Joey: The Complete First Season (DVD)
The still-single Friend strikes out on his own as Emmy nominee Matt LeBlanc reprises his "Friends" role as charming Joey Tribbiani in this spin-off that continues the beloved "Friends" tradition. Joey leaves New York for Hollywood in order to take his acting career to the next level. He also says goodbye to a time when his friends were his family and welcomes the chance to turn his family into his friends. After reuniting with his high-strung sister Gina (Drea de Matteo, "The Sopranos"), Joey moves in with Michael (Paulo Costanzo, "Road Trip"), his 20-year-old genius nephew, who unbelievably is literally a rocket scientist. However, what Joey lacks in book smarts he makes up for with people smarts - making himthe best new friend his nephew could ask for.
OK, sitcom fans, let's gather to appreciate Joey
for what it is: A pretty darn good showcase for the talents of star Matt LeBlanc and his fabulous supporting cast. If the show isn't Friends
, so what? Few sitcoms are. LeBlanc and his costars are still funny, engaging, and sometimes downright hilarious. If Adriana had to leave The Sopranos
, the silver lining is that actress Drea de Matteo resurfaces here as straight-outta-Queens whacky sister Gina. Also in the stellar cast is one of America's finest comedic actresses, Jennifer Coolidge, who plays the sharky Hollywood agent and straightwoman. Joey's relocation to L.A. has given his acting career a lot more "meat" for the writers to work with, and LeBlanc is still adorably clueless. (He never realized, for instance, in 20 years of trying out for stage productions of Romeo and Juliet
, why his plaintive delivery of "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" never got him the part of... Romeo.) The boxed set of the first season includes all 24 episodes, and a lot of good writing and topnotch performances. And most importantly, the Joey we love: "Why do you have to ruin stuff like that? Huh? 'The curve ball is impossible.' 'Don't eat that, it's solid mold.' 'That's not a dog, it's a possum. Stop letting it lick your face.' Why?!!" --A.T. Hurley