Jennifer Anniston, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer in Friends

My Favorite Scene: Friends Season Five (1999) “Moving the Couch….PIVOT!”

I know we normally do “My Favorite Scene” on Tuesdays, but I felt like putting up a Monday morning laugh.  For the defining sitcoms of my teens and early twenties, I had Frasier and Friends, the latter of which was more pertinent to my life as my friends have been the story of mine, so a sitcom about a tightly knit group of them trying to figure out how to be adults (and failing miserably often as we so often all do, was my favorite).  There are so many hysterical moments over the show’s run, but one of my favorites is just a stupid moment when Chandler and Rachel are trying to help Ross move a couch up the stairs to his new apartment (the use of friends as slave labor is pretty much what a “contractor” is in your twenties).  It’s hysterically set up, but it’s David Schwimmer’s manic screaming of ‘PIVOT!” that absolutely slays me when I rewatch the clip.  Not just me either.  They had to do this scene a LOT, because Schwimmer’s PIVOT scream was causing them all to lose it as you can see in this retrospective/blooper.

44 thoughts on “My Favorite Scene: Friends Season Five (1999) “Moving the Couch….PIVOT!””

  1. Dave! You’re killing me! You have my permission to loathe something I loved when I was that age… Twin Peaks would be an easy target… but out of six characters, I did not want to strangle Joey. And Chandler got a pass because they gave him the best lines, but oh how I wanted to strangle him, deep inside. i just could not get with these shallow, naraccisistic people. Seinfeld might have been a show about sociopaths, but I felt like Jerry and Larry Davis were upfront about it, and I never once wanted to emulate Jerry’s life. But Friends kept asking me to relate to the characters, and I wanted nothing to do with them. Sorry, I don’t want to rain on your parade, I think I’m older than you and these things can be generational, and the show could be funny. I just could never get engaged.

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      1. When Chandler had the psycho roommate, and the guy said he bought a goldfish, and Chandler looked into the tank and said, “That’s a goldfish cracker”… THAT was funny. The episode where Ross thought Joey tried to save his life, and it turned out Joey was just protecting a sandwich… that was hysterical. Perhaps a case of a broken clock being right twice a day, but sometimes the show surprised me.

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      2. Did you ever see the episode where Joey and Rachel make each other read the other’s favorite book? Joey’s was The Shining and Rachel’s was Little Women. The Shining scared Rachel so badly she threw it in the freezer, and after mocking it for awhile, at the end of the episode Joey comes into the apartment really upset and looks right at Rachel and says quietly…..”Beth is sick”. And then requires a hug. I understand its critics, and no they were never deep people, but there were a lot of REALLY funny moments from that show. PIVOT!!!

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      3. I did see that episode. Joey was the one character I liked. He had a good heart, and wasn’t neurotic like the others. He was dense, but surrealistically so. Plus, I almost went into acting, and did not because it’s such an impossible profession, and I could relate to that aspect of his character. I thought that LeBlanc was charming too. I’m the one guy who loved the Lost in Space movie, it should have been a franchise. PIVOT!!!

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      1. Even in the takes that were used, Jerry would have trouble keeping a straight face sometimes. You could see him biting the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing. I wouldn’t have been able to do it, they were all comic geniuses.

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      2. The first season of Mork and Mindy is so incredible, it’s hard to fathom that the show only lated two seasons, but they screwed up retooling something that was perfect as it was. There must be a wealth of Williams outtakes out there. The stuff from Aladdin alone is supposed to be voluminous, but he made sure Disney couldn’t use it after he was dead.

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      3. Seinfeld has not aged well. It’s very STUCK in 1990s NYC, and while all shows are dated to a time, Seinfeld is also dated by a specific place, but I think the outtakes of most great sitcoms, and Seinfeld was at one time, are just as funny especially with actors good at improvisation. I think it’s a minor miracle that every episode of SNL isn’t derailed by the cast going completely off the rails, so when they do break, it’s absolutely hysterical.

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      4. It goes through tides and ebbs, but every time someone writes the show off as dead, it becomes culturally relevant again. It’s an institution that will always be so at least as long as Lorne Michaels is involved. Whether it survives his eventual loss (because when he did leave with the first cast the show did nearly die and only Eddie Murphy kept it on the air).

