Life In The Friends Writers' Room Was A Hilarious Nightmare

It would seem that life in the writers’ room for Friends was either the most high-pressure party, or the most hilarious prison sentence.

Yes, television‘s favourite group of… um, pals… was apparently a delight-slash-nightmare, according to an excerpt from Generation Friends by Saul Austerlitz, a forthcoming book about the show. Vulture have published a chapter and… well, it’s an eye-opener.

While the show’s co-creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman ran an impressively supportive-if-competitive room where the best joke won over people’s own egos, there are plenty of quotes that make it clear that writing for comedy is not for the faint hearted.

Or the sleep-hearted. Or the having kids-hearted. Or the wanting to see anyone that’s not also trapped in the writers’ room with you-hearted.

You can understand why, though:

“A single season of Friends would require seventy-two separate plots, each with its own introduction and resolution, each with its own array of jokes and emotional moments. And fully plotted stories would regularly be tossed out because they flopped in rehearsals or during a shoot.”

That’s 12 people doing that amount of writing, rewriting, re-rewriting and punching up (ie: taking something that’s OK and putting the killer lines in).

A good day typically went from 9am to 10.30pm. A typical day, however…

“It was fun to be in a room of raconteurs, entertainers, and one-liner machines bantering, debating, and performing for each other. But there also was no specified end to the workday, no moment when the writers would punch out and head home… On David Lagana’s first day on the job as a writers’ assistant, he showed up for work at nine-thirty a.m. and left for home at six-forty-five the next morning. The last day of the workweek was widely known as Fraturday, as it often did not end until Saturday morning. “

Kaufmann often found herself driving home in the wee small hours to get her kids up, fed, dressed and sent to school before turning around and going back to the office. Writer Jeff Astrof was convinced he’d meet himself going to work on the way home, thereby tearing a hole in the universe.

In fact, the whole Friends’ joke about Chandler failing to be able to do the whipcrack noise came from a writer getting a call from their financee wondering when and if they’d ever be coming home, and another writer trying and failing to suggest they were whipped.

So you know, comedy out of tragedy and all that.

It’s a longish read but definitely ideal for anyone thinking of joining a writers’ room, or who wants to know how many of the humiliating plot points of Friends came directly from writers’ lives (spoiler: all of them).

There is also, however, a story about the writing of ‘Smelly Cat’ which we won’t ruin. It’s pretty good.

The Bachelor Shows Why We Never Get Over Our High School Romance

B-b-but she said a mean thing! MISS! MIIIIIISSSSSSSS!

We all think that we’re sophisticated modern adults but when it comes to dating it’s clear that we barely have to scratch the surface and we’re still in high school wanting the popular kids to like us. And goddamn if The Bachelor isn’t exactly that.

And it’s understandable – after all, love is about vulnerability and is there any time we’re feeling more vulnerable than while puberty’s doing a number on our brains, hearts and genitals?

Anyway: everyone in this episode is a child and it’s just weird. That’s the TL;DR version.

There was a real life food fight. Honestly, it’s amazing Matt didn’t just bellow SPRING BREAK WHOOOOO! in the middle of it.

Life lesson: everything I needed to learn about love I learned in year nine

Even the dynamic is similar, at least for the women: a group of would-be strangers forced into close proximity with one another, competing over romantic conquests despite objectively deserving better, and dividing off into little cliques of rapidly shifting alliances, with the ultimate prize being a cheeky pash when no-one’s around.

And Matt is doing it too, right down to the frankly pitiful act of going around demanding to know who said what about him, as though he’s a detective solving The Case Of The Thing The Mean Girl Said About Me.

That was the fallout from last episode, in which Monique supposedly called him a “dog see-you-next-Tuesday” (to use the Matt’s preferred euphemism).

And of course, in the real world someone would go “hey, what was that about?” “Oh, I’m really sorry: it was a bad joke taken out of context.” “Oh, OK, so we’re good?” “Absolutely, I’m really embarrassed, let’s have a drink.”

But in the heightened sleep away camp that is the Bachelor everything is a HIGH STAKES SCHOOL YARD DRAMA, since this is television and you can see normal people being reasonable every day on a bus which is a) boring and b) doesn’t have Mary and Nikki acting as the audience surrogate by wildly over-emoting to literally everything.

And the thing is, Matt wasn’t even wrong to send Monique packing – which he did, even without the rose ceremony – since someone that lousy at coping with a basic faux pas isn’t someone you want to be teaming up with to face the stupid challenges of day to day life.

Also, watching a 26 year old sneering about how immature 23 year olds are is exactly like watching year nines mocking year eights for still being into Shopkins when everyone knows that all the cool kids are playing with Slime now.

Date tip: don’t involve catapults

No. Just no.

But at least he’s not getting a bunch of women to dress up as brides for him or anyt…


Llamawatch: nothing to report

We’re back at the mansion and the Bachelor Pad and yet no sign of the llama, presumably because it’s sick of these high school shenanigans too? We can only speculate.

In the vacuum of llama-related news we can only assume it now has a spinoff series where it fights crime. Tagline: “this summer, ‘drama’ is spelled with two Ls. And no D or R.”

Also, please make Mary the llama’s sidekick.

80s Classic St Elmo’s Fire Is Getting A Series And They Might As Well Cast The Ageless Rob Lowe As A Teen Again

As long as it has that song as the theme we're totally on board.

St Elmo’s Fire is getting a series, which is exciting news for people that remember the 80s and probably not even a thing for anyone else.

That’s not entirely unreasonable since it was an eighties film which is better remembered for who was in it, which was every young star of the period, than the plot or setting which was… um, a place with some… people, who did… stuff?

It did, however, have an awesome theme which sounds like the 80s was compressed and turned into a single song.

Yet it was the archetypical 80s teen film, starring a fair slab of the Hollywood “brat pack” of the day: Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and… um, Mare Winningham. Think The Breakfast Club, but about three years later – and the titular Fire is the name of the bar out at which they hang.

The film is actually about a bunch of recent graduates getting adult responsibilities and growing up, from back when recent graduates did that. Although some magnificent person slipped this not-entirely-accurate line into the Wikipedia description:

I’m not saying it wouldn’t improve the film, mind.

Anyways: it’s getting a TV series, obviously, since we live in an epoch where everything is a remake, a reboot, a sequel, a prequel or some terrifying hybrid of all four.

US network NBC has it in development with CSI/Drop Dead Diva‘s Josh Berman writing the thing. And hell, they could just cast the eerily ageless Rob Lowe right back into the Billy Hicks role.

For a start, they presumably know his number since Parks and Recreation was a NBC joint. And also, just look at him. Dude is clearly a vampire, just like Paul Rudd.


Honestly, the only thing that’s changed in the last thirty-four years is his hairstyle. And there are still members of Duran Duran around who can tease it back to his ’85 glory, surely?

Anyway, we think a show in which young people deal with the pressures of adulthood and fighting every night against Rob Lowe and his vast undead armies of the night would be one hell of a show.

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