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Friday, December 7, 2012

91

"I also really wanted the show to be about the fear of sex."

Everyone (Vanity Fair, GQ, end of list) has been rolling out these glorious oral histories of beloved TV shows for a few months now, and each time, you're all "oh, great, I wish this was Freaks and Geeks instead of Cheers," and then, one magical day...

James Franco!

JUDD APATOW: We didn’t think of him as handsome. We thought his mouth was too big for his face and he seemed perfect to be a small-town cool guy who wasn’t as cool as he thought he was. When all the women in our office started talking about how gorgeous he was, me and Feig started laughing because we just didn’t see it.

John Francis Daley!

LINDA CARDELLINI: John was so natural. One day on the set I was sitting thinking about my part, and John was shoving his spaghetti in his mouth that we were supposed to eat in the dinner scene, going, “It’s so great! All we have to do is act! It’s, like, the easiest job in the world.” I thought, My God, he totally has it right.

Paul Feig!

PAUL FEIG: There was a store I used to shop in during high school, a disco-flavored men’s clothing store. One day one of the salesmen drags me over. He goes, “This is the hottest thing, man,” and shows me this big denim jumpsuit with the flare pants and the big collar. To this day if I get a new piece of clothing I can’t wait to wear it. So I could not be stopped from wearing it to school, and the minute I walked in the front door I knew I had made a huge mistake. It was fun, on the show, re-creating the most horrific moments of my past.

LINDA AND BUSY!

BUSY PHILIPPS: Paul and Judd awkwardly tried to talk to Linda and me about how, now that we’re on a TV show, we shouldn’t think about losing weight, which had never even occurred to me. They were like, “Don’t get crazy now—don’t think you have to be an actress that’s really skinny.” And I was reading things in the press about how we were the anti-Dawson’s Creek. There was one quote I remember very clearly, like, “You won’t find any pretty people on Freaks and Geeks.” That was interesting as a 19-year-old girl to read. We were not standard packaging.

Denial!

JUDD APATOW: Whenever I see an opportunity to use any of the people from Freaks and Geeks, I do it. It’s a way of refusing to accept that the show was canceled. In my head, I can look at Knocked Up as just an episode of Seth’s character getting a girl pregnant. All of the movies relate in my mind in that way, as the continuous adventures of those characters.

The thing about Freaks and Geeks, for me, is that it worked for people who hated high school and for people who liked it. I was not exactly Stockard Channing, but there were enough of us doing the IB program that we could sit around at one table high-fiving ourselves and making it work. It's like that one scene with Martin Starr as Bill eating and watching TV and just BUSTING A GUT happily, you know? He didn't need your approval. You know.



91 Comments / Post A Comment

mayonegg

But come on, Cheers is awesome!

@mayonegg And everybody knows your name!

Hellcat

@mayonegg It was responsible for my beloved Frasier, so I am forever indebted to Cheers.

perfect_cursive

@mayonegg Cheers is amazing - as is your avatar, from my favorite episode of Sports Night.

New Hoarder

Watched this as I was getting ready for work this morning. In the episode that was on (I think it was "Girlfriends and Boyfriends"), Nick was knocking on Lindsay's window in the middle of the night. He became such a creeper when they statrted, but my goodness did I have a massive crush on him up until that point since I was 16 when it originally aired.

Still my favorite series of all time.

New Hoarder

@New Hoarder *started dating

Wow, my IE certainly took its time in letting me amend that. Stupid technology.

redheaded&crazy

I watched freaks and geeks for the first time recently because it is on canadian netflix! (sheltered childhood/life right here) so I can actually appreciate all of this TV commentary for once!

but WHAT ABOUT THE DRAMA

iceberg

@redheaded&crazie I really must watch it, I've never seen any of it!

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg See it! So much wonderfulness.

Beatrix Kiddo

@iceberg You must. It's one of the best shows ever.

fondue with cheddar

EEE I LOVE THIS SHOW! I make everyone I date watch it in its entirety. Now we're watching it with my boyfriend's teenage son, who doesn't relate (he's a jock, but a nice jock) in some ways but probably relates in others.

