Throughout the years of the small screen, countless television shows have come and gone. Many shows met their demise in an untimely fashion and were never given the chance that they wholly deserved. One such show is Freaks and Geeks. I discovered this show one day while scrolling through Netflix, having just finished the newest season of Netflix original series Orange is the New Black and decided to give Freaks and Geeks a shot. According to Netflix, the show was a ninety-six percent match based upon my previous viewing history. I’m the type of person that finds it hard to begin a show that has over three or four seasons. This is most likely due to my fear of commitment, but I suppose that’s a story for another time. To my delight, this show only had one season. While I was skeptical about this at first, because I wondered how a show worth watching could only have one season—or rather only eighteen episodes, I figured, if anything, I would just potentially waste a few hours, so no real harm. Maybe it was the subtle humor, maybe it was the recognition of several now A-list stars, or maybe it was that I related more than I’d care to admit to the high school mathlete, but this show captivated me and I wondered how in the world it only had one season. After watching, there is no question that this primetime masterpiece deserves a reunion.
First, the ratings for this show are spectacular. While only airing one season, it is ranked on IMDb as number forty-seven on the list of 250 top television shows of all time. It carries an 8.9/10 rating on IMDb, a ninety-five likability percentage from the audience on Rotten Tomatoes, and an eighty-eight percent on Metacritics. However, these ratings came posthumous to the show. During the show’s airing in 1999, an audience was lacking. The current positive rankings, though, suggest that it still deserves a reunion. Netflix tends to switch out the shows it keeps in its online streaming library in order to provide new content to users, but Freaks and Geeks has been readily available to stream since September of 2012, according to an article published by Vanity Fair. This reveals that Freaks and Geeks has gained somewhat of a “cult following” as many viewers, like myself, are discovering the show for the first time over 15 years after its primetime airing.
A further point to be made in justifying a Freaks and Geeks reunion is that several of the actors in the show have gained A-list status within recent years. While Freaks and Geeks seemed to be a starting point for a momentous comedic career for several of the actors, many devoted fans would love to see these stars play older versions of their high-school characters. A few of these stars include Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, and James Franco.
Also worth mentioning is the noteworthiness of the creators of the show—Judd Apatow and Paul Feig. If these names don’t ring a bell, think Bridesmaids, Universal’s biggest romantic comedy of all time, according to the Hollywood Reporter. While Bridesmaids was Judd Apatow’s highest grossing film, its success can also be attributed to the creative mastermind of Paul Feig, another one of the head writers. Judd Apatow is no stranger to successful comedies. Entertainment Tonight reminds us that Apatow has also produced other acclaimed comedies such as, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad. Paul Feig has not necessarily fallen by the wayside either. Like Apatow, Bridesmaids still holds as his highest grossing film, but he has also written several other well-known comedies such as The Heat, Unaccompanied Minors, and the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters (which to me, suggests Feig is not opposed to giving films or series second chances—another strong case for a Freaks and Geeks reunion). While Feig and Apatow have had great success in the film industry, one important point to note is from an interview provided by Vanity Fair in 2013. In discussing the beginnings of his and Feig’s relationship in the 1980s, he mentions Freaks and Geeks. Apatow stated that he asked Feig to send a script his way and only a few months later, he was reading a script for the show. Apatow further comments, “I certainly didn’t expect it to be the best thing I have ever worked on. That just never happens.” This comment alone suggests that Apatow recognize the greatness of his seemingly under-the-radar show. It wouldn’t be unreasonable, then, for Apatow to appease the demands of devoted fans by remaking this show, nearly two decades later.
There aren’t many shows that can claim to still regularly receive new fans nearly 18 years after the original airing, but Freaks and Geeks has proved to be one of these shows. I believe this is because of the topic of the show and how it differs from other shows of its kind. So often, we watch shows about high school and think, “oh wow, that actor is at least 30. I looked a lot more awkward at 16. This is nothing like what I experienced when I was in high school.” But in the same Vanity Fair article, Paul Feig claims his desire in creating this show was to present something closer to reality. Middle and high schoolers are awkward and weird. Feig, in writing the show, didn’t want to present a perfect cookie-cutter version of what everyone dreams high school will be like. Instead, these teenage years were shown in a way that was relatable. This is why the audience has really gotten behind the show—anyone who has gone through high school can relate to the characters’ experiences. A reunion would provide somewhat of a “where are they now” setup for fans, and I believe it would be highly successful.
Overall, the novelty of Freaks and Geeks is unmatched – a likeable show, with an incredible cast, story line, and producers. As to why the show ended prematurely, I may never fully understand. But there is no doubt that this 18-episode series deserves to have a reunion show. The devoted fan base, the Hollywood actor-filled cast, the critically-acclaimed genius of Judd Apatow and Paul Feig all point to this conclusion. One day, someone important will finally decide to reunite the Freaks and Geeks cast for a reunion show, and until then, I will be here patiently waiting.
By Audra Halbert, guest writer