Paul Feig walks us through Freaks And Geeks (Part 2 of 5) 

Paul Feig walks us through Freaks And Geeks (Part 2 of 5) 

Since its cancellation in 2000, the short-lived NBC series Freaks And Geeks has found a considerable cult fan base for its realistic, sympathetic, and frequently gut-bustingly funny portrayal of two groups of high-school outsiders in 1980 suburban Michigan. The A.V. Club recently asked series creator Paul Feig to relive the writing and tell the stories behind every one of Freaks And Geeks’ 18 episodes. Following Part 1, this section covers episodes three through seven, beginning with “Kim Kelly Is My Friend” and concluding with “Carded And Discarded.”

“Kim Kelly Is My Friend” (Aired April 30, 2000 on Fox Family)
In order to convince her parents she has non-deadbeat friends, bad girl Kim Kelly invites Lindsay to her house, where Lindsay gets a close-up look at the Kelly family’s dysfunction. Meanwhile, Sam and his friends argue over which of them is geekiest. 

The A.V. Club: This one actually didn’t air on NBC during the original run.

Paul Feig: Yeah, it was a total shift from what we had done in the first bunch. Mike White wrote it, and it was an amazing script. The first episode was very sweet, even though it’s edgy in its own way. But they’re all pretty sweet, and this was a rough episode, because there was so much screaming and seeing the behind-the-scenes of somebody’s really bad family. Because it was so tonally different from the first two or three we had done, I will not pretend I didn’t have moments where I was like—I remember really freaking out when I saw the first cut. Because I wasn’t around when they were shooting that one, because we were so buried in writing. Mike was covering the set on that one. It was just like, “Oh my God, what is this?” Because it was so rough. The network felt that too, and they were afraid of so much conflict, especially with the crazy parents, and the dad running out and turning the car over. They all freaked out.

I started to like it more when we got the music on. I remember watching that first cut of when Kim Kelly tries to run over Rashida Jones, when she catches them on the basketball court. And it didn’t have music on it, and it was just crazy. She’s screaming and yelling. I was just like, “Oh my God,” I couldn’t get my head around it. But when we put “Ice Cream Man” on it, then it became kind of funny, because now we’re just tipping our hat to how insane this whole thing is. So it did come together, but the network just got very afraid of it, and felt it was going to put off people. 

We were on Saturday nights at 8 o’clock, which was a terrible time slot for a show like that, but we did really well. We got really great ratings that first week, just because we got these amazing reviews. So I think people made an effort to stay home and watch it that Saturday. But then, I think a combination of some people not liking the show, having a retarded kid halfway through break his arm and screaming and pain, and then people who liked the show and went, “Oh, that’s great, the next time I’m home on Saturday, I’ll watch that show”—our ratings the second week dropped pretty drastically. And so there was a real panic, like, “Oh shit.” And I think some people went, “Well, it’s about a party, and these kids are getting drunk, so that might have scared people off from watching it this week.” And then the Halloween one, whatever they thought there. But I think there was a fear of, “This Kim Kelly episode is so rough, we’re just going to keep losing numbers.” And I think that was kind of the math on why they just decided, “Let’s not air this one yet,” or “Let’s not air it.” But the problem was, it left this big hole. The next episode airs, and suddenly Kim and Lindsay are pals. You’re like, “What the hell happened? She was so mean to her in the first three.” 

AVC: Was the plan always to make them eventually become friends?

PF: Yeah, definitely. It would always be a weird, begrudging friendship. She needed a guru to bring her into the world who wasn’t a guy, because the politics of the guys was always about somebody having a crush on somebody. You needed that safe harbor of somebody she could really confide in and learn things from. So we definitely wanted that to happen, but we lost our origin story on it. But you have that happen a lot on TV shows, especially back then. With a new show, the network will want to cherry-pick what they think are the best episodes, because you’ve bagged a bunch before they air. It’s always hard to convince them—I think less so nowadays. Sitcoms are different, but a lot of shows are episodic, and this show really needs to lead to the next one. They would go, “It doesn’t matter. We just got to get people to watch, so put all the strongest ones first, and then people will figure it out.” And I think that’s what happening with this. Just, “We’re nervous about this. Let’s just hold off on this and put the next one on.” So we were doomed either way. Having it on or not having it on didn’t make any difference. People just didn’t know what to make of the show, other than the hardcore fans that found it right away.

AVC: This episode features the first meeting of the freaks and the Weir parents. It’s a funny scene, but it also highlights how functional and loving Lindsay and Sam’s family is.