I always loved it because I identify with Lindsay a lot. There are so many parallels it sometimes feels like it was written about me, but with details changed to protect my identity.

granny squares

@fondue with cheddar I just made my SO watch this since it's on Netflix, and he loved it. Especially Bill. I don't know if he realizes that Mrs. Weir is the TV version of his mom, but the personality likeness is stunning.

SarahP

@fondue with cheddar My husband claims saw "some episodes" before we met, and claims he thought it was "okay." This makes me think he never actually saw it, so I kinda want to make him watch all the episodes over again with me, but I can't bear to do it in case it's true and he really only finds it "okay." I just... don't want to know that about him.

fondue with cheddar

@granny squares Aww, Mrs. Weir is so adorable.

@SarahP Yeah, I don't see how anyone could think it was only "okay". I completely understand your dilemma.

polka dots vs stripes

@fondue with cheddar My boyfriend "just doesn't think Arrested Development is that funny." Somehow we manage to put it behind us, but it does secretly kill me inside. I understand your worry.

fondue with cheddar

@polka dots vs stripes Yikes. The only acceptable reason to not like AD is if they've only seen an episode or two mid-season without knowing any backstory. I still don't think it's enough but I guess it's sort of understandable.

@SarahP I think it's "just okay" because it is actually so well written that it takes me back to high school and makes me feel very, very anxious. The episode where Lindsay gets in the car, drives around with the cool kids freaks, and eggs her brother reminded me so much of a few random afternoons in other people's cars and I hated them. It was boring and chaotic and I felt trapped.

Basically, Freaks & Geeks gives me All The Feels and I can't watch it unless there's pad thai and good stuff in my life that make me say "I'm an adult, fuck yeah!"

Not liking AD is plain awful. Buster Bluth is my favorite TV character of all time. JUICE? THIS PARTY'S GONNA BE OFF THE HOOK.

Summer Somewhere

@fondue with cheddar I also identified strongly with the show. It helps that the main character and I share the same name. Also, I took my senior photos in a black tank top with a German army shirt unbuttoned over it, just like she wears. My best friend senior year was a lot like Kim - she was part of a mean girl group that had bullied me in elementary school but we bonded in high school over our mutual obsession with the same rock band.

@S. Elizabeth My girlfriend refused to continue watching the series after those kids knocked a mailbox off its post with a baseball bat. It's too bad because she's a huge gamer and I was really building up to the moment where James Franco joins the nerds for a D&D game. I did get her to admit liking the Community episode where they play D&D though.

Hellcat

@fondue with cheddar I didn't love Lindsey that much as a character but I feel like I identify with her a little too. Early in high school, I was kind of quiet and nondescript, though "drawn," I guess, to the aesthetic and interests of the "bad kids"... but I felt like I was also too sheltered and suburban and innocent and childish-looking to feel comfortable with them. I don't know if that makes sense... either way, I eventually ended up right in that group and still know (and get together to drink with) them today now that they have kids and nice houses and "normal" hair and regular-people jobs!

fondue with cheddar

@Hellcat Yeah, it was the same with me. I ended up hanging out with the "bad" kids my senior year (shortly after my parents' divorce, which I guess was my "dying grandma" moment), and never felt like I fit in with them, just like Lindsay. But at the same time, I didn't feel like I belonged with my old, nerdier friends anymore, just like Lindsay. But unlike her, I really liked pot. ;)

SarahP

@S. Elizabeth Ohhh good point, there are a lot of pit-of-your-stomach type moments in the show. I could see how that would take some of edge off of the awesomeness.

fondue with cheddar

@SarahP Yeah, but that's part of what makes it great. The scenes that make me cringe (like Nick auditioning for Feedback, Coach Fredricks eating dinner at Bill's house, Neil performing with his "figure" at his dad's party) are some of the best ones.

so what?

@fondue with cheddar I fucking love Freaks & Geeks probably in large part because I also identify with Lindsay. In fact, after telling my brother to watch a few episodes, he sent me a text message one day that just said, "You are Lindsay Weir. The smart kid gone punk."

