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Quick Takes: The Middle’s Charlie McDermott on Recreating the Friends Open in “The Confirmation” 

Quick Takes: The Middle’s Charlie McDermott on Recreating the Friends Open in “The Confirmation”
Photo Credit: Michael Ansell/ABC
Photo Credit: Michael Ansell/ABC

Warning: Spoilers for The Middle

During the latest episode of ABC’s The Middle, the show briefly paid homage to a late great sitcom.

It all happened when Sue and Brad took it upon themselves to cheer up Lexie. They incorrectly deduced she was feeling the sting of Axl’s rejection. In reality, Lexie and Axl were secretly dating.

This cheer-Lexie-up mission took the form of a game night and a blind date with a hot guy. But the TV fans in us were most impressed to see Sue and Brad drag Lexie into a fountain where they recreated the Friends open.

The lucky director who was able to bring this fun recreation to life was none other than The Middle cast member Charlie McDermott, who was making his network comedy directorial debut.

Photo Credit: Michael Ansell/ABC

When TV Goodness gushed about this brief but beautiful moment in “The Confirmation,” McDermott revealed an awesome fact: the fountain Sue, Brad and Lexie used for this scene? It was the actual fountain used in the original Friends open.

TV Goodness: One of my favorite moments from the episode was the recreation of the Friends open. Can you talk about doing that?

Charlie McDermott: That was awesome. That Friends fountain is actually in the Heck house backyard but it’s always hidden by a bush. We’ve been at the Friends fountain for eight years now so it’s cool to actually use it in something. It was really cool for me to get the chance to direct that because I don’t think anyone’s reenacted the Friends opening since the Friends opening so, yeah, that was really very cool, too. And that was something that was in the table draft script but I was worried it would get cut before we started to shoot it and it didn’t get cut so I was happy.

TV Goodness: Did you rewatch the Friends open over and over before bringing it to life?

McDermott: We probably watched like ten seconds of it — just the fountain part. The one thing that we realized though, the one thing that came up was the wardrobe question. As the seasons progressed, the friends get wetter and wetter. In the very beginning, they’re not in the fountain, they’re just outside the fountain, just dancing in front of it. And then around Season 5 they’re in the fountain and they’re soaking each other so we had to decide whether we wanted in or out of the fountain. It was pretty unanimous that we wanted them in the fountain. Everyone was splashing water.

TV Goodness: That’s perfect. I really love that you had the fountain right there the whole time. That makes it easy.

McDermott: It’s very cool. It’s right at the entrance…we work at the Warner Bros. Ranch it’s called so it’s like a subset of Warner Bros. — the massive Warner Bros. Studio — it’s about a mile away. It’s a tiny one with a neighborhood. And when you drive into the ranch, it’s the first thing you see is the Friends fountain but the way we use the camera you can never tell. They’ve made that a bunch of things. Every time we’ve had Axl at football, there’s one season when we actually went to a football field. All the football games have been at the Friends fountain, there’s just a wall blocking the fountain. It’s really crazy.

By the end of “The Confirmation,” Axl outed his relationship with Sue’s best friend Lexie. The Middle airs Tuesday nights at 8/7c on ABC.

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