Wednesday, November 15, 2023

A Tiny Bit of Shakespeare in a Friends Subplot

"The One with the Fake Monica." By Adam Chase and Ira Ungerleider. Perf. Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, and Philip Rayburn Smith. Dir. Gail Mancuso. Friends. Seaons 1, episode 21. NBC. 27 April 1996. DVD. Studio Distribution Services, 2010.

ShakespeareGeek surprised me recently by asking if I had seen the Friends episode where Joey auditions for the role of Mercutio in a production of Romeo and Juliet. I remembered the small reference to Lady Macbeth (for which, q.v.). And I knew that I myself had raised the question of what role Joey played in Macbeth (for which, q.v.). Beyond that, I knew nothing.

I didn't rest long in my ignorance. At the end of "The One with the Fake Monica," ShakespeareGeek told me, we see Joey start an audition for Mercutio.

Let me set the scene. Joey Tribbiani's agent has suggested that he take on a stage name that doesn't sound quite so Italian. Chandler, as a joke, suggests "Joe Stalin." And when he realizes that Joey has no idea who that is, he keeps the joke going—even suggesting that he go with "Joseph" instead of "Joe."

Later in the episode, Joey complains that there's already a guy named Joseph Stalin and that he wasn't particularly nice.

Finally, during the closing credits, we see Joey auditioning for Mercutio:

And there's the joke. Chandler has convinced Joey that a good stage name would be "Holden McGroin."

But remember that we got there by way of Shakespeare (and, of course, by way of ShakespeareGeek).

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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