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      5. I disagree, the ebbs drown out the tides. The show’s natural state is like that of the Pequod’s, at the end of Moby Dick. There is a very obvious reason the show is doing well right now, and it ain’t because the show is funny. If SNL had some terrific, or even competent, competition, it would tank.

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      6. Nope, I’m right. It will remain right where it is and MadTV tried challenging it over a decade. It’s not the performers anymore, it’s the institution and it’s untouchable while Michaels is there.

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      7. The performers would be fine, if they would get some decent writers!

        MadTV was truly bizarre, and usually not very funny, and the fact that it managed to siphon any viewers at all away from SNL only proves my point. Though if you haven’t seen the MadTV Dateline spoof where they visited Skywalker ranch, you should. It’s not very kind to Lucas though…

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      8. I’m not sure “dated” is the word. You know that old comedy routine, where they guy used to say, “You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay, but you donts have to call me Johnson?” To me Seinfeld is kind of like that, only funny. It pretended to be social commentary, but in reality it had its own hermetically sealed vernacular.

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  2. Frasier was great though. Great ensemble cast, John Mahoney and David Hyde Pierce were wonderful. Bebe Newerth was wonderful too, whenever she made an appearance, and the actress who played Frasier’s agent was priceless. It was not exactly a relatable show, but it drew you in. Do you know what was different about how the show was filmed, something that was carried over from Cheers, and makes those two shows unique? It was shot on film, not video. It definitely had its own vibe.

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      1. You’re kidding. He’s not my favorite, but he’s on my short list. The show went downhill after he got together with Daphne.

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      1. The old Dick Van Dyke show, the one where he was married to Mary Tyler Moore, is maybe one of the top five sitcoms of all time IMO. I loved that he was a comedy writer…the scenes where he was working with his his two colleagues in that office were priceless. I wish he had done more with his career, but I suppose when you’ve been in a show like that, and Mary Poppins, and the Music Man, you’re lucky and successful enough.

        Did you see Martin Scorcesse’s Wolf of Wall Street? If you have not, do not consider this a recommendation, because I would never recommend that film to anyone. But there is a scene where Leonardo DiCaprio takes too many quaaludes, and tries to climb into a car and drive it, and I swear it was like watching Dick Van Dyke doing physical comedy in his prime. DiCaprio is THAT good.

        These people are so talented, it’s insane.

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      2. I never liked DiCaprio early on, but now I appreciate his acting. Dick Van Dyke pretending he was a car was classic. I think his alcoholism got in the way for a while. He still can be that DvD character when he wants. I know practically every one of those shows by heart. And the Golden Girls.

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      3. When he got hypnotized and would act drunk if he heard a bell lolololol back when he was using a manual typewriter, he’d switch from sober to drunk at the end of every line; it was brilliance!

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      4. LOL OMG the quaaludes scene!!! That has to be a My Favorite Scene soon. I didn’t like DiCaprio either when he first started, but my respect for him has grown because he pushes himself and he doesn’t ever rely on being a pretty boy and he disappeared after Titanic for a good while to avoid getting typecast as that. I know what you mean about Wolf, and I think we discussed this when it came out, but there’s something unhingedly fascinating about the film and there are times when it is DEEPLY hilarious. Matthew McConaughey’s chest thumping scene slays me too. PETER, you are brilliant! I’m making a note about quaaludes and let’s hope its not misinterpreted if someone finds it later.

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      5. Any show that has Niles fury-attending the opera and uses the exit line, “TONIGHT WHEN OPHEUS DESCENDS INTO HELL, I SHALL BE WAITING FOR HIM WITH A FRUIT BASKET!” was not pandering to the masses.

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      1. About 20 years ago he was in a production of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece Sweeney Todd in LA. The review were not kind, they said he had a stage presence, but that his voice was not up to it. I guess playing a serial killer in a musical that’s sung all the way through was too much of a stretch. You’ve got to know your limits. But after playing one character for so many years, I can understand the impulse to break out.

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    1. It’s one of my favorite moments from the show….and also sticks because I made the mistake of shouting it during moving a couch with my own friends and caused a furniture cascade because apparently I can get as much volume behind a PIVOT as David Schwimmer lol.

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