ANY fan of the sitcom Friends will tell you that they had a favourite on the show. Mine was Phoebe (played by Lisa Kudrow), as funny as that may sound, since she was not necessarily the most popular of the group.
It was her gift of being able to portray a character who was an almost always oblivious young lady who spoke before she thought that really drew me in.
However, when the Friends journey ended, Kudrow was nowhere to be seen. Her colleagues went on to do other things, but you had to look really hard to find Kudrow in anything that was worth mentioning. Her main problem, as we look back, will no doubt have had something to do with how she could break out of the Phoebe stereotype. It’s like how Tori Spelling could not let go of her Donna character from Beverley Hills 90210, yet from the same series we have seen Brian Austin Green and Jason Priestley soar to greater heights.
Green broke the sweet boy image and starred as a baddie in several films, including Anger Management next to Charlie Sheen.
Priestly has made his come-back with Call Me Fitz which, like Green, also washes off the cute-boy image that he had become known for on 90210.
Back to Kudrow, while Matthew Perry and Courtney Cox went on to do the odd movie here and there, the most successful of the lot was Jennifer Aniston. Although she had a bad patch in her personal life with the Brad Pitt split, Aniston is undoubtedly the most employed of the bunch. Seen in blockbusters like Bruce Almighty and He’s Not That Into You, Friends’ Rachel Green has done rather well for herself.
Matt LeBlanc did his best with Joey, a spin-off Friends that was obviously having problems letting go of the past. That show gave us two years and 46 episodes before it was done. And in film, the biggest thing that he did must have been Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
That leaves us with David Schwimmer who, surprisingly, has done well, too. His part in the Madagascar films is really hilarious and has kept him employed over the years.
So when you think of Kudrow, it’s sad to point it out, but hers hasn’t been a very lucrative journey. Take Marci X, which airs on Sony Max and in which Kudrow plays the unlikely role of a chief executive at a hip hop record label. Part of her duties is to run the career of a rapper called Dr S (Damon Wayans).
What’s wrong with this picture is that Kudrow, in her “template” acting, is too rigid to pull off a role like this. Cast Cox or Aniston in the same role and they will make it seem effortless.
With the talented Wayans at her side, all Kudrow needs to do is bounce off his genius, but unfortunately you will keep seeing Phoebe, which can be distracting given that we are in 2014.
• Marci X, Wednesday, 8pm on Sony Entertainment Television, (DStv channel 127).