Friends in retrospect
Okay, this is for all you wienie 39er’s who believe sitcom television did not exist until Friends came along in 1995. Now that you people are at the age where people listen to you as being old enough for your opinion to not be childishly ignorant and not too old to be grandparent level out of touch with reality. So with this power comes responsibility.
Thus I ask, I plead with you to stop the gushing over Friends, a mediocre series that ran far too long. I can hear it now. Who are you to bash something? I am nobody. I didn’t even watch much of the series when it ran. BUT I was the avant-garde to worship Jennifer Aniston when the show began. It was required viewing every Thursday evening. For the first 1 1/2 seasons. After that, I moved to Japan, only hearing rumors of the show on the Internet.
So how can judge the work of 10 seasons without seeing 85% of the episodes? Well, I can’t. And I detest people who attempt to be that blind judge. Therefore, to be able to accurately judge whether these soon to be middle-aged turds were correct in their labeling Friends a “Top 5 show of all-time”, I would have to become knowledgeable on the subject before using a critical eye to dissect where it went right, or where it went wrong. I called it Project Friends.
After not seeing the show in 25 years, over the past two weeks, I watched all Friends episodes from Season1 with the fresh faces through Season 10 and the multi-millionaires stretching it out as loooong as they can. So with newfound knowledge of this series, here’s what I have concluded.
Lasted two years too long. It was obvious the writers were trying an arc and knew where they wanted to end up, but how to get there was done on the fly.
Ross & Joey characters became caricatures, and very early. They started as endearing roles and became unwatchable at the end.
Jennifer Aniston kept the shooting star elevated the whole series, using more physical comedy as the series went on, and adapting to the changes in character.
The famous guest star turnstile in every episode cheapened the whole series and was an obvious ratings grab, which should’ve been unnecessary.
Paul Rudd was wasted in the 17 episodes he guest-starred in. He needed more leash.
A little of Phoebe goes a long way. Though she was the one who provided more smiles than any of the other cast.
Biggest surprise. I had heard rumors of the Chandler/Monica marriage so I prepared for the worst, bad pairing and terribly unfunny dialogue. At the beginning it was shocking for the system to absorb, but they did find a groove and that storyline was the most enjoyable part of the show over the last four seasons. In a show last 10 seasons, some personal growth in characters is necessary, and the Bing couple handled it well. In the same breath, the lack of personal growth hindered Ross and Joey. Phoebe, based on her kooky character, is exempt. And Rachel gets a break as she’s doing heavy lifting with most of the “normal single woman” humor. Though both did have varying levels of growth.
There succinct and to the point. Doesn’t make it a horrible show. What is does show is that it is overrated, should have finished after eight seasons, and done something more creative with Ross and Joey. Top 50 show, maybe.
Songs of the month
Walk Away Renee- The Left Banke
Pretty Ballerina- The Left Banke
Look What You’ve Done to Me- Boz Scaggs
If You Could Read My Mind- Gordon Lightfoot