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Movies & TV

30th Oct 2015

What a character: Why Joey Tribbiani from Friends is a TV great

"How YOU doin'?"

Tony Cuddihy

When our dark overlords finally arrive and destroy the human race, only the cockroaches and endless repeats of Friends on Comedy Central will survive.

If you haven’t heard of it, Friends was a mildly popular sitcom that ran for ten years between 1994 and 2004, focusing on a group of six New Yorkers who… OK, I’ll shut up now.

Even those living under a rock in deepest, darkest Yemen can’t escape that gnawing theme tune (“when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your SHUDDUP SHUDDUP SHUDDUP!!!”) approximately nine times a day, and whether you love it or you hate it you’ll still watch it while eating soggy Corn Flakes in your underpants.

Such is life.


When you’re watching Friends, you probably feel like you should be doing absolutely anything else with your life.

The dishwasher needs to be emptied; the laundry basket won’t magically wash itself; you haven’t even started that essay; there’s a shelf full of books in the room, taunting you…

But Joey makes it all OK. You’ll stay watching for the bit where he takes out the fork for the floorcake, snaps open Phoebe’s bra, finds his hand twin, or simply asks someone of the fairer sex how SHE’S doin’?

In three words, he’s… Charming, child-like, cheeky.

Why he’s a TV great: Played by Matt LeBlanc, Joey was the best Friend because he could be sincere without being overly sugary. You never tired of him the way you did of the other characters because he never really grew up.

Let’s look at the others:

Chandler: Starts off as the funny one, marries Monica, ends up as the boring one.
Ross: Starts off as the boring one, moves to being the sad one, the bookish one, the annoying one, back to the boring one.
Monica: The tidy one. The not-much-else one.
Phoebe: The kooky one becomes the settled one.
Rachel: The dizzy one? The pretty one? We’ll settle on The Underrated One, she’s this writer’s second favourite character.

But back to Joey. He was the one every man wanted to be – he got all the woman, he could eat as much pizza as he wanted, he got all the women, he could watch Baywatch during the day, he got all the women, he got to act opposite a drunk Gary Oldman.

And he got all the women.

His best quote: It’s fairly obvious, really.

If we could put him in any other show: We’d put him in Entourage. He’s an actor, he has far more charisma than Vincent Chase could ever dream of, he’d play off Johnny Drama perfectly.

Come to think of it, we’ll settle for Episodes. Matt LeBlanc plays Matt LeBlanc as Joey with a bit more spice.

His best scene: The cheesecake moment. It gets us every time.

Cut to 5 minutes in.

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