BEVERLY HILLS — If you figure you know Matt LeBlanc based on him playing a version of himself on "Episodes," you'd be wrong.
"I'm not really him at all," LeBlanc says of playing himself, albeit in a highly exaggerated form. "But it's what the audience thinks celebrities are like (off camera). It's what they think I am like."
As the second season of the critically acclaimed "Episodes" comes to a close (10:30 p.m. Sunday, Showtime), LeBlanc, the imaginary version, is chin-deep in trouble. Lonely and desperate for attention, he's been dating his stalker while also having an affair with the blind wife of his network's president.
That all comes to a head in the finale, when the affairs are exposed and LeBlanc gets into a physical altercation with the network president, who's been fired because he passed up a series about a talking dog that turned into a hit for another network.
This is all part and parcel in "Episodes," a broad comedy about LeBlanc trying to revive his flagging career by doing a second-rate remake of a heartwarming British comedy. LeBlanc's career needs help not because of bad career choices, but because of poor personal ones.
And in Hollywood, wrong personal choices are as lethal as picking the wrong project.
In real life, LeBlanc isn't this level of obnoxious. Also, "Episodes" has been a wise career move.
Created by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik — who also were behind "Friends" — and shot in London (though the series is set in Los Angeles), "Episodes" has brought LeBlanc the biggest critical lauds of any former star of "Friends."
"I trust David and Jeffrey. They're good for me," he says.
Although LeBlanc dismisses the womanizing and terrible other deeds his TV version does, he admits part of the character mirrors him sometimes.
What exactly are those traits?
"When he's good and kind," LeBlanc says with a grin.
Other highlights for the week of Aug. 26 to Sept. 1. All times Eastern. Listings subject to change. Check local listings:
n "True Blood" (9 p.m. HBO). Eric takes one last chance to thwart The Authority as the fifth season draws to an end.
n "Republican National Convention" (8 p.m. PBS). Day one of the convention takes off from Tampa, Fla.
n "Addicted" (10 p.m. Discovery Fit & Health). The season-two premiere follows a doctor and her work with nine patients trying to get the substance abuse monkey off their backs.
n "Melissa & Joey" (8 p.m. ABC Family). Joey pops the question. And the answer is yes: A lovelorn Melissa will officiate at his wedding in this pivotal episode.
n "Republican National Convention" (8 p.m. PBS). Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have their day in the sun on the closing night of the convention.
n "Parks and Recreation" (8:30 p.m. NBC). In a repeat of the season finale, the election is held, and Lesley reflects on what the future will bring, win or lose.
n "Hatfields & McCoys" (6 p.m. A&E). The entire 6-hour miniseries plays out. Kevin Costner headlines the cast of this unexpected hit based on the historical family feud of the 19th century.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!