In Praise of Joey from Friends

Joey Tribbiani
Some guy.

After Friends emerged onto Netflix UK recently, we’ve made it our mission to watch all 236 episodes over the full 10 seasons. The hit show was always on TV when we were younger, but after a 10 year gap of not watching it… now felt like the time to catch up with an era defining TV show. It wasn’t anywhere near Frasier’s high standards, but it is endearing thanks to its strong characterisation – you really grow to love Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Ross, Chandler, and Joey.

By far the best thing about the show (for us, anyway), remains charming goofball Joey Tribbiani. Matt LeBlanc’s inspired portrayal of him is relentlessly funny, even when the show’s quality dipped in the later seasons. Some episodes from season 8 onwards are daft beyond belief, but Joey (and also Phoebe, kudos to Lisa Kudrow’s excellent performance) is mega throughout. SO! LET’S CELEBRATE THAT NOW, YEAH!?

Joey

Our absolute favourite Joey moment has to be the bit above. It sums him up rather well – he’s the shows goofball, charming, dumb, conventional good looker (from the male set of Friends, anyway). A pretty dismal actor who relies on his looks and easy charm, his disastrous career is peppered by moments on bizarre soap opera Days of Our Lives.

He is at heart, however, a real luvvy. He’s got an immature streak a mile long, but he’s also a caring soul who really has a major bromance going on with his best mate, Chandler. We remember remarking about those two in the mid-1990s about how they’d be the best ever gay couple… Monica had to go and ruin it all. Bitch.

Anyway, if you have a spare 10 minutes why not watch the above clip? At the very least, we want you to take away from today’s post the following chat up line: “How you doin’?”. Use it liberally on anyone and everyone, just for the Hell of it… plus, you might also get a date out of it. Not with anyone from Professional Moron, though. No. We’re happily collectively married to a combine harvester in Preston, Lancashire. Don’t ask.

Joey: The Series

Of course, there was also the aborted spin-off series. Yes, Friends tried to do a Frasier (ironically, just as the Kelsey Grammer helmed show came to an end) by taking Joey and putting him somewhere new. Famously, the show opened to staggering viewing figures (20+ million) in 2004, but that plunged off a cliff when the lousy scripts ruined any chances the show ever had.

We’re putting full blame on the conceptualisation of the show here. Some might argue Joey wasn’t a strong enough character for a series, but he wasn’t given a chance – the setting for Joey was spurious (Joey’s home, for instance, was so obviously a set), the scripts just weren’t anywhere good enough, and the result was it all ground to a halt in 2006.

Matt LeBlanc promptly took four years off from acting, before returning with the successful American/British series Episodes in 2011, which wrapped up in October 2017. He’s also been a presenter for the BBC’s relaunched Top Gear, so clearly the bloke still has a lot left in him. Joey, though? No. Unfortunately, the character is gone.

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