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Low Stakes, High Reward: The Appeal of a Seth Rogen Comedy

They say it’s much easier to make people cry than to make them laugh. Here’s a video essay on why Seth Rogen’s goofiness is worth some serious praise.
This Is The End
By  · Published on July 8th, 2020

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Like his mentor Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen has mastered the art of smuggling humanity into his films under the guise of stupidity. Not that there’s anything wrong with stupidity. We certainly enjoy a good dick joke around these parts. But Rogen’s films are more than just mindless low blows. Amidst, through, and alongside the jovial junk jests is a guiding principle of bromance and compassion. Rogen’s films are warm, familiar, and uniquely adept at capturing joyfully human moments in low stakes situations, a fact that often gets overshadowed by the crude cracks and occasional outbursts of excess (speaking of which, This Is The End feels like a truly inspired watch during quarantine/the current heat death of Celebrity Culture).

In the video essay below, Karsten Runquist argues that Rogen’s goofy charm is worth taking seriously. The essay unpacks the magnetic immaturity of Rogen’s earlier work, how his approach to writing flips the script on more traditional approaches to comedy, and how the actor’s work strives to capture a high.

You can watch “How Seth Rogen Turns Your Brain Off” here:

Who made this?

Karsten Runquist is a Chicago-based video essayist. You can check out Runquist’s back catalog and subscribe to his channel on YouTube here. You can follow Runquist on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).