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LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

November 4, 2004
Joey // Sitcom, Thursdays at 8:00 PM on NBC
Rating: 8.0
[Photo courtesy of NBC.com]

Friends was a great show and in ten years when the reruns flicker across the screen on Nick-at Nite, it will serve as a reminder of how good and enduring the show was and just how bad that stupid Joey spin-off was doomed to be. - Tim Smith May 6th 2004


So apparently my warnings of impending doom were wrong. I will admit that up-front. But who among you could blame me? What with the total mediocrity of the last few years of Friends and my recently acquired hatred of the Joey character. Yet, I've watched the Friends spin-off Joey every single Thursday it has aired. One could attribute this to force of habit, after watching Friends for so long, Thursday nights at eight on NBC just seems like the right thing to do. It's familiar. And familiarity is a badly underrated concept.

The past year saw the loss of some of my most beloved shows, now replaced by garbage like Father of the Pride and The Mountain, which I will at some point watch, but only because James Marsters is guest starring. I need something familiar that can make me laugh, and Joey is definitely that something.

But like I said before, my early skepticism of the show is well founded. Spin-offs usually suck. For every Angel and Frasier that springs to life on its own legs there are about ten complete failures like (insert title of your favorite horrid spin-off here).

But Joey is, and please pay attention when I say this, a great show. This show has made me laugh more in six episodes than the final season of Friends did in 20. The only problem is the totally boring character of Alex, whose biggest flaw is that she's simply not funny, she could vanish from the show and no one would ever notice and if they did, I doubt they would care. Next to ABC's Lost, I would say Joey is simultaneously my second favorite and the second best new show on Television. But the question I'm expected to answer is, Why? And answer it I can.

Joey stars ex-Friend Matt Leblanc as the formerly loveable Joey, but you probably already knew that. Joey has packed his bags and moved to Hollywood in his quest to become a famous actor. But our Joey isn't alone; he has family.

Family such as his over possessive sister Gina (played by The Sopranos' Drea De Mateo, fresh off her recent win at the Emmy's) and her brainiac son Michael (Road Trip's Paulo Costanzo). Also along for the trip is Joey's new agent Bobbie (Jennifer Coolidge, best known for her roles in Best In Show and the American Pie series) and Joey's next door neighbor, the aforementioned bore Alex (Andrea Andrews).

Watching Joey I have come to realize that I didn't hate Joey those last few seasons of Friends because of the individual character, it was Jennifer Aniston's petty Rachel that brought down the heartwarming Joey. With that said, I would like to retract any terrible thing I said about Matt LeBlanc or his character Joey and redirect them to Mrs. Aniston. Bitch.

What makes the show work is the chemistry among the three key actors (LeBlanc, Mateo, Costanzo) and the fact that it's actually funny, unlike about 75% of the other shows on television. The initial chemistry between Matt LeBlanc and Drea De Mateo is especially astounding given they have never worked with one another before. The writing is good, the acting is solid and the intro credits put a smile on my face, simply because seeing Matt LeBlanc's face riding down a sunny L.A. street in a convertible every week gives me a sense of certainty in an every confusing world. And that's something everyone could use.

SEE ALSO: www.nbc.com/joey

--
Tim Smith
LAS' resident television expert.

See other articles by Tim Smith.

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