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Way Back When: Matthew Perry

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You know him best as Chandler Bing, king of sarcasm on ‘Friends,’ but in today’s Way Back When, we take a look at Matthew Perry before he became one of our TV BFFs.

‘Charles in Charge’

One of Matthew Perry’s earliest acting gigs cast him as the straight guy who shows up with a total dork-ball for a double date on ‘Charles in Charge.’ Was Charles in charge of choosing Perry’s wardrobe? Because we approve — that is one seriously sensible sweater vest.

‘A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon’

Perry starred with River Phoenix (R.I.P.!) in this 1988 movie about a kid whose dad wants him to go to business school, but he opts to take off to Hawaii instead. Perry plays Fred, one of Phoenix’s friends. Enjoy the clip below, in which Perry wears a bewildering fez hat and asks, “You got another venereal disease?” How many VDs did his friend have?! What were the ’80s?

‘Second Chance’

Ah, the television show that time rightfully forgot. Is ‘Second Chance’ the worst show ever? Maybe. Perry starred as Chazz Russell (the extra Z is for Zany!) in the show about a man named Charles who dies and is given a CHANCE to go back and help his younger self, played by Perry. And also his nickname is Chance? But also Chazz? And Matthew Perry says the name of the show in a line from the promo, so that’s fun.

‘Dance ‘Til Dawn’

We’ve covered the late-’80s high school prom movie ‘Dance ‘Til Dawn’ before in our Way Back When feature on Christina Applegate, but here’s the clip again for good measure and because Matthew Perry is wearing a pink bow tie, and that’s definitely a thing we should all suffer through together.

‘Growing Pains’

Perry plays Sandy, Carol’s boyfriend in a Very Special Episode of the classic family series ‘Growing Pains.’ Watch what happens when Sandy and Carol drink and drive, and then Sandy utters the phrase “second chance” — just like that other TV show no one remembers! What does it mean?!?!

Oh, and then SPOILER alert, Sandy totally dies.

‘She’s Out of Control’

If you had a TV in the early ’90s, you undoubtedly saw this movie in heavy rotation — Tony Danza plays the dad of a dorky girl who gets a makeover from her dad’s lady and starts attracting the attention of every boy in a 50 mile radius, including Matthew Perry as a wealthy snob who seems a little too perfect to be true.

‘Who’s the Boss’

Perry must have really impressed Tony Danza in that movie because here he is on ‘Who’s the Boss’ as a prospective roomie for Sam:

next: see Sarah Michelle Gellar before she was famous

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