The Long-Lost Amy Poehler/Judd Apatow Sitcom About Mental Illness

Slate's Culture Blog
July 8 2013 12:11 PM

Judd Apatow and Amy Poehler’s Long-Lost Sitcom About Mental Illness

In the late ’90s and early ’00s, around the time that he was producing Freaks and Geeks and then Undeclared, Judd Apatow helped create three other TV shows that never made it to air: North Hollywood, Life on Parole, and Sick in the Head. He was particularly proud of that last one: “I always thought it was very funny,” he told me a few years ago. “Maybe one day I’ll show it. I’m always happy to get anything out of the vault.”

In fact, the Sick in the Head pilot aired a few times on the erstwhile cable network Trio, and today at Splitsider, Roger Cormier has posted a few clips and written about the project as a whole. For most of us, it’s the first glimpse of the series, which starred Amy Poehler—still two years away from her first appearance on Saturday Night Live—as well as David Krumholtz and Kevin Corrigan. Krumholtz played a therapist, Andy; Corrigan his roommate; and Poehler one of his patients, named Beth.

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As Cormier writes and as the clip above demonstrates, “Poehler’s Beth exemplifies the inherit danger of basing a comedy on therapy.” He says that her punch lines become “much easier to laugh at” as the episode progresses, after Andy begins to help her and we get to know her better. It’s clear, in any case, that she is genuinely ill, and it would have been interesting to see where the series took her character over the course of a season.

We’ll never know, alas. But you can see more clips and read Cormier’s write-up over at Splitsider.

Update, July 8: The clips uploaded earlier today have now been taken down. We will update this post a second a time if they become available again.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

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