Joey was a Spin-Off of the wildly popular sitcom Friends. It transplanted wannabe actor Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) to Los Angeles, where he tried to make a go of becoming a big star. It added new characters such as Gina, his equally promiscuous sister, played by Drea de Matteo of The Sopranos; Michael, his sheltered nephew, played by Paulo Costanzo, and their neighbor Alex, played by Andrea Anders. Plots usually revolved around one of three things:
- A. Gina's love life in trouble.
- B. Michael's inability to get a date.
- C. Alex and Joey's romantic issues.
Some people were apprehensive about this spin-off as they were unsure of whether Joey would be able to stand on his own as a character and support his own show. The first episode drew in fairly impressive ratings (18 million viewers) and the show was successful enough to get a second season. Though in the second season NBC put it up against American Idol among other things, causing its ratings to drop which was the final nail in the coffin. In the middle of the second season, Joey was no more, at least in the US, the remaining episodes did air overseas and were eventually released on DVD... in Canada. A total of 46 episodes were released, from September, 2004 to May, 2006.
This show provides examples of:
- And Starring: Drea de Matteo
- Adam Westing: Brent Spiner and Carmen Electra both play hammed up versions of themselves, with Spiner being embittered in an I Am Not Spock kind of way and Electra being a Lovable Sex Maniac just as Joey was trying to faithful to his girlfriend.
- As Himself:
- Big Eater: Joey, just as much as ever.
- Brother–Sister Incest: Played for laughs - Gina kisses Joey deliberately to squick him out, so that he'll understand just how inappropriate it is to flirt with the actress playing his character's daughter.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Bobbi Morgenstern seems to be barely functional as a human being, given her many addictions, gaping personality flaws and general weirdness, but (a few big mistakes aside) she does seem to be a fairly skilled agent.
- Call-Back: Way back in the first season of Friends, Chandler mentioned that Joey got a lot of grief for pursuing an acting career rather than going into his father's plumbing business. "Joey and the Dad" shows the old man does have some lingering resentment about that, thinking Joey looked down on his profession and responding by generally being out of touch on Joey's various acting projects.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
- Zach was absent from the last five episodes of the series with no explanation and he was never mentioned or refered to again.
- Lauren the Deep Powder producer (played by Lucy Liu) appeared on several episodes and was set up as a potential love interest for Joey, but disappeared before anything could come of it.
- Continuity Nod:
- A subtle one; Way back in Season 3 of Friends Joey told Chandler that if he was the other man getting between a married couple he'd step back and let them try to work it out. Here he finds himself in a similar position with Donna and her husband and follows through on his own advice.
- More directly when discussing the possibility of telling a girl her loves her he reflects on how badly that ultimately went with Rachel.
- Dawson Casting: In-universe example: Joey flirts with an actress in her mid 20s at an audition, then finds out that she has been cast as the teenage daughter of the character he is auditioning for. While reading a scene with her, the two of them put in huge amounts of Double Entendre into all their lines, and finally end up making out. The casting director simply tells Joey "Never have a daughter!"
- Double Standard: Joey's middle-aged agent Bobbi, who frequently hit on Joey's 21-year-old nephew Michael. This was Played for Laughs until the end of season one, where she told Joey she could get Michael and a friend tickets to Revenge of the Sith, but used it to trick Michael into a date with her. Gina was pissed.
- Easter Egg: Joey has a picture of himself and Chandler near his door.
- The Eponymous Show
- Every Scar Has a Story: Played for Laughs. Joey recounts how each of his scars taught him an important lesson:Joey: [pointing at his hand] Don't touch the stove. [pointing at his mouth] Don't run with scissors in your mouth. [pointing at his tongue] Don't lick the peanut butter off steak knife. […] [pointing at the top of his head] Always stay seated in the roller-coaster.
- Fingore: One episode has Gina dating a man who used to work in a construction site until he lost a toe. Now that the money earned from the injury has ended, he's considering losing a finger...
- From the Ashes: Its failure to repeat the success of Friends was due to, as many critics pointed, the lack of interest in simply following one character when Friends was a show about an ensemble. Another problem was that many believed Joey had become too dumb and cartoonish by that point to really be able to carry an entire series on his own.
- Gone Horribly Right: Joey is told to woo a reporter in order for her to write flattering material. She proceeds to fall madly in love and think they're about to get married.
- Gosh Darn It to Heck!: When upset Alex exclams "Geez Luigi!".
- Hands-Off Parenting: One episode features Joey upset with an online critic who happens to be an 11-year-old girl. Her father lets Joey see her no questions asked despite the the visible anger he is showing. Then when witnessing a hug between the two, he offers Joey pizza.
- High-Five Left Hanging:
- In "Joey and the Taste Test", Lauren, who is Terrified of Germs to the point of avoiding skin-to-skin contact, questions Joey about his relationship with his co-star:Lauren: So, you and Katie- what's going on there?
Joey: Oh, well, I'm a gentleman, so let's just say I'm still circling the airport, but I have been given permission to land. [holds up hand for a high five]
Lauren: I'm going to leave you hanging on that one.
- In "Joey and the High School Friend", as Joey is describing his relationship with the high school friend:Joey: I mean, we hit on all these girls together except for each other's sisters. That was our code. Okay, which was really hard because his sisters were hot and my sisters were slutty. [holds up his hand to Michael]
Michael: What? I'm not gonna high-five that.
Joey: Okay, I may have just made an offensive comment about your aunts and mother, but you never leave me hanging.