PF: Yeah, which was always really important to me, because my parents were great. I grew up in a basically very happy household, and so much of stuff on TV, in these high-school things, the parents neglect you and this and that. No, I really wanted to play the main kids’ parents as nice and funny. So it was great to get to see that juxtaposition to how they react. 

The show’s so much about one of the kids being the anointed one who falls from grace. I had so many friends who were really together kids and did really well in school, and then you’d go away for the summer and come back, and they’d be burnouts. It was like, “What the fuck happened?” I think most of it is, they got into drugs. But I think there was a way without the drugs to show these changes of heart that would happen. Because every year, you want to reinvent yourself, you want to be someone else. And in high school, it’s all about, what are you going to get exposed to when you look at the cool kids. Sometimes you go, “I like those cool kids better than I like my group,” or vice versa. And it’s so much about that changing. That was the big thing, if the show went into multiple seasons. We wanted every season to switch them around.

AVC: Not to jump ahead, but the finale is obviously rearranging their identities.

PF: Exactly, which people go so many times, “Oh, it’s so sad there’s never a last episode to wrap things up.” I go, “There was. I wrote that to be the last episode of the series, being pretty certain we were going to be cancelled.”

AVC: That yearly reinvention goes back to what you were saying about coming in in the middle of Lindsay’s transformation. When you base it around a school year, you can kind of do stuff like that.

PF: Yeah, I always liked that about it. I liked a self-contained school year; each season was a self-contained school year. Because I was not going to keep them in high school beyond the realistic time, because there’s nothing worse than those shows, eight years down the line, “Hey, they’re still in high school, even if they look like they’re going in for prostate exams.” Trying to be honest that way.

“Tests And Breasts” (November 6, 1999)
When Lindsay offers to help Daniel study to raise his failing algebra grade, she winds up under scrutiny for helping him cheat. Sam, meanwhile, has questions about sex-ed class, which Daniel attempts to answer by giving him and the other geeks a pornographic film. 

AVC: This is sort of the beginning of Daniel’s transformation from untouchable cool guy to a guy who’s cool, but also kind of a loser.

PF: Yeah, exactly.

AVC: The end of Lindsay’s crush.

PF: We just kind of realized—from the beginning, I always wanted Daniel to be the off-again-on-again love interest for her. But we just kind of realized as we were going that the Nick dynamic was so interesting. And then the way Jason played it, he was just so damaged, it just became a little more fun for us. I like Daniel and Kim together. That for me was very real, and more like the couple I knew that I kind of based them on. They were always together. Then once we gave Nick over to Lindsay as the love interest, it was like, “What do we do with Daniel?” He was this kind of cool guy, but it became neat to deconstruct him. 

But again, each episode, you want to start delving into people’s lives, seeing different sides of them, and getting to play with different sides of them. I don’t know where the idea for this one came from. All I know is that the ending [where Daniel tries to get out of getting caught cheating with an impassioned, tear-filled speech] is based on something Owen Wilson did. Because Judd said Owen told him once that he’d gotten in trouble with something similar to this, and he just started crying. But it was this calculated thing, because he could pretend to cry to get out of it. Then it just became her getting bamboozled, and the audience getting bamboozled, too. 

The story’s so much from Lindsay’s point of view, of wanting to get involved and help out, and trying to help this guy, and getting conned by him, that it just became very funny to us: “You’re getting conned by this cool guy who gets by in life by conning people.” If we were ever going to flash forward to who was where, it always felt like Daniel probably had the best chance of ending up in jail at some point, just because of his ethos and the way he runs his life. So that was definitely the inspiration for the ending. Then it all kind of fell in from there. 

The geek story is based on something that I went through, which is my first exposure to porn, which was just horrifying. My next-door neighbor had, I don’t think it was a movie, just magazines, those graphic kinds you only get at adult bookstores, which were really disturbing. I didn’t see my first porn until I was in college, but it was very disturbing to me then. I think I just grafted it back on to when a normal person would normally see it. I love that storyline, because it was so honest, and it flew in the face of everything I’d seen in so many TV shows and movies, where everyone was so cool with sex. This was a big thing for me, even with starting with the series, like, “No, I want to show how not everybody’s cool.” Especially back then, when there was no Internet or anything, you weren’t even exposed to it. Nobody was that cool about it, and for some kids, it was really disturbing. For me, it was really disturbing.

