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Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Review: Joey's life after Friends
By Aubrey Primrose
In Florida, US

US viewers saw the first episode of Friends spin-off sitcom Joey on Thursday, following Matt LeBlanc's aspiring actor as he tries to make it big in Los Angeles.

Matt LeBlanc as Joey

The anticipation has been building for weeks on NBC.

For those who lived and breathed the New York apartment dwelling, coffee shop-frequenting comedic sextet from Friends, Joey is finally here.

The question now becomes: "How's he doin'?"

The spin-off stars Matt LeBlanc's dim-witted character Joey Tribbiani, with Sopranos actress Drea De Matteo as his newly-installed sister Gina.

The role was originally played by KJ Steinberg in the 1994 Friends episode The One Where Chandler Can't Remember Which Sister.

This show will attempt to become The One Where Joey Makes it as an Actor - and The One Where NBC Finds its Next Big Hit.

Aside from the somewhat shocking realisation late in the show that Joey's sister had a child aged 14, and the show writers' deliberate focus on Gina's chest, De Matteo plays a convincing part.

Drea de Matteo as Gina
Drea de Matteo is best-known for her role on The Sopranos
She nasally resonates a believable New Yorker-living-in-Hollywood accent and her obsession with her 'not old enough to have a 20-year-old son' countenance is obvious.

Her son Michael, played by Paulo Costanzo, is another understandable addition to the show.

As a new graduate in the art of rocket science, his intelligence offsets the sometimes overly boneheaded comments made by Joey and plays well with the hard/soft edge of his mother, Gina.

While LeBlanc plays the same character he has been playing for more than 10 years, he will have to change without the backing of his Friends.

Successful

But as he says, mostly to the loyal Friends fans in the show's feel-good funny ending: "Change is good."

Although there have been successful spin-offs of blockbuster shows, such as Frasier from Cheers, there have also been the not-so-successful, like The Golden Palace, which featured some of the original cast from Golden Girls.

It remains to be seen if Joey from Friends has what it takes to pull it off.

While the pilot leaves you a little uncertain, it seems that after the first episode, Joey is doin' pretty good.


Did you see the first episode of Joey? Let us know your verdict using the form below.

Writing was pretty choppy, and way too many boob jokes for Drea. If the delivery and chemistry improves, this may be worthwhile. Isn't that blonde neighbour the same actress who played the spinny mug-making understudy in Joey's New York play?
Christopher, Edmonton, Canada

I think it will need time to grow. By far the funniest character on the programme was Joey's agent. She really needs to be given more air time. She really had me laughing out loud. I only saw her as the bright spot. She was like the Karen & Jack from Will & Grace. Total comic relief. Needs to have more interaction with the other cast. But the show needs a few more airings to be sure if it will be a hit.
Marc, Chicago USA

I watched the show last night, and it is not as good as Friends. Joey looked lost without his friends. But it will work with the hardcore fans of Friends who will watch anything that has a shadow of the original show. For all other viewers, it was a disappointment.
Naveed Bhopal, New York, USA

Classic Joey from beginning to end. Loved it.
bess, toronto, canada

I definitely agree with reader Vanessa. The comedy was not as sharp as Friends. And here only Joey's character seems to have the potential of a belly-laugh appeal, whereas in Friends all six had the same level of comic appeal.
Rohan Malkhare, Ft Lauderdale, USA

I was somewhat entertained by the first episode. I'm hoping though that it was just an adjustment show and it gets better.
Kelly Grandy, Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Let's face it, Friends was getting stale and should have ended a good season earlier. Unfortunately I don't think Joey will be an adequate replacement. Some of the lines were humorous, but instead of laughing out loud I mostly smirked. Good luck Joey, you're going to need it.
Topher, Austin, USA

One word: lame. Drea is the only reason to watch.
Nigel Pond, Brit living in the USA

The Joey show is horrible. Joey's a walking boob joke. Friend's worked because Chandler would usually say something witty when Joey left himself wide open. There are no witty comments on this show. There is nothing serious or intelligent about this guy.
Steve Bridle, Toronto, Canada

Now I know why sitcoms need great ensemble casts. I sorely missed Chandler's comebacks last night, watching Joey. I mean, it felt like coming home, seeing Joey do his thing -mainly being dim- but, I couldn't get interested in the other characters. Not yet anyway. I'll keep on watching, just the same and it will probably grow on me.
Diane, Québec, Canada

I think it was a average show last night. It cannot be a one man show if NBC is trying to replace Friends for Joey. Its too early to say if Joey will be a hit. Let's hope it will be because everyone like Joey.
Ravi, California,USA

I watched it yesterday night and it was good. People are comparing it with friends but if you compare it with other comedies running on TV then one can easily say tht Joey is good light comedy and can make people laugh.
raman arora, Overland Park, KS

It had great moments, most of which came from LeBlanc who is an extremely talented comedian and charismatic screen presence, but the supporting cast was weak. Drea's character seemed one-dimensional, and I wonder what kind of value the female neighbor/corporate lawyer will add to the future of the show, especially since she's married. Even if they have her separate from her husband, she doesn't seem to be good match for Joey. The nephew is good and there is great potential for he and LeBlanc to get involved in trouble, a la Lucy + Ethel. They need to build the supporting cast with characters that make sense for Joey to interact with. I love Jennifer Coolidge, but how often can we see her meet with Joey in her office? And her character seems too shrill and harsh to welcome into my home every week. Like I said, it had great moments and hopefully that will translate into great promise.
Don, New York, NY

The pilot episode of Joey was right on the mark. There were many laugh-out-loud moments and that's a hard thing to do after decades of sitcoms. Joey is endearing, his sister is perfectly cast - and Joey's agent is hilarious. Good beginning!!
Joan, Abbotsford Canada

You can tell Joey seemed a bit out of place, but that's the point. He really started to come together in the end, and put Friends fans at ease with his speech at the end. Joey won't pull Friends-sized numbers, but it'll last a good while I think.
Danny Mac, Winnipeg, Canada

I felt that Joey, like almost every first episode I've ever seen, had its weak moments, but overall it left me feeling very positive about future shows. I have confidence that once the characters 'settle in', it will be great. I can't wait!
Trish, Charlottetown, Canada

Whilst the first episode doesn't dazzle, it will be the same comfort blanket as Friends. The show formula is the same and the actors are all good. I hope that it succeeds.
mb, Boston USA

I thought it was really funny - it definitely has potential. Everyone has high expectations, but it could do ok.
Erin, Ottawa, Canada

Awful. Matt Le Blanc looked completely lost without his friends.
Andy, Toronto, Canada

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