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Hero of ‘Freaks and Geeks’ somehow left out of ‘Freaks and Geeks’ story


Paul Feig

While it would be overdramatic to say that I’m haunted by a mistake I made in the print and virtual pages of Variety, the fact is that I’m up at 3 in the morning writing a correction.

Part of the timing of this is a cold that I’m nursing that is hardly dramatic at all. But the other part of it is that I can’t let go of the fact that I managed to write a story and blog post about “Freaks and Geeks” last week without crediting its creator, Paul Feig.

When I realized Tuesday the omission I had made, I was mortified. This wasn’t a typo. This was a sin against nature, because of how much I care about this show, more than a decade after it went on and off the air, and how grateful I am to Feig for his role in bringing it to TV. Worship wouldn’t be too strong a word to describe my feelings. I watched each episode countless times once the DVD became available. I wrote a spec of the show, even though my agent back then no doubt considered it a waste of
Kick me time because the show was supposedly too minor. I followed Feig’s online postings near the end of and after the short life of “Freaks.” I read Feig’s book, “Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence.” And then I watched the episodes some more.

Though he wouldn’t remember, I met Feig through some mutual acquaintances back in the mid-’90s, so he wasn’t some abstract figure to me when “Freaks” debuted. I knew about Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan and all the talent that was involved with the show. But most of all, I knew that “Freaks and Geeks” was Paul Feig.

And yet when it came time to write about the show last week, I punted it. Somehow, the synapse didn’t fire that should have been automatic. And then, of course, I didn’t review my work carefully enough.

I take pride not only in my work for Variety but also in my ability to prevent errors of all sizes, so it’s safe to say this particular mistake has been a humbling experience. It’s not the first flub I’ve made, but as these things go, it’s about as personally upsetting an error as I’ve made in ages. I guess, if one were being charitable, it’s an embarrassment on par with Sam Weir running through McKinley High with no clothes on.

Hopefully, my cold will go away soon, but the sting from this malady won’t. It’s going to be a while before I think of “Freaks” and I don’t think of this. Again, really not trying to be melodramatic – just being honest about messing up on a show that meant so much to me.

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