How Apatow’s actors have fared after “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared.”

How Apatow’s actors have fared after “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared.” (photo)

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Judd Apatow veteran Jay Baruchel arrives to yank us out of the post-Oscar hysteria, addressing the rigors of time-filler filmmaking. Discussing his low-concept vehicle “She’s Out Of My League” in the LA Times, he notes, “there were some days when I [was…] having a dog lick pâté off my crotch for 12 hours. When I got home, it was like ‘The Crying Game.’ I took the most depressing shower ever. Then there would be days when I just had to make out with Alice [Eve], and it was like, ‘I picked the right job.'”

Some members of “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared” have gone on to career after-lives that have eclipsed the cult hits’ collective wattage. Seth Rogen, of course, James Franco, arguably Jason Segal. But many of the rest were left behind — especially the adult actors as a whole, who retreated back into character bit obscurity (no one needs new old blood).

Baruchel’s one of those yet to break out — he calls himself a perpetual “cusper,” since promises of a breakthrough (most recently in fellow Apatow alum Ben Stiller’s “Tropical Thunder”) never actually happened, which doesn’t bother him. Indeed, most of the Apatow company not since confined to TV purgatory keeps popping up in the most incongruous places.

03112010_basterds.jpgSamm Levine’s post-“Freaks” career high as one of the titular “Inglourious Basterds” took his uber-Jewish rage from high school to its logical conclusion. But Linda Cardellini, as befits her former rebellious Mathlete Lindsey Weir, went on to be a bright nurse (“Samantha Taggert”) on “ER” (for 126 episodes, or seven times as many as her “Freaks and Geeks” cult immortalizing turn). Work is work.

What’s unusual about the two Apatow TV creations (three, if you want to count co-creating “The Ben Stiller Show”) is that so many of the actors did leap to big-screen respectability — not just mediocre comedies, but big hits. (Jason Segal’s rebooting the Muppets!) That’s notoriously the toughest lateral career leap to attempt in the biz. More people might have seen “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” but only Will Smith made it out of there, you know?

At this rate, it’s entirely possible the collected careers of Rogen, Franco and Segal might even eclipse Apatow’s, still regrouping after the (undeserved) failure of “Funny People.” In the meantime, it’s no surprise most of their equally talented castmates got left behind. Baruchel should at least be glad he’s still working in comedy, no matter how shoddy-looking — most of his co-stars are still grinding it out one episode at a time. Not everyone in the Apatow company gets to come up. Say a prayer for personal favorite Timm Sharp, no more or less promising than anyone else in “Undeclared.” His biggest post-show stint has involved making onto the current season of Fox’s Brad Garrett sitcom “‘Til Death.” That’s no way to live.

[Photos: “She’s Out Of My League,” Paramount, 2010; “Inglourious Basterds,” The Weinstein Company, 2009]


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.