When the going gets tough – turn to Phoebe Buffay for inspiration. One of our most beloved TV characters of old not only provides a welcome dose of 90s nostalgia, she’s also the kind of woman you’d want around in a crisis.
With her skewed yet genius logic and fairly loose relationship with reality, you can always rely on Phoebe’s innate sense of weirdness to see the world in slightly different – and altogether more soothing – way.
And so it is with the current coronavirus lockdown. Phoebe’s real-life alter ego, the brilliant Lisa Kudrow, has revealed what her Friends character might be doing to cope during this surreal period in time.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Kudrow says it’s likely that Phoebe and her on-screen husband Mike Hannigan (Paul Rudd) – whom she married outside Central Perk coffeehouse in the final season of the show – would be on lockdown together, perhaps with some kids in tow.
And they would probably be relying on Phoebe’s infamous creative streak to get them through the tough times,.
“I feel like if they’d had kids, she [Phoebe] would be militaristic about creating art,” says Kudrow. “So their place would be overrun with huge, outlandish projects.”
We also like to imagine that there are a few renditions of Smelly Cat in the mix here for Phoebe and co., too. What else to do on lockdown but make (slightly tuneless) music, after all? And perhaps Phoebe would even stretch to a home workout or two as well, featuring her inimitable running style.
If all goes to plan, all six members of the original Friends cast are set to reunite later this summer, in a one-off production filmed at the show’s original soundstage in the Warner Bros studios, Los Angeles.
The event has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is still very much on the books for when situation allows all the Friends stars plus a film crew to be together in the same place.
None of the original cast members will be in character for the reunion. Instead, they’ll reflect back on the cult hit show that broke viewing records, coined a hundred catchphrases and that remains to this day one of the most popular re-runs on TV.
“No audience has seen us together since the show was over,” says Kudrow.
“We will reminisce, talk about what was going on behind the scenes. It’s not us playing our characters. It’s not an episode. It’s not scripted. It’s six of us coming together for the first time in I don’t know how long.
“I am really looking forward to it, because I think that I remember things, but then I talk to Matt [LeBlanc] or Jennifer [Aniston], and they remember everything. It’s really fun,” she adds.
“Oh, it’d be completely different,” she says, in response to the idea of Friends being remade now.
“It would not be an all-white cast, for sure. I’m not sure what else, but, to me, it [original Friends episodes] should be looked at as a time capsule, not for what they did wrong.”
“Also, this show thought it was very progressive,” Kudrow notes. “There was a guy whose wife discovered she was gay and pregnant, and they raised the child together? We had surrogacy too. It was, at the time, progressive.”
Well however times have changed since Friends originally aired, one thing’s for sure – if we could choose one on-screen character to spend lockdown with, it would be Phoebe every time.