The last time Matthew Perry was part of a 6 person ensemble it was magic. This time around, for The Hollywood Reporter’s comedy Emmy roundtable it was…not so much. Perry, Armisen and Johnson are all game, but Stonestreet, Scott and Parsons are varying degrees of boring.
What I took away most from this interview is that I still love Matthew Perry. I won’t watch any of his new shows that will ultimately end up being cancelled (this seemed to have been filmed pre-Go On‘s cancellation) but I will always love him. He just seems so content right now. Or maybe he was content and not so much so after his most recent show being cancelled. Being the matriach of this group of male comedy actors, Perry is reserved yet willing to dish when asked and it’s just fascinating to see him discuss the current state of television. As Perry notes, the current state of TV is no longer the same. We’ve had that discussion 100 times before and will continue having it 100 times more, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less relevant. And coming from a former-Friend it’s all the more fascinating. It reminds me of what John Mayer said about Jennifer Aniston to Playboy, that when he would be on Twitter she didn’t get it or want to get it and he thought that she wished it was still 1994. I don’t think that is necessarily true for either (Aniston & Perry), but I think the intent of him saying that is that these stars that come from a very different era are trying to keep up with TMZ and all that of today’s era and it’s like watching a baby walk. I recently asked a friend if they thought that actors who were on TV during it’s peak (the late 80’s to the early 00’s) and are on TV now like a fish out of water? Some of the biggest TV stars of all time are struggling to find their footing. Courtney Cox is on TBS. Ricki Lake’s show was just cancelled. Matthew Perry now has 3 cancelled shows on his resume, all headed by him. Lisa Kudrow is on a Showcase show based on a web-series, which there is nothing wrong with, but this is all very different for them. At the beginning of this roundtable, when asked how they would change how shows were created, Perry notes he wish “getting 20 million viewers” was the main goal and the interview rejects that by saying no one gets 20 million viewers anymore and his face is kind of like, “oh, well…” or how he notes that the top rated show is American Idol when it’s last season just posted it’s lowest ratings ever. These people come from a time where 25 million viewers was a “low”. Now? That’s unheard of unless you are NCIS and…that’s about it, really. You can tell Matthew Perry is jaded (he even says he is) but you can tell he is willing to learn and he’s trying to adapt and I can’t help but root for him. Just…pick a show I want to watch.
The other one’s? Well, Armisen is sweet as hell and just respectful. You can tell he appreciates everyone there and though you can call him a veteran he’s still kind of knew to the serialized TV world with Portlandia. Parsons put me to sleep but he’s harmless. Eric Stonestreet needs to relax. Adam Scott is typical Adam Scott… it just seems like he can’t be bothered, you know? And Jake Johnson is like the heir to Matthew Perry. Right? Like, if THR had done this thing in 1998 this is how I would have expected Perry to be like. Granted, that was a very different time for TV and for Matthew Perry, but still. Johnson is earnest and excited and actually acts like the TV he should be. Which takes me back to Matthew Perry, who I wish would just write a book already and share all the stories I want to here.
Click here to watch the roundtable.