There are few TV sitcoms that are more iconic and beloved as the 1990s treasure Friends. Running for a whopping ten seasons, new episodes of Friends were national events, with the starring cast all becoming megastars in the process. But playing such an iconic character can be difficult after the fact, as actors' signature roles can result in type casting. This is exactly the case for Matthew Perry, who starred as the neurotic and constantly sarcastic Chandler Bing in Friends. In fact, it was the difficulty in being cast in exciting original roles that helped encourage Perry to become a playwright, thus crafting his own challenging character from scratch.
Mattew Perry recently spoke to Variety about his new play The End of Longing, which is currently being mounted at the popular Off-Broadway house, MCC Theater. Eventually the subject of Friends was brought up, where Perry got candid about the difficulty of finding exciting roles to play post-Bing. He said:
This actually makes a great deal of sense. Matthew Perry will probably always be most closely associated with his hilarious performance as Chandler Bing. But this makes the possibility of starring in dramatic roles much tougher. Could he BE any more typecast?
While it seems like Matthew Perry might be set for life after starring in Friends, the show has been off the air (aside from syndication) for over a decade. And while Perry might be able to score more comedic roles like in CBS' recently cancelled The Odd Couple, finding work to flex his dramatic muscles is a far more difficult task. Audiences associate the actor with pratfalls and one liners, but there is more to Perry's acting abilities than Chandler's go to quirks.
That's why Matthew Perry has become a budding playwright. He is able to craft not only his character, but an entire world for an audience to explore. And with the show making its recent transfer to New York, it seems like anything could happen. Except for a Friends reunion that is.
And although Friends' generations of fans would likely jump for a chance to travel back to the coffee shop with the group, the sitcom is probably better off dead. Now we just need Matthew Perry in a dramatic role.