The ''Freaks and Geeks'' creator takes his tortured-teen routine to the next level: college
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Seth Rogen, Timm Sharp, ...
Credit: Undeclared Cast Photographed by Allison Dyer

It’s a picturesque May morning on a Southern California university campus. Birds are tweeting. Leafy trees rustle in the breeze. Students mill about the manicured lawns. ”You picked the perfect time to come here,” says Judd Apatow, cheerfully welcoming a visitor to the set of his new Fox college comedy, ”Undeclared.” ”Today, we’re learning the subtle intricacies of bacon-fat throwing.”

Moments later, as guest star Samm Levine (the teenage Borscht Belt jokester from Apatow’s critically beloved 1999 NBC high school drama, ”Freaks and Geeks”) strolls through a courtyard, he’s pelted by baggies filled with a colored-water-and-gelatin concoction that resembles pork drippings. Whap! Whapwhapwhap! Whap! ”You’re hitting me with fat???” Levine shouts on cue, while the offending pranksters raise their arms in triumph and chant, ”Ba-con fat! Ba-con fat!”

After the camera stops rolling, the porcine postmortem begins. ”That was gross,” shudders cast member Jay Baruchel, wiping off his hands. ”Coulda been a little messier,” says costar Timm Sharp. ”I gotta say, I’m a horrible thrower,” sighs Seth Rogen. ”This is the kind of scene you can film for three days because it never seems to land right,” observes ”Undeclared” creator?executive producer Apatow. ”And now for the big debate: How many more clean shirts do we have?”

What? You were expecting a penetrating discourse on the works of Sir Francis Bacon? Sorry, folks, this is college — at least according to Apatow. Two seasons after ”Freaks and Geeks”’ artful exploration of underdog adolescence got a nasty ratings wedgie from the American public, the 33-year-old writer-producer returns to send up another youth subculture, a mysterious world teeming with beer bongs, mini-fridges, and skipped 8 a.m. seminars. ”Undeclared” is a wry, loose-vibed series about a motley mix of university freshmen living on the same dorm floor: nebbishy Steven (Baruchel), who’s double-majoring in awkward and lanky; his British lothario roommate, Lloyd (Charlie Hunnam); fashion-challenged weirdo Marshall (Sharp); acerbic entrepreneur Ron (Rogen); book-smart-yet-confused Lizzie (Carla Gallo); and hot-‘n’-panicked Rachel (Monica Keena). Think of it as ”Revenge of the Geeks.” ”’Freaks and Geeks’ was about a painful experience in a lot of people’s lives. But college is the reward for surviving high school, so it’s inherently funnier and more pleasant,” explains Apatow. ”In a sense, it’s a way to find out what happened to the geeks after high school, because the freaks aren’t going to get into college.”

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