Matthew Perry's Rejected 'Friends' Storyline Could've Had So Much Potential — VIDEO
When a show runs for 10 seasons, it's bound to produce a few bad episodes. However, in a Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen interview, Matthew Perry revealed he vetoed a Friends storyline that he thought would have made the show jump the shark. In a video of the interview, Perry says,
"There was a storyline on 'Friends' where Chandler went to a male strip joint because he really liked the sandwiches. I called up and said, 'Let's not do this one.'"
Now, given Friends track record with LGBT storylines, having Chandler hang out at a male strip club because of its excellent sandwiches could have been a landmark moment for the show — or a total disaster. The comedy was one of the first shows to ever feature a same-sex wedding, and Carol and Susan are easily the most well-adjusted couple on the show. On the flip side, Friends also features its share of homophobic jokes. Chandler is often mistaken for being gay, which would be fine if he didn't treat it as an insult. Then there's Ross, whose apparent homophobia extends to anger that his son plays with a Barbie, and insecurities over the idea of hiring a male nanny.
Still, if Friends had played the sandwich idea carefully, it could have been a strong storyline for the show. After all, Chandler has a transgender father, along with a romance novelist mother who is open about her sexuality. Having him frequent a male strip club for lunch, and being friends with the people who work there, makes sense for Chandler, especially late series Chandler. By that time, he's mostly made amends with his parents and married Monica, so having him be secure in his own sexuality and not care what Ross, Rachel, or his other friends think about his hangout choices could have been a great moment of character growth.
Of course, what would have made the storyline even better is the knowledge that Joey would have been absolutely crushed Chandler didn't tell him about his visits to the club — not because it was a male strip club, but because Chandler was hiding a prime sandwich spot from him. As every Friends' fan knows, Joey's true love is sandwiches.
Having not seen the script, there's no way of knowing how Friends would've handled the story, and Perry may have been absolutely right in saying no. Friends didn't always make the best choices when it came to LGBT representation, and as iconic as the six besties are, they turn to seemingly homophobic humor far too often to trust that the exploration of Chandler's favorite sandwich spot wouldn't have been a cringe-inducing mess.
Still, I can't help mourning what might have been. In an alternate universe, there is surely a Friends episode that ends with Joey and Chandler side by side, tucking into delicious sandwiches while being totally cool with appreciating the work of male strippers, and I suspect it is one of the show's most progressive moments.