It got played down more than I wanted it to, because I had this whole funny scene—it’s kind of in there, but it’s not. After they see the porno, Cindy comes over to talk to Sam, then she bends over to talk to people at the next table, and her ass is in his face. He’s so put off. Everything you think is sexy is suddenly, when you do the math of what it really is, horrifying to you. And so that’s kind of where that came from. It’s just based on what I went through at that age. Girls are so pretty to look at, and you think it’s so great, but once you find out what sex is, and you’re not mature enough to handle it, it’s just ultra-disturbing. So it was a fun way to get to show that and still have one realistic kid, the Neal character, think it’s a big turn-on. Because it was that way, a big melting pot of who’s mature enough to handle stuff at what point.

AVC: That seems like a benefit of having John Francis Daley look so young. He can give those really childlike reactions.

PF: Yeah, to see his eyes just staring at it. Then Bill was just such a nut. To know he’s going to be disturbed by anything and he can’t take it in was really fun to us. There was a scene that Bob Nickman wanted to write in, where the school bell rings and they’ve got this porno, and they go bursting down the hallway. We were going to shoot it in slow motion. Because—he went through it, and him describing it just made me laugh—if you have a piece of porno, you just can’t wait to masturbate. You’re literally running home, so excited, and he was playing that up. But I don’t think that ended up remaining in the show, them bursting through the doors, desperately going home to watch this thing. 

It’s just this fun melting pot, again, of here’s Daniel, who’s so cool about sex, he’s clearly had it a bunch, who’s like, “Here, check this out,” not realizing how it’s going to throw other people off. The dueling maturity levels in high school is such a source of comedy to me. I was always such a late developer. I was last to walk. I was last to ride a bike. I was last to have sex. That’s why it’s fun to portray one side of your childhood onscreen. 

AVC: This episode has two instances of a device you used a lot, a long, wordless sequence set to music. I bet you regretted that when it came time to release the DVDs.

PF: Oh boy, tell me about it. Yeah. I would write very specifically to music. I was always hung up on my “walk and feel bad” shots. Like after Lindsay finds Daniel in the room making out with Kim in “Beers And Weirs.” I love those moments, and to me, they were always really written to specific music. Music had to be a character in the show. That’s why when we were trying to come out on DVD, like you were saying, they were like, “We can’t pay for the music,” and I was like, “Then we can’t do it, because if we take the music out, or just change it to generic stuff, it doesn’t work. It just falls apart.” Sometimes it’s just more fun to not hear dialogue. As much as Judd and I love dialogue, the whole thing of moviemaking—and television is little moviemaking, or it should be—is telling things visually. 

The funny thing about that sequence where Coach Fredricks is telling Sam about sex, he’s telling John Francis Daley dirty jokes. That’s all he’s doing in there. Because we wanted to get all these different responses and looks out of him, so he’s just telling him dirty jokes. They’d start laughing and stuff. I love that sequence, because it’s such a testament to John Francis Daley, who was such a good little actor. You just see his face, and he’s horrified, then they’re laughing. But I do say that “Tests And Breasts” is my favorite ending of any of our episodes.

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AVC: Yeah, speaking of laughs, the laugh Linda Cardellini does at the end is absolutely amazing.

PF: Oh, it’s great, and the fact that spit comes out of her mouth. All the kids would get mad, especially Linda, they knew any time they’d drop something, or screw something up, they were like, “That’s going to be in the show, right?” I was like, “Yeah, that’s going to be in the show.” Just because those are the humanizing moments. That’s the stuff you just love, because that’s real. That’s people with their guard down. That’s why we would make sure our directors weren’t moving the cameras around too much, especially during close-ups and coverage on people. You get directors who come in, when the geeks are around the table, want to have the camera drifting around behind people’s heads the way movies tend to shoot dinner scenes. Don’t do that, because the moment the camera goes behind someone’s head, and somebody gets something stuck in their teeth, or has a weird thing, and we don’t get it on camera, we’re going to kill you. So that’s why we hang in these close-ups, because you find the funniest things when you get these kids off their guard.

AVC: Do you remember what brought out that laugh in her?

PF: That was just her being great. She’s such a great actress. Because that’s the hardest thing in the world. In my years of acting, the one thing I was never able to do convincingly was to laugh on camera. Fake-laugh. And she’s one of the best, and Steve Carell is one of the greatest fake-laughers I’ve ever worked with. He can just get going, and it just makes you laugh, because it sounds so real. But yeah, she blasted out with that one, and it was kind of magic. You dream about those moments happening. That was tough. That was a tough ending to pull off. That was even written down, “Okay, this is not a standard ending.” This ends with someone going, “I just got conned, and so fucked over that all I can do is laugh about it.” That’s what I like so much about that ending. It’s so not what you’re allowed to do on television, or weren’t at that time. There’s zero victory at the end of that. Other than, the victory is she realizes, “Okay, I got conned, and I know it, and I won’t get conned again. But what am I going to do? I’m just going to laugh about it.”

