Friends: Chris Haston
Ken Tucker
February 16, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

The ”Friends” special is more awkward than amusing

Matt LeBlanc proved to be last night’s Most Valuable Player in the super size ”Friends” hour. As costar of the main plotline last night — LeBlanc’s Joey replaces guest star Susan Sarandon’s soap diva character on ”Days Of Our Lives” — LeBlanc held his own with Sarandon; the duo made a fine comic team, atuned to each others’ rhythms.

Meanwhile, the subplot about a cell phone that Rachel and Phoebe found in the coffee shop was certainly a prime candidate for some careful pruning, had this been a regular sized episode.

Instead of live ”Saturday Night Live” segments afterward, we got a ”Friends” bloopers segment called ”The Stuff You’ve Never Seen,” but you sorta had: It was like every blooper reel known to TV — blown lines, accidental falls, naughty words bleeped. Hosted by Conan O’Brien with a strange combination of cool and ”what the hell am I doing here?”, LeBlanc’s goofs proved the funniest (you can’t go wrong with a well timed passing gas ad lib).

The segment, which involved the cast sitting around, smiling politely, and studiedly not setting up the clips, lest they look like shills (which they had been placed in the position of being anyway), was ultimately more awkward than amusing. I’ll bet no one’s going to be more glad when this ”Survivor” thing blows over than these fine actors, unless it’s the fine actors over on ”The Gilmore Girls.”

What do you think of super size ”Friends”?

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