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Film and TV

Friends star David Schwimmer plays ‘racist, sexist, homophobic’ NSA agent in new comedy

Lily Wakefield July 25, 2020
David Schwimmer Intelligence

Intelligence premieres in the US on Monday, July 27. (Sky TV/ YouTube)

UK sitcom Intelligence will premiere in the US next week, starring David Schwimmer, who plays a “racist, sexist, homophobic, ultra-patriotic” NSA agent.

The Sky UK workplace comedy is set in the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), described as “a weedier, geekier, more bureaucratic version of MI5 and MI6”.

According to Sky: “When a pompous, maverick NSA agent (David Schwimmer) comes over from the US to join the team, he enlists an inept and tactless computer analyst (Nick Mohammed) in a power grab that threatens to disrupt the team’s ability to combat cyber terrorism.”

Schwimmer said his character in the sitcom, which was originally released in the UK in February and received unenthusiastic reviews, was a “typical American in power right now”.

According to New York Daily News, the Friends star said the character of NSA agent Jerry Berstein was “an alpha male, he’s arrogant, he’s pompous, he’s unknowingly racist, sexist, homophobic, ultra-patriotic, mostly because he’s never been outside of the country and speaks no other language”.

He added: “I like that he’s unlikeable. He’s the kind of guy that we see a lot of right now… What he lacks in intelligence, he makes up for in confidence.”

Intelligence, starring David Schwimmer, almost included a transphobic joke.

The show’s creator and David Schwimmer’s co-star Nick Mohammad revealed that the writers for the sitcom threw out a transphobic joke because no one working on the show was transgender.

But, Intelligence decided to keep a “joke” about Mohammad’s character Joseph Harries going “from man to woman” after dying his hair blonde.

Schwimmer said that all of the jokes on the show were the result of trusting “our own guts and our own judgements”, and added: “We want to push it. We want to take risks.

“I think it’s important that comedy does take risks and we can laugh at some of all of these issues that we’re talking about.”

Intelligence premieres in the US on Monday, July 27, on ABC Comedy.

More: David Schwimmer, friends, GCHQ, homophobic, intelligence, NSA, racist, sexist, Sky

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