#42: Does FRIENDS make sense as a TV show?

Our 42nd prompt comes from Laureezy. She asks:

Does FRIENDS make any sense as a TV show? Would such people actually be friends in real life?

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Laureezy,

Welcome back! Let me start by saying that I’m one of the 10 people globally who doesn’t give a hoot about FRIENDS. Did I happen to watch a couple of episodes? Yeah, sure. OK, maybe I watched more than a couple of episodes. Back in the 90s/early 2000s entertainment options were so limited. 🙁 When FRIENDS was on TV there was barely anything else to watch, so I stared at the TV for like half an hour wondering why this show was so popular and important.

Anyway, all the characters on FRIENDS are in their twenties when we meet them, trying to figure it out. Thing is, they spent so much time in that damn Central Perk coffee shop…how did they get any time to do anything else? Don’t they like alone time? As an adult, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops, but like 90% of that time is spent alone, working. These guys just sit there and chat most of the day…don’t they have jobs? Lives?

Which brings me to their apartments. These people all live in Manhattan which, as pop culture has taught us, is mad expensive. How do they afford those spacious apartments yet they barely work? I mean, they have jobs – Monica is a cook at a restaurant, Rachel is a waitress, Joey is a part time actor, Phoebe is a massage therapist, Chandler is some kind of business executive and Ross is a paleontologist (he even has a doctorate). OK, they probably have money to pay rent, but past that? Spending all that time in a café, barely working, and having money for other things? I’m not buying it. Then there’s the effortlessness with which they move up the career ladder/change jobs. Rachel later starts working at Ralph Lauren, Ross becomes a professor at NYU…these guys set up so many 90s kids for disappointment with unrealistic expectations. Sorry, 90s kids.

Would these guys actually be friends IRL? Let’s see, Ross is Monica’s older brother, and Monica and Rachel are best friends from high school. All three of them went to the same high school. Phoebe was housemates with Monica. Chandler and Joey are housemates, and Chandler and Ross are best friends from college. And all of them move between Monica’s and Chandler/Joey’s apartments like it’s no big deal. Fair enough.

But I wonder, after listening to Phoebe’s strange stories, how is no one particularly bothered? She is a walking, talking McGuffin. She allows the writers to say whatever weird shit they wanna say with no consequences. A pimp spat in my mouth and I got Hepatitis. What? And then there’s how little we know about Phoebe. I mean, she’s the character we know the least about. Yet these guys barely spend any time apart. How do we know so little about her? How are they friends with her and all of them are so vanilla while she’s so quirky?

And then, how are the girls friends with Joey? This man won’t stop hitting on them! How do you just learn to live with that? Like “Oh, I have this creepy guy friend who won’t stop trying to screw my friends and I, but it’s ok!” What? And it was ten seasons of this? Please. Also, Ross is an asshole. I said it. He screws everything up, he is possessive, and he is jealous. You can fight me in the comments. I also don’t remember any of the friends laughing at Chandler’s jokes, and Rachel was a bit “mean-girl-ish.”

Then there’s the way this show is full of stereotypes/won’t stop using tropes. Girl next door? Check. McGuffin? All the damn time. Remember how only when Monica lost weight did life become great for her? And the objectification of women/stereotypes about them? And the fact that the show had barely any black and brown people? And it is set in New York? Come on! This show has no basis in reality.

I’ll give them one thing – I like how they named the episodes (The One Where/With…) – but this whole show is a cautionary tale against hanging out with people just because you have known them since high school/uni/because they are attached to people you have known forever.

#YesNewFriends

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This post is part of a daily writing experiment that I’m running for a year. I’d love it if you took part! 🙂

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