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DID YOU READ

10 Ways Judd Apatow Made Nerds Cool

THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, director, co-writer and co-producer Judd Apatow on set, 2005, (c) Universal/

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By Leslie Schapira

For years, nerds have gotten a bad rap. From Urkel to Screech, the ultra-awkward, rather homely characters we’ve seen on film and TV have been deemed untouchables in our social caste system. But all that changed when Judd Apatow came into the picture and turned our ideas of so-called losers into heroes. Since Judd is bringing his nerd cred to this week’s Comedy Bang! Bang!, we thought we’d take a look at some of the strides the Trainwreck director has made for nerd kind.

10. He helped introduce the world to Freaks and Geeks

freaksandgeeks

Judd Apatow and Paul Feig’s high school dramedy wasn’t exactly queen bee when it aired in 1999, only surviving 18 episodes. But like many freaks and geeks that we knew — ahem — or were in high school, this low-rated series blossomed into a beautiful cult following and launched its young cast (which included the likes of James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel) to fame.


9. He made a 40-year-old virgin lovable.

40yearoldvirgin

Before Apatow’s hit 2005 movie, the idea of a 40-year-old with his “V card” still intact would’ve been an automatic turn off to any girl who didn’t have a priest-fetish. But Apatow’s endearing character, perfectly portrayed by Steve Carell, gave us a soft spot for the guy who thought that breasts felt like sand. See kids? It’s okay to wait.


8. He proved that nerds could be “Superbad.

SUPERBAD, Christoper Mintz-Plasse, Aviva, 2007. ©Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection

Only in Apatow-land do guys like Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Michael Cera get to live out the crazy, borderline criminal night that every video-gamer who lives with his mom fantasizes about. The Apatow-produced Superbad is practically porn for geeks.


7. He helped make TV safe for different viewpoints and body types.

HBO

HBO

While TV starlets in the ’90s were out to out-starve each other, Apatow chose to go a different direction with Girls, the hit Lena Dunham created series that Apatow coproduces.  For all you trendsetters out there: bulimia is out, imperfection is in.


6. He lets the geek get the hot girl.

KnockedUp

Apatow’s Knocked Up might have been the ultimate score for awkward, hairy potheads everywhere. Nothing gives a nerd hope like seeing a jobless pothead like Seth Rogan impregnate a hot babe like Katherine Heigl.


5. He glorifies the inappropriate.

A female-driven wedding comedy should theoretically be a cue for a guy to head for the door. But Bridesmaids, which Apatow produced, was a box office hit with men and women thanks to its laugh-out-loud comedic moments and smart outlook on modern relationships. Come for the vomiting, stay for the heartfelt and hilarious performances.


4. He makes it okay to get old.

THisIs40

Nothing used to say “uncool” like being middle-aged. But This Is 40 makes the thought of being over the hill a bit more acceptable — or at least, a tad less frightening. If Paul Rudd can get old, so can we.


3. He gives nerds cool best friends.

GET HIM TO THE GREEK, from left: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, 2010. ph: Glen Wilson/©Universal Picture

Glen Wilson/Universal Pictures/Everett Collection

Nothing gives a geek street cred like having an open friendship with a rock star. Get Him to the Greek, another comedy with the Apatow brand, gives cool guys everywhere the thumbs up to buddy up with the Jonah Hills of the world.


2. He made being super annoying, like, totally acceptable.

GirlsShoshana

Who knew that an “Ohmigod”-uttering, Juicy Couture-wearing Jewish American Princess would be accepted amongst Brooklyn’s coolest hipsters. But Shoshanna Shapiro from Girls has proven to be one of TV’s most confident and ballsy characters. Like, seriously. Meanwhile, Superbad‘s McLovin and the geeks from Freaks and Geeks are now beloved comedy icons. A far cry from the days when Urkel annoyed Carl with lines like “Got any cheeeese??”


1. He’s a nerd himself

Universal Pictures Courtesy Everett Collection

Universal Pictures Courtesy Everett Collection

Apatow once described his younger self as under-appreciated, invisible and weird. But this one time underdog is ultimate example of how nerds can rule the world.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

ecoli-computer

IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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via GIPHY

We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

via GIPHY

The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

via GIPHY

They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

via GIPHY

Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

via GIPHY

Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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