AVC: You don’t go the predictable route of Daniel getting any redemption. 

PF: Totally. I love that look where he just looks at her like, “Cool it.” He makes that small face like, “Stop laughing.” And then whatever it is, “She’s high. I’m telling you she’s high.” That gives me such joy.

“I’m With The Band” (November 13, 1999)
When Nick’s dad threatens to make him join the army, Lindsay helps Nick pursue his dream of becoming a drummer and is soon accidentally dating him. After trying to avoid school-mandated showers in P.E., Sam ends up in a compromising position.

AVC: You actually appear in a cameo this episode, as part of Dimension, the band Nick tries out for.

PF: Yes. My very tight jeans they made me wear. The origin of that was, I always wanted to do something about a band. Because in my experiences, we always had bands. We were always trying to form bands, everybody we knew was always trying to form bands. But I remember Judd going, early on, “Okay, this could be the lamest story ever, because the band thing has been done on these shows and movies and stuff, so we’ve got to figure out what this really needs.” And that was kind of where the origin of this having to be about a kid losing his dream came from. I was really hung up on having this [episode] make fun of all the shows that were about, “You’ve got to follow your dreams, you’ve got to follow your dreams,” because I’ve always felt that, in a way, is a good message to put out, but it’s also sometimes a destructive message, because a lot of people have dreams that they’re not good at.

AVC: When dreams outpace abilities.

PF: Exactly. Right around when we were doing the show, we were so embroiled in the self-esteem movement in schools and all that, which was, “Everything you do is great” and “You’re the best.” I don’t think that’s a healthy message to put out, because you’re not able to filter through and find the thing you are great at if everybody’s going, “You could be a great baseball player.” It’s like, “No, you can’t be a great baseball player, because you’re not good at it, or you’re not good enough.” And so that’s really what this symbolized to me, and to everybody there. The disturbing thing was, when they did the ads for it, they hit all the “You’ve got to follow your dreams” speeches, so it advertises exactly what I didn’t want it to be. If you look at the ads for that episode, it looks like a really lame episode.

AVC: With “Kim Kelly Is My Friend,” “Tests And Breasts,” and then this one, this is three episodes in a row that go in a much darker direction you’d expect based on what the episode’s about. What was your relationship with the network at this point? Were you starting to feel more resistance?

PF: The dynamic with the network was very interesting. Everyone under the head of NBC—Garth Ancier was running it at the time—really loved the show. They were so supportive, but they also knew he was getting very upset with the show, because as I said, it has no victories. But they were very supportive of us. So it was a real weird thing, where you could always tell when a note was coming more out of fear that it was not going where the boss wanted to go, and this was a story playing into that. But also, they were supportive of what we wanted to do.

To flash back to the Halloween episode, Daniel has this speech where the people of this town are all hypocrites, because they all believe in God, and all go to church, but Halloween comes around, and they put up devils and all this stuff. I had written it in the very first draft, and I remember cutting it out and thinking, “Oh, they’re going to make us cut that out or something.” I think it was [NBC exec] Karey Burke—I think she was running it under Garth, calling me and going, “Can you put that speech back in? We really liked that speech, because it’s really accurate.” I was like, “Wow, you are really supportive, because you’re cool with me saying stuff that, for an 8 o’clock show on a Saturday night, could be scary to people.” That’s why I feel like we never got a ton of “Don’t do that” notes from them, because they just saw that we knew what we were doing, and they trusted Judd, which was great, and they trusted me. They were always pretty helpful notes. 

We’d get notes from the censor about what they didn’t want us to do. Judd was really smart about this. I’m flashing forward again to the pot episode [“Chokin’ And Tokin’”], but I remember when he called the censor directly and said, “We want to do an episode about pot, what can we do and what can’t we do?” And the weird thing was that there was a lot of things we thought we couldn’t do that we actually could do. But I think at that point, we were getting more frustrated at notes coming in from the censor about jokes you couldn’t make or things we had to take out that we thought were pretty benign. 

