David Crane on the final season of TV show Episodes

Are you sad that Episodes is ending, or is now the right time?

Pictured: (L-R) David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik
Pictured: (L-R) David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik

Jeffrey: I wasn’t sad that it was ending until we realised it actually is ending, and every so often something happens and we think, ‘Damn, that would have been such a great bit, I wish we were still shooting’. But I think we’re doing the right thing, and I like the idea of people wanting more rather than kind of yawning and saying... again?

David: This was probably the most enjoyable season to make and with Jeffrey directing this year, he did a really great job and so it was us going out on a high. As bittersweet as it is, it was a really good year.

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Is it something that could potentially be revisited years down the line?

J: I think that, unlike Friends, it could be revisited, sure.

D: I don’t know if it will, but it could, absolutely.

Is it something you ever talk about?

J: We talk about spinning it off, in a way. What would happen if American writers had to come to Britain to do a show? There are lots of versions we talk about.

D: And, unlike Friends [Crane was a co-creator of the show] – which was about a finite period of time in your life in your 20s – these characters can mature and it doesn’t hurt the essence of the show.

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Is that finite time thing the main reason that Friends will never happen again?

D: We did it, and it’s done, we put a bow on Friends and you know, if you want to watch Friends now, it’s still on television.

J: The irony is, people think that’s what they want and you just know... it’s like going to your high school reunion, it’s such a disappointment. You’re like, ‘Oh my God, what happened to her?’

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D: Right now, it’s preserved exactly as it should be. You don’t want a bunch of people in their 50s in the coffee house!

Do you find writing the 
British parts difficult, as Americans?

J: To me, we write the characters like I would write Paul and Jamie on Mad About You, or how we would write Rachel and Ross in Friends – they’re just characters who happen to have accents.

D: It’s really embarrassing because when we write it we tend to do a lot of stuff out loud to each other, and when we’re writing it we do Sean and Beverly with British accents. They are appalling, absolutely appalling.

How do your colleagues react when you do the British accents?

D: We were told by someone that it’s borderline racist! Our accents are actually that flawed.

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Do you think a show like this could have worked with any of the other stars of Friends?

D: When we came up with the idea for Episodes, we were thinking about what the final nail in Sean and Beverly’s coffin would be as writers – what is that one thing that American television does to destroy their show? And when Jeffrey said, ‘It’s Matt LeBlanc’... if Matt had said no, we would not have done it. He is the perfect person for this show.

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J: David Schwimmer wouldn’t have been funny. Matthew Perry wouldn’t have been funny. I mean, they’re stuck with Joey, it’s the persona of Joey. Especially because he is replacing Richard Griffiths in Sean and Beverly’s show!

But Matt isn’t really playing himself, is he?

J: He’s not really himself – he’s playing a character, showing the more colourful aspects of his personality. Sean comes to America and he’s kind of blinded by (besides the sunshine) this glamour – by Matt’s plane and that they go to lunch in Vegas. It’s just so different from what he’s used to in Britain. And I think he falls in love, it becomes a bromance. And when Matt screws Beverly, it’s the ultimate betrayal because he considers him to be like a brother.

D: A lot of this journey in the final season is taking that relationship and, obviously it’s the biggest betrayal, and then they find that friendship. We thought, ‘How do we put it to the ultimate test?’ and you’ll see as you get toward the end of the season... it was like, ‘OK, how do we top that?’

Do you think the audience will forgive Matt?

D: How do you not forgive Matt? He’s so charming and winning.

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J: And I think the fact that Sean and Beverly ended up back together made it a little easier. I think it’s still difficult, I don’t think Sean ever forgets. He always brings it up.

They say comedy is one 
of the hardest things to write. How do you write to 
be funny?

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D: We just try to make 
each other laugh, and if we can make each other laugh, then that’s all we can do and hope that other people find it funny.

Episodes returns to BBC2 on Friday at 10pm.