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Friends: The True Story Behind Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Cameo

Jean-Claude Van Damme starred in a notable episode of Buddies season 2. Here is why he had a cameo on the sitcom and the way it labored out for NBC.  

 Van Damme made a cameo look in Buddies season 2, and it turned out to be throughout one of the vital notable episodes within the sitcom’s historical past. The Belgian actor was nonetheless on the peak of his recognition when the episode aired in January 1996. Recognized for martial arts motion movies, Van Damme’s Buddies look marked the actor’s first-ever TV position. Primarily based on the reception, it made sense why the actor by no means stored a spotlight on the small display screen.  

Van Damme appeared in “The One After The Superbowl, Half 2,” the second half of a particular episode that aired after Tremendous Bowl XXX. When Ross tried to reunite with Marcel the monkey, his search took him to the set of a movie titled Outbreak 2: The Virus Takes Manhattan. The others accompanied Ross to the set, together with Monica and Rachel, who set their sights on the film’s star, Jean-Claude Van Damme. Enjoying a model of himself, Van Damme turned the goal of Monica and Rachel’s affection. As the 2 ladies argue who ought to get the prospect to this point the film star, they each realized they might do higher after he requested a threesome with Drew Barrymore.  

Van Damme was a widely known determine after starring in movies like Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Timecop, and Avenue Fighter. Primarily based on his notoriety, it made sense why Buddies added him to the ever-growing listing of superstar cameos. Slightly than give him a fictional position, the writers thought his cameo would repay if he performed a model of himself fittingly engaged on the set of an motion film. Granted, Van Damme’s visitor look coincided with a really particular two-part episode of Buddies. Lead-out packages on the evening of the Tremendous Bowl are identified for being high-profile new releases. In 1996, NBC determined to go together with their hottest sitcom, however they want additional components to draw viewers.  

To seize that new layer of consideration, the collection invited a handful of visitor stars. Except for Van Damme, “The One After The Superbowl” featured Julia Roberts, Brooke Shields, Chris Isaak, Fred Willard, and Dan Castellaneta. Broadcasting the Tremendous Bowl was already a giant win for NBC, however the community had the mission of constructing it the highest-grossing ad-revenue day in tv historical past. To take action, there needed to be record-breaking viewership for the post-Tremendous Bowl timeslot. Whereas Buddies was already an immensely common program, NBC wished the collection to show it up a couple of notches. The episode was a fantastic success, changing into the most-watched Buddies episode and the highest-rated Tremendous Bowl lead-out program of all time.  

Regardless of the record-breaking viewership numbers, the episode itself did not get stellar evaluations. Van Damme’s efficiency, specifically, wasn’t well-received based mostly on his failed try at comedy. In accordance with the director of the episode, Michael Lembeck, Buddies stars even disliked working with Van Damme. In the long run, Van Damme’s cameo, in addition to the appearances by different main visitor stars, helped the community obtain its objective of elevating the requirements when it got here to post-Tremendous Bowl programming. Following his Buddies cameo, Van Damme has solely appeared in a small handful of TV exhibits,  guest-starring as variations of himself.  

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