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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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Sneak_Peek

Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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