Freaks and Geeks is legendary as one of those great shows that never found its audience when it was on the air and was canceled after a single season. Years later, the show would gain popularity and receive the acclaim it always deserved. A big part of the rediscovery of the show was due to the cast members hitting it big in Hollywood.
Actors like Seth Rogen, Linda Cardellini, and James Franco got their start on Freak and Geeks, playing the misfit high schoolers who were unlike any teenagers on television at the time. While many of these actors would go onto great success, these characters remain some of their most interesting roles. Here are some details about the main characters on Freak and Geeks you might have missed.
10 Age Difference
Freaks and Geeks was praised for being a very different and more realistic high school show than anything else on television at the time. While it certainly feels distinct, that's not to say that it didn't have some of the same tropes of many of its contemporaries.
One common aspect of these shows is casting older actors to play teenagers. This helps the show avoid strict rules with child labor. For instance, Linda Cardellini was 24 at the time of filming. In fact, out of all the cast members, John Francis Daley was the only one who was the same age of his character.
The "geeks" of the show were some of the most likable characters even though they routinely got disrespected and bullied. However, the show seems to have been ahead of its time for presenting "geek culture" in a positive light which would eventually lead to it becoming mainstream.
Funny enough, this movement actually led to a mini Freak and Geeks reunion within the MCU. John Francis Daley who plays geek Sam Weir became a filmmaker and screenwriter and wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming. That film stars Martin Starr as Mr. Harrington. Starr, of course, played Sam's friend and fellow geek, Bill Haverchuck on the show.
8 Other Casting Options
The show took a unique approach to casting. Instead of casting people who were right for the part that was written, they would cast interesting people and worked the characters to fit those actors. This led to the discovery of some great new talent as well as a few notable actors who were nearly cast.
Among some of the actors who were close to joining the show are Lauren Ambrose as Lindsay, Jesse Eisenberg as Sam and Shia LaBeouf as Neil. Additionally, Busy Phillips auditioned for Lindsay before being cast as Kim while Lizzy Caplan auditioned for both Lindsay and Kim before being cast as Sara.
7 Inspired By True Events
One of the things that separated the show from others was how it was willing to have its characters face defeats. These characters who we were rooting for regularly failed, made mistakes and lost throughout the series. And most of those instances came from real life.
The show's creator, Paul Feig, insisted the writers inject their own humiliating high school experiences into the show to make it feel more authentic. In fact, the episode in which Sam is ridiculed for wearing a disco suit to school is based on something that really happened to Feig.
As with any show about teenagers, Freak and Geeks dealt a lot with high school romances. Of course, these relationships were usually not what you would expect from these kinds of shows. As it turns out, the central romance of the show was actually changed on the fly.
The original plan was for Lindsay and Daniel to eventually get together. The early episodes hint at this with obvious flirting between them. However, this was eventually changed when it was decided that Daniel and Kim would stay together and Lindsay would start a relationship with Nick.
5 Real-Life Romance
The eventual romance between Lindsay and Nick took center stage for a good portion of the series and was filled with plenty of awkwardness. Nick's overeager nature was often off-putting to Lindsay and the romance eventually fizzled out, much to Nick's despair.
Ironically, this was the relationship on the show that became a reality outside of the show. Actors Linda Cardellini and Jason Segel actually dated during the making of the show and several years after. In fact, some theorized that Segel's Forgetting Sarah Marshall is based on this relationship, but he denies that.
4 Enemies Become Friends
One of the most charming relationships in the series was the unlikely friendship between Lindsay and Kim. At the beginning of the series, Kim hated Lindsay and was especially cruel to her. She eventually softened and the two became inseparable friends.
In reality, Linda Cardellini and Busy Phillips were friends before the show even existed. The two were classmates in university and it was Cardellini who convinced Phillips to take the role of Kim. The two remain close friends to this day.
3 Franco And Busy
While there are a lot of real-life friendships that emerged from this show, not everyone got along. One of the biggest areas of contention for Freaks and Geeks was between James Franco and Busy Phillips. Though they played a couple on the show, though in reality, these two did not get along at all.
Many involved point to Franco's intense acting style as the main cause of tension between the two actors. One particular incident in which Franco threw Phillips to the ground in an unscripted moment turned the negative relationship between the actors more serious.
2 Reusing The Actors
Anyone who watches Freaks and Geeks now will no doubt recognize that a lot of these actors have continued to work together, particularly in Judd Apatow's films. Apatow served as executive producer on the show and was very passionate about the series.
Following the cancellation of the show, Apatow continued to cast the actors in numerous projects. He later explained that this was his way of continuing the story years later. Jason Segel theorizes that it was actually a revenge move to prove that the network was wrong for not seeing the potential in this group.
1 The Second Season
While it's nice to see some of these actors continuing to work together years later, fans of the show would have loved to see the story continue and to follow these characters into the future. Sadly, the show's low ratings meant one season was all we would get. But that didn't stop Paul Feig from thinking up some possibilities of where a second season might take them.
One of the main storylines Feig thought of was concerning Sam and his ex-girlfriend, Cindy Sanders. After breaking up, they would become rivals, running against each other for class president. Other stories involved Bill becoming a jock, Kim becoming pregnant and Lindsay struggling with drug addiction.