If we were to pick a decade in which the TV show/movie industry was at its peak, it would have to be the 1990s. One of the most recognized titles of this period is the still-popular sitcom Friends.
It aired from 1994 to 2004 and made actors Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, and Matthew LeBlanc incredibly popular. After season 10 ended, fans all around the globe were disappointed and petitioned for the show to continue.
While Scott Silveri and Shana Goldberg-Meehan created a spin-off called Joey, it simply didn’t do the trick. In this article, we will do our best to explain what went wrong with this show and how it compares to Friends.
Background Development Of Joey
While the screenwriters for Friends didn’t accept the idea of a spin-off series, Matt LeBlanc still signed on for this with the idea of pursuing a successful Hollywood career.
As with all TV shows, this one had its plot screening a couple of months before the official episode was released. In the meantime, a screener was leaked and thousands of people around the world weren’t that satisfied.
While the first episode premiered to more than 20 million people on NBC, very soon after, the ratings started falling.
In 2006, before the show was finally canceled, it managed to become the lowest-rated show on this TV channel. Critics around the world also suggested that the production was one of the main reasons why Joey was failing.
Was Joey More Conventional?
We are sure that the two writers who created this show, Scott Silveri and Shana Goldberg-Meehan, were confident when the first episode of this series aired back on September 9, 2004. Fast forward two years, and you will find that it didn’t make it past two seasons and 46 episodes.
According to Kevin A. Bright, it was because the character of Joey wasn’t allowed to nurture the same lifestyle that he did on Friends. Sure, we would all like to be free from common prejudices and having to live a 9 to 5 lifestyle.
The fact that the spin-off series put him through a transformation and didn’t allow him to remain an adult kid is one of the main reasons why the show failed. Along with this, the pressure that Friends put on this show was immense.
Frankly, it is always hard for a sequel/spin-off to keep up with the standards of the initial production. Thus, we agree with Kevin that one of the main reasons for the show’s lack of success was the change in tone that Joey experienced.
Away From The Group
Another big reason is that what Joey was known for simply wasn’t going to work in this type of series. As we have mentioned above, Friends was immensely popular because it featured the life stories of a group of people who enjoyed spending time together.
Without Chandler and other members of the Friends gang, Joey simply couldn’t succeed and remain as funny and free-minded.
As the setting that Joey found himself in was completely different, and the concept of the TV series is that he goes down the path of a regular family man, it wasn’t that entertaining.
Plus, the actors who played their roles in Friends didn’t want to sign up for the spin-off, as they wanted to move on (although they were all grateful for the popularity that the 1990s sitcom brought them).
It is quite common for the spin-off shows or movie sequels to be less inspired than the original versions. In most cases, this is because there is a lot less content, and the writers simply aren’t able to provide dynamic plots anymore.
Such was the case with Joey. Because the spin-off went on to follow only his personal life, there wasn’t a lot that the fans could talk about.
In our opinion, it would be much better if the authors made the plot more dynamic by allowing Joey and Alex to truly develop their romance and not bore the fans with a slow pace and boring storyline.
Additionally, just a couple of new characters that were funny and charismatic would have gone a long way towards the success of Joey.
Talking about characters, Matt LeBlanc was the only one funny in the whole series. If you think that the whole show should be a sitcom, it is clear that both the producers and writers missed out on this big-time.
Along with the fact that the plot was short and didn’t offer a lot of inspiring characters, there wasn’t anyone to oppose Joey, and that was a huge problem in a way.
If you watched Friends, then you know that both his pals and other characters were against how Joey led his life at times. In this TV show, mostly everyone supports him, including his sister and nephew.
With that in mind, the plot itself isn’t anywhere near as dynamic as it should have been, and people don’t enjoy watching something that is argument-free.
Once again, we go back to the fact that Joey would be a lot better if there were just a couple of different-minded characters.
No Side Story
Another point towards the downfall of the spin-off sitcom is that there were no side stories.
If you have ever watched a good TV show before, then you know that the reason it keeps us hooked is because of the side stories that keep us wondering what will happen in the main story when it resumes.
Along with that, these stories are almost always quite interesting and complement other characters.
With Joey, the whole show focused solely on the life that he lived and the changes that he had made, so there wasn’t a lot to work with.
Regardless of whether the writers simply lacked inspiration or were just too lazy to make it happen, interesting side stories would have certainly benefited the show.
Pointing To Rachel In A Bad Manner
Rachel is easily one of the most loved characters in the whole Friends series, so when Joey and Gina sit down to revisit the memories he had with her, viewers didn’t like it.
Frankly, you should never talk bad about your ex, and that is what happened throughout the few scenes of Rachel being mentioned in Joey.
It was mostly related to how they loved each other, but then she left him for Ross. Anyone who has seen Friends knows that their relationship was nowhere near that simple, which is why we think Joey shouldn’t have talked like that about her.
Not only that, but it isn’t the best move to remind all the fans of a character like Rachel without putting her in the show.
It seems like the writers hurt themselves by integrating this segment in the main plot. If nothing else, they could have at least brought Rachel and Ross in for one episode to make things more dynamic and to remind viewers of the great friendships and relationships from Friends.
No Connection To Friends
As you probably know, many sequels and spin-offs are directly related to the original movie/TV series. That wasn’t the case with Joey. Apart from changing his character, the writers didn’t do a good job when it comes to connecting him with his old pals and soulmates.
As we have mentioned above, such a move would have probably saved this show from the low ratings, and it would have made much more sense.
Along with that, the fact that there isn’t a clear story makes this show almost unwatchable. Yes, Alex is presented from the start as a neighbor that Joey is highly attracted to, but unfortunately, she is married at the time.
This is when you can conclude that the whole show will not make a lot of sense and that it will be incredibly slow-paced, which is not something that we got used to while watching Friends.
The way that Matt LeBlanc’s role was transformed proved to be disastrous, as a funny and charismatic Joey went to being dull and unclear.
Not only that but throughout the show, it was hard to realize what the initial premise is and why the writers decided not to hook Joey up with Alex right from the start, developing other stories in the process.
Joey didn’t meet the expectations that millions of fans had. While we don’t think that you should completely dismiss it, this sitcom could have been much more popular if a few single changes were made (side stories, allowing Joey to stay like he was in Friends, etc.).
In the end, while we appreciate that Silveri and Goldenberg-Meehan tried to treat fans all over the world with a spin-off, it just didn’t work out.