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#1
Old 05-05-2016, 10:17 PM
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Is Matthew Perry getting worse as an actor?

Chandler was my favorite character on "Friends" and Perry's movies haven't been completely disappointing. I find "The Odd Couple" unwatchable and Perry's acting atrocious. What has happened to him?
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#2
Old 05-05-2016, 10:28 PM
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From what I understand the role of Chandler was basically written to fit Perry's strengths.

This version of Odd Couple isn't written for anyone.

I think Perry may need to go back into rehab -- not that I think he has a problem, just that it would give him an excuse to get off the show.
#3
Old 05-05-2016, 11:07 PM
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He gave great performances on The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip that were dramatic roles completely different from his role on Friends. So I have to feel his current problem is that he's being asked to deliver poorly written lines.

Does that absolve Perry? Heck, no. Perry produces the series and is one of its writers. So he's responsible for those poorly written lines. Perry the actor needs to get away from Perry the producer and writer.
#4
Old 05-06-2016, 01:48 AM
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He'd be a good Jack Tripper in the Three's Company movie. If he was 20 years younger.
#5
Old 05-06-2016, 09:40 AM
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I've wondered if the new "Odd Couple" might have been better with Perry playing Felix, and having someone else playing Oscar. But I agree that the writing stinks, and between that and CBS's persistent laugh-track-turned-up-to-11, I don't think it would make much difference.
#6
Old 05-06-2016, 09:49 AM
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The same question has crossed my mind. Thomas Lennon is quite good on the Odd Couple, but Perry delivers every line the same way. Yeah, the writing isn't great, and all of the characters are one-dimensional, but Perry really isn't capturing Oscar. I liked him better in his last two TV series, Go On and Mr. Sunshine, than in the Odd Couple.
#7
Old 05-06-2016, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoeless View Post
I've wondered if the new "Odd Couple" might have been better with Perry playing Felix, and having someone else playing Oscar.
What, like Matt LeBlanc?
#8
Old 05-06-2016, 10:04 AM
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As others said, the big problem is the poor writing. And that's something I'm often amazed at. It just goes to show just how hard it is to to write a comedic show well; presumably this show (and other unfunny ones like Two Broke Girls) has a healthy budget and could hire decent writers. Meanwhile the few actually good sitcoms manage to hire writers who can write funny.
#9
Old 05-06-2016, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orwell View Post
The same question has crossed my mind. Thomas Lennon is quite good on the Odd Couple, but Perry delivers every line the same way. Yeah, the writing isn't great, and all of the characters are one-dimensional, but Perry really isn't capturing Oscar. I liked him better in his last two TV series, Go On and Mr. Sunshine, than in the Odd Couple.
I agree with this. Sure, the writing on The Odd Couple is nothing to write home about, but the rest of the cast (Lennon, Lindsay Sloane, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Wendell Pierce) are all performing professionally, doing the best they can with the lackluster material they're given.

Perry, on the other hand, looks like they grabbed him out of the cast of a high school play. He seems to have no variation in his facial expressions, and his line deliveries are all a sort of exasperated shouting, regardless of what emotion he's supposed to be conveying. It's a noticeably poor performance, and in my opinion it goes far beyond simply badly written material. It's strange, because we know that Perry is capable of much better work.
#10
Old 05-06-2016, 10:27 AM
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Admittedly I probably only saw a handful of episodes of Friends but what I have seen of Matthew Perry would cause me to be more surprised if he was even competent in a role. I have only seen a small percentage of his work - a couple of movies and a few different TV episodes and he has been the worst thing about each of them. I don't get the impression that he ever could act.
#11
Old 05-06-2016, 10:35 AM
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I'm pretty sure that the alcoholism hasn't done him any favors. I saw him on a talk show a while back, and he had that weird slurred speech impediment like Carrie Fisher does, which wasn't the case 20 years ago.
#12
Old 05-06-2016, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAtoz View Post
Perry, on the other hand, looks like they grabbed him out of the cast of a high school play. He seems to have no variation in his facial expressions, and his line deliveries are all a sort of exasperated shouting, regardless of what emotion he's supposed to be conveying. It's a noticeably poor performance, and in my opinion it goes far beyond simply badly written material. It's strange, because we know that Perry is capable of much better work.
Bolding mine.

This is exactly what I was thinking in the OP. It seems that the only emotion that he displays is "Exasperated Chandler". Granted, he's no Lawrence Olivier under the best of circumstances but I know that he knows at least two volume levels. At least, he used to.
#13
Old 05-06-2016, 10:50 AM
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Perry was on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert a few weeks ago and he physically seemed off. Most notably something seemed wrong with his mouth. I hadn't actually noticed anything wrong with it on the first season (or first half?) of The Odd Couple but now that it's back on I notice Perry's weirdness.

I googled "matthew perry's mouth" after I saw him on LSSC and there were a ton of hits regarding his January appearance on The Graham Norton Show (in England) and how he was weird and "the Internet" was all abuzz about it. I did see that show but I guess I didn't find him to be too weird...but I did eventually notice it a couple months later on LSSC.

