Joey: Friends Spin-off, Sunday June 3

joey
joey and the poker (7/23);
joey and the sex tape (8/23)
19.10–20.00

Everybody’s favourite ‘Friend’ Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) is back with a new series of the US spinoff sitcom, with double helpings every Sunday evening. The series charts Joey’s new life in LA, where he lives with his feisty sister, Gina (Drea de Matteo, ‘The Sopranos’), and her intelligent but shy son Michael (Paulo Constanzo, ‘Road Trip’).

In the first of tonight’s double bill, Alex teaches Joey the wrong rules to Texas Hold ’Em poker to distract him from his new love interest. And Michael becomes passionate about saving the planet in order to please his girlfriend.

When Joey takes an interest in a beauty queen he has hired to help decorate his house, a jealous Alex decides to distract him from her by getting him hooked on Texas Hold ’Em poker. In order to keep him interested, she teaches him the wrong rules, so that he thinks he is winning. Gina soon figures out Alex’s ruse but agrees to keep quiet – until Bobbie gets Joey a guest appearance on a celebrity TV poker tournament. With Joey facing ridicule on national TV, Gina urges Alex to come clean: “You’ve got to get down there and tell him what you did!” she says.

Alex is too late to waylay Joey, who takes his place at the table alongside the other celebrities. His unorthodox approach to the game soon raises eyebrows: when he sees a player’s hand has all four suits, he declares it a “Texas Tornado” and starts shaking the table. Joey’s TV appearance ends ignominiously with rap star Coolio putting him in a headlock.

A distraught Alex realises that she will have to explain why she tricked Joey, but does not want him to know that she has feelings for him. Gina assures her it is no big deal, and to prove it she tells Michael and Zach all about it – prompting shock and awe. “Oh my God!” Michael cries. “This changes everything!” Poor Alex will have to face Joey, unless Gina can spare her blushes.

Also in this episode, Michael becomes keen on helping his girlfriend Abby with her efforts to protect the environment, but Joey suspects he is merely trying to impress her – especially when he finds out they have still not slept together.

In the second episode tonight, an old girlfriend of Joey’s threatens him with a sex tape and Zach is nervous about meeting Ellen DeGeneres.

Joey is excited about his forthcoming appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show when he hears that an old girlfriend named Celeste is in town threatening to release a sex tape of him to the press. “I know what’s on that tape! It cannot get out!” he says. Joey is actually referring to what he says on the tape rather than what he does. He asks his friends and family to watch the video, in which a young Joey seduces Celeste – and promises to marry her. “I’ve said a lot of things to get sex,” Joey says, “but the one thing you never ever do is tell a girl you’re going to marry her!”

Joey’s sin is compounded by the fact that he fled Celeste’s house by the fire escape and never saw her again. A contrite Joey offers an apology to Celeste, who tells him that she wants her friends and family to hear it. “You’re going to do it tomorrow, on the Ellen show!” she says.

Also in this episode, Gina and Alex try to think of a way to celebrate Bobbie’s birthday. And Zach is anxious about meeting Ellen DeGeneres again, after making a disastrous appearance on her sitcom ten years before. Ellen has no idea who he is until Zach reminds her of his big scene. “You were the worst actor we ever had on the show!” Ellen cries. “You doremember me!” Zach replies.

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