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‘The Leftovers’ Longest Running Joke: A Timeline of Every Reference to Justin Theroux’s Penis

As "The Leftovers" approaches its series finale, Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta reflect on all the times they embarrassed their star.

The Leftovers Season 3 Episode 7 Justin Theroux

Ben King/HBO

After working closely together for three years, you get to know someone pretty well. You get to know their likes, dislikes, fears, and dreams. As collaborators, you get to know what they’ll tolerate and what they won’t, to varying extremes.

Damon Lindelof, Tom Perrotta, and Justin Theroux, the co-creators and star of “The Leftovers,’ know each other pretty well. Well enough that they’ve been able to build one of television’s great characters together. Well enough that they goof around on set. Well enough that when Theroux received a script requiring him to sing karaoke, “I called Damon and said, ‘Fuck you’ right after I read [it].”

But after witnessing the second-to-last episode of the series, a question had to be posed to the creators; a question about their relationship with their star and if there was another lovingly vulgar phone call coming from the actor to his scribes; a question about “The Leftovers'” longest running joke: “Are you just fucking with Justin Theroux?”

READ MORE: ‘The Leftovers’: Justin Theroux and The Surprise Guest Stars of Episode 7 on Reuniting For the End of the World

Specifically, this question was about the many dick jokes written into “The Leftovers” at the expense of their star. They had all came to a head (hey-o!) in the third season’s penultimate episode and a de facto sequel to the groundbreaking Season 2 episode, “International Assassin,” and attention must be paid to the funniest ongoing joke of a series that’s typically very, very dark.

When IndieWire asked the question, both writers laughed, and neither answered the query — not exactly. “Look, there are ingredients that made ‘International Assassin’ work, and one of those boxes that needed to be checked was ‘dick joke,'” Lindelof said in an interview. “And because we had done a dick joke in ‘International Assassin 1’ [more on that later] we were like, ‘It’s the sequel, so you have double if not exponentially quadruple the impact of the dick joke. So let’s go all the way.'”

“Right,” Perrotta said. “And it had been set up, as you know, in the pilot with the running scene.”

As IndieWire is a place that honors and admires a good prank — and this has been a great one — we’ve produced an aptly lengthy timeline of every dick joke on “The Leftovers,” in order to clear up any mystery as to their origin. And it all started with those sweatpants — those gray, loose-fitting, crotch-magnifying sweatpants.

June 2013 — The Legend Begins

While filming “The Leftovers” pilot, Theroux was spotted jogging through New York. The tabloids jumped on it, and while we won’t comment to the extent that they did, it’s safe to say many people were intimately introduced to Kevin Garvey long before “The Leftovers” began.

Now is as good a time as any to note that we do not wish to objectify Mr. Theroux with this article. We just want to point to the people who delighted in his objectification and honored it artistically — primarily, these two people. Our intentions are pure: thorough reporting on Theroux, an actor worthy of the utmost praise… but one who’s also part of a story about dick jokes. OK. Onward.

June 29, 2014 — “The Leftovers” Premieres

In case there was any doubt whether or not Lindelof, Perrotta, and director Peter Berg would use the scene of Theroux running commando through New York, the first few minutes of the pilot gave a prompt answer. It was there. It was all there. And the .gifs made sure viewers would never forget.

READ MORE: ‘The Leftovers’: Justin Theroux Gets Naked in a Surprise Emmys Campaign That’s Not From HBO — Watch

September 4, 2014 – Theroux Addresses His “Flopping Package” on “Conan”

Three months after the premiere, the photos had built to such a fervor that Theroux was asked to tell his story on “Conan.” The “Leftovers” star tried to answer in as “classy” a fashion as possible, and said he didn’t know people were talking about his jogging scene until he had to film a second running scene later in the season.

“When I went to get my wardrobe,” Theroux said, “There was my jogging pants and then there were two pairs of underwear in the dressing room. And I was like, ‘Oh, so I can choose between the two?’ And they were like, ‘No, we want you to wear them both.'”

READ MORE: The Many Deaths of Justin Theroux: Why ‘The Leftovers’ Is The Only Show on TV That Knows How To Kill Its Characters

After Theroux said he didn’t know how to continue, O’Brien comically shifted the conversation.

“There’s really not a question there,” O’Brien said. “I’m just congratulating you.”

It would not be the last time Theroux would be congratulated for his, uh, attribute.

Continue reading for gifs, the gray sweatpants’ return, and one final dick joke from Lindelof and Perrotta.

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