Way back in the mid-2000s, people only used the internet to lament the cancelations of Arrested Development and Freaks And Geeks. “Gone too soon,” we’d cry. “Obama, fix it,” we’d plead. Of course, while this resulted in more Arrested Development, Freaks And Geeks never got the opportunity to offer fans a largely disliked version of itself. As the cast continued to age out of their roles, those hoping for more Freaks And Geeks gave up the fight. After all, one perfect season is better than several mediocre ones. And Freaks And Geeks ended the way every show should: with several episodes never making it to air, and its lead character joining some hippies to follow the Grateful Dead on tour. If only Game Of Thrones had concluded that way…
After being canceled by NBC, Freaks And Geeks didn’t exactly have the pick of the litter network-wise. Still considered a cult show, Paul Feig and Judd Apatow’s evening family comedy had a hefty production and music budget. Not exactly a good sales pitch to other networks. One cable channel, however, was willing to pick up part of the check—well, some of the check. According to a new interview with Collider, series creator Paul Feig and producer Judd Apatow said that MTV made an offer at a reduced budget. “When the show was cancelled, there was an offer from MTV to continue making the show at a much lower budget,” Apatow said. “And we all decided we didn’t want to do a weaker version of the show.”
Feig agreed that it just didn’t seem like the right move.
“It was a weird time for me because my mom died two days before we got canceled,” Paul Feig told Collider. “So I was a little out of sorts, but I remember hearing that [MTV offered to pick us up]. We probably just had to lose so much stuff and music and budgets. We were already always strained on our budget as it was.”
“I was so thrown and we’d worked so hard on that show. I mean, you say it looked like a movie, that’s really how we treated it. So, we were ready to drop at the end of those 18 episodes. And then my mom dies, and I think I had a moment of like, ‘I can’t even deal with any of this.’ And then very quickly after the decisions were made, then you’re kind of like, ‘Oh my God, what did we do? Could we have pulled it off if we had done it?’”
Would we have loved to watch Sam, Neal, and Bill learn to drive and hear “Weird Al” for the first time? Yes, of course. But Freaks And Geeks is one of those rare shows that didn’t overstay its welcome. We should be thanking Paul Feig, not circling the wagon with torches, pitchforks, and tomatoes, or whatever the mob deems necessary. Stupid mob. Paul Feig is right!
“People always go, ‘Oh, it’s so sad you never got to end the series.’ It’s like, ‘Well, we did end the series,’” Fieg said. “That whole episode was about how everybody gets put on a different path. And we do that at the end of the series because it’s like when you graduate high school, you don’t know where half the people you went to high school with go. I’ve always said the only true final episode for a show ever was Six Feet Under because it showed how each one of the characters died.”
Maybe Feig can live out his dream and add chyrons to the final episode, filling us all in on how Harris never died, actually. Harris is eternal and continues to haunt the halls of McKinley High, offering nerds advice on how to become a great dungeon master.