Flip Flop Flying

How you doin’?

with 15 comments

In a moment of Amazon weakness (I have many of these moments, it’s all too easy to buy stuff), I recently bought the Friends DVD box set thing. All ten series. When I was living in England I used to watch the show, but since I came to Germany, I’ve not seen any of them; so it was easy to convince myself that it was a necessary purchase. Over 16 days, I watched the whole lot. All 238 episodes, which, at aprox 22 minutes each, equals nearly 90 hours of TV. I watched them all on my computer (I have two monitors) so that I could work at the same time.
Here’s some stuff I’ve learned.

1. After a while, somewhere around series seven, I began to lose the will to continue. It all become too much. And like when you’re with people in real life too much, you start to focus on their faults.
2. That damn theme tune is really grating. The bit where the voices harmonise “your love life’s DOA” is my least favourite bit.
3. In the opening credits where they’re all around the fountain, everything Ross does is annoying. The pretend-slow-motion running, the head popping up out of the water, the jaunty eyebrows…
4. I’m not keen on Ross in general, actually.
5. Apart from in that episode in the fourth series when he’s playing his keyboard music.
6. Or Rachel. I really don’t think she’s that nice a person. She can do nice things, but beneath it all she seems pretty shallow and often seems pretty nasty. And once her baby’s born, she seems to treat it like a pet, not something that requires her full time attention. And in one episode she wears an MC5 t-shirt. Can you imagine her even knowing who MC5 are, let alone being into them?
7. Of all the guest stars, Brad Pitt was my favourite. Perhaps it was cos he was nasty to Rachel.
8. Oh no, please God, not another Thanksgiving episode. Maybe I don’t get this cos I’m not from North America, thus have no reason to give thanks for whatever it is they give thanks for. In Friends it just seems like an excuse to do something about Monica flapping around getting stressed in the kitchen.
9. Despite that, Monica’s tidying endears me to her no end.
10. Do you think they all got paid their million dollars for the episodes which were just compilations of old clips?
11. Joey saying “How you doin’?” is always funny.
12. When they show exterior shots of Monica’s apartment, I have real trouble seeing how it correlates with the balcony and sloping window that we see when the cameras are in her apartment.
13. For me, an unmarried childless man, the more marriages and children that come along, the less funny each episode becomes. That trend seemed to begin with the episodes in London at the end of the fourth series.
14. Having said that, an episode in one of the later series (what is the plural of series? Serieses?) has my favourite joke. Joey is talking about investments with Chandler and Monica:

Joey: This guy at work got me excited about going in on an emu farm. That’d be kinda cool huh? Pitchin’ in on the weekends, helping to plant the emus…
Monica: Joe… Emus are birds. You raise them for meat.
Joey: [laughs] Yeah! Right! People eat birds… Birdmeat… Now do they just fly into your mouth or you go to… you go to a restaurant and you say: “Excuse me, I’ll have a bucket of fried bird.” [laughs again] Or… or maybe just a wing or… [then he realises…]

And now, a few days after finishing my marathon, I kinda miss Friends. It’s easy to forget how good it is, and how many jokes are crammed in there.

I guess I could start at the beginning again. At the very least it’d mean I could see my name in the credits one more time…

Written by Craig

July 1st, 2005 at 6:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

15 Responses to 'How you doin’?'

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  1. Them going to London was definitely the beginning of the end. Ooh look! A red phone box! Ooh look a not very good actress! Where were all the smackies?

    Chandler is the only person I think seems to be nice both in the series and real life. And I like his gags. And he looks a bit like my brother


    1 Jul 05 at 18:40

  2. I wonder if that’s just us, though, Dave. Is it only Brits that find that sort of thing annoying? And surely people from other nations might feel the same about Brit stuff that “goes” abroad. I’m sure there’s a lot of countries out there that are pissed off with James Bond films’ portrayals of their countries.


