34 Comments

A show like NewsRadio can't generate the same emotional resonance of other sit-coms because it expressly eschewed and mocked the very sentimentality of those sit-com conventions, which is why I found it so funny. But the sudden, brutal death of Phil Hartman was every bit the devastating emotional blow (to me at least) we are experiencing now with Matthew Perry. And he was the first person I flashed back to when I heard the awful news.

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Just wanted to say that it’s always nice to see Underground Railroad appreciated for the amazing work of art it was. It’s the big “how was this not the most lauded thing ever” mystery to me of the last decade. Not that it wasn’t critically well received, but this is all-time achievement in the art form stuff, and it feels like it just kind of came and went. A pity.

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I don't like Friends. To be clear, I don't say that as a way of attacking the show or judging anyone who does like it, but just to succinctly show where I'm coming from. I never found it as funny or as interesting as pretty much everyone else seems to, and that's fine. Mostly this dislike comes out when I want to tease my sister--who is obsessed with the show--or pretty much everyone else in my family, who all love it to varying degrees (even my Boomer-age father, who started watching reruns with my mom and fell for it, too). But all of my tease-trashing of the show comes with a Chandler Exception, because as much as I don't like the rest of it I think he is one of the funniest TV characters ever created. And so much of that is in Perry's portrayal--his timing, his physicality, all of it was just about perfect. And so much of it was evident in his other roles, even in a couple semidramatic drop-ins on The West Wing (he got to bring down a VP!).

Plus, that last bit lets me go right into the HBO thing, because reading that story all I can picture is Casey Blois as Bradley Whitford staring at an old CRT monitor in his office and screaming "DONNA!" to get her to set up an account on Lemon-Lyman.com

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I don't think I know any millennial who hasn't seen Friends too. Personally, I saw lots of random episodes out of order in syndication as a kid, and I did a full 10 season watch through on DVD in like 2011.

I loved Perry in everything he did, he was just one of those actors whose projects I would seek out. I only started reading TV criticism in 2009 or so, so I missed all of the deep public despising of Studio 60 - a show I have genuine affection for, especially Perry's performance. And Go On being cancelled after one season is probably one of my biggest TV disappointments ever. I think this is the first celebrity death that has hit me this hard.

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Since HBO cares so much about your opinion, when is Terriers coming back?

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Matthew Perry was a year older than I am. So *that’s* poignant, not to make it all about me. Friends was one of the few shows I carved out time for as TV became a sanctuary from the oppressive grind of work and grad school, and while I haven’t been compelled to ever rewatch it the knowledge that, for all its cultural issues, it’s become a favorite for younger generations is kind-of a comfort in its own strange way.

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The Knick was amazing. I was hoping we would get more some day. Too bad.

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I watched the funny and warm "Run the Burbs" on "the CW" last night (seriously, it's a good show). It was filmed months ago but in this one the Mom, with heritage from India, talked to her father about her Henna tattoo with the cast of "Friends" and then said to her father, "could you BE any more annoying?" Again, the timing was unintentional but it still hit hard.

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She/her. Mom. Texan. Herbalist. Aromatherapist. Vegan.

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Nov 3, 2023·edited Nov 3, 2023

I had the exact same reaction to that Bloys news, like he's running the most prestigious TV studio that exists and these random reviews are what he's worried about? Your Mare review did nothing to dent that show's popularity and The Nevers was underwater before it aired due to Whedon's own behavior but also, it was a really bad show. Anyway, I remember both of those specific responses to your tweets for those reviews, they were not only way off-base but incredibly mean-spirited and juvenile, like the worst sort of Twitter trolling. What an embarrassing situation for HBO.

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Yeah, I am definitely a Chandler. I think there was always a lot more humanity and pathos to the character than to most others that fit into his archetype. Unlike, say, Ross, Chandler never came off as arrogant or unlikable. And his romance with Monica is one of the best in TV history. It really is hard to accept that he's not with us any more.

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While Chandler was the best thing about the series, I didn't know the character was a comedy touchstone or icon for so many Gen Xers. As an older Gen X (50 now), I though we all based our personalities on Letterman. But maybe that's just the more cynical among us. If you want to get really dark, maybe Bill Hicks, too.

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Alan, why hasn't Xander aged well? I watch some Buffy episodes on and off and he's still charming to me (I mostly watch the early seasons). Perhaps you've written on this before and I haven't seen it.

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I actually think it’s interesting that you described chandler as a tertiary character. That was my memory of the show as well but I’ve been rewatching the first season and he had some pretty great episodes right off the bat. The one where he starts smoking again, the Jill Goodacre episode, and even the thanksgiving episode where they all end up fighting with each other and chandler smiles and has this amazing punchline about how NOW it feels like his experience of Thanksgiving. Anyway, love your tributes to Perry.

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I did a ctrl+f to double check that I hadn't somehow skipped over your thoughts on Lawmen: Bass Reeves.

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Hey Alan! Long time fan here (loved your Breaking Bad book). I cannot pre-order the OC book, at least in Kindle format. I live in Spain (as sunny here as in Newport!) and I thought maybe that's why I cannot pre-order, but Amazon will let me but it un hardcover... I don't wanna miss the bonus chapter! What can I do? Thanks!!

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