Richard Curtis claims that Friends stole Mr. Bean’s infamous turkey-on-the-head gag.
In the 1998 episode The One With All The Thanksgivings, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) sticks the poultry on his head in order to scare Chandler (Matthew Perry), but he can’t remove it.
A similar scene appeared in Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean in 1992.
“I’m absolutely dazzled by the Friends thing. I only saw it the other day. I literally can’t believe what happened there. Bizarre,” Curtis said on Happy Birthday Mr Bean, a documentary which recently aired, on ITV.
Curtis co-wrote the original TV show, which aired for 15 episodes on ITV between 1990 and 1995, and starred co-creator Rowan Atkinson as the hapless buffoon.
“But in the end, you can’t steal jokes,” Atkinson joked about the similarity between the scenes. “Jokes are there to be stolen – or to inspire.”
You can view both scenes below and judge for yourself.
Meanwhile, the forthcoming Friends reunion is set to air in March 2021 after it was postponed last November due to the coronavirus pandemic
The special, set to air on HBO Max, is an unscripted special reuniting the original cast members.
Returning cast members include Matthew Perry as Chandler, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel, Courtney Cox as Monica, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe, David Schwimmer as Ross and Matt LeBlanc as Joey.
The Hollywood Reporter had previously said that the actors are set to “earn more than double their former per-episode fee for the reunion and be paid between $2.5 million and $3 million for the special.”
Marta Kauffman, co-creator of Friends, previously said of the special: “We all want it to happen; we just have to wait until it is safe. This is a show that is not scripted, but this is the way the show works – we are going to need a live audience.”
She continued: “Even if we socially distance that live audience, it really is a huge part of what Friends is… We can not do it without them. Everyone is all in and we are just waiting for that time when it feels connected to bring in a live audience.”