Thursday, June 4, 2009

Friends: 10 Seasons in 1 Year.


So, I realize I've been completely neglecting my blog here for quite awhile. But, now summer is here and my boredom has taken flight so it's time to get back on track. I have a few summer projects underway including "Mad Men" season 1, "True Blood" season 1, "Sports Night" to follow along with Sepinwall who is reviewing them every Wednesday, and whatever else the TV Gods throw my way. I have also signed up for a TV writing class this summer to pursue my dream of writing for the idiot box. Updates on that to come.

But to get back into the swing of things, I thought I'd share with you my thoughts after finishing a series that all of you have heard of and may be shocked to hear that I did not watch until this year. Follow the link for some coffee and F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

A television show’s life span is a precious thing. There’s the coveted 100th episode mark that every show desires to reach. The 100th is usually somewhere in the 5th season of a show. So, 5 seasons equals successful show. Seven seasons is the mark of the long lasting hit show, i.e. Gilmore Girls. Anything beyond that can lead into questionable territory, *cough* Smallville *cough* (Should have ended long ago, yet I still inconceivably tune in every week, huh.) However, once in a while a show comes along that manages to make it past seven seasons with high praise, and an effect on society unlike any other. No I’m not talking about The Simpsons. I’m talking about Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler, and Joey. The six friends that defined a decade.

Now, let me be clear. I was not a “Friends” fanatic. I did not follow the show starting in 1994 and drag my heart along until 2004 rooting for Ross and Rachel. No, I kind of missed that. But, as an obsessive idiot box addict, when I arrived at college this past fall with a roommate who brought all 10 seasons with her, it was clear that Friends was about to come marching into my life.

I read in a book once, that movies are like one night stands, while television shows are like long-term relationships. “Friends” was one heck of a relationship.
238 episodes later I sat by myself, tears streaming down my face, watching the purple door and gold picture frame fade out on my computer screen as the final episode came to a close. Just to emphasize, that was 10 seasons, or 119 hours of Monica’s OCD and Chandler’s not-so-funny-but-still-hilarious jokes, completed in a mere seven months, also known as freshman year. (I somehow still managed to maintain a life while keeping up with all my TV, don’t ask how.)

What is it that makes us fall in love with these characters? It’s what every show strives for. A premise that’s relatable, that’s funny, and that speaks to everyone whether or not you’ve had the same experiences. Ross and Monica exemplify a brother-sister relationship that I have not seen paralleled on TV. Monica probably had the most quirks of the entire group from fighting for her parent’s attention to her OCD about organization, and her loud (somewhat obnoxious) “oh my god!”. Ross’s unwavering romantic personality was complimented by his bi-polar-ness when it came to his best friend and his sister getting together. His best friend and his sister?? His best friend and his sister! There’s Phoebe whose quirkiness is only matched by how much love she has for each and every one of her friends. Joey’s determination as an actor and naivety as a friend only adds to the group dynamic. Chandler, the college roommate and my personal favorite character, with his never-ending sarcastic remarks, knew how to make an uncomfortable situation even more uncomfortable. And finally, there’s Rachel Greene; the girl who learned how to make it without the help of her parents, while still maintaining fabulous hair the whole time.

Now I’m not saying there weren’t some rough patches. Ross did get on my nerves. But he always redeemed it with the whole “we were on a break” longstanding joke. Chandler’s job never made any sense. But if it had made sense he and Joey would have never gotten the apartment. And then the finale couldn’t have included that poignant line Monica made about how they had all lived in that apartment at one point or another.

Like any group of friends, not every story is going to be a great one. Every night out isn’t going to be epic just like every episode wasn’t perfect. But, every moment with your true friends are moments that you won’t forget. Which is exactly what “Friends” was about. How the insignificant can be significant. How, once you’re an adult, the people you spend every day with, they are the ones who become family and are there for you through thick and thin.

1 comment:

LAR said...

oh joy the idiot box is back, loved your recap!