Megasus

Linda Cardellini and Busy Phillips not gorgeous human beings? WHAT??? >.<

fondue with cheddar

@Megano! Seriously. And I've always been sweet on David Krumholtz (Neal's brother).

swirrlygrrl

@fondue with cheddar Oh god yes.

fondue with cheddar

@swirrlygrrl My last boyfriend was a math major and so we started watching Numb3rs. He was probably 90% of the reason I liked it.

phlox

@fondue with cheddar Oh man, me too!

In one of the episode commentaries, I think, they talk about how they had to not put makeup on Linda to make her look less beautiful and more sixteen. So they knew she was gorgeous, that part of the article is just strange.

royaljunk

@fondue with cheddar David Krumholtz has been my nerd ideal since he was Wednesday's boyfriend in Addams Family Values, SIGH.

iknowright

@fondue with cheddar He was even cool with that penis on his face in 10 Things I Hate About You.

fondue with cheddar

@royaljunk @iknowright I have seen neither of these movies. I know I need to remedy this.

@Megano! I loved that Linda Cardellini looked like a high schooler, and more importantly looks like how I imagined high schoolers to look. Not done up, not perfect, not fake tanned to an orange state. Just sort of natural with this extra bit of personality.

up cubed

@Megano! Once I saw David Krumholtz eating cupcakes (alone!) at the cafe in the LA MOMA. It is my very favorite celeb experience.

TheRisottoRacket

@fondue with cheddar WAT?! You have to watch 10 Things I Hate About You immediately. The family and I watched it on Thanksgiving and it totally still holds up. There's a scene with baby Heath Ledger that's still one of the funniest/more romantic things ever.

perfect_cursive

@royaljunk Agree. My personal favorite it Krumholtz in his underwear singing Sinatra in Slums of Beverly Hills. Thank you, Tamara Jenkins!

terrific

@Megano! So late to this, but I wanted everyone to know that David Krumholtz best role so far was as Bernard in the Santa Clause, when my 6-year-old self developed what would turn out to be a LIFETIME CRUSH.

Gertrude

I just rewatched that scene of Bill eating his grilled cheese and laughing. Still gets me a little choked up.

Gertrude

@Gertrude ALSO Bill as the Bionic Woman is one of my favorite things that has ever happened on television.

olivebee

@Gertrude Agreed. There is not much that is better than Bill as the Bionic Woman.

supernintendochalmers

@Gertrude "No. These aren't bionic. These are all me."

fondue with cheddar

@supernintendochalmers "What? I'm sorry I can't hear you. Hold on, I'm gonna put the phone on my bionic ear...that's better. No, don't talk so loud! Don't forget I've got bionic hearing."

iknowright

@Gertrude What about Bill's peanut allergy episode? I can cry watching simple clips of that.

redheaded&crazy

@iknowright that episode made me BAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWL. oh man. cannot handle it.

fondue with cheddar

@redheaded&crazie I love Bill's Rerun dance. "Shake it, you won't break it!"

Summer Somewhere

@Gertrude My favorite episode of the series is when Bill gets wasted while everyone pretends to be wasted on nonalcoholic beer. :D

Hellcat

@Gertrude I love Bill! I love that guy as Roman on Party Down (watch it if you haven't--so, so funny!) Once I saw him on the subway and hopped up and down with glee but my friend didn't know who he was.

fondue with cheddar

@Hellcat Oh, he was fantastic on Party Down. Such a great show.

Hellcat

@fondue with cheddar I miss it.

fondue with cheddar

@Hellcat Me too. It's heartbreaking that so much great TV has been killed before its time.

Hellcat

@fondue with cheddar I always remember Neal on the phone with the cops from Lindsey's party and ending the call with, "...I'm so tired." I don't know why it's so funny to me, but it so is.

Hellcat

@Summer Somewhere And Bill drinks the real beer out of the commemorative baseball helmet fast-food ice cream cup in Sam's room because he had to watch Dallas, which he later bonded over with the coach and it was so cute.

As for Party Down, the one where Jennifer Coolidge calls lemons "sun eggs" -- I still laugh now if the BF calls a lemon that.

fondue with cheddar

@Hellcat Oh, those are all classic. That was such a sweet scene too, the one when Neal called the cops.