    1 Jul 05 at 19:02

  3. Series, like glasses or trousers, is both a singular and a plural form.

    The Grammatikor

    1 Jul 05 at 19:58

  4. Yes! Ross IS annoying, and Rachel IS shallow and a bit mean. I’ve been saying this for years but all my mate’s favourite is Ross – how stoopid are they? I just cannot stand when he pops out of the fountain and does that ‘well, hey there…’ eyebrows thing. It makes me feel a bit…violated. Who is the slightly skeletal kid in the screen grab? Scary.

    loulou apples

    1 Jul 05 at 21:34

  5. I still find it a bit strange that the show appealed to so many people in England whose taste I tend to respect. I could never stand to watch it regularly because: A. Ross with very few exceptions is whiny without it being charming B. Rachel is shallow THANK YOU for saying that…ever woman in America wanted to be her when the show was at its peak and you just had to go ? C. The theme song…I don’t know what it was like in England, but it was inescapable here…actually the whole series was.

    That being said, there are a few things I am fond of. You’ve already mentioned a few: Brad Pitt being mean to Rachel, anything Chandler does, and Phoebe in general. No one gives Phoebe enough credit, and she really had some of the best lines on the show.

    Oh, and I thought the England stuff was obnoxious…except when it was Joey getting excited…because let’s face it, he would, it was just being true to character.


    1 Jul 05 at 22:12

  6. Another thing I forgot to mention about Ross, well David Schwimmer actually, is that I can’t enjoy his ‘physical comedy’. Watching him goof around, it seems he’s so conscious that he fancies himself as Charlie Chaplin or something.

    The scary kid was the daughter of the people that Monica and Chandler were buying the house off. She was also in I Am Sam, which I really liked.

    I didn’t really mention Chandler or Phoebe; I kinda assumed that everyone loved them both. Phoebe was great. I adore the moment when, having decided to form a secret splinter group of friends after Ross’ English wife doesn’t want him to be friends with Rachel, they’re in Central Perk and saying bye to Ross, and Phoebe whispers “forever” behind his back.


    2 Jul 05 at 00:34

  7. The scary kid,isn’t that Dakota Fanning?.
    Really scary in War of the worlds…


    2 Jul 05 at 11:13

  8. Shouldn’t that be serii?
    No… no… that can’t be right…?


    2 Jul 05 at 17:54

  9. I just saw War of the Worlds, I thought it was great, except the end was a bit abrupt. Dakota Fanning is amazing in it.

    I don’t think it’s because we’re English – it’s just really lazy and like showing the Eiffel Tower to show you’re in France or the Acropalis in Greece. Remember Independence Day when they suddenly think they better point out the aliens aren’t just attacking the US of A so they show the Pyramids etc? I reckon the Egyptians didn’t really dig that.


    2 Jul 05 at 18:27

  10. Funny you should mention the exterior apartment shots and their not appearing accurate. That’s pretty much because, like 99% of American series, the show filmed in Hollywood and yet was meant to be set in New York City. Which might explain why the Friends all had crummy jobs and still managed to live in apartments which would require the selling of one’s virtue AND one’s mother for the rent.

    And you know, I happened upon the actual exterior-shot Friends building while visiting NYC last summer, and the fakeness is true. There’s really a cafe beneath it. See?

    Hooray for observance!


    3 Jul 05 at 00:32

  11. Serii – that sounds right to me, too.

    Ooh the photo makes me instantly hum the incidental music that links scenes!


    3 Jul 05 at 11:11

  12. The Latin plural of series is also series; that, however, is not the same thing as glasses and trousers being pluralia tantum. The declination paradigm just happens to have the same ending for nom sing and nom pl.


    4 Jul 05 at 00:21

  13. Bloody hell. My flatmate has pretty much the whole thing on video, so when we moved in I watched the whole lot over the course of a couple of months. But 16 days?!?!?!?!? Yikes! Hence the compulsive humming.

    Oh, and the idea with their flat was that Monica’s grandmother owned it, or something. And rent control was mentioned a couple of times.

    My fave is the season one Valentine’s episode. Chandler’s finest hour.


    4 Jul 05 at 10:52

  14. i quite liked the fact that they all had flaws. i think rachel was supposed to be shallow, just a ross was a bit of a dