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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]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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