The 6 Stages of Life According to Judd Apatow

By Tyler Barnes

How many directors have followed the entire spectrum of life in their movies? Spielberg has either cast children or perfect physical specimens for most of his movies  (or created biopics), Michael Bay sticks with 20-somethings or Johnny Depp, and Kubrick focused primarily on adults. One director has been willing to go where others dare not tread. Diving deep into the human soul, Judd Apatow has covered every part of life using his “happiness within misery” style to convey the true angst in all of his characters. My prediction for the next 5 years is we will see a film about babies to fully round-out this life.

Lets take a look at his 6 stages of life:

****movies chosen for this article are ones that Apatow has either Executive Produced, Written, or Directed. Movies (i.e. Superbad) where Apatow was just a Producer are not  included due to minimal creative influence from Apatow*****

     1. Terribly, horribly awkward childhood


HeavyWeights • Freaks and Geeks

We are birthed into this world as a beautiful spark of life. As we grow into youth, we soon realize that we forgot to pickup social skills when leaving the womb and the other kids seem to have taken HGH starting at age 2. Life at this point is just trying to fit in with whomever we can.

Lessons Learned:  finding people you love is much more important than being a cool kid.

     2. College


Freedom has come at last. After years of being an awkward outcast, we finally get the chance to move into the big leagues. We walk into college to see the wonderful opportunities in front of us and discover that……no one realizes we were an outcast! Balloons fall from the ceiling as we grab a beer and think about all the long years of being misunderstood. As we meet our fellow freshmen we realize that in college, everyone is out of place, misunderstood, and comfortable with this fact!

Lessons Learned:  fitting in is just about confidence, even if we have to fake it. College is a chance to be the person we always wanted to be, even if our awkwardness comes along for the ride.

     3. Post-College Angst

Girls • Knocked Up • Pineapple Express

Our wonderful trip through college has ended and left us dumped into a real world that immediately fails to give any shits about us. Jobs are hard to come by and our friends have dwindled to a select few. We hold tightly onto our dreams of becoming a successful writer/entrepreneur/human while having the world spike our hopes like a volleyball into the sand.. Luckily, our experiences make up for the pain and we accept what is meant for our life.

Lessons Learned:  life can get tough, but things have a way of turning out for the best in the end. Maybe we don’t always have the million-dollar paycheck we desire, but we have our dreams and friends.

4. Major Life Change

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Finally things are going our way, we have a good job and are financially stable. Everything seems to be going smoothly until a piece of the machine falls out. We lose our job, we move, or we find out our way-too-attractive girlfriend has been sleeping with a terrible British comedian for the past year. Now we are left scrambling to figure out how our once simple life could be shattered into a million pieces! We have forgotten what it’s like to feel this way, but the emotions all come crashing down.

Lessons Learned:  just when you think things are smooth, a twist can always change everything. Luckily, the lessons learned throughout your life will get you through these tough times.

 5. Mid-Life Crisis

This is 40 •  The 40-Year-Old Virgin

At this point your life sucks. Either you are single and alone, or together and miserable. The saving graces to this are the other people in your life, although they are also miserable. You do have some crazy mishaps along the way, but these are pretty tame compared to your younger shenanigans. You do have a family or the chance to start a family, which is the saving grace to all of this.

Lessons Learned:  having a family is difficult, but more satisfying than anything else in life. Times will be tough, but with faith you can make it through.

6. Death

Funny People

You have met an end to your life, and it is time to look back on all of the things you have accomplished. Although you were a successful comedian/businessman/whatever, the relationships in your life are all that matter. You tell a really great fart joke, but unfortunately that joke is going to be forgotten in time.

Lessons Learned: You can’t take it with you. In the end, all of Apatow’s creations point to one thing:  friendship. It’s relationships that matter and Funny People finishes with a couple of realistic misfits realizing the most important things in life are each other.


Tyler is a avid film buff who believes that the movie “Hook” is one of the greatest films of the last century. If you enjoyed this post, check out more posts from Tyler @


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