It's taken over fifteen years, but Joey Tribbiani is finally ready to answer the question that has defined his very existence upon this earth:
"How you doin'?"
Turns out Joey (or rather Matt LeBlanc, the actor who played him for over a decade in both the mega-successful sitcom "Friends" and its let's-pretend-this-never-happened spin-off, "Joey") has been doing pretty darn well, living on an oceanside property, bedding beautiful starlets and getting his pick of TV projects.
Through a series of bad decisions by studio execs and their mindless minions, LeBlanc teams up with a pair of British comedy writers (likeable UK duo Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig), who are in the process of adapting their popular, award-winning and decidedly high brow series to the US market.
The buzz: "Friends" alums have had a mixed bag of luck after the end of the series, which remains one of the most successful sitcoms in television history and an understandably tough act to follow. "Episodes" is Matt LeBlanc's return to the little screen, and, like Lisa Kudrow before him, he's taking the meta show-within-a-show approach to his television comeback. So does LeBlanc's efforts fare better than Kudrow's?
The verdict: Not really. As Chandler Bing might have so eloquently put it: "Could this show be any less funny?" To be sure, the subject matter is not new territory. (For a much funnier skewer of the Hollywood rewrite machine, check out Christopher Guest's first major film—and major flop—"The Big Picture.") There's such a bitterness that pervades the lampooning of Hollywood culture in the series (everyone's vain and superficial and has had work done—shocker!) that after a while you start wishing that the show-within-the-show "Pucks!" were on instead.
Did you know? "Friends" was in the news recently when a classified State Department document revealed by WikiLeaks alleged that the American sitcom was "winning over ordinary Saudis in a way that... U.S. propaganda never could.”
"Episodes" premieres Sunday, January 9, at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.