The Legacy of TV Show "Freaks and Geeks" (1999)

A behind-the-scenes glimpse of Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary (2018)

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Freaks and Geeks has had an interesting journey into the collective pop culture zeitgeist, in that, it saw success within a niche audience despite being cancelled only one season later. Far from being forgotten, Freaks and Geeks saw a resurgence in popularity after its video release in the early 2000s. The show is most famously credited with launching the careers of Hollywood giants like Paul Feig, Judd Apatow, Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jason Segel, Busy Phillips, and many more. Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary not only revisits the phenomenon with nostalgia, but also showcases never-before-seen footage from the filming. We talked with Producer, Aly Kelly, of Hodgee Films about the process of bringing this documentary together. Read on!

How did the documentary come around? Was it you or Brent that initiated the process? Can you talk a little bit about the filming process and your role in bringing the doc together?
We were approached by A&E to be part of their pop culture series, Cultureshock, and they gave us a list of potential ideas. We saw Freaks and Geeks on the list and immediately wanted it. Our whole crew are huge Freaks and Geeks fan so it was a natural fit. Initially we hoped to get one or two interviews with cast and creators and were lucky enough to secure them all. Once Paul Feig and Judd Apatow gave us their blessing and agreed to an interview everyone wanted to be involved. We had some cast members emailing us to be in it! Almost all of the filming took place in Los Angeles and happened very fast. The producer's role is to oversee all logistics and that can be tricky when dealing with a lot of subjects with very busy schedules but we had a blast. We are all such fans of the show and wanted to honour it so the whole process became a labour of love. Who knew sourcing 1970s velvet wallpaper and ventriloquist dolls could be so much fun?

Do you have a favourite moment of filming the show? Also, was there a particularly tricky moment in bringing together the documentary?
We rented a 1980s-looking home in LA to film in but it's also where the whole crew stayed over a series of weeks. Recreating the sets from the show as a team was a favourite moment especially seeing the casts' reactions when they would walk into where they were being interviewed. 

Are you a fan of the show aka would you have considered yourself a freak or geek in high school?
I think anyone who watched the show would have asked themselves this question and this is where the real magic comes in from the show. It's so real that it's easy to see yourself in a lot of the situations that the characters find themselves in. I was definitely a geek though. I did drama, yearbook, played dorky sports.

What is your hope for the documentary -- in terms of the audience? Who do you think the doc will appeal to the most? I know it's dealt with in the documentary, but why do you think the show is relevant even today?
I've already seen my hope for the film play out so many times over since releasing it to the public. I want fans of the original show to see the detail and love we poured into it and I want people who have never seen the show to start watching it. The show is relevant today not just because the cast and creators have gone onto do incredible things but because the situations that the characters go through are universal and will continue to be.

Watch Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary, Oct 27th, 6.30PM.


Nandita Dutta