A former Friends writer slammed the 90s sitcom‘s cast and crew and shared they were a major reason she left her career.
Emmy nominee Patty Lin released a memoir this past August titled End Credits: How I Broke Up with Hollywood. In it, she detailed the unsavory bits of the industry that pushed her out of her lucrative job. Friends took up a large number of the pages as it seemed to be her most disenchanting position.
Lin wrote for the series during its seventh season. When she first landed the job, she was apprehensive. She was a drama writer, and Friends was her first comedy. But because the show was so popular, she knew she would be a “fool” to turn it down.
When Lin began the job, she had high hopes. She was excited to sit for table reads with stars Courtney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, and Jennifer Aniston. She was also excited that the crew also made the readings a big event with “a catered breakfast buffet: fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, pancakes, waffles, pastries of all kinds.” In all, the job felt like her first high-profile opportunity.
But Lin quickly realized that the actors had lost interest in the series. There were rumors that the stars tried to leave several times during the later seasons, but the producers kept luring them in with more money. According to Parade, the five leads earned $22,500 per episode during Season 1. When Lin joined the production, they were making $750,000 per episode. According to her, it was obvious they weren’t there for the right reasons.
“The actors seemed unhappy to be chained to a tired old show when they could be branching out,” she wrote. “And I felt like they were constantly wondering how every given script would specifically serve them.”
The ‘Friends’ Stars Were Never Happy With Their Scripts
Lin insinuated that the five actors were very passive-aggressive about the writing. Instead of speaking up when they didn’t like a joke, they “seemed to deliberately tank” them because they figured out that the writers would rework them.
“Dozens of good jokes would get thrown out just because one of them had mumbled the line through a mouthful of bacon,” she noted.
From her perspective, creators David Krane and Marta Kauffman should have told the actors to just “sell” the jokes anyway. But they never did, which made her job much more difficult.
She also shared that after the first rewrites, she would meet the cast and crew to do a dress rehearsal. During those, the actors would be much more aggressive about their lines.
“Everyone would sit around Monica and Chandler’s apartment and discuss the script,” Lin continued. “This was the actors’ first opportunity to voice their opinions, which they did vociferously. They rarely had anything positive to say, and when they brought up problems, they didn’t suggest feasible solutions.”
The constant disapproval led to long hours for Patty Lin and the other writers, and she shared that she was always an outcast with her colleagues. In the end, the producers ran her out by the end of that season.
While many uncomfortable and bad situations leave people with a lesson, Lin admitted she “didn’t learn that much, except that I never wanted to work on a sitcom again.”
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