ETA: bump posted while I was writing this. Looks like he saw the same weirdness on LSSC as I did (or Graham Norton).

Last edited by ZipperJJ; 05-06-2016 at 10:51 AM.
#14
Old 05-06-2016, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
Perry was on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert a few weeks ago and he physically seemed off. Most notably something seemed wrong with his mouth. I hadn't actually noticed anything wrong with it on the first season (or first half?) of The Odd Couple but now that it's back on I notice Perry's weirdness.

I googled "matthew perry's mouth" after I saw him on LSSC and there were a ton of hits regarding his January appearance on The Graham Norton Show (in England) and how he was weird and "the Internet" was all abuzz about it. I did see that show but I guess I didn't find him to be too weird...but I did eventually notice it a couple months later on LSSC.

ETA: bump posted while I was writing this. Looks like he saw the same weirdness on LSSC as I did (or Graham Norton).
Graham Norton...
#15
Old 05-06-2016, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
ETA: bump posted while I was writing this. Looks like he saw the same weirdness on LSSC as I did (or Graham Norton).
I also saw that episode of Colbert (I did not see him on Graham Norton), and I noticed that he seemed to be slurring his "s" sounds, and in general having trouble getting some of his words out.

There was a lot of internet speculation that he might have had a small stroke, which Perry's publicist has denied. The claim is that he was tired during that appearance, having just flown in from London where he was about to open his new play. Which is somewhat plausible--he did look awfully haggard, and I haven't noticed the speech impediment on any episodes of The Odd Couple itself.
#16
Old 05-06-2016, 11:07 AM
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I'm pretty sure I never expected to see the double entendre laced phrase, "I googled Matthew Perry's mouth." But now I have.
#17
Old 05-06-2016, 01:03 PM
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The answer to the OP is, no, he is not getting worse....he was never very good to begin with.
#18
Old 05-06-2016, 11:14 PM
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That. David Schwimmer did ads for the Illinois lottery and all I could think was how he had won a bigger lottery of his own. No talent, total, between them.

eta: Even less, counting LeBlanc.

Last edited by dropzone; 05-06-2016 at 11:15 PM.
#19
Old 05-06-2016, 11:34 PM
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INAD. I have seen people in my life who have had some issues with minor or mini strokes and I hope it isn't that.
#20
Old 05-07-2016, 01:39 AM
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I think the biggest factor is that it's just the wrong role for him. While I get wanting to play against type, I simply don't buy him as Oscar Madison. Not that I want him to try to impersonate Matthau or Klugman, but they embodied a certain hangdog quality that just isn't there in Perry, and it's the essence of the character.

Otherwise, I don't mind the show. Actually, I kind of enjoy it. Thomas Lennon kills it as Felix. The supporting cast is pretty good. It's a very old-school sort of sitcom, which seems to be putting a lot of people off, but I'm OK with that. I grew up on those kinds of sitcoms, and the cast and writers at least seem self-aware of what they're trying to be.

Perry's definitely the weak link, though. Years of hard living obviously haven't done him any favors.

Last edited by Wheelz; 05-07-2016 at 01:41 AM.
#21
Old 05-07-2016, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAtoz View Post
The claim is that he was tired during that appearance, having just flown in from London where he was about to open his new play.
I just flew in from London, and boy is my mouth tired.
#22
Old 05-07-2016, 03:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
He gave great performances on The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip that were dramatic roles completely different from his role on Friends. So I have to feel his current problem is that he's being asked to deliver poorly written lines.
More recently, he did a dramatic role on The Good Wife, and he was great. If he wants to stretch himself, he should stick to dramatics; he couldn't possibly be worse in Death of a Salesman.

Quote:
Does that absolve Perry? Heck, no. Perry produces the series and is one of its writers. So he's responsible for those poorly written lines. Perry the actor needs to get away from Perry the producer and writer.
Yeah. As a producer and writer, he sucks. He sucks underwater. He sucks fish pee.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
As others said, the big problem is the poor writing. And that's something I'm often amazed at. It just goes to show just how hard it is to to write a comedic show well; presumably this show (and other unfunny ones like Two Broke Girls) has a healthy budget and could hire decent writers. Meanwhile the few actually good sitcoms manage to hire writers who can write funny.
How Two Broke Girls has stayed of the air is up there with the riddle of the Sphinx.

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Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
That. David Schwimmer did ads for the Illinois lottery and all I could think was how he had won a bigger lottery of his own. No talent, total, between them.
Schwimmer played an annoying character of Friends, but you can't confuse that with Schwimmer the person. He was really great as Robert Kardashian on the show about the OJ Simpson case that recently aired on some channel at some time. I watched it on On Demand, so I don't actually know when or where it aired. It would have been possible to ham up that role, and he didn't. He held back just enough.

