The new comedy issue of Vanity Fair, guest-edited by Judd Apatow, delivers a treasure trove for fans of the cult TV series Freaks and Geeks, namely an oral history of the show by its creators and stars and photos of the reunited cast.
Some takeaways from the piece:
Both Linda Cardellini (Lindsay) and Busy Philipps (Kim Kelly) now have babies, as you can see in a photo of them holding said babies.
Paul Feig, creator of the show, used to appear as an actor on Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. I don’t remember him on it and I watched TGIF religiously, but maybe that’s why he looked kind of familiar when I’ve seen photos of him.
The other actors and crew were as enamored of Martin Starr’s portrayal of Bill Haverchuck as I am. Director Jake Kasdan says, “The blank stare and the way Martin’s doing those affects, mouth hanging open—it’s just this incredibly subtle, inspired comic character. We figured out how to write to it and play to it, but it was not on the page initially and it wasn’t him playing himself, either. He could make you cry laughing by doing almost nothing. Then it turned out he could do anything.”
Judd Apatow had the writing staff answer a questionnaire in order to inspire story ideas: “‘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?’”
The new president of NBC at the time didn’t get the show because he went to boarding school and Princeton and didn’t understand public school.
The show went up against the 10th season of Cops in the ratings and lost. Seth Rogen’s quip: “You just have to conclude that people would rather watch shirtless dudes get tackled than a TV show about emotional shit that’s funny.”
James Franco did unexpected things on set to get reactions out of people. One time he threw milk in someone’s face as an improv.
John Francis Daley (Sam Weir) admits to having a bit of a crush on Linda Cardellini (the actress playing his sister) during the show.
Busy Philipps (Kim Kelly) says she was always intimidated during scenes with Cardellini and would try to figure out what she was doing that was working.
Jason Segal, Rogen, and Franco would get together on weekends and go over the scripts, adding their own improvs, and some of that made it into the episodes.
The wrap party for the seasons (and thus for the show) was themed after a prom in 1980.
Paul Feig’s mother died suddenly a few days before the show was cancelled.
Apatow was so upset he herniated a disc and had to have surgery.
To close these highlights, some wonderfully earnest words from Martin Starr: “I can’t express how fortunate I feel to have been a part of something so appreciated and so loved.”