Actor Matthew Perry, who played the wisecracking Chandler Bing on the classic NBC sitcom Friends, died at his home in Los Angeles on Saturday, according to the Los Angeles Times. Perry was found dead in his hot tub, and the cause of death is under investigation. He was 54 years old.
Perry was born on August 19, 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and his path to stardom didn’t happen overnight. Some of Perry’s first acting roles were in ’80s sitcoms Charles in Charge and Silver Spoons. He then landed a leading role in Fox’s Second Chance. As originally envisioned, Second Chance featured Kiel Martin as Charles Russell, a man who died in the then far-off year of 2011 who was sent back by Heaven to 1987 so he could provide moral guidance to his younger self, Chazz, as played by Perry. However, the sitcom was quickly revamped as Boys Will Be Boys, with Perry in the lead for the remainder of its one-season run.
Some of Perry’s early TV work also included guest appearances in Growing Pains, Highway to Heaven, Empty Nest, Who’s the Boss? and Beverly Hills, 90210. On the big screen, Perry co-headlined The Whole Nine Yards and its sequel opposite Bruce Willis, as well as the movies Fools Rush In, Almost Heroes, Three to Tango, and Serving Sara. Post-Friends., Perry starred in short-lived TV series like Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Mr. Sunshine, Go On, and a 2015 revival of The Odd Couple that ran for three seasons.
In 1994, at just 24-years old, Perry landed the role that made him famous: Chandler Bing on Friends. Alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer, Perry stayed with the comedy for 10 seasons as it became one of the most popular sitcoms of the ’90s. That’s why we’re taking this opportunity to pay tribute to three of Perry’s best episodes of Friends. These are the moments that helped cement his legacy as a performer.
In only the seventh episode of the show, Perry had a breakout performance in The One With the Blackout when Chandler was trapped in an ATM area of a bank with his dream woman, supermodel Jill Goodacre. The episode allowed Perry to share Chandler’s thoughts in a hilarious voiceover as he bungled his way through the entire evening.
Perry’s knack for physical comedy was also on display in the episode through his facial expressions and body language. He was awkwardness personified, and that endeared him to fans for the length of the show’s run.
By its second season, Friends was already the hottest show on television, which is why Brooke Shields, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chris Isaak, and rom-com queen Julia Roberts all guest-starred in the big two-part episode that aired directly after the Super Bowl. Roberts played Susie Moss, a former childhood friend of Chandler’s who held a grudge against him because he once exposed her underwear on stage when they were kids.
In the present, Chandler is so enamored with Susie that he doesn’t suspect that his date with her is part of an elaborate plan to get her revenge. To that end, Susie leaves Chandler trapped in a public restroom wearing only her underwear. We can’t say that Chandler didn’t get what he deserved, but it was really funny to see him get his comeuppance.
As you may have noticed, the theme that all of these episodes share in common is that they include Chandler’s awkward encounters with women. The One Where Everybody Finds Out is no exception. At this point in the show’s run, Chandler and Monica (Cox) were secretly dating, because they didn’t want their friends, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), to know about it … at least not right away.
The comedy in this episode comes from the one-upmanship that ensues when Monica and Chandler realize that Rachel and Phoebe already know the truth, then try to trick them into admitting they know. In turn, Phoebe and Rachel try to trick the couple into admitting they are a couple by tricking Chandler into believing that Phoebe wants a romantic relationship with him. They take it pretty far and actually kiss before Chandler finally has to confess that he loves Monica. It’s both a great character moment, and a very funny scene. This was Friends at its best.
You can watch every episode of Friends on Max.
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