Michael: Okay, whatever. [smacks his hand]
- Later that episode, Joey holds up his hand for another high five after making an inappropriately timed comment. Michael stares at him in disbelief, and he admits, "All right, that was a bad one, but you gotta do it!" Michael just walks out of the room.
- In "Joey and the Taste Test", Lauren, who is Terrified of Germs to the point of avoiding skin-to-skin contact, questions Joey about his relationship with his co-star:
- Hypocritical Humor: Gina is often critical of others' decisions, such as saying Joey was rushing things by wanting to move in with his new girlfriend.Joey: "You like thinking through life's big decisions?" (points at Michael)
- I Am Your Father: Inverted—everybody except Michael's father is aware that Michael is his son.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Like with Friends, episode titles follow a fill-in-the-blank formula. In this case, it's "Joey and the __".
- It Will Never Catch On: In the pilot, Joey is given the choice between two shows, one about nurses and one about cops. He goes with the cop show, thinking the nurses one will not be any good. One Gilligan Cut later, the cop show is cancelled before it even airs while Nurses is a smash hit.
- Laugh Track: One of the last NBC comedies to have one. The failure of this show, as well as the success of The Office (which began airing in between Joey's two seasons), are the reasons that most NBC comedies of the new millennium were free-camera sitcoms without laugh tracks. (The three-camera sitcom is currently making a comeback, though, due to CBS's skyrocketing ratings.)
- May–December Romance: Michael's first fling is a forty-something book store owner. Who in turn is cheating on him with a much older teacher...
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Gloria Tribbiani was a very fertile woman in her day, given Joey and his seven sisters. Apparently she repeatedly managed to get pregnant again almost immediately upon giving birth, as all the Tribbiani siblings are nine months apart in age.
- Mistaken for Gay: Joey's sister Gina thought that Chandler and Joey were a gay couple. Understandable, considering they did squabble like man and wife.
- Mistaken for Servant: In "Joey and the Fancy Sister", Joey's sister Mary-Theresa comes to visit and mistakes Alex for a Hispanic maid. Alex is conflict-avoidant enough that she goes along with it, doing her laundry and pretending that she only speaks Spanish.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Joey accidentally revealed that a specific character was going to be killed off in an early episode of his new show, Deep Powder in a press junket. The rest of the episode featured Joey being worried that he'd be killed off in retaliation for the leak, but the producers of the show instead killed off a different character, who was played by a Jerkass that nobody involved with the show liked.
- No Poker Face: In "Joey and the Poker". While playing poker with Alex and thoroughly losing, Joey wonders what he's doing wrong. Then he draws three new cards, and his eyes go big and he gasps before pressing his mouth into a line and trying to act nonchalant.Joey: Alright, well, I guess I'll raise.
Alex: I fold.
Joey: It's like you can read my mind!
- No Stunt Double: In-Universe. In one episode, Joey is forced to perform a stunt himself when he gets his double injured.
- Same Story, Different Names: While not all a number of plotlines seem to be rather similar to things Joey or other characters went through on Friends. In particular Joey getting a big role in a successful but very goofy TV show only for his character to be killed off due to him getting a swelled head is almost exactly how his first stint on Days Of Our Lives went.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Joey is a Casanova with an IQ of 2; Michael's a refugee from The Big Bang Theory.
- Serious Business: Gina does not take lightly to Alex claiming she made a better lasagna than her, and orders a "taste test".
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare:
- Joey says, "I did the soap thing, but I can be serious. 'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?' That's Romeo." Alex notes that it's actually Juliet, making Joey disappointed.
- Another episode has Joey playing Richard III... and performing the opening soliloquy right before a cowboy musical.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: From Joey to Lauren when she's having a freak-out:Lauren: What was that for?
Joey: To calm. You. Down.
- Smooth-Talking Talent Agent : Joey has an agent named Bobbi. She's shown to be ditzy and has an obsessive crush on Joey's nephew. She manages to get Joey a role on a hit series, only to get his character killed off by suggesting he ask for a raise. At one point, she takes Joey's sister Gina under her wing. Gina also engages in some sleazy acts, such as sleeping with a client.
- Standard Snippet: The William Tell Overture plays as Joey rushes to The Tonight Show. In a pink motorcycle!
- Stealth Insult: Gina learns that Mary-Theresa's engagement ring is fake, which Mary-Theresa doesn't know. She tells her that she truly deserves it.
- Teen Pregnancy: Part of Gina's backstory.Gina: That's the good thing about having a kid so young.
Joey: Yeah, you rarely hear the argument for teen pregnancy.
- Terrified of Germs: Lauren. In her first appearance, she grabs a tissue to use to shake hands with Joey.
- Translation by Volume: In "Joey and the Fancy Sister", Joey's sister Mary-Theresa comes to visit and mistakes Alex for a maid. She tells her loudly and slowly, "Hola! We are out of towels!"
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Joey/Alex/Dean.
- Viva Las Vegas!: "Joey and the Road Trip", where Joey is sent to be the judge of a beauty pageant, and brings everyone along, with Michael making lots of money and Alex fangirling over Celine Dion frontrow seats.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the finale of Friends, Joey bought a baby chick and duck for Monica and Chandler's housewarming, before deciding that he should have them. The birds do not seem to make the move to LA with Joey.
- Will They or Won't They?: Joey and Alex in Season 2.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: At the end of Season 1, Deep Powder ran a stunt where viewers would get to vote in an online poll which one of the main characters would be killed off. Thanks to some bungling on Howard's part (he thought the question was who should be kept), Joey's character lost out big time. However, because of Joey's popularity on the series, they were going to keep him. At Bobbi's suggestion, Joey then asked for a raise... which promptly led to him filming a death scene.
- Zany Scheme