It never felt dark to me, though, because I love the cringe-y comedy, because that’s the stuff you relate to. I love laughing at stuff where you go, “Oh, that’s happened to me, and it’s so funny to see that.” It just felt very real to me. The moment I realized we were in trouble—I’ve told this story before—I was talking to one of the critics, and he had watched that episode, and he goes, “You know, Nick walks into that audition, and I just had to leave the room, I couldn’t watch it.” I was like, “Why? That’s the funniest thing in the world, to watch a guy tank an audition.”

AVC: There’s so much cringing in this episode, because you also have the “blue dot” scene, and Jean telling Harold, “Tell Sam he has a beautiful body.”

PF: Exactly.

AVC: But it sounds like you don’t have that cringing reaction. Or do you just enjoy the cringing?

PF: I laugh because I’m cringing, but it’s a different kind of cringing. It’s like, “Oh shit, I can’t avert my eyes from it.” I find it very funny, but I think part of it is, I’m getting to play out things I went through. For me, it’s cathartic. It’s therapeutic. That whole thing about not showering, that was me. I would not shower in school. I would try to get support from my friends, like, “Let’s all not shower.” It would always backfire, and I’d immediately get in trouble for it.

Here’s the interesting thing: That scene in the locker room, I originally wrote based on what happened to me. It’s in one of my books. When I finally got forced to take a shower, when I finally went in, all the guys were playing soap hockey. They’re all running around nude—it was the weirdest thing. And when they saw me, they knew I didn’t want to take a shower, they all tackled me. And they all dog-piled on top of me, nude. It was the most traumatic thing I’ve ever been through in my life. We knew early on we couldn’t do that on the show, because you’d be arrested for shooting a scene like that. So that’s when it kind of morphed into a scene where he finally does it, and they make him run around nude. That was the TV-acceptable version of what we could do. 

But the blue dot made us laugh so hard, and that was one of our editorial assistants. He rigged up the blue dot, because originally we thought it was going to be a black box or something. But the minute he did that and we saw it, we never changed it after that, because it was so hilarious, especially the way it floats. When he jumps, it always goes to the exact same level. That made me so happy. 

AVC: You can kind of see Lindsay’s upbringing in the way she handles Nick. She was brought up to be an achiever, and she’s been given lots of encouragement, and she tries to handle Nick in the same way, and it doesn’t work out.

PF: There’s a slight nod to my wife in that episode, a little bit, because she was a manager at that time. She actually managed me before we got married. She was almost always famous for—myself or one of her other clients would go, “You know, I’ve always wanted to put out a record album,” and then she’d come back the next day, like, “Okay, I got you a deal to put out a record album.” It’s like, “I didn’t really mean—I don’t know what to do!” I like that quality of what Lindsay had, like, “If you want to be in a band, here’s what you got to do. Here’s how you got to make it work.” So there’s definitely a bit of Yoko going on.

But it is that fun thing of dreams, “This is my dream.” Most people, why they don’t live out their dream is because it’s too much work, and so it’s really fun to see an overachieving girl who could do anything in her life try to get a guy who’s an underachiever, and on top of it doesn’t have any talent… I think that opening is so brilliant, that Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah came up with, about him playing. But again, I used to do that. I was a drummer. I had a drum set in my room, and was actually not a bad drummer, but would put on my headphones after school every day and play along. And it always sounded really good on my headphones, because all I was hearing was what was bleeding through my giant headphones. But you’re playing with the record, and it always sounded great. I think I told that story, they came up with the thing, let’s introduce Nick playing and you go, “Oh my God, he’s a rock star. He’s really great.” But when you hear what it really sounds like—because when you take off your headphones and play, your drums always sounded terrible, because they just weren’t processed and miked and everything, unless you were an amazing drummer. That ranks as one of my favorite episodes, because it gets it all right. And then just the idea that their relationship begins because he’s so despondent and all she can do is kiss him just to shut him up, is very funny to us. I’m just really proud of that one.

“Carded And Discarded” (January 10, 2000)
The geeks are delighted to be befriended by Maureen, a pretty new transfer student, while the freaks try to obtain fake IDs so they can see a band play at a local bar.

AVC: This aired after a hiatus, right?

