The Sun (Malaysia)
Central Perk secrets
Friends writer says stars ruin jokes
FRIENDS continues to be part of the identity of millennial media born in the 1990’s and it is still an enduring piece of pop culture almost two decades after its final episode aired. For the cast, they owe a lot to the show’s army of writers, who cranked out jokes and drama for 10 years. Without them, the actors’ careers would not have skyrocketed as they did.
However, despite the supportive lyrics of the beloved series’ theme song, it now appears – according to a former staff member – that maybe the actors were not always there for the writers.
According to screenwriter Patty Lin, the Friends stars would “deliberately tank” jokes they did not like, forcing writers to come up with multiple alternate versions.
“Jennifer Anniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer knew how to get a laugh, but if they didn’t like a joke, they seemed to deliberately tank it, knowing we’d rewrite it. Dozens of good jokes would get thrown out just because one of them had mumbled the line through a mouthful of bacon,” Lin alleges in her new book End Credits: How I Broke Up With Hollywood.
Lin worked on the seventh season of Friends. Despite her nervousness about joining the show deep into its run, she did not want to turn down the opportunity due to Friends being massive at the time.
The novelty of working with the show’s leads ran out fast during the table reads, she claimed.
“The actors seemed unhappy to be chained to a tired old show when they could be branching out, and I felt like they were constantly wondering how every given script would specifically serve them,” Lin wrote in an excerpt published in Time.
Scripts were rewritten after the table reads, according to Lin, and things would only get worse during the run-throughs on set.
“Everyone would sit around Monica and Chandler’s apartment and discuss the script,” Lin writes.
She further explained that the actors “rarely had anything positive to say”. When they brought up problems, they allegedly didn’t suggest solutions either.
“Seeing themselves as guardians of their characters, they often argued that they would never do or say such and such. That was occasionally helpful, but overall, these sessions had a dire, aggressive quality that lacked all the levity you’d expect from the making of a sitcom.”