Friends was really light fare, so it seems like a lot of other people could have done just as well, and the might be true, but that doesn't mean that the people who did do it were of necessity light-weight actors.
#23
Old 05-07-2016, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
How Two Broke Girls has stayed of the air is up there with the riddle of the Sphinx.
Two good looking lead actresses.
#24
Old 05-07-2016, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
He gave great performances on The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip that were dramatic roles completely different from his role on Friends.
Studio 60 was a great show, which pretty much guaranteed it'd get cancelled early on...but I seem to recall that part of the problem was that Perry had to go into rehab again. (Of course, I used to be a big fan of SNL, so that might have predisposed me a bit.)
#25
Old 05-07-2016, 03:19 PM
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I think Friends had some excellent writing, and a winning ensemble that was stronger than any of its individual parts. Chandler had many of what I thought the funniest lines. His character was wicked smart, cynical and sarcastic - traits I imagine would appeal to many Dopers.

I find the new Odd Couple unwatchable (and as a kid I LOVED the old show). My wife watches it herself. As bad as so many elements are, MP's acting is the worst. I saw an ad for it the other day, and asked my wife if she thought his acting wasn't horrible, and she said something like, "I think he's growing into the role." So there are folk who appreciate it. To me, it seems like he's basically yelling all of his lines, almost intentionally coming across as unbelievable.
#26
Old 05-07-2016, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
Schwimmer played an annoying character of Friends, but you can't confuse that with Schwimmer the person. He was really great as Robert Kardashian on the show about the OJ Simpson case that recently aired on some channel at some time.
He was good in Band of Brothers, playing an asshole officer.
#27
Old 05-07-2016, 04:45 PM
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Although just about all of us, as well as dozens of posters on the Odd Couple message board on IMDB, think Perry is bad on the show, is there a chance that his performance reflects his conscious take on the Oscar character? In other words, is the shouting, monotone performance being done on purpose?
#28
Old 05-07-2016, 11:12 PM
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Here's part of his interview from LSSC. Clearly something's up with his face/mouth.
#29
Old 05-08-2016, 02:54 AM
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He sure looks a great deal older. My thought is coke + alcohol...the alcohol gives the slurring, and the coke keeps him 'up' for the interview.
#30
Old 05-08-2016, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoeless View Post
I've wondered if the new "Odd Couple" might have been better with Perry playing Felix, and having someone else playing Oscar.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
What, like Matt LeBlanc?
That might just be the problem. They went out and hired the wrong Matt.
#31
Old 05-09-2016, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
How Two Broke Girls has stayed of the air is up there with the riddle of the Sphinx
That's easy; people like Kat Dennings' boobs and Beth Behrs' legs. And the milf-fetish crowd likes Jennifer Coolidge.

Had they cast say... Lena Dunham as either of the leads, the show would have sank faster than you could say 'Titanic'.
#32
Old 05-09-2016, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
That might just be the problem. They went out and hired the wrong Matt.
See, what I was really going with there was, imagine Matthew Perry playing Felix and Matt LeBlanc playing Oscar: what does everyone say? That they're each just doing what we already knew they could do? That they already showed it in their iconic roles, and racked up the Emmy nominations to prove it? That the producers might as well have cast Jon Cryer as Felix and Charlie Sheen as Oscar?

I think Perry took the role of Oscar because he wants to (a) play as un-Chandler-Bing a part in a sitcom as possible, and to (b) get everyone saying "Wow, I had no idea." I think he's gotten some of that by earning more Emmy nominations as a dramatic actor than he ever did as a comedic one, but I think he craved the opportunity to hit this curveball out of the park; if he's a petty man, I think he'd want people to say "He's killing it as Oscar, but Matt LeBlanc could never play Felix" -- and if he's *not* a petty man, I think he instead stops at wanting to hear "He's killing it as Oscar, which I never would've believed when I was watching him play Felix Chandler."

And I'm doing a lot of "I think" there, but I think I'm right.
#33
Old 05-09-2016, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
That the producers might as well have cast Jon Cryer as Felix and Charlie Sheen as Oscar?
I was thinking when watching an episode that Perry reminds me a bit of Charlie Sheen in his armchair smartass delivery.
#34
Old 05-09-2016, 12:48 PM
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I haven't seen the show, but I can't imagine his performances can possibly be any worse than the voice acting he did for Fallout New Vegas. His work was the worst thing about the game.
#35
Old 05-09-2016, 03:33 PM
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He used to play a cute young smartass. Unfortunately he's neither young nor cute anymore, and it's very hard to be a likable smartass when you're middle aged and not attractive. (Maybe he should ask Lewis Black or Ron White for some pointers.)
#36
Old 05-09-2016, 09:10 PM
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Wouldn't that require Lewis Black or Ron White to be likable?

I'm tempted to try it, since I like Thomas Lennon, but Oscar is a schlub. Mathau and Klugman were schlubs. Perry ain't.
#37
Old 05-10-2016, 04:56 PM
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Add me to the list of Matthew Perry fans who are wondering WTF is going on with him right now. Every time I watch the show -- due to the outstanding other cast members, notably Lennon, and some bizarre loyalty to Perry -- I think to myself that he used to be able to act. Friends, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Go On, Mr. Sunshine, The Whole Nine Yards...all way better performances than what we're seeing these days.

I'm enough of an Aaron Sorkin fan that I go through phases of re-watching Sports Night, The West Wing, and Studio 60*. Whenever I see Perry on the latter two it just kind of makes me sad.

*The Newsroom hasn't made it to the rotation yet.
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