I just watched the last three episodes of Freaks and Geeks with my boyfriend's teenage son. I've watched the series so many times, but it still breaks my heart every time it ends. But I'm really glad it has an actual ending where everyone breaks out of their comfort zone and becomes a better person for it.

"I miss you already." :'(

olivebee

I watched some of the show when it originally aired, but I was 12, so I didn't really get into it. Then my husband and I watched it together a few years ago when we in college and just fell in love with it. I have never met someone who watched the show and didn't. Every single scene with the "geeks" was just SO GOOD. You can't help but have so much sympathy (and secondhand embarrassment) for Sam Weir and Bill Haverchuck. Also, nowadays when the actress who plays Millie shows up in anything I'm watching, I just shout "Millie!" at the TV, and get disappointed when she's not an uptight, holier-than-thou naysayer.

Speaking of disappointment, there is a really good animated show called Gravity Falls that just started this year (super weird and really, really funny) with a great voice cast of Kristen Schaal, Jason Ritter, TJ Miller, and Linda Cardellini. I adore the show (which I am hesitant to admit, since it's meant for children), but I am really let down by Linda Cardellini's character. It's like she's halfway to Lindsay Weir, but just falls flat. She's just not all that likeable, and it's definitely a bummer to any Freaks & Greeks fan.

SarahP

This show was the first time I had ever seen James Franco and I thought he was a little too sleazy-looking to be attractive, so I, like Judd Apatow, was surprised to discover everyone else liked his looks so much.

runner in the garden

@SarahP "I maybe took myself too seriously when I was a young actor." -- James Franco

swirrlygrrl

@SarahP James Franco is no Jared Leto. In both good and bad ways.

Katie Heaney

@SarahP oooooh but James Franco's sleazy-looking phase was James Franco's BEST-looking phase!! oooh ooohhhhhh his hair

Beatrix Kiddo

@Katie Heaney I'm not gonna lie, Daniel Desario is pretty much my high school dream boyfriend come to life. Jordan Catalano was pretty, but too much of an idiot.

itiresias

@runner in the garden I laughed out loud at that. And you don't take yourself too seriously now, not at all, Dicknose...

swirrlygrrl

@Beatrix Kiddo BUT I COULD SAVE HIM! From HIMSELF! Which is the best kind of saving someone.

Sefe

"James would do stuff at times just to push people’s buttons. I think he threw milk in someone’s face as an improv, and I remember thinking, That’s not the best improv." This quote perfectly encapsulates my (quite possibly inaccurate)impression of James Franco.

polka dots vs stripes

I'm not sure if they're really all that similar except it was also canceled before its time and has Martin Starr BUT, if you're an AD or Freaks and Geeks fan: Party Down. It can be hard to find because it was a Starz show (so it's not on netflix anymore, I don't think), but so, so worth it.

Beatrix Kiddo

@polka dots vs stripes I second that! Lizzy Caplan was also in both, although her part in Freaks and Geeks was pretty small.

tales

@polka dots vs stripes I stopped watching Party Down after three episodes or so, and here's why: when your entire main cast (and writing team, I think?) is white, you don't get to make jokes about race. I'm pretty sure in the first couple episodes, every person of color at an event is used in a joke about race or racism. It just grossed me out too much to keep watching.

tales

@tales There was this whole "ha ha, we're self aware of the fact that this show is the whitest thing around, but we're suuuuure not going to be less white!" feeling around it which was just so unpleasant.

polka dots vs stripes

@tales Fair enough. I remember thinking that occasionally - like okay, guys, if you're so self aware you're so white, then maybe you should do something about it? But I didn't find it offensive, necessarily, and kept watching. I can see how it would turn people off though.

blueblazes

The article, like the show, was over too soon.

I was in the show's demo when it aired (woo! class of 2000!), but knew nothing of it at the time. It probably would have hit a little too close to home, anyway. As an adult, I couldn't stop watching it. Thank you Netflix!

ohpioneer

Reading this was like reliving my relationship with the show. I remember watching it as a freshman in high school at a baby sitting gig and thinking... "This is so... good" and really anticipating seeing another episode. I remember not making plans on a Saturdays because I wanted so much to watch the show. (Obviously, I was the coolest.)

