their Age

John Francis Daley who plays Sam Weir is the only member of the Freaks and Geeks cast who plays his own age, 13. Linda Cardellini was 24, James Franco, Martin Starr and Seth Rogen were 21, Samm Levine was 17, Jason Segel was 19.

10. It Was The First Acting Role For Rogen and Francis Daley

Freaks and Geeks was the debut role for both Seth Rogen as Ken Miller and John Francis Daley as Sam Weir.

Seth Rogen has since gone on to star in Anchorman, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad and, Stepbrothers.

John Francis Daley has gone on to be a famous screenwriter responsible for films such as Horrible Bosses (2011) and, Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).

11. Linda Cardellini Owns Lindsay’s Green Jacket

Linda Cardellini took home from the production of Freaks and Geeks the green military jacket that she wore to fit in with the “Freaks” as a keepsake.

12. Paul Feig Actually Wore The Powder Blue Suit To School

The Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig is quoted in saying that Lindsay was his favourite character to write. He also drew on a lot of his own experiences in high school including the scene in which Sam Weir wears a powder blue suit to school and promptly regrets it.

13. It Was Only Filmed On Location In The Pilot

The pilot of Freaks and Geeks was filmed in a real school. Once the show was picked up by the network, the producers recreated the school as a set almost exactly the same. While the plot was set in a school in Michigan, it was filmed in California which meant that the production team had to be very careful not to get any palm trees in the background of their shots.

14. Busy Philipps Originally Auditioned For Lindsay Weir

Busy Philipps originally auditioned for the part of Lindsay Weir but the producers thought she wasn’t the right fit. They then asked her to audition for Kim Kelly. Kim Kelly wasn’t originally meant to be a regular cast member. Philipps and Cardellini were classmates at Loyola Marymount University and were friends before working together on Freaks and Geeks.

15. Two Of The Characters Dated In Real Life

Lindsay Weir and Nick Andopolis were a couple for a short time on Freaks and Geeks however the actors Linda Cardellini and Jason Segel dated in real life for five years.

16. Kaley Cuoco Auditioned For Cindy Sanders

Kaley Cuoco is now well known for playing Penny in The Big Bang Theory, however when Freaks and Geeks was being cast, Cuoco auditioned for the role of Cindy Sanders - the cheerleader that Sam Weir had a crush on. Judd Apatow had hoped that Cindy Sanders and Sam Weir would have gone on to be “mortal enemies” in series two if it was ever commissioned.

17. Shia LeBeouf Auditioned For Neal

Shia LaBeouf auditioned for the role of Neil Schweiber and Lizzy Caplan auditioned for the role of Lindsay and Kim Kelly before securing the role of Sara.

18. Four Cast Members Appear In How I Met Your Mother

Jason Segel who played Nick Andopolis, Samm Levine (Neal Schweiber), Martin Starr (Bill), and Busy Philipps (Kim Kelly) all went on to appear in the successful sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

Freaks and Geeks Facts - 18 Freaks and Geeks Facts You Haven't Read Before

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