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|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 executively produced by Judd Apatow, 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.
Freaks and Geeks had 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 show centers on a teenage girl, 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.
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.
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 the mentally handicapped student Eli), and Kevin Tighe (as Nick's father).
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), 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), 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 show averaged 6.77 million viewers and was #93 in the rankings during its only season.
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.
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.
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 and David Krumholtz. 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.
Philipps and Melnick both guest starred together on Malcolm in the Middle in the episode "High School Play."
Six years later, actors from the two shows made up the bulk of the starring cast of Apatow's film, Knocked Up, with James Franco making a brief cameo appearance as himself. In addition, many of the actors starred as teachers and principal tertiary characters from both shows. Martin Starr, Steve Bannos, and David Krumholtz all appeared in Superbad, which was produced by Apatow and co-written by Rogen (who also has a supporting role in the film). The film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story featured Bannos, Krumholtz, and Starr in minor or cameo roles and recurring Undeclared guest Jenna Fischer in a lead role.
Martin Starr, Samm Levine and Busy Phillips each guest-starred in How I Met Your Mother, on which Jason Segel is a main cast member.
In 2008, Rogen and Franco co-starred in the Judd Apatow-produced comedy film Pineapple Express.
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.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Freaks and Geeks|
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