Freaks And Geeks: 15 Behind-The-Scenes Facts

How did Lindsay's trip to The Dead end up?
Freaks And Geeks: 15 Behind-The-Scenes Facts

Few shows flaunt as much heart along with their humor as Freaks and Geeks. Watching the show as a young adult, no mater the generation, is a relatable and safe moment in time, like a show blanket. Here are 15 behind the scenes facts you may not know from America's sweetheart, Freaks and Geeks.

Their Main Focus Was Making The Show Feel Real

Freaks and Geeks cast

Chris Haston NBC

Paul Feig, the creator of the show, found that at the core of the show, the teens needed to speak like actual teens to feel true. Feig wrote “The teens in this series will talk like real teens. They will never be too clever or grown-up sounding. These kids generally engage in teenage put-downs, they overextend their language (“Oh, yeah? Well, you’re a … uh … big idiot, that’s what you are”) and never talk in that writers’ “Now that I’m in my 30s, I know what I’d say in that high school situation, so I’ll give this kid a snappy comeback’ style of writing.”

The Freak's Music

Freaks and Geeks freaks


Feig included a list of what music the Freaks would be listening to in the show bible including Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Robin Trower, Jeff Beck, Genesis, Foghat, Van Halen, and Led Zeppelin.

Bill’s Outfits

Freaks and Geeks bill


In the show bible Feig says, “Bill’s pretty much a mess. But not a sloppy guy. His family isn’t very well off, but his mother tries to dress him nice. The result is a lot of clothes from the irregulars bin. Bill is so unaware of his clothes that you get the feeling he doesn’t care what he wears.”

These outfits include plaid cowboy shirts, sweater vests (in an attempt to copy Neal), off brand jeans, orthopedic black dress shoes, and a beat up football jacket from the school.

The Intersex Episode Was A Middle Finger To NBC

Judd Apatow got the idea for the episode from a Howard Stern broadcast, and decided to run with it. The episode handles intersexuality gently and ultimately ends up with acceptance. However, NBC usually doesn’t touch sensitive topics like that, but since Freaks and Geeks knew they were on their way out, they wrote it anyway. Apatow said “In a way, it was a 'F**** you' to NBC, like 'Now we’re going to get really ambitious and aggressive with storylines that you would never approve of if the show had a chance of surviving.”

The Math Teacher, Mr. Kowchevsky, Was Gay

Freaks and Geeks Math Teacher


According to Paul Feig's Vanity Fair interview, the show's mathlete coach and math teacher, Mr.Kowchevsky is revealed to be gay in a deleted scene from the episode “The Little Things.” Feig was looking forward to exploring that aspect of his character and having his secret get out in season 2.

The Casting Could’ve Been Very Different

Jesse Eisenberg was nearly cast as Sam Weir and Busy Phillips originally auditioned for the role of Lindsay Weir. Lizzy Caplan of Masters of Sex and Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under both auditioned for Lindsay as well. Shia LaBeouf even tried out for the part of Neal Schweiber. NBC also attempted to cast celebrities to bring in viewers, pitching Britney Spears for a role, but Feig refused.

Sam Weir Was The Only Character Portrayed By An Actor Of The Same Age

Freaks and Geeks jumpsuit


John Francis Daley who played Sam was 14 in real life just like his character. Meanwhile, Linda Cardellini, played 16 year old Lindsay when she was already 24. Samm Levine (Neal Schweiber), Martin Starr (Bill Haverchuck), and Seth Rogen (Ken Miller) were all 17 surprisingly and Jason Segel (Nick Andopolis), Busy Phillips (Kim Kelly) and James Franco (Daniel Desario) were 19, 20 and 21, respectively.

The Geek's Music

Freaks and Geeks geeks


Some of the artists the geeks would listen to according to the show bible are The Cars, Devo, Chicago, Beegees, Blood Sweat & Tears, ELO, John Denver, Elton John, Kiss, Meat Loaf, Moody Blues, Billy Joel and Three Dog Night. 

Samm Levine's William Shatner Impersonation Got Him The Role Of Neal

It takes a lot of guts to whip out a William Shatner impression at an audition taping, and thank goodness Samm did. Apatow hired Levine, not because the impression was good, but because it was so dorky, he thought it was exactly what a true geek would do.

Music Enjoyed by Both Freaks and Geeks

Feig included where the Freaks and Geeks crossed over each other in music tastes too. These artist include Asia, Eric Clapton, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Doobie Brothers, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Franpton, Foreigner, Journey, John Lennon, Marshall Tucker band, The Steve Miller Band, Tom Petty, Rolling Stones, Santana, James Taylor, Jackson Brown and Queen.

Jason Segal And Linda Cardellini Dated

Freaks and Geeks Lindsay Nick


Just like their onscreen characters, the two actors ended up dating for 5 years after Freaks and Geeks. When doing press for Forgetting Sarah Marshall Segel said the movie was an amalgamation of all his past relationships and that Cardellini was “a great girlfriend.”

The Show Wanted The Halls To Feel Like A Real Highschool

In the show bible, Feig wrote that he was very adamant about the halls in the background being filled with natural high school business. He lists the things he wanted going on in the hall to be actions like a punching contest between two friends, band kids selling candy bars, freak couples making out, janitors sweeping the halls with red sawdust, kids carrying around their cumbersome science fair projects, and girls coming up to a group of guys and telling them that one of the girls like them. The list is long and amazing, check it out in its entirety here.

Lindsay’s Trip With The Dead Was Going To End Badly

Freaks and Geeks lindsay


In an interview with Vanity Fair, Feig talks about where all the characters were slated to go next in season two. Feig says that “I always figured something bad was going to happen to Lindsay when she was out with the Dead. I was hoping the second season would open with her being taken out of a concert on a stretcher while Queen’s “Tie Your Mother down” plays.” The following season would follow her completely losing the trust of her family.

The Character Arcs For Season 2

In the same interview Feig adds that Sam was going to get heavily involved with drama club, Bill would become a jock under coach Fredricks guidance, Daniel would end up in Jail, Kim would get pregnant, Neil would join swing choir, and Cindy Sanders would become Sam’s republican mortal enemy.

Daniel Was Originally Going To Be Black

Freaks and Geeks Daniel


According to the series show bible, Paul Feig wrote in Daniel’s outfit section that he never wears a hat as it would “mess up his afro.” Also included is the fact that he always has a large afro pick in his back pocket, but we rarely see him use it. Now I’m no expert, but I think that’s enough info to assume that James Franco was NOT who Feig originally pictured in this role.

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