PF: Yeah. That’s the interesting thing about “Carded And Discarded.” If you watch “I’m With The Band” and then watch “Girlfriends And Boyfriends,” it’s a perfect build in Lindsay and Nick’s relationship. The only thing that always bothers me about “Carded And Discarded” is that it throws off that dynamic. That was such a two-parter, “I’m With The Band” and “Girlfriends And Boyfriends.” It was supposed to be “Lindsay makes a mistake.” She kisses him to kind of make him feel better, in a moment of just trying to be a people-person and shut him up, and immediately regrets it. And so the very next episode was supposed to be, out of that one thing comes this obsessed boyfriend, where she’s like, “Oh shit, I’m in way over my head.” So I’ve always been bothered by the fact that they’re kind of like a good boyfriend and girlfriend in this episode. It always feels slightly dishonest to me. 

But the reason that episode exists is, after “I’m With The Band,” we got pulled off the air for two months. They didn’t want to cancel us; they just wanted to move us. They pulled us up for November sweeps, I think that’s what it was. So when we were going to come back on—I think Judd was really the one who came up with this thought, but the network was into it, too—which was, “We have to reintroduce the show to people, because we’re going on a new night. We have to do almost like a second pilot, where it’s almost like we re-introduce the characters, and it also has to be really fun characters.” This goes into what you were talking about, about these episodes being really dark. There was a general feeling at the network, and Judd was in agreement, which was like, “We can’t come in with this pretty dark episode,” which is what “Boyfriends And Girlfriends” is. “We need to have a romp-y, fun episode.” I remember Judd saying, “All right, everybody get together and let’s figure out a fun one to do.” “Okay, trying to buy beer with fake IDs, that could be fun.” So that was the origin of that. Just try to make it an upbeat, goofy one. It’s still pretty dark.

AVC: It ends on a bittersweet note, with Maureen leaving the geeks to go sit with the popular kids.

PF: I think that was where the network was going, “You guys can’t do anything right.”  We go, “No, this is our funny, uplifting one.”  They go, “Well, not really.” That for us is funny and uplifting. That’s as bright as we get.

AVC: It is still a triumph for the geeks just to have hung out with her for a little bit.

PF: That’s how we looked at it. They got to have more than they would ever have with a girl like that. And when Eli comes over and sits at the table, it’s like, “No, it’s fun, they’re back with their pal.” It was hard bringing Ben [Foster] back for that, because he was a big shot already. But I love when he plays Eli. What I love about that, Rushmore had just come out, and Judd was really obsessed with Rushmore, and that’s why Jason Schwartzman is in the episode, because he’s so funny. And then Kevin Corrigan as the guy who makes the fake IDs. He is so awesome. He had just done a pilot for Judd right before we did Freaks And Geeks, called Sick In The Head. It was with Amy Poehler, and David Krumholtz, who eventually shows up as Neal’s brother. That’s why we brought him in; he’s such a funny improviser. A lot of that stuff was him really improvising. 

Judd directed that episode, and Judd was really beginning to discover his love of having people improv on sets at that point. I wasn’t around that day when they shot that stuff, when they’re at his place finding the pot plants and stuff. But that’s just him going off on his thing. We just enjoyed him calling Franco “McMurphy.” Franco at that point was wearing that hat. We didn’t necessarily love that he was wearing the hat, but he always wanted to wear the hat. So he’s like, “McMurphy, get over here.” 

AVC: It’s also a cool episode for Mr. Rosso, because he’s always been kind of a nuisance up until now, and we get to see him put one over on them.

PF: Totally. That’s the one that opens up with “Eighteen,” right? That’s the magic of Dave “Gruber” Allen, who’s just another master improviser and funny guy who—just give him a guitar or a piano. He’s one of the funniest musical people I know. You spend the whole series trying to write to people’s strengths on TV. So it was really fun to let him get to do that thing, and let him get to play with the band. Because he and I were in bands forever. In all the years leading up to that stuff, we were in bands together. I was always a drummer, and he’d always been on piano and singing. So it was really fun to recreate all that, which is why I ended up in the band, in Dimension. It was just weird, because it was out of order. I was such a purist; I really got mad that we had to shove that between those episodes.

AVC: When it came time to put together the DVDs, did you consider putting it in the order you originally intended?

PF: Yeah. I have a memory of wanting to do that, but then it didn’t fit anywhere else. It was just a free-floating episode. Once Nick and her are broken up, you can’t really see them together being happy, because Nick never recovered from it, which I love. It was just like, “Yeah, let’s do it in order.” It fits in there fine; it’s not that big of a disruption. I think a little bit of the power of “Boyfriends And Girlfriends” gets lost just because of that runaway freight train of a guy. Guys are always fucked up at that point in life. We fall so hard, and are so not cool. Immediately smothering and immediately jealous. That to me is real, that’s the real experience that girls, I’m sure, go through with guys at that age.


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