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Way Back When: Busy Philipps

Busy Phillips
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You know her best for her wit and charm on the hit sitcom ‘Cougar Town,’ but in today’s Way Back When, we take a look at the early career of Busy Philipps.

‘The Smokers’

For her first film role, Busy Philipps played Karen Carter in the oft-forgotten 2000 flick ‘The Smokers.’ The film follows three teenage girls who try to even things out in the battle of the sexes by turning into total badasses — or at least their naive approximation of what a badass is. Check out this compilation of clips from the film, in which Busy Philipps opens things up by explaining how a tampon works (don’t worry, there’s nothing graphic here):

‘Freaks and Geeks’

Philipps played the role of Kim Kelly on the tragically short-lived Paul Feig series ‘Freaks and Geeks,’ following the lives of freaks and geeks (obviously) at a high school in Ohio in the early ’80s. Kim wasn’t the easiest girl to befriend, as lead character Lindsay Weir quickly learned, but in one of the series’ best episodes, Lindsay learns that Kim has a softer side, and goes to have dinner at the Kelly household — but things don’t turn out so well, and we learn why Kim is the way she is:

‘Anatomy of a Hate Crime’

In 2001, Philipps starred in this made-for-TV movie about the real-life tragic murder of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who was beaten and left for dead in Wyoming. The film co-stars Ian Somerhalder (‘The Rules of Attraction’), and needless to say, it’s not the kind of movie you want to joke about. The only clip we could find has an added audio line with some foreign language dubbing, but you can still check Busy Philipps out in her role as Chasity:


Paul Feig followed up ‘Freaks and Geeks’ with ‘Undeclared,’ another sadly short-lived show about students meandering through the college experience. Philipps showed up for two episodes in 2007 to reunite with her ‘Freaks and Geeks’ co-star Seth Rogen as his love interest, Kelly (get it?), and if you ever hoped their characters would hook up on ‘Freaks and Geeks,’ consider this fan-fiction vindication:

‘Home Room’

When a shooting occurs at her school, Alicia (Philipps) may know more than she’s letting on, so she’s sent to spend some time with the surviving victim, played by Erika Christensen. Enjoy Philipps in her role as the stereotypical goth girl:

‘Dawson’s Creek’

Philipps starred on the hit WB television series ‘Dawson’s Creek’ from 2001 to 2003 as Audrey, a rebellious young lady with the occasional drinking problem (she also reunited with ‘Freaks and Geeks’ co-star Seth Rogen for an episode), and in one of the last looks at her character, we see Audrey has come into her own and become a pretty good singer:

next: see Dean Norris before he was famous

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