A few weeks after the original subtitled on Salto, it’s TF1’s turn to broadcast the special episode Friends, the reunion, in French version, Thursday evening. Doubled therefore. Friends and the French version, it’s a long story of love and disillusionment, with the viewers, but also with the dubbers.
Yes Friends is perhaps one of the only American series of which the French fans tolerate more or less the French version, it is undoubtedly thanks to the work of the doublers of the time. Among them, Dorothée Jemma, voice of Rachel, remembers an “exceptional working atmosphere. We have lots of good memories, it was really a nice time. “
“I’ll be there for you”, but not all at the same time
It was ? In the past ? The “reunion” of Friends, the dubbers did not know him. “Because of Covid-19, we were forced to record our voices one by one, and not on the same days,” said Dorothée Jemma. It’s a bit sad but we had no choice. Well, we called each other anyway, we talked, everyone was happy to hear from you but we still hope to be able to have a drink one of these days. “
Mark Lesser, who doubles Joey, has the same feeling of unfinished business: “Because of the covid it’s been months since we record alone behind our microphone … At the time we were recording all six, all together so there that was weird. “
Beyond the coronavirus, the voice actors, by finding their characters of Friends, measured the time that has passed, and the working conditions that have deteriorated. ” During Friends we only had two audio tracks, so it was easier to record all together by following the chronology of the episode, says Mark Lesser. Now we are going faster in the production of episodes, we do four episodes at once, sometimes linking several sentences without the complete dialogue, which are then assembled in the mixing. It’s simpler and faster, but less friendly and warm for the dubbers. “
“Everything is sanitized, you have to go fast, you don’t need a whistle, not a cracking, so we’re alone at the microphone,” confirms Dorothée Jemma. There is less conviviality, it is less cheerful, we no longer laugh… Afterwards, everything depends on the “product”, as the producers say. There are still films or series where it is pleasant to work. “
A moving reunion
In this context, finding, even the time of a false episode, Rachel and Joey, made the two voice actors very happy (even if both have since continued to double Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc). “I found it touching, I had tears in my eyes but I am sensitive, confesses Dorothée Jemma. Even if it is not easy to duplicate a natural dialogue that is not scripted. In addition, I was the first to record! “
Mark Lesser, he went last for the dubbing and was therefore able to rely on the voices of his comrades. “It was great to see them again! We realize the impact that Friends took to the world thanks to this report. I think they were right not to do a normal episode again. The actors had aged, it was time to stop. “
End on a good note
This final episode is also, for both voices, the opportunity to turn the page of Friends, almost twenty years after a bitter farewell. In 2003, three dubbers of the series, including Dorothée Jemma and Mark Lesser, had demanded a salary increase, refused by the dubbing company, and had been replaced for the tenth and final season.
“We agreed to do this episode because they are no longer the same people in charge of all this, and because water has flowed under the bridges. But I haven’t forgotten… ”