Here's what the cast of ''Friends'' is up to this week. Matthew Perry praises the regime change at ''The West Wing,'' and Jennifer Aniston is un-covered at the Rosie O'Donnell trial

By Gary Susman
Updated November 11, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

WELCOME MATT Matthew Perry returns to the White House in Wednesday’s ”The West Wing,” reprising his Emmy-nominated role from last season as jinxed Republican lawyer Joe Quincy. ”I actually sought out the job on ‘The West Wing’ because I was such a fan of the show,” Perry told the Associated Press. ”Actors look for good writing … and ‘West Wing’ in my opinion is the best writing in dramatic television.” Having worked on the show under the old Aaron Sorkin regime and now under its new writers, Perry says the writing is still top-notch. ”I think ‘West Wing’ is as good as it was … which is an amazing accomplishment given the genius of Aaron Sorkin,” he said. ”I would say it’s slightly more of a team effort over there.” Among the cast, Perry said he especially enjoyed working so closely with Richard Schiff. ”He’s a talented and nice man, and he made it fun,” Perry said of the actor who plays communications director Toby Ziegler. ”Maybe Richard Schiff and I will go on the road together and do a little vaudeville or something.”

FRIENDLY WITNESS Did Jennifer Aniston unwittingly help kill Rosie O’Donnell’s magazine? Her name came up twice in testimony in the current New York trial involving dueling breach-of-contract lawsuits between O’Donnell and publisher Gruner & Jahr over who’s to blame for the demise of Rosie magazine. At issue is who had final editorial say. Early in the trial, editor Susan Toepfer testified that, when she suggested putting Aniston on the cover, the onetime Queen of Nice launched into a tirade. ”She said, ‘That is an example of someone I don’t want to do. The girl has nothing to say,”’ Toepfer testified, according to the New York Daily News. Later in the trial, O’Donnell testified that she nixed the idea because ”Jennifer Aniston is on 19 magazine covers every month.” Aniston hasn’t commented on the legal proceedings.

MUFFIN MEN Is ”Friends” secretly ”TV’s gayest show”? That’s what writer Ned Zeman asserts in the new issue of Vanity Fair. He calls Ross, Chandler, and Joey ”lovably wisecracking girly-boys” who ”seem unaware of their obvious gayness.” After all, he writes, the guys like ”pastel neckties, sweater-vests and hair products,” and they spend a lot of time at Central Perk ”sharing muffins and lattes with the gals.”

Series co-creator David Crane, who is openly gay (Zeman says he’s part of Hollywood’s ”gay mafia”), dismisses the article as ”silly.” ”It seems incredibly naive and stereotypical,” he tells the Philadelphia Inquirer. For his part, Crane (who offers the obligatory assurance that there will not be an 11th season of ”Friends,” saying, ”There is no possibility on Earth. We absolutely, categorically will not do it.”) says he himself has never owned a sweater vest, owned only one pastel tie in the ’80s, and likes muffins and lattes, ”but no more or less than the next guy, straight or otherwise.” He does cop to ”wink-wink” storylines in the second season involving roomies Chandler and Joey. ”It was an arch conceit, all very tongue-in-cheek.” Okay, but what’s up with Ross and that spray-on tan?



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