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Why Derek From Step Brothers Looks So Familiar

Adam McKay's "Step Brothers" was a massive success upon its release in 2008, and it has remained one of the most quotable comedies of the last several decades ever since. The film follows Brennan (Will Ferrell) and Dale (John C. Reilly) as they become stepbrothers following the nuptials of their mother (Mary Steenburgen) and father (Richard Jenkins). What follows is a movie chronicling the rise of their rivalry as they resist their new family dynamic — and their eventual alliance, as they band together to keep the family alive after they grow to respect one another. The film is largely anchored by the dynamic between Ferrell and Reilly, but much of its success also lies in the fact that it features some expert casting of its side characters as well.

One of the most outlandish characters in "Step Brothers" is Brennan's younger brother Derek, an adult frat boy who leases helicopters and has an affinity for quoting "Scarface" while holding golf clubs like guns. Derek instantly became a fan-favorite character upon the release of "Step Brothers" in 2008, and that is because he is played with gusto by Adam Scott, a beloved comedic actor who has racked up a number of outstanding credits over the course of his lengthy career in Hollywood. Given the length of Scott's filmography, let's take a look at some of his most notable roles in recent years.

Adam Scott helped deliver the baby in Knocked Up

One of the roles that audiences may recognize Adam Scott for, from the earlier days of his career, is his brief part in Judd Apatow's 2007 comedy, "Knocked Up." In the film, Adam Scott portrays a nurse who assists Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) and Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) during the delivery of their baby alongside Dr. Kuni (Ken Jeong). He portrays the character as generally capable and friendly. However, he does eventually get screamed at by Alison when he suggests that he screams during labor are scaring the other women in the maternity ward.

Adam Scott is one of many up-and-comers who broke out in "Knocked Up." This makes quite a bit of sense, as Judd Apatow has long been known for casting talented comedic performers in small roles in his films. In addition to Scott, "Knocked Up" also served as a launching pad for the movie careers of comedians such as Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader.

Adam Scott catered events in Party Down

Following a long line of supporting roles in the 2000s, Adam Scott took the lead in 2009 with the debut of "Party Down" on Starz. The series saw Henry (Scott) join a Los Angeles-based catering company while trying to make it big as an actor in Hollywood, following his one big break in a commercial where he uttered the catchphrase "Are we having fun yet?!" 

Much like Henry, the other members of the "Party Down" catering crew all represent some avenue of the Hollywood struggle, such as a headstrong sci-fi writer and several other actors at various stages of success in their careers.

As it turns out, audiences have not seen the last of Adam Scott as Henry in the "Party Down" universe. In fact, in 2021 it was announced (per Deadline) that the Starz series would join the ranks of other long-dormant shows to get a revival. In addition to Scott, the "Party Down" revival's ensemble will include original cast members Jane Lynch, Megan Mullally, Martin Starr, Ken Marino, and Ryan Hansen. The only cast member not returning is Lizzy Caplan, who had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts.

Adam Scott was Ben Wyatt on Parks & Recreation

In what may arguably be the most popular Adam Scott role on this list, the actor became well-known for his performance as Ben Wyatt in NBC's "Parks & Recreation" for much of the show's run. Portrayed as a loveable geek, Ben was frequently shown to be socially awkward but incredibly intelligent. He was also a geek, taking delight in an opportunity to dress up as Batman and creating a D&D-esque tabletop game known as The Cones of Dunshire.

Despite how popular Adam Scott became among "Parks & Recreation" fans for his performance as Ben Wyatt, his role on the series was not initially baked into the premise of the show. It wasn't until Season 2 when he and Rob Lowe's Chris Traeger were introduced to the cast, fundamentally changing the chemistry (particularly his relationship with Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope) of the NBC sitcom. It was at this point, in the eyes of many fans, that "Parks & Recreation" finally took off and became the fan-favorite show that many came to know and love over the course of its time on NBC.

Adam Scott replaced Bradley Cooper in the Wet Hot American Summer universe

The "Wet Hot American Summer" series is well-known for jokes that defy reality and logic. One of the best running gags of "Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later" revolved around the inclusion of Adam Scott in the cast. Specifically, the actor stepped in for Bradley Cooper when Cooper opted not to return as Ben, a role that he portrayed in the original film as well as "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp." As a result, Scott joined the ensemble as Ben, with the series actively acknowledging the difference in appearance by explaining it away as a result of a nose job.

Though "Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later" was not quite as critically successful as its predecessor (per Rotten Tomatoes), the revival did deliver some great laughs along the way, many of which involve Scott himself. One such subplot involves Ben and McKinley (Michael Ian Black) squaring off against their deranged nanny in a spoof of "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle." Additionally, the casting change of Cooper to Scott gave audiences an on-screen reunion between Scott and Amy Poehler (reprising her role as Susie) two years after the conclusion of "Parks & Recreation."

Adam Scott played a demon in The Good Place

Following the conclusion of "Parks & Recreation," Mike Schur followed up the success of that series with his high-concept sitcom, "The Good Place." Taking place in the afterlife, the show follows a group of dead humans as they slowly realize that they are not actually in Heaven, but they are, in fact, in "The Bad Place." From there, the series explores the nature of morality and the notion of why people value the afterlife. The series had not only a hilarious four-season run on NBC but an incredibly heartwarming and tear-inducing finale as well.

In "The Good Place," Adam Scott played Trevor, a demon from The Bad Place tasked with capturing the show's four main characters and returning them to Hell. The role allowed him to dig into his inner dirtbag and dust off many acting qualities that made Derek so hilarious in "Step Brothers." However, he is ultimately unsuccessful in this endeavor, as the heroes make their way back to the real Good Place. From there, he is eventually sent spinning into The Void by Judge Gen (Maya Rudolph).

Adam Scott underwent the severance procedure in Severance

The final entry on this list is Adam Scott's latest project. In 2022, the actor teamed up with Ben Stiller for the Apple TV+ series "Severance." The series stars Scott as Mark and centers on a universe in which individuals can undergo a procedure known as severance, a process by which a person's memories of their personal and professional life are separated. However, after undergoing the procedure, Mark begins to question the nature of his work. In addition to Scott, the series' ensemble includes some notable supporting performances from actors, including Christopher Walken and John Turturro.

The series debuted in February 2022 and (per Rotten Tomatoes) has been widely praised by critics since its release. While the show has been wildly successful so far, a second season has not been announced yet. If a second season does receive a green light, one could reasonably assume that Scott would return for another turn as Mark.