Weak humor and old jokes leave Joey feeling stale

Sept. 19, 2004, midnight | By Kate Selby | 19 years, 9 months ago

"It doesn't feel real," Joey tells his sister as he looks at the new apartment he has just moved into in Hollywood. How right he is. Despite a well-known cast and Friends-like humor, Joey, the new spin-off which aired on NBC last Thursday at 8:00, just doesn't feel real.

When Friends ended last season, many felt heartbroken, betrayed, and even as if they had lost their best friend (or six of them). It was a long summer for us Friends lovers, full of grief therapy and extensive watching of full season DVDs. When Joey was announced, there were some high hopes for relief. However, if you are a true Friends lover (or even if you have never seen the show), Joey is not really worth your time.

Apart from the fact that it is a little weird to see a beloved Friend on anything but the famous show, this spin-off's biggest problem is a lack of balance. On the original show, there were six people working together to make us laugh, and now only one is left, leaving us, to put it simply, with too much Joey.

The opening segment shows Joey leaving an airport and realizing he has mistakenly ended up in the wrong city. If this were followed after the commercial by another two or three problems that maybe Rachel or Chandler had to deal with, it would be fine. But instead, after the commercial, all of the adventures are still just Joey.

Although there is an imbalance, Joey's nephew, Matthew (Paulo Costanzo) does get in some funny lines and work to feed us a little bit of some different humor. The two end up moving in together, much to the chagrin of Joey's sister Gina (Drea de Matteo), and once Matthew is introduced as a fairly permanent major character, the comedy starts to pick up.

Despite attempts from Costanzo though, the extremely predictable plot starts to get tiresome. For example, Joey has a great new show he is so excited about at the start of the half hour. But of course, what happens every time Joey gets a new show? It's cancelled. Friends might have been somewhat predictable as well, but at least then we were laughing.

And when it comes down to it, the biggest problem with Joey is just that: it's not very funny. While some time is required to get set up with all these new characters, prospects aren't looking hopeful. If you flip the show back on in a few weeks and you see another Friends cast member guest starring, you'll know the Joey is really in trouble.

So fellow Friends followers, if you were looking for a ray of hope in this world of television darkness after the best show in the world was cancelled, you might want to try buying another full season on DVD. And even if you weren't obsessed with friends, find something better to do on your Thursday night than watching a lame spin-off that is trying to be different but still leaning on Friends jokes and humor.

And if you thought the new show might succeed where its predecessor failed and get through a whole episode without cracking another joke about Joey and Chandler being gay, don't hold your breath.

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Kate Selby. Kate Selby is a mean, green, story writing machine! She enjoys rock climbing, yoga, volleyball, writing poetry in her psychological "Zen Zone," and running hurdles. Another hobby which Kate enjoys is laughing at herself, an activity which she pursues quite often as she often does … More »

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