Matthew Perry death: Why the TV sitcom was universally loved by generations as Friends brought families together
I remember watching one of the first-ever episodes during the mid-1990s as characters Chandler Bing, played by the now late Matthew Perry, and Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) shared a joke on the Central Perk sofa.
My mother had entered the living room inside the opening minutes and told me, in short, that I watched too much junk. By the closing credits, she was perched on our own sofa, watching and laughing with me.
Friends soon became the only show in our household that we all sat down as a family to watch. It had canned laughter, like most US sitcoms, but was genuinely funny, with witty dialogue and one-liners.
And it had real heart.
No actor in the hugely-popular show portrayed this more than Perry.
As Bing, he was able to showcase his superb comedic timing – the episode where he is trapped outside a bank ATM during a blackout springs to mind – but also took us on the emotional journey of the blossoming relationship with Monica (Courteney Cox).
That warmth and honesty spilled over into his admissions outside of the programme about his life-long battle with addition to painkillers and alcohol.
In the opening to his 2022 memoir, Perry wrote: “Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.”
Matthew – you may be gone, but the laughter you brought to so many families – mine included – won’t be forgotten.
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