March 8, 2001
Will Chandler and Monica marry? - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
VANCOUVER -- Whenever talk of the television show Friends is in my midst, I often like to remind people of Matthew Perry’s Canadian roots. There’s a connection with the thespian who dons Chandler Byng every must-see Thursday to one Pierre Trudeau. See, Perry’s mum Suzanne was a PR flack for Trudeau in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Mrs. Perry also married Keith Morrison who happens to be one of our journalistic exports to the States. Morrison works on the NBC mag Dateline. Full circle, ain’t it?
I bring up Matthew Perry today, as he’s been in and out of rehab these last few years. Recently he’s in an ‘in’ phase. I don’t know him personally, thus I could care less as to how he’s doing. Alas, word has floated that because of his predicament, the Friends schedule over at Warner Brothers is in a quandary. Friends loyalist am I.
Last Saturday, the brilliant drama The Sopranos opened up its third season on HBO. (Western Canadians shall now rejoice. As Super Channel switches moniker to Movie Central, The Sopranos will air in these parts beginning in May!) Nancy Marchand, who played Tony Soprano’s whack-seeking mom passed away last year. It left show creator and producer David Chase in a bind, as there was a hanging storyline from last season. On Saturday, HBOers in America saw Mama Soprano, albeit she bites the dust in this episode. Although Marchand didn’t film any episodes for this season, she was digitally spliced in using the modern miracles of movie technology.
Forrest Gump, if you’ll recall, used such technology to drop Tom Hanks into footage of Nixon, Kennedy and LBJ. Dallas, was a little more tricky in that during the conractural negotiations that had Larry Hagman refusing to step before the camera, we were treated to some body double lying in a stretcher. No facial shots were taken. Ditto with Victoria Principal some eight years later, when she left the show. Sexy Pam Ewing ran her little sports car into an oil tanker, thus crisping her up. When the new season roles along, Pam is wrapped up à la Mummy, although we knew it couldn’t have been Victoria Principal underneath, as she had already left Dallas.
Word is that by season’s end on Friends, Chandler and Monica, (the characters played by Perry and Courtney Arquette,) will marry. Thus, the quandary. What happens if Perry can’t clean himself in time to ‘can’ the season finale? Will the script be altered? Will they resort to Gump or Marchand techniques of fiddling around with footage? I certainly hope not.
Looming in the horizon is a strike. Someone in Hollywood is planning to cripple the whole damned business, thus screwing up movie and television production for some time. As much time as the industry holds out, that is. In such a case, networks will crap out damage control like never seen. We may be treated to verbatim airings of “reality” shows and the press will be deluged. Could this all mean, by the fall, if the strike is prolonged we’ll see nothing but “real” actors? Has acting ceased to exist if it hasn’t already?
It would set a terrible precedence.
Technology is remarkable, but its use for such means is unthinkable. It would be fun to have Elvis do a cameo on Touched By An Angel to freak Della Resse out. Or perhaps, Bing Crosby can duet with someone like Nelly Furtado on next week’s episode of Survivor.
No word on what’ll happen with Friends, so it could lead to who gives a damn. In show business, that’s unspeakable.
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