When I heard the show had low ratings and risked cancellation, I was determined to single handedly keep the show on their air. I proselytize to friends about it, encouraging them to watch. I even told my hip aunt. She was impressed that I knew about it and told me she, too, was already watching and found it hilariously real. Ugh! It's so good!

Alas, my efforts were in vain and the show was cancelled. But when Jason Seigel, Seth Rogan, James Franco... etc. began appearing more they inevitably made think of the show and wonder, "Dayum, that show was too good for TV anyway."

Yarnybarny

Oh, Nicole! You were in IB. That explains a lot.

(By which I mean, it explains why I feel such an affinity. I did that too. It was...hmm, harrowing? Is that the right word? I think it is.)

KaitlynwithaK

@Yarnybarny I was in IB, as well. Harrowing is definitely the right word.

Sea Ermine

@Yarnybarny I totally felt the affinity thing when Nicole said she did the IB program as well. I feel like in my high school so many people did it but after graduating I haven't met a single person who knows what it is. I wish more US schools had IB programs, particularly strong one's (sometimes in the US the IB teachers aren't quite as good since it's still a new thing) as I loved being able to take those classes. I thought it was a really fun and valuable experience, I think I learned more from that than I did from my college classes.

itiresias

My friend sent me this yesterday and for some reason reading it made me think, differently, though I'm not sure how, for the rest of the day. I really liked learning this about how they started writing the show to begin with. It made me want to do it to a room of friends, acquaintances, anyone and see what could come out of it.

PAUL FEIG: We did our infamous two weeks with the writers locking ourselves in a room and telling personal stories. I wrote a list of questions for everybody to answer: “What was the best thing that happened to you in high school? What was the worst thing that happened to you in high school? Who were you in love with and why?”

JUDD APATOW: “What was your worst drug experience? Who was your first girlfriend? What’s the first sexual thing you ever did? What’s the most humiliating thing that ever happened to you during high school?”

PAUL FEIG: That’s where most of our stories came from. Weirder stuff happens to people in real life than it does on TV. It was a personal show for me and I wanted it to be personal for everybody else.

GABE SACHS (writer, “I’m with the Band,” “The Garage Door”): We thought the questionnaires were a private thing between us and Judd and Paul, so we wrote really honest. And the next day at work we get them all bound together. We’re laughing with everyone but going, “Oh, man!”

Slutface

Steve O was the bully who gave Bill the peanut.

perfect_cursive

@Slutface No - it was one of the kids from Sandlot. He also was in Gilmore Girls as the returning solider with a hook for a hand.

Slutface

@perfect_cursive Squints?! This whole time I thought it was Steve O! My world has been shaken to the core.

Slutface

Undeclared is on Netflix Instant too. So that's what I'm doing this weekend...

fondue with cheddar

@Slutface Damn...sounds like I might have to get Netflix now instead of waiting until Arrested Development starts.

Bittersweet

This was awesome, but needed more Jason Segel. Two of my favorite/hardest to watch scenes in the whole series are when Nick does his drum audition and when he enters the disco contest. My heart's breaking a little even thinking about it.

perfect_cursive

@Bittersweet "They didn't say you were allowed to do magic!"

fondue with cheddar

@Bittersweet Don't forget when Nick sings "Lady" to Lindsay.

katiemcgillicuddy

@Bittersweet When he played along to "The Spirit of Radio" was one of my favorite things that ever happened on that show.

fondue with cheddar

@katiemcgillicuddy Neil Peart couldn't drum his way out of a cardboard box!

katiemcgillicuddy

@fondue with cheddar "You wanna hear drumming? Alright, come on, I'll play you drumming."

I'm pretty sure this was how I was introduced to Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. God bless Freaks and Geeks.

fondue with cheddar

@katiemcgillicuddy Amen to that.

Also, "paper bag", not "cardboard box". I always get that one mixed up.

sognodisonno

"It's like that one scene with Martin Starr as Bill eating and watching TV and just BUSTING A GUT happily, you know? He didn't need your approval. You know."

This is one of my favorite scenes in anything ever.

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