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no appetite for apatow,
sue me.
by bonnie shaw

I don’t want to watch anything with Judd Apatow's name attached to it and people keep telling me that I “need to,” “have to,” and “really should do” otherwise. I have seen commercials for his stuff and it appeals to me only in a not-at-all kind of way. He uses actors who I find no physical appeal in, he writes sappy crap with no deeper meaning, and his sense of humor is just not what mine is like.

I like brutal funny like “Metalocalypse”. I like “Jackass” funny, which is real and irreverent and DIY and largely unscripted. I like British funny (“Black Books,” “Shaun of the Dead,” “AbFab,” “Fawlty Towers” and etc). I like non-sequitur funny (good old skool adult swim like “Sealab 2021” though more recently “Frisky Dingo” was clever and “Lucy Daughter of the Devil” was wickedly funny). I am not interested in obviously funny, and goofy funny. I sit on the fence and reserve my judgment on quirky and offbeat funny. It worked for me in “The Life Aquatic.” I like dry funny. The ludicrous is funny to me sometimes though I am had pressed to think of an example.

Nothing in my history of hating most Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell movies combined with my never caring about the American Pie phenomenon makes me think that theres not one good reason to watch a Judd Apatow movie. Rather, there are just reasons not to. Like the plethora of better written and more compelling stuff to be filling my time with. Like the gritty snappy AMC drama “Mad Men.” Or the awesome Showtime drama about a serial killer who kills serial killers in Miami, “Dexter.” Or the WB/CW’s otherworldy offering of “Supernatural.” Or “Twin Peaks,” “Angel,” “Lost,” or “Buffy” on DVD. Or about a hundred movies that I have been meaning to see that are on my Netflix queue along with all of the above mentioned TV shows on DVD. Not a chance that I am going out of my way to see his garbage on film, especially when comedy isn't even a favored genre.

Some of my friends have chosen to give me a hard time for not watching his “Superbad,” or “Knocked Up” and for not even trying them. But here’s the thing, if I see the trailers and think they look like a crap salad, why should I get myself any further involved? Isn’t that what ads are for? To give you a little slice and then you can decide if you want to shell out dough or time to see the full length feature version? I think its fair to say then that as no commercials for any Apatow have ever roused me, since no interest is invoked, its okay to say no to Apatow. And get off my effin back about it already. I have seen “The Wedding Singer,” but I wish I hadn’t. I hate that movie, everything about it, god that’s two hours of my life I will never have back. And why? C’mon Judd, you re-wrote that. Was that the best you could do? I think maybe thats the case.

And am I really supposed to waste my time on anything touched by the person who actually gave money so that “Talladega Nights” could be made? And he’s going to try and make up for those accusations of sexism by writing more authentic female characters? Because he’s ever demonstrated a well developed character? Maybe he has. Maybe the character has been believable and well acted, and not underwhelming. But I’ll never know because I’ll never watch the filthy mofo, to paraphrase Jules Winnfield.

I think whats missing most is an appeal to my intelligence if I am going to suspend my disbelief for them, or an appeal to my pathos. Maybe even something aesthetically pleasing. Or a story arc that I care about how it unfolds. But I can’t foresee that happening in the near future with this “Dewey Cox” thing. Its fake crap.

Wes Anderson is about as far down that road as I can comfortably go. Apatow’s just not my bag. And to be honest I hope he never will be.


I'm a North Carolinian who wants to expatriate, but still a North Carolinian through and freakin through. I think my true home is somewhere on the Mediterranean. It's my love of classics, and antiquity that makes me believe this. (Sweet tea and pork bbq, how I'll miss you when I go). I am an escapist. One of my professors told me that Professor Tolkien once told him that those who do not like escapism are jailers. This is one of my credos. I've larped my fair share. I read. Mostly I love amazing prose like Nabokov's in Lolita or Cook in Achilles.

more about bonnie shaw


robert melos
1.22.08 @ 1:08a

I will admit I had no idea who Judd Apatow was, and after googling him I followed the link to the IMDB site only to discover I, like you, have avoided most of his works. Upon reading the plotlines of his upcoming films I've discovered they aren't original. Granted Hollywood isn't known for gushing forth with originality on a daily basis, but if the release dates of his upcoming projects hold, it'll be a craptacular movie season.

I too have turned to Netflix to satisfy my entertainment needs. One reason being the price of a movie. For a quarter of the price of a one film I get 12 to 14 a month from Netflix. Albeit some are television shows, but the point is Netflix is a life line for entertainment.

mike julianelle
1.22.08 @ 9:35a

Bonnie, may I suggest "Freaks and Geeks?" There's a lot more subtlety there.

jael mchenry
1.22.08 @ 4:51p

Nothing appeals to everyone -- not Batman, not When Harry Met Sally, and not Superbad. I hear there are even people who don't like The Princess Bride, as hard as that is for me to imagine.

No need to force yourself to watch the Apatow stuff if you know it's not to your taste, right? To use a totally different example that's exactly the same, I have no intention of seeing No Country For Old Men, despite all the critics' praise and year's-best-lists. I'm sure it's brilliant and all that, but it sounds incredibly depressing, and why would I want to torture myself for more than two hours just to admire the elegantly shot scenery?

bonnie shaw
1.25.08 @ 9:37a

Watched the first episode of Freaks and Geeks. It didn't do anything for me. At all. The only thing mildly compelling was James Franco as some kind of amalgam of every guy I ever loved in high school. Which is kind of the over-arching problem with the show. The whole thing is like another iteration of everything ever made about high school. Just as rife with caricature, just as contrived.

Oh and when I say it didn't do anything I mean I couldn't even bring myself to hate it. Or like it. Normally when my phone rings in the middle of something I am watching, I ignore it unless I have some kind of notion that the phone call might be urgent. Last night during Freaks and Geeks I was happy my phone rang so that I'd have a few minutes more of the episode done when I got back to the television.

Was it supposed to be funny at some point or was the pilot pretty sober?


adam kraemer
1.25.08 @ 10:46a

Freaks and Geeks actually got noticeably better. I'd recommend never judging anything based on the pilot episode. If that had happened, I'd never have seen "Seinfeld," "Buffy," or "The Office."

That said, I'm not sure I understand the mindset that wasting time is always a bad thing. Sometimes letting someone else spoon-feed you a joke can be very therapeutic and relaxing, in my experience, anyway.


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