- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Marta Kauffman, co-creator, writer and executive producer of “Friends,” knows that the comedy landscape has changed since millions tuned in weekly to see what was happening with Ross and Rachel.

“I believe someone at some point really needs to reinvent the sitcom. That’s not working so great anymore,” she said in a recent phone interview.

Comedy has changed, she said - noting that shows like Amazon’s ‘Transparent’ are less joke-oriented and more chilly than comedy once was.

“The characters aren’t so nice. They’re not always people that I would choose to bring into my bedroom, and I think that’s part of what makes it hard to have a completely successful comedy,” she said.

Kauffman’s got her own comedy for Netflix called “Grace and Frankie,” which is now up on the streaming site. It stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin who play women whose husbands (played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) leave them for each other.

Kauffman talks about making a show for people over 50 and why we won’t see Dolly Parton on ‘Grace and Frankie”- at least for now.

Associated Press: I can’t help it but when I heard that Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin were doing a TV show together my mind immediately went to Dolly Parton.

Kauffman: I know. Here’s the thing. Until the show is established as a world of its own, when you bring Dolly Parton into it, who I love by the way. I love her, I love everything about her. When you bring her in what it takes you to is, ‘Oh, it’s a 9-to-5’ reunion.’ We haven’t established ‘Grace and Frankie’ yet as individuals so you can enjoy that without it taking you out of the show so that’s why I’m hesitant.

AP: Once you had Jane and Lily on board, was it easy to cast the rest of the show?

Kauffman: I’m sure that’s why we were able to get Sam and Martin. I also think that all four of them were really looking forward to a steady gig as the most important people in a show. There aren’t a lot of shows where … the four leads are all of this age. I think that was exciting. I know it certainly was to Jane and Lily. I believe there was an element of that for Sam and Martin too.

AP: Has Netflix shown any reservation at all about who their audience is for this show?

Kauffman: Never once. If there was reservation we never heard it. What you have here is an opportunity to target a marginalized audience. Nobody targets a show for people over 50, no one. The baby boomers who are over 50 are the largest segment of our population. (Netflix) saw this as an opportunity to reach out as a new audience for them.

AP: A trend right now in entertainment is to do reboots or remakes. Will we ever see a reboot or a remake of ‘Friends’?

Kauffman: I hope not. (Laughs.) Will they try to redo it? I don’t know. I don’t know how that works honestly legally. We know we’re not ever, ever, ever doing a reunion. I think it would be really stupid to do reboots. I don’t understand reboots. It makes it feel like we’ve run out of ideas.


Follow Alicia Rancilio online at https://www.twitter.com/aliciar




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