Why Matthew Perry Doesn't Get Many TV Offers Anymore

People everywhere fell in love with Matthew Perry's sense of humor and comedic timing when he landed the role of Chandler Bing in Friends. Since then, he's acted in movies, more TV shows and debuted his own play — but we just don't see as much of him as we used to. So why don't we see much of Perry on TV anymore? We have a few theories.

Friends was a huge hit

The Friends phenomenon took over TV (and now Netflix) for the 10 years it ran on NBC. Prior to the show, Perry had appeared in a couple of films and some TV shows, but the six-person comedy really put him on the acting map. According to Encyclopedia Britannica online, the show managed to stay within the top five of the Nielsen ratings from season 2 all the way to the final episode in season 10. During season 8, Friends climbed to number one. The David Crane and Marta Kauffman creation also won six Emmy Awards, one of which was Outstanding Comedy Series.

The show's success was undeniable, and Bing was the goofy guy viewers couldn't help but love. Although Perry was an important part of Friends, he's still etched into many fans' minds as Bing (he even appeared on Caroline in the City as his character). The character was an important one for him but he may be too closely associated with the comedy to see him in other roles.

He battled addiction

When the Massachusetts born actor started working on Friends, he was already abusing alcohol. Then, he was in a jet ski accident that began his addiction to painkillers in 1997. He said the doctor told him to take the painkillers and, when he did, he liked the pain-free feeling.

"I felt better than I ever felt in my entire life. I had a big problem with pills and alcohol, and I couldn't stop," Perry admitted.

He said he was never high while working on the successful sitcom but was instead "painfully hungover." Things progressed enough that he wasn't able to hide his problem from the cast and crew. During the 10 seasons of Friends, Perry went to rehab twice.

"I was a hopelessly narcissistic guy, and I only thought about myself, and then that just shifted, and when that happened, I got some true happiness and comfort in my life," he said. The actor is now sober and an advocate for drug offenders. He wants to help the nonviolent ones be rehabilitated. He's even started the Perry House, a male sober house in Malibu.

He worked in movies

Perry isn't just a television actor, he also has a list of feature films he's appeared in. He landed his first role in 1988's A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon, before he was cast in Friends. Following the popular show, he's appeared in several more flicks, but none have been huge successes.

According to Rotten Tomatoes' box office numbers, his film that made the most in theaters was 17 Again (with Zac Efron). That film brought in $64 million. The Whole Nine Yards was second in revenue, bringing in $57 million. His other films don't even compare to those numbers. A Toronto Star critic actually spoke about Perry's performance in the latter film saying, "Almost everybody wants Matthew Perry dead in The Whole Nine Yards. This would be a good thing if it were to stop him from making more movies." Ouch.

His TV guest appearances have done well

When it comes to doing a short cameo in a TV series, Perry has done pretty well throughout his career. He had a memorable appearance in Growing Pains, went on Courteney Cox's Cougar Town and had small roles in Childrens Hospital, Charles in Charge, Empty Nest, Who's the Boss? and The West Wing. His role in The West Wing was so well received that Perry earned two Emmy nods for outstanding guest actor in a drama series in both 2003 and 2004. Maybe he should just stick to the guest roles?

But his lead roles haven't been so loved

Mr. Sunshine was Perry's 2011 sitcom. He was a writer and executive producer on the show and, before it even aired, it had the New York Times skeptical. They called the show's content "predictable and even trite" and, before the first season was even finished airing, it was canceled. TV Series Finale says the show got "off to a strong start with a 3.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 10.52 million viewers" but it lost 30 percent of its viewers by the second week.

Go On was another sitcom starring Perry that didn't fair so well — it was canceled after the first season. Again, the New York Times weren't on board with this show calling the premiere "clunky" and saying, "it looks as if it will be tough going." It was tough going for the show and Perry alike, who commented on the cancellation.

"It was sort of a sad day because of the people and I'm going to miss them," he told a reporter.

The Odd Couple didn't see Friends success

The Odd Couple is Perry's most recent attempt to get his TV career back on track. It's (yet another) remake of the original that Perry helped to develop. Vicki Hyman, a film critic from NJ.com, watched the first episode for review and had some pretty harsh words for the 47-year-old.

"Perry's line readings are stiff, and his reaction shots can be seen from outer space," she wrote. "He acts as if he has no faith in the material, which is a wonder since he developed the remake himself."

After 38 episodes and only three seasons, CBS didn't order any more episodes of The Odd Couple. That's 198 episodes less than Friends.

His playwright debut tanked

Perry decided to add playwright to his resume in early 2017 with The End of Longing. He also starred in the "bittersweet comedy that proves broken people don't need to stay broken," as Broadway.com described it. The play made its debut in London's West End Theatre and the critics, who are usually open to new playwrights, tore into the show.

Variety's Matt Trueman said, "It might be quite courageous, were it not so awkward to watch — a star vehicle with its wheels falling off, and its star never quite in control. As it is, it's hard not to feel that both actor and audience are being exploited." The Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish said "there's little disguising the fact that it is essentially a dud."

What's next?

Although his playwright debut didn't do well in London, Perry is bringing it to New York. According to Broadway.com, Jennifer Morrison, Quincy Dunn-Baker and Sue Jean Kim will join the actor for his production at New York's Lucille Lortel Theatre beginning in the summer of 2017.

It's also likely that we'll see Perry pursue different types of acting roles and more writing in the future. He's been working on a Reelz miniseries, The Kennedys: After Camelot, alongside Katie Holmes, which is set for release later in 2017. It's a new type of role for him but he likes it.

"Jobs like this [The Kennedys] and writing... they are more interesting to me," he explained to Fox News. "I don't even know how many episodes of sitcoms I've done, but I've done a lot of them and this stuff is more interesting."