The Midnight Club isn’t just a ‘mysterious ghost story; it’s also a time capsule of a very specific moment in the mid-‘90s. Since the series is set in 1994 (the same year its source material, Christopher Pike’s novel of the same name, was published), The Midnight Club is filled with overalls, bucket hats, and throwback jams. But one of the most pivotal songs didn’t exactly fit into the show’s timeframe. After viewers noticed the anachronism, showrunner Mike Flanagan admitted The Midnight Club’s Green Day song was a logistical mistake, but one that he doesn’t regret making.
The big musical moment comes in Episode 7, so consider this your spoiler warning to stop reading here if you haven’t finished that episode yet. At the end of the series’ most emotional episode, the remaining seven members of the Midnight Club memorialize their fallen friend Anya by scattering her ashes at the beach as Cheri begins playing Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” on her cello. The moment turns into a bittersweet sing-along, as the terminally ill teens remember Anya’s resilient spirit. It’s a beautiful scene, but there’s just one problem: “Good Riddance” didn’t exist yet.
Green Day didn’t release that famous ballad until the end of 1997, three years after The Midnight Club’s 1994 setting. There’s a tiny bit of wiggle room, since frontman Billie Joe Armstrong actually wrote the track in 1993 and an early version was released in 1996 as a B-side on the band’s “Brain Stew / Jaded” double single. But none of that accounts for how seven kids in 1994 would possibly be familiar with the song at that point.
It turns out, Flanagan was well aware of the mistake while filming the scene, but he went along with it anyway because of how perfectly the song worked for that emotional moment. “There's one huge [mistake], and we went into it eyes wide open,” Flanagan said at a press conference for The Midnight Club attended by Elite Daily. “It was like, ‘That song wasn't out yet.’ I was like, ‘I don't care, it's a great song.’ We were only off by a couple of years.”
Flanagan went on to explain that nailing the emotional core of the scene was more important to him than historical accuracy. “It was like, ‘It's the right song for that scene.’ We tried very hard to be accurate, and we were, for a while, really good at it, and then that happened to f*ck it up.”
Honestly, in a show full of ghosts, magical rituals, and weird spells, is channeling a song from a few years in the future really such a big deal? It may have been a bit of an anachronism, but the important thing is that it gave Anya the perfect send-off.
The Midnight Club is now streaming on Netflix.