From the soaps she came, and to it Susan Sarandon shall return. Well, sort of. The actress, who had early gigs on Search for Tomorrow and A World Apart back in the '70s, will only be a fictitious soap star this time around. On tonight's Friends, she portrays Cecilia Monroe, a catty castmate scorned by Joey (Matt LeBlanc) when he reprises his role as Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives.

"Joey gets my brain in a brain transplant," Sarandon previews. "It's one of those preposterous soap-opera inventions. [Though] I guess it would be more preposterous if Joey was donating his brain for the brain transplant."

Despite having made guest appearances on other primetime shows like The Simpsons and Mad TV, Sarandon readily admits she's no great lover of the tube. "We have a sticker on one of our station wagons that says, 'Kill your television sets,' so we're very picky in terms of how many hours we let the kids watch TV," she jokes. "Friends was always part of what they [chose], and through them I was introduced to [the show]. It just seemed like a very funny and original series. One of the reasons it's so popular, I think, is that you really wish you had pals like that."

Sarandon draws a sharp contrast between the Friends and the conniving compatriots on their Thursday night ratings rival, Survivor. After catching a recent episode, she declares, "I was just flabbergasted and really infuriated by the whole thing. It's making... despicable behavior [heroic]." Dismissively, she adds, "It's kind of a cheap version of Lord of the Flies, except not even that interestingly done."

That's why Sarandon doesn't necessarily mind if her star power lures viewers away from the Outback. "I'm a vindictive person," she teases. "No, but I'd love to help Friends if I possibly can. I'm proud of this episode, so if it takes a little steam out of Survivor, then that's even better."