Friends’ stars accused of “deliberately tanking jokes”
Patty Lin came to the series in the seventh season and remembers that she did not learn anything and that the script readings were “aggressive”.
Television series Friends, starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry, stands as one of the most acclaimed series in history, with some commentators even placing it as the greatest comedic masterpiece ever created. Its impressive ratings of 8.2 on FilmAffinity and 8.9 on IMDb unequivocally reflect the warm reception the series garnered over the years.
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Based on such glowing praise over the many years, it is challenging to fathom much negative critique of the show. However, a testimony has emerged from within that casts doubt on the entirely positive reputation of the show, particularly concerning the alleged dynamics during script readings involving the lead actresses.
Patty Lin, via Time, a former writer for the esteemed show, has authored a book ‘End Credits: How I Broke Up with Hollywood’, detailing her unfavorable experiences working on this sitcom. The book is due to be published on 5 September.
Joining Friends during its seventh season, Patty’s recollections are less than favorable. According to her account, she faced grueling workdays that extended into the early hours of the morning. She felt out of place due to the project’s long-standing history, her contributions often went unrecognized, and her interaction with the team was minimal. She candidly remarked, “I didn’t learn that much, except that I never wanted to work on a sitcom again.”
In her narrative, she directs criticism towards the series’ creators, asserting that David Crane was an “unpleasable workaholic who always sought a better joke,” and that Marta Kauffman “avoided being alone with her and engaging in conversation.”
Clearly it’s always handy to throw out some controversial abuse when it comes to selling a book.
Script readings not so Friends-ly
However, Patty Lin’s testimony also takes aim at the six lead actors, particularly in the context of script readings. She recalls,
“When a joke crafted by the writers failed to amuse them or was deemed unsuitable for their characters, it stands out.” According to her, the issue lay in the fact that, “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.
“They all 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,’ Lin said. “Dozens of good jokes would get thrown out just because one of them had mumbled the line through a mouthful of bacon.
“Rarely did they offer constructive feedback, and when they posed issues, solutions were not forthcoming.”
So no one told you life was going to be this way... It certainly sounds as though Lin is not going to be there for you, Friends.