I hate syndication cuts. It wasn’t so bad when I was a kid and either didn’t know or would forget what they cut from the episode (most of the time). But in this day of TV shows on DVD it’s real easy to look back at the uncut version of an episode. Sometimes the edit is small, so small it’s barely noticeable. But usually it’s a joke or line of dialogue (or even whole scene) which I really miss when I watch the re-run. Sometimes they will cut part of a joke, making the pay off later make absolutely no sense! And I always loved when a cut scene would be replayed over the closing credits, and you’re wondering where in the heck that moment was!
I get it, add revenue and all that. But it annoys me when a program I liked has been slashed apart. I know I am not alone in this because many shows like Roseanne and Cosby foolishly released the syndication versions of the episodes on DVD. People were so pissed they restored the episodes and re-released the series.
This has bugged me for ages and I could list examples all day. Seinfeld eliminated a lot of Jerry’s stand up routines that began (and in the early days ended and were also in the middle) each episode, Murphy Brown lost the cool openings set to different types of music, theme songs are often cut back or eliminated altogether (like Head of the Class’s longer opening I love but hardly see), many shows lose tags or teasers (which in some cases I still have never seen), and I couldn’t believe the edits in episodes of Star Trek when I finally caught the unedited versions! I watch TNG on BBC America these days and once in awhile an edit still will piss me off! I have seen then lop off an entire final scene or a major piece of dialogue. Don’t they know that show was MADE for syndication? I used to love watching re-runs of Benson, but was surprised to find out a young Jerry Seinfeld appeared in a few of them. BECAUSE ALL HIS SCENES WERE CUT. Also cut were the tags, it wasn’t until I got the DVD release I could finally see those. Some may remember back on Halloween I talked about a Night Court episode where the syndication edits created plot holes in the episode. And finally, music license concerns cause this to, as we see in re-runs of WKRP or the butchered Muppet family Christmas.
There are two that kill me to this day. One is TV Land which edits in commercials wherever they damn want, literally breaking a scene into two halves. Do they know TV shows are created with commercial breaks in mind?Â I will not watch that station because of the way they rip apart the shows. Also TBS decided to save money by showing the syndicated 7th season opening to Friends. How does that save money? That opening was cut in half so it is not as long. So the opening credits do not even come close to matching the season the episode is actually in! These days they run the opening credits over the show, avoiding it altogether. Thank goodness why would I want to watch the opening credits?? Sigh. Thank the lord for TV shows on DVD. Oh by the way, Netflix sucks. The episodes of Family Ties and Friends are the syndicated versions of these episodes! WTF??
However, all this being said there is another side to that coin. Once in awhile the edit cuts a stupid moment which I didn’t like. And I’m happy to not see it again. For instance the re-run of the Everybody Loves Raymond episode “What’s up with Robert?” cuts the end when Frank pops up and the scene is just awkward. Or how about the Big Bang Theory which cuts the ending teaser of the very first episode, and a horrid line of Sheldon’s which is out of character and inappropriate.
This happened more than a few times on one of my favorite shows, Friends. The DVD release of Friends was beautiful because not only did they restore the syndicated cut scenes, but they even included scenes which were cut even before the episodes aired for he first time. It’s really amazing when you watch an uncut episode and see little gags and even important lines that make the episode make much more sense. At tines it’s like watching a whole new show. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few cuts I wish they had left in, mostly because the joke was lame or just didn’t need to be there.
Let’s go thru a few examples of both to illustrate what I mean. First, syndication edits of Friends I actually like (in no special order)!
Ross Porno Store (The One Where Chandler Canâ€™t Cry)
This is one of those times I was hoping a line would be cut. It was so lame. This is the episode were we discover Phoebe did a porno (it turns out to be Ursual). Joey and Ross come in and Joey explains he found her tape in a prono store. For some reason, Ross launches into a fake explanation for how he happened to run into Joey there. I don’t know, it just bugs me. He’s an adult and can go into one those stores, besides there was no reason they would assume he was there anyway. It was just a bad, forced line.
I HATE when series leave in their episodes re-caps with two parters of cliffhangers. Ir makes sense when he show firts aired since it was a week ago (or more) and people may have forgotten (or missed it), but when it;s in re-runs it’s only the next day (heck possibly only seconds later with some networks) so the recaps are showing us things we literally just saw. Friends eliminated at least two of these which I don’t miss at all.
Phoebe’s bad Gay Joke (The One in London)
So in the episode where Ross is getting married, we get a scene where Rachel realizes she still loves him. Phoebe says they all knew, and Rachel is shocked and asks why they did not tell her. Phoebe explains because it’s so obvious, “It’s like telling Monica..hey, you like to clean!”. Great line, but the full scene spoils the joke when Phoebe adds “Or to Joey, hey you’re so gay!”. Rachel reacts in confusion and scene ends…but that joke is forced not to mention making no sense and I am glad that they cut it.
To much Jean Claude (The One After the Super Bowl)
In this over bloated episode, we see Monica and Rachel fight over who gets to date Jean Claude Van Damme (don’t worry it’s as lame as it sounds). What often gets cut in syndication is one final scene between Van Damme and the two girls where they say goodbye or whatever. I like the syndicated version better, where we see Ross’s montage with Marcel dissolve into him saying goodbye, and that’s it. We didn’t need this final Jean Claude moment.
Joey Interrupts Ross (The One with the Yeti)
This was a stupid joke which didn’t even make the network broadcast. Actually it happens in two different episodes. In one episode when Emily calls to tell Ross she loves him, Joey bothers her on the phone which is dumb. Even worst comes in the episode where they finally break up. Ross and Emily are having a serious talk when Joey foolishly picks up the extension. It beaks the mood, and since the gag was cut the creators must have agreed.
Endless football gameÂ (The One with all the Football)
To be honest, the syndicated episode has a much stronger ending! This is the episode where Ross and Monica compete over a football game. In the re-run, the episode ends with Monica and Ross grabbing the ball and fighting over it. In the original version we get the gang eating Thanksgiving dinner around the coffee table while Monica and Ross continue to argue about the ball outside, into the night. Then we see Ross and Monica agree to get rid of the Geller Cup down a trash chute, but it turns out Monica had Phoebe planted to secretly capture the trophy. Before Phoebe can get it, Ross appears. Enough, we get it!!!!
Sometimes things just can’t appear on network TV, and there are at least three gags which you can only see on the DVD. In “The One with Phoebeâ€™s Uterus”, Monica teaches Chandler about sex and actually simulates it. In the re-run the scene just ends. On the DVD we see Monica, Rachel and Chandler make bee line to private quarters! In “The One where everyone finds out”, Ross wants to get Ugly Naked Guy’s apartment. He decides to bond with him be also being naked. And we get a glimpse of that in the DVD version. Finally, in “The One with the Cheap Wedding Dress” Ross and Joey have scared off a girl at a restaurant. Ross asks if Joey wants to eat anyway, and Joey responds “Does a bear take a **** in the woods?” Obviously this exchange did not make the broadcast version.
Ok so let’s be fair. Usually these edits suck, taking away a great line or joke…and some are so bad they hurt the episode! Here are some more Friends syndication edits, but these are so bad they boggle my mind!
Monica crashing into Rachel (The One with the Chick and a Duck)
This one is bad. When the re-run came along I couldn’t figure out why Rachel has a broken rib in this episode. I had forgotten the original version. Ir finally made sense when I saw the uncut episode again. In the teaser, Monica is trying to learn to roller skate and crashes into Rachel. There are a lot of teasers in this series you could cut, this was not one of them!!
Chandler spins and vanishes (The One with the Boots)
Oh I love this one! It’s just cutting another Chandler joke (why so many of his jokes got cut always baffle me) but it creates one huge goof! Ross walks in, alone, and says he just picked up Ben. Chandler spins around and notes that Ross didn’t do a thorough job. Ross explains he dropped Ben off, and then the scene continues. In the re-run those lines were trimmed, but if you watch you can see Chandler start to spin around…and then cut to Ross continuing the scene sans joke. Chandler doesn’t appear for the rest of the scene it almost looks like he just vanished into thin air.
Chandler’s clearly dubbed line (The one with the Flashback)
I want to talk about this one as an example of fixing an edit to cover the edit. See, sometimes the creators are smart enough to figure out that their edit leaves a big hole. Like In he Seinfeld episode “The Contest” when Elaine reveals she is attending an aerobics class, the line is dubbed because the original reveal was cut from the show. The same thing happens in this episode, when Chandler leaves for work we heard him state that he is leaving for work in a clearly dubbed voice. They cut out a joke he says right after saying he has to go to work from the scene-and to be fair it was no big loss, but the edit is very obvious!!!
Sir Limpsalot? (The one with all the Thanksgivings)
I can forgive a cut joke, I really can, but this one I can’t ignore! In this episode it’s revealed that Monica accidentally cit the tip off Chandler’s toe. Chandler comment that because of that “he was called Sir Limpsalot for an entire year”. They cut that line out, which would be OK. Except they left in Ross’s response! So in the re-run Ross claims he came up with that nickname that no one had brought up!
Joey as father of the bride (The One with Phoebe’s Wedding)
So in the episode where Phoebe gets married, we see in the opening that Phoebe asks Joey to stand in for the father of the bride. Joey takes this a little to seriously as he talks to Mike later. The problem? That scene of Phoebe asking Joey to do that is cut so if you watch the re-run you can only guess at why Joey is being a such a jerk in the episode.
The Poker Plot Hole (The One With All the Poker)
I talked before about how some of these edits leave plot holes in the episode. Here is a prime example. We see the girls trying to learn Poker from Monica’s aunt. But when they play the guys, they still lose. In the re-run, the scene cuts from them losing to the next time they try to play. And suddenly Rachel is kicking ass. How could this happen? In an edited scene we see Monica’s aunt again who gives them another lesson! Ah!!! Oh, and here’s another one from the same episode. Phoebe comments that “Joker is Poker with a P”. In the re-run, Chandler says “Hey, that’s Joincidence with a C!”. This makes more sense when you realize that after Phoebe’s line, she said “Coincidence?”..making Chandler’s follow up make actual sense!!
But Didn’t Joey hear THAT already? (The One with the Dirty Girl)
Just like the Sir Limpsalot one, a payoff is given even though the setup was cut.Â There is a scene in the syndicated episode where Rachel ruins that Beth dies in Little Women, and Joey gets upset as the scene cuts. When we get the tag we see Joey all upset because Beth isnâ€™t doing so well. But didn’t Rachel already spoil that? This makes more sense when we see the unedited episode, where Rachel is convinced by Chandler and Ross to take back what she said about Beth dying because Joey was so upset about it. Why didnâ€™t they cut the tag instead?
Shows being cut for re-runs have been a part of TV since re-runs basically began. So what do you guys think? Do you get annoyed when a favorite episode has been slashed for syndication? Comment below and let me know.