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“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.

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