Undeclared is a Fox sitcom that served as the follow-up to Judd Apatow’s earlier cult hit series, Freaks and Geeks. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Apatow is the genius that has written, directed, or produced some of the best comedies Hollywood has to offer. He brought us The Cable Guy, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Knocked Up, Superbad, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Step Brothers, Pineapple Express, Bridesmaids… the list goes on and on. Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared were some of his earliest projects and they laid a solid foundation for his career.
Undeclared is a half-hour sitcom about freshman Steven Karp’s (Jay Baruchel) first year at college. Seth Rogen, Charlie Hunnam, and Timm Sharp play his roommates. Carla Gallo, Monica Keena, and Tina Ellroy play the girls living in the dorm across the hall. The two groups band together and deal with all your typical college shenanigans like sex, dating, drinking, parents, partying, playing Truth or Dare, prank wars with fraternities and disgruntled R.A.s, and gaining the dreaded Freshman Fifteen. The comedic style is mostly loose and improvised, relying more on character wit than sight gags. There is no laugh track or studio audience. It’s not the game changer that Freaks and Geeks was, but it’s a funnier and sharper show.
It’s impossible to watch this show and not be reminded of Freaks and Geeks. Seth Rogen has a starring role in both shows, Jason Segel guest stars in a few episodes, and Busy Phillips, Martin Starr, Samm Levine and other Freaks and Geeks alumni pop up occasionally. There are tons of other cameos and guest spots from actors and comedians that you know and love. I won’t mention them in hopes that you watch the show and get pleasantly surprised.
Unfortunately, Undeclared has another similarity with Freaks and Geeks. Both shows were cancelled before completing the first season. It’s sad because the series had so much potential and it ends way too quickly. There are only seventeen episodes, and each one is so funny and entertaining that you can’t help but binge-watch. Before you know it, you have no more episodes to watch and you’re let with a void in your heart and Netflix queue.
Critically Rated at 16/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young