Since NBC canceled Freaks and Geeks in 2000, Judd Apatow has obviously had no problem in establishing himself as a heavyweight in show business. He wrote and directed The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People and This is 40, while pitching in with screenplays or stories for a number of other popular comedies, and he’s been a producer on more films and helped turn more beloved actors into stars than we can even keep track of. To top it all off, he’s served as the executive producer for the hit HBO series Girls, while also writing four episodes. It’s the kind of career that all of us would sell our souls five times over to have.
Naturally, he was an obvious choice for an honor like the 2014 PaleyFest’s Icon Award, which recognizes “individual creative achievements in television,” according to Variety, and Apatow accepted his award and spoke about his long, wonderful career to help launch this year’s festival last night. It all came back to Freaks and Geeks, though, and if you’re wondering why or how Apatow has been so successful, it’s because he’s been working with a massive chip on his shoulder.
“Even to this day, I think I didn’t want to admit that ‘Freaks and Geeks’ was cancelled,” Apatow said March 10 at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. “Everything I’ve done, in a way, is revenge for the people who cancelled ‘Freaks and Geeks.’ It’s really demented, but it’s just like ‘you were wrong about that person, and that person and that person. And that writer and that director.’ And I really should get over that.” (Via Variety)
While it’s nice to see the guy still showing love for the show that so many (but not enough) people loved, the majority of people involved with Freaks and Geeks came out on top. Linda Cardellini had a great run on ER and has had roles on a number of popular shows, including Mad Men and Person of Interest. John Francis Daley pops up in movies now and then and has a nice role on Bones. Samm Levine got to hang out with Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds, Martin Starr appeared in an episode of Franklin and Bash (that’s bigger than an Emmy), and Busy Philipps is still chugging away on Cougar Town. And I think there were some other guys who went on to star in some movies that did all right.
Hell, show creator Paul Feig is a blockbuster director now, with Bridesmaids and The Heat under his belt, and that’s the most amazing thing of all considering he once played Stanley in the 1990 comedy Ski Patrol, giving us this iconic dance scene:
But that didn’t hold a candle to what Freaks and Geeks would eventually give us:
Long live the Spacefunk.