It’s hard to dispute the influence and popularity of the 90s sitcom Friends, even today. Just last year, Netflix paid $100 million to stream it through 2019. This year, Pottery Barn unveiled their Friends-inspired collection, including the infamous “apothecary table.” It’s safe to say that the show still has a lot of fans. So it’s unsurprising that news that Marcel the monkey may be returning to TV is making headlines.
Who Was Marcel the Monkey?
Marcel, played by real life capuchin monkey Katie, was Ross’s pet in season 1. He lived with paleontologist Ross (David Schwimmer) until he matured. (Like in real life, mature primate pets are not as fun as baby monkeys. And in fact, some wildlife experts blame Marcel for the rise in capuchins surrendered to refuges.) So Ross gave Marcel to the San Diego Zoo, where he lived until the zoo started loaning him out for movies–art imitates life, etc.
In real life, after Katie’s run on Friends, she made a couple of uncredited appearances on shows like 30 Rock and The Loop, before disappearing from television. She’s also spent time as “Rally Monkey,” the mascot for the baseball team the Los Angeles Angels.
But She’s Coming Back to TV?
John Landgraf, the CEO of the FX network, used to be the Vice President of Primetime at NBC, when shows like Friends ruled the air. When he was watching the pilot episode of FX’s adaptation of Brian Vaughan’s graphic novel Y: The Last Man, he spotted a familiar face. “I recognize Jennifer Aniston, I recognize Courteney Cox and I recognize that monkey!” he told reporters during FX’s TCA party.
In the pilot, Katie stars as Ampersand, the companion for Barry Keoghan’s Yorick Brown, the last man on Earth. Once again, Katie is playing a male role, as Ampersand is the only other male mammal who’s survived whatever decimated the planet’s male populations. Ampersand travels with Yorick as he tries to figure out what happened.
Despite Katie’s role in the pilot, that’s still no guarantee that she’ll be an ongoing part of the series. The show, which was picked up, has a new showrunner, Eliza Clark. A lot of things could be retooled, including Katie’s role–she could be replaced by a CGI version entirely, for example. Nevertheless, she has her ultimate boss’s full confidence, as Landgraf also said that she’s “still as good!”
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf.