“Podcasts are the best. People talking. No editing. Long length. They go deep. Like Stanley Siegel or Donohue” - Judd Apatow.
Well, Heavy Movie Parking Lot is two people talking and there is no editing and for special editions podcasts like this one, which is devoted entirely to the work ofJudd Apatow, it’s at a long length (cue a dick joke). So we hope maybe one day Apatow listens to us talk about him and his work (though I’m sure it’d be a reaction along the lines of when Jonah Hill gives a CD of his band to Russell Brand in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and he says, ” I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. “). Though this podcast doesn’t necessarily go “deep” as one of its own members pointed out (I’ve spoiled the surprise twist ending already: “We didn’t go deep enough!”). Basically when Leonie and Tristan sat down to critically discuss Apatow’s corpus of work as writer-director-and-more-specifically-auteur-producer-of-our-times, rather than probing the critical material over his deification of “bromancing”, or looking at the gender politics across the films he’s produced, or examining how saturated his humour is in dick jokes and gay jokes, or exploring how Freaks and Geeks is one of the best things Television ever did… Wait, a minute! This podcast does touch on all of this topics! We did go DEEP… well, deepish. Because the majority of this podcast is actually devoted to us “riffing” by which I mean quoting lines ad nausem from all these TV episodes and comedy movies we like to love so much. So if you like impressions of Seth Rogen or Mooj from The 40 Year Old Virgin, then this is is the best podcast (under the framing provision that all “podcasts are the best”). Oh, and we also crack a lot of lame dick jokes and to make up for that, here are some good ones:
My first introduction to the work of Judd Apatow was setting the VCR timer to record episodes of Freaks and Geeks that screened at 3-4pm on Channel Nine. I think I saw Joe Flaherty plug it on that dire midday Martin Short talk show - that and a few write-ups I’d noticed praising it as this generation’s version of The Wonder Years. Actually it was more catching one episode late at night where the geeks buy non-alcoholic beer for the party Lindsay is throwing and Nick makes a pass at her and blames it on the beer - no, I think it was the freaks laughing at the high school play about the dangers of drinking and Harris playing the victim (holy shit - did we hold a discussion on Freaks and Geeks and NOT mention Harris? WHAT THE FUCK! Stephen Lea Shepard, hear our praise! You are the best guy!). More to the point, Apatow’s name was always at the end of each show as it was his production company that produced it though I feel that the way we talk about this show we both love so much is that Apatow created Freaks and Geeks, which is WRONG as Paul Feig was the creator (we love you, Paul Feig, even when you starred in Sabrina The Teenage Witch!!!). I think that’s an important note to make as Judd Apatow’s name has been taken as an umbrella term for a lot of different shows, different films, different actors and different directors. Going all the way back to an association with Ben Stiller on his sketch show (check Apatow doing Jay Leno here), writing forThe Larry Sanders Show (the second greatest thing television ever gave us), and writing/producing The Cable Guy (where he met his talented wife, Leslie Mann), Apatow’s rise to power has been quite a thing to observe the producer as auteur-brand, a sum larger than his parts (cue another dick joke) or a name bigger than the man himself, which has come to define the style and tone of American comedies over the last ten years.
From the break-out success of The 40 Year Old Virgin with the man who defines likability, Steve Carrell, to his follow-ups, Knocked Up about the joys of parenting (or at least the idea of Seth Rogen being a dad), and Funny People about the business of being in comedy (oh, and having cancer and trying to reconnect with your ex - seriously, it’s like two movies in one!). Then we have all the movies that Apatow produced even giving his Freaks and Geeks alumni the chance to prove themselves as major stars - Seth Rogen in Pineapple Express and Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall - and to reintroduce indie directors into the mainstream - Greg Mottola for Superbad and David Gordon Green for Pineapple Express. Even though Apatow is readdressing the “bros before hos” criticisms he’s long had to answer by giving Kirsten Whig a shot at writing and starring in Bridesmaids, the very funny comedy that focuses on a lot of funny women (wait, let’s call these ladies funny people and they are funny so fuck you,Christopher Hitchens!). Still, we’re hoping he also gives a shot to Carla Gallo, Lizzy Caplan and Aubrey Plaza by giving them comedy vehicles to head-line (see also: my idea for a buddy comedy with Mindy Kaling and Greta Gerwig, but like a Lethal Weapon cop movie please).
“I learned a lot from Gary [Shandling] and a lot from Paul [Feig] and most of it was about being personal and that your stories are what connect with people. I remember reading, I can’t remember who said it, but the best gift you can give to people is to share your story… that had a big effect on me because I thought my story was boring… my parents were divorced, I got depressed, I had trouble getting a girlfriend, I got into comedy… but the tiniest details of it are what is interesting and what people connect to…”
So sit back and listen to the tiny details of what we connected it across the body of work that Apatow’s name represents or is associated with, and even how the podcast itself represents a tiny detail for HMPL that it was the last one recorded before Leonie left Perth (she hopped a van with some hippies to go follow The Grateful Dead; that album, American Beauty really spoke to her). Speaking of which, let’s conclude with the best TV credit sequence ever:
So listen to the preview edit or stick the full-length in your ear (cue dick joke) HERE. Also: e-mail us about which Apatow character you most identify with, please - we’d love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org