Other ‘Friends’ alumni land sitcoms
BY LORI RACKL TV Criticfirstname.lastname@example.org August 6, 2012 8:26PM
Actor Matt LeBlanc, from "Episodes", participates in a panel discussion at the CBS, Showtime and The CW Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., Thursday, July 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Updated: September 8, 2012 6:14AM
“Friends” may be relegated to reruns, but half of the lovable sextet have kept their television careers alive with successful comedy TV shows of their own.
Lisa Kudrow has “Web Therapy” (good).
Courtney Cox has “Cougar Town” (really good).
And Matt LeBlanc has “Episodes” (great).
LeBlanc’s series, which wraps up its second stellar season Aug. 26 on Showtime, won the actor a Golden Globe this year for playing a heightened version of himself.
In the wonderfully droll, industry-insider comedy, LeBlanc’s latest role is in a fictional TV show called “Pucks,” written by a couple of British imports (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig). The two Brits are simultaneously attracted to and repelled by Hollywood and the self-centered playboy who’s been cast in their show.
One “Episodes” storyline this season has LeBlanc calling his former “Friends” on the phone, hitting them up to guest star on his ratings-challenged “Pucks” — a scenario LeBlanc said most of the “Friends” can relate to in real life.
“When I was on ‘Joey’ there was pressure to get one of us,” LeBlanc said in a recent interview. “When Lisa [Kudrow] was on ‘The Comeback’ there was pressure. Courtney on ‘Cougar Town,’ there was pressure. So this was a fun way to deal with that.”
Kudrow said she’s a big fan of “Episodes,” but she told LeBlanc she’s worried it comes across too real.
“I get nervous because I’m like, the character’s name is Matt LeBlanc. People are going to think you’re like this,” she said.
Kudrow plays a self-obsessed online therapist on Showtime’s largely improvised “Web Therapy.” Is she anything like that character?
“No!” she said before quickly adding, “a little bit, yes.”
She’s reuniting with “Friends” alum David Schwimmer, who kicks off a four-episode arc on “Web Therapy” Aug. 20.
Jennifer Aniston has mostly stayed away from the small screen, dropping in to do the occasional guest spot on “30 Rock” and buddy Cox’s “Cougar Town.” That underappreciated, wine-soaked sitcom will live on with more original episodes on cable after a three-season run on ABC. Its fourth season starts early next year on TBS.