by Graham Pierrepoint
MORROCCAN CAVEMAN ASKS MATT LEBLANC “HOW YOU DOIN’”
It’s fair to say that popular culture has seeped through into our daily lives to an astonishing extent – many of us find us quoting our own favorite movies and TV shows without thinking about it – and you’d be amazed to know just how far certain TV and film properties travel. As it emerged this week, even living in a cave doesn’t stop you from knowing all about classic US sitcom Friends, and even less so the catchphrases of its resident loveable goofball Joey Tribbiani, as actor Matt LeBlanc found while filming for the new series of BBC’s revamped Top Gear.
LeBlanc, who is said to have been shuffled in to replace the outgoing Chris Evans as lead presenter on the motoring series, was filming a sequence in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco when local people approached the actor and quoted his most famous character back to him – referring to him as Joey, and asking him “how you doin’”. According to an interview with Entertainment Weekly, LeBlanc was fairly flabbergasted by the event, impressed that Friends still holds up and in such a distant quarter of the world. “We were far away from civilization,” recalls LeBlanc. “These people were wearing robes and they live in caves.”
While it’s unknown whether or not the Atlas locals’ recognition of the famous face will make it to our screens as part of new episodes of Top Gear, it still goes some way to emphasize just how all-encompassing and important Friends was as a franchise and as a genuinely memorable TV show. The series ended twelve years ago and yet is still quotable and fondly recalled even today, as many sitcoms continue to use it as the ideal blueprint for making a comedy series that resonates with its audience and remains memorable for years to come.
LeBlanc became part of the BBC’s recent revamp of the Top Gear franchise after the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond to Amazon earlier this year – and the first new series without the popular trio received a divisive reception, with Chris Evans eventually resigning from the show at the end of the his first season. LeBlanc is expected to headline the presenting team from season two onwards, while there are no confirmations on who, if anyone, may be stepping into Evans’ shoes as main presenter – unless LeBlanc takes up the mantle himself.