Friends is the grilled cheese and tomato soup of TV shows. It’s easy to digest, great in mass quantities when you’re sick or having a crappy day and it takes you back to happier times of the Clinton administration and Fruitopia. The series finale, nearly a decade ago, left a hole in many viewers’ hearts that they have been trying to fill by gorging on reruns. And oh, how there are reruns. And if you live in a country that isn’t America, you have even more Friends reruns! For eons, British television would air Friends for what felt like at least 22 hours a day.
Now, perhaps as the final strike of #rememberthe90s, new reports are surfacing (none that look super reliable yet though, so take them with a grain of salt) that Friendswill return for a new one-off season in 2014, reportedly with NBC at the helm but the original cast’s commitment level still undetermined. And it’s unclear as to whether they would commit to this, here and now. Matthew Perry’s got top billing on another NBC sitcom, albeit one that may not be long for this world, Jennifer Aniston’s getting steady work and remember the last time Friends tried to limp along with only one cast member in spinoff form? Not good.
And what would the episodes even be about? Would its attempts at sliding into modernity and relevance feel as smooth as Modern Seinfeld or as forced as most of the writing on 2 Broke Girls? Would they have aged with the show? And they have kids now! Emma would be 10 and Ben would be, like, in college or something. What would that be like? Maybe this future is so frightening that we’d be better off with just reruns.
You know what, though? In a way, as a TV-viewing public, we sort of deserve a sad mutant version of our beloved ’90s mainstay. If the American network sitcom-loving audience really wanted new episodes of a funny, comforting sitcom about urban thirtysomethings just hanging out and trying to make it in this crazy world of ours, y’all would be trying harder to save Happy Endings.
Sometimes, everything is just the worst, Kenneth. The #sixseasonsandamovie brigade will surely be in full force on Twitter and Facebook now that rumors of the upcoming demise of three of NBC’s most-beloved-by-fans-but-not-watched-by-many sitcoms: 30 Rock, Community and Parks & Recreation.
According to reports, all three of the shows will be renewed for abbreviated final seasons for next year. The official lineup won’t be released until next week, so the rumors of a final season are just that still, but a shortened season for Community for next year has already been announced, as well as a fourth season of Parenthood in addition to the aforementioned three.
Seven new shows have been picked up as additions to the Peacock’s lineup as well, including Ryan Murphy’s buzzy The New Normal, which stars Justin Bartha and Jayson Blair as a couple who enlist the help of a surrogate mother to have a child. Ellen Barkin and NeNe Leakes (!) will also star. NBC also picked up the pilot for J.J. Abrams’ energy-crisis apocalypto-drama Revolution, and Save Me and Go On, sitcom vehicles for Anne Heche and Matthew Perry, respectively. #rememberthe90s
Rounding out the new sitcom parade is 1600 Penn, a presidential comedy that is more Modern Family than Veep, says the L.A. Times, and Animal Practice, a new show starring Weeds’ Justin Kirk as a disgruntled veterinarian.
We’ll see what happens to the established shows in the lineup come next week when the networks make official announcements. In the meantime, who wants some night cheese?
● The third and final episode of comedy webseries Summer Fridays, “Good Times,” debuts today. [Summer Fridays] ● Did Second Chance, an early Matthew Perry sitcom, predict Gaddafi’s death all the way back in 1987? [Huff Post] ● Lindsay Lohan won no points yesterday when she showed up 40 minutes late in her $80K Porsche to her community service shift at the morgue. [TMZ]
● Kim Kardashian does “not really” have a stance on economic inequality, but does support Occupy Wall Street’s right to protest. She told the Wall Street Journal this while enjoying, of course, a piece of cake. [WSJ] ● Just ahead of its official Halloween release date, Florence + The Machine’s much anticipated new album, Ceremonials, is streaming for free online. [Disco Niavete] ● 77 year old Leonard Cohen is readying a studio album — his first since 2004 — for next year. Of it, he says, “I’ve played it for a few people, and they seem to like it.” [NYT] ● Prince Harry is making all sorts of lucky lady friends while on tour in Southern California: while out in San Diego, the more wild royal child was caught cozied up to a girl who looks not unlike Kate Middleton. Shall we start planning the wedding now? [The Sun]