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Friends Easter Egg on Extended Family? Mike O’Malley Enlists Glee’s Iqbal Theba for Familiar Role (Watch)

Friends Easter Egg on Extended Family? Mike O’Malley Enlists Glee’s Iqbal Theba for Familiar Role (Watch)

Twenty-five years after treating Joey Tribbiani, character actor Iqbal Theba is monitoring another case of kidney stones on Extended Family — and TVLine has your exclusive first look.

It was the fall of 1998 when Friends aired its milestone 100th episode. Phoebe was set to deliver Frank and Alice’s triplets, yet it was Joey who suddenly found himself hunched over in abdominal distress. Soon after, an emergency room doc (played by Theba) diagnosed TV’s Dr. Drake Ramoray with “kidney stones!”

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<em>Friends</em> Season 5, Episode 3: “The One Hundredth” <cite>Max screenshot</cite>
Friends Season 5, Episode 3: “The One Hundredth” Max screenshot

This Tuesday, Theba returns to NBC’s primetime line-up by way of Extended Family (8:30/7:30c) — and he’s scrubbing in to oversee Bobby’s (Lenny Clarke) kidney stone extraction. It doubles as a Glee reunion for Theba (who played Principal Figgins) and Extended Family creator Mike O’Malley (aka Burt Hummel), who genuinely was stunned when TVLine brought the Friends link to his attention.

“I hadn’t seen this Friends episode and had no idea Iqbal did this! This is awesome,” O’Malley said. “I guess this is an unintended homage to Iqbal’s versatility. Great minds think alike!”

Theba & O’Malley <cite>Photo by Ron Batzdorff/NBC</cite>
Theba & O’Malley Photo by Ron Batzdorff/NBC

“Iqbal and I met in September 2001 on the set of Yes, Dear, and then of course we became fast friends on the Glee set,” O’Malley recalled. “I wanted him to be on Extended Family in part because I consider the friends I’ve made throughout my career as part of my extended work family. It’s always difficult to make such great friends and then when a show ends not see them as much. One of the great things about showrunning is you can actually write parts for people you miss seeing.”

Extended Family airs Tuesdays at 8:30 pm on NBC (and streams next day on Peacock). During Tuesday’s episode, while Julia (Abigail Spencer) is at the hospital with Bobby, Trey (Donald Faison) is put in charge of the Nest. When Grace asks to have a friend over, Jim (Jon Cryer) abandons his plans and helps his ex-wife’s fiancé navigate the unpredictability of sleepovers.

Watch an exclusive clip from Theba’s guest spot above (along with footage from his stint on Friends), then hit the comments and tell us if you would’ve made the connection.

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