Gaining My Respect: Seth Rogen

It's hard to believe that, almost 10 years after he made the scene in Freaks and Geeks, Seth Rogen is finally making a name for himself.

Ken Miller wasn't a focal character. In fact, he might have been a little forgettable, seeing as Freaks and Geeks was canceled before he was able to get any real screen time. Still, F&G fans knew him. They knew every member of that cast. And so did Hollywood.

Even though the show was canceled after airing a mere 12 episodes of their 18 episode first season*, it gained enough momentum to appear in Time Magazines "100 Greatest Shows of All Time" (2007), as well as sit - fairly comfortably - as the 13th best series of the past 25 years (2008). It may have taken networks a while to see it, but viewers had no doubt that Freaks and Geeks had been something special.

Spawning talents like Linda Cardellini, James Franco, and Shia LaBeouf (among others), it seemed like every member of that cast was getting their time in the spotlight. Everyone, but Rogen. He did a few tv show guest spots, and a couple of smaller roles in movies, but really, no one paid much attention to him.

Then, in 2007, Judd Apatow snatched Rogen to portray Benjamin Stone in a movie called Knocked Up. Rogen was opposite Katherine Heigel and, in my opinion, he outshined her. His character was brash, rude, and an idiot, but Rogen managed to portray a sort of shyness about him that made him absolutely likeable. The movie itself was raunchy, and really didn't cater to my tastes, but the cast was likeable and no one over acted, so it ended up being cute and enjoyable.

And funny as hell. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I felt the movie was hilarious, Rogen and Paul Rudd especially.

The same year, Apatow released Superbad. Rogen did not star in it, but played the role of an idiotic police officer (with SNL's Bill Hader) and once again stole the show. There was just something about how he handled the character, how he delivered the lines. The man was hilarious. I began to wish his character had been explored more on Freaks and Geeks, that he had had a chance to be really funny, because I found him quite enjoyable. Until every movie he appeared in was the same.

I don't know if Apatow was bitter about the premature cancellation of F&G, or if he was afraid of it happening again, or if he just enjoyed the shock factor, but it seemed like every. single. one. of his movies just got raunchier and raunchier and raunchier. To the point that it was uncomfortable to watch them. And Rogen seemed to play the same character in all of them, which was depressing.

Yes, he was funny. Yes, he was a good actor. But he kept playing the same character, and it just got tedious. I kind of got sad, and developed "Seth Rogen" syndrome, which caused my reaction to every single one of his movies to be:

Oh look, another Seth Rogen movie. Don't tell the church folk.

There was, however, one movie out of the ordinary**. In 2008, Rogen supplied the voice to one of the animated characters in Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who, and did quite well. The little rat... thing... that he played was hilarious, and greatly added to the movie. Furthermore, it drew attention to the uniqueness of Rogen's voice.

Later that year, Dreamwork's released a movie called Kung Fu Panda, starring Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman. The movie told the story of Po, a noddle-selling, food-loving panda that had one dream: to become a Kung Fu warrior. A dream that is seemingly realized when the great Master Wugui (pronounced oog-way) names him the Dragon Warrior. This forces Master Shifu and the Furious Five to train Po in time to save the village from Tai Lung, Shifu's old apprentice that was darkened when Wugui did not choose him to be the Dragon Warrior.

The movie was accepted with open arms, and received quite a bit of praise. And once again, Rogen was a part of that, lending his voice to Master Mantis, a comical member of the Furious Five. Like his role in Horton, Rogen didn't have a lot of lines. But the ones he did have, he delivered very well, and made me laugh. A LOT.

But that wasn't the end of Rogen's voice acting career. In 2009, Rogen provided the voice for B.O.B. in another Dreamwork's production entitled Monsters Vs. Aliens.

Monsters Vs. Aliens is a big deal for a number of reason***. Firstly, it was Rogen's first real lead voice role, meaning he got quite a bit of screen time. Secondly, it - in my opinion - showcased just exactly how good of a voice actor Rogen is. Rogen not only held his own amongst such Hollywood actors as Keifer Sutherland and Hugh Laurie, but he also made the movie. Every line delivered is absolutely hilarious, and he does it with a sort of dry seriousness that really makes B.O.B. a loveable character, without which the movie would not have been so fun.

In my opinion, Rogen is finally making a name for himself... and it's as a voice actor. I'll give him his props, he's a great actor, but he's been type casted. I'd love to see him get away from movies like Observe and Report and Pineapple Express and start doing more voice acting roles (he's already set to portray Master Mantis again in the Kung Fu Panda sequel, and I'm super excited about that). One of the main things that jumps out at me is that none of his voice acting characters are the same, and yet he's still able to make them each as memorable as the next. He is honestly one of my favorite voice actors right now.

In my opinion, voice acting is far more difficult than live acting, because you only have your voice to rely on... so the fact that he's good at that means he's definitely got some talent.

That's why Seth Rogen has gained my respect.

*I never understood why, either. Everyone that's seen the show - that I know...and some I don't - absolutely loved it. I can't believe it didn't make ratings... but... who knows. FAIL, though.

**That I had seen. I have yet to see The Spiderwick Chronicles, though I do want to, and I didn't see Kung Fu Panda until this past summer.

***This is my personal opinion. I know a few people that don't like it, but I REALLY enjoyed it. Then again, I enjoy a lot of movies people don't like.

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