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The actor tells EW the one-season show — which is finally streaming on Hulu — was "one of the best experiences" of his life.

By Sydney Bucksbaum
January 29, 2021 at 08:52 PM EST
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  • TV Show
network
  • NBC

It's been more than two decades since Freaks and Geeks aired its only season, and the show's cult classic status has grown exponentially in that time. Created by Paul Feig and executive produced by Judd Apatow, NBC's 2000 cancellation of the high school dramedy set in the early '80s is one of the biggest mistakes in the history of TV (fight us on this, we dare you). But another major mistake with this show has thankfully been remedied: Freaks and Geeks is now available to stream on Hulu with its original soundtrack (one of the show's greatest assets) intact.

Now that the series is finally available to stream, it's getting a new, younger influx of viewers for the first time as well. But Freaks and Geeks alum Jason Segel isn't sure that new, younger viewers will appreciate the iconic series in the same way as its original, pre-streaming fanbase.

"For a kid watching Freaks and Geeks now, it'll be hard for them to contextualize that that took place in [the 1980s], even though we filmed it in 2000," Segel tells EW. "They're just going to think that's what 2000 was like. I don't know what the experience would be like to watch something from 20 years ago. That's insane to me."

Freaks-and-Geeks
Credit: Chris Haston/NBC

The actor, best known for starring in How I Met Your Mother and films like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, and I Love You, Man, experienced that same disconnect when watching Singin' in the Rain for the first time. "That movie was, I don't know, 40 years behind me when I finally saw it," he says. "There was no way for me to contextualize that that movie actually took place 30 years earlier than when it was filmed. For me it was all just the past, you know what I mean?"

But Segel is happy that Freaks and Geeks is finally streaming — although he admits he won't be taking part in a binge-watch of the series himself. "I don't take much pleasure in watching myself," he says. "I watch the stuff usually once when it comes out and then I leave it behind." He'll always be grateful for how that show launched his career, though. "Freaks and Geeks is where a lot of us got our start, myself, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Linda Cardellini, Busy Philipps, Martin Starr. It was this really amazing cast before we really knew anything. I mean, a few of us had done some little jobs here and there but this is where we really cut our teeth."

FREAKS AND GEEKS
Credit: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

And even though Segel has gone on to enjoy a successful career since Freaks and Geeks, not only in comedy but also drama (he currently stars in the gut wrenching cancer drama Our Friend opposite Casey Affleck and Dakota Johnson), he still calls the one-season wonder "one of the best experiences of my life for sure. It sort of informed everything I did since." Some of his favorite memories involved learning how to do improv for some takes. "The scenes are all beautifully written, but a lot of the time Judd and Paul and [writer] Jake Kasdan would encourage us to go off script and just to make each other laugh. And that led the way to the movies that we did after."

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Freaks and Geeks

type
  • TV Show
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status
  • In Season
network
  • NBC

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