First off - this is NOT Friends, it will never BE Friends, it SHOULD never be Friends. These simple facts are probably also what most people have against Joey. I don't. I think it's 'Joeys' strength. Joey is a character we've come to love and respect during those past ten years, now that he's 'come into his own' a lot of the plot centers around him and only around him. This is of course the biggest change from that previous show, it is also absolutely necessary. For 'Joey' to work the character has to evolve, Joey himself has to mature and no longer only be the grown-up kid he has been. He is no longer the comic-relief guy who amazes us with his juvenile ways and amazing stupidity. He simply HAS to grow up. And grow up he will. To be honest, I too was skeptical after watching the pilot. But after I got over the facts that I already described in the first sentence of this comment, I just sat back and heartily laughed at the comedy displayed. Just remember these simple things - Michael isn't Ross. Alex isn't Monica, Gina isn't Rachel. Joey isn't Friends, Joey is Joey - and he's growing up. Be happy that you can laugh about it with him.