In the new Showtime comedy ‘Episodes,’ actor Matt LeBlanc of ‘Friends‘ fame is cast as the lead on an American adaptation of a celebrated British TV series – replacing the Shakespearean-trained, much older actor who created the role.
The joke, of course, is that the show-within-a-show’s creators are aghast to see the U.S. version be fronted by the star of (eek) “Joey.”
Although ‘Episodes’ is being likened to ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm‘ – seeing as both shows revolve around the life of a television personality portraying a version of themselves – don’t expect Drea De Matteo to drop by and hang out with her former TV “brother.”
“It really isn’t this Matt,” executive producer Jeffrey Klarik told Fancast, gesturing toward LeBlanc. “This is a fantasy of what we assume Matt is like in real life.”
Versus HBO’s ‘Curb,’ where Larry David frequently has run-ins with colleagues such as Jerry Seinfeld, Ted Danson or Richard Lewis – all playing themselves – “This is more of a tweak,” Klarik explains. “This ‘Matt LeBlanc’ is divorced and has two children, he has a drinking problem….”
The real LeBlanc is divorced with one child and… well, he probably enjoys the occasional beer.
That said… Klarik smartly leaves the door ajar for one of LeBlanc’s Central Perk pals to pop up, which you just know will happen at some point – even if it is only David Schwimmer.
“I could see one of the ‘Friends’ coming on and doing something,” he says. “I could see that the network [of the show-within-a-show] would want to stunt-cast.”
So, Matt LeBlanc is not really Matt LeBlanc, and while Drea De Matteo won’t show up as Drea De Matteo, Lisa Kudrow is free to guest-star as Lisa Kudrow. Got it…?
“It’s very strange for us,” Klarik admits of the semi-real reality being depicted on ‘Episodes.’ “It’s like watching an Escher painting. Sometimes we sit on the stage and it’s surreal – even painful at times!”