Friday, September 07, 2007

Undeclared (2001-2002)

Undeclared (2001-2002)

Like Freaks and Geeks before it, this Judd Apatow produced series also met an untimely demise following poor ratings. And like that show, 'Undeclared' was also very good and deserved a better fate. You might know Apatow and his crew from their recent successes like 'The 40 Year Old Virgin', 'Knocked Up', and 'Superbad'. They may be vindicated now, but their fans always knew they were the real deal from their earlier efforts. I wouldn't call myself an Apatow fan, but I am appreciative of their work and am definitely a big fan of 'Undeclared'.

'Undeclared' is a 30-minute comedy series about a group of kids (or young 'adults' to the pedantic) during their first year at college, and all of the hijinks they get caught up in. These typically involve alcohol, partying, sex, relationships, eating junk food, and wasting money. Also, occasionally studying. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. The six protagonists - geeky Stephen, sarcastic Roy, pretty boy Lloyd, slothful Marshall, neurotic Lizzie and perky Rachel - aren't exactly deep but all of them feel like real people.

The show in general feels like it's based on reality, only slightly unhinged! This is attributable to the strong stories and writing (although apparently a lot of the Apatow crew's stuff is improvised) and the quality of acting from the cast (there's a very strong supporting cast as well, and some memorable cameos); everything feels natural and charming, even the improprieties, which seems to be the hallmark of all of Apatow's productions. The show's really funny, sidesplitting laugh out loud funny at times. And it has those moments that only the best comedies have, the moments that are hilarious but tragic at the same time, where you feel terrible about a character's predicament but can't help laughing nonetheless.

There's not much more that needs to be said. Like many sitcoms, the concept is simple and success hinges on the myriad variables that go into making the show; in this case are all pretty terrific and gel together perfectly. I liked 'Freaks and Geeks', but 'Undeclared' resonated with me more and is a show I'm certain to revisit at some point in the future.


*FilmAddict* said...

I loved Freak and Geeks, it was funny and quirky with its portrayal of the awkwardness of growing up and soo did not glossify nor glorify teenagehood/school life ...unlike the recent shows and was pretty disappointed when it was cut...And much later I stumbled upon Undeclared while flipping channels at midnight...yes midnight...It and Freak and Geeks (showed on sleepy weekend afternoons when nobody's home) suffered such horrible time slots locally...nobody would've noticed it...but I did and was glad so. It was a pretty good show and funny as expected. I actually never knew that it was produced by the same person until he rose to fame with the likes of 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad.

Antimatter said...

They're both pretty terrific shows, and it's nice to see that the people involved (Apatow seems to have a select crowd he likes to work with) are finally getting the recognition that they deserved to get years ago!