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Sitcom Legend Reveals The Secret Behind His Unique Success With The Friends Cast
2024/04/11

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James Burrows, the legendary director of the hit show Friends, has shared his insight into how he managed the show's iconic ensemble cast. Burrows directed a total of 15 episodes during the first four seasons of the sitcom, helping establish its status as one of television's biggest shows. Friends, which aired from 1994 to 2004, propelled its ensemble cast, including Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and Courteney Cox, to superstardom.

The Guardian recently conducted an interview with Burrows to celebrate his return to sitcom directing for the upcoming Frasier reboot.

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During the interview, the conversation eventually shifted to his time on Friends, and Burrows shared his secret to working with the up-and-coming cast. He revealed that he gives the cast the confidence to take moments to the extreme, and he described himself as a "psychologist," which gives him a unique skill when directing actors.

Burrows mentioned that if he wants to add something funny, he presents it as an actor's idea. It is no surprise that Burrows had confidence in his ability to guide the Friends cast, as they became A-list talent while he was working with them. Before joining Friends, Burrows had already directed numerous comedy shows.

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His directing career began in 1975 and includes acclaimed titles such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Laverne & Shirley, Taxi, Night Court, and over 200 episodes of Cheers, which he co-created. Beyond his time on Friends, Burrows' career has continued to flourish. Between his work on Friends and his upcoming projects for the Frasier reboot, he has directed over 400 episodes of television. Some of the well-known shows he has worked on include Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly, and Will & Grace, on which he directed a staggering 246 episodes.

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While Friends is one of the projects he is most recognized for, Burrows' work has had a significant impact on television both before and after the show. His role in helping the tightly-knit ensemble of Friends refine their comedy, both individually and as a group, was crucial to the show's success. It is clear that Burrows' expertise and guidance played a vital role in making Friends the unforgettable sitcom that it is today. (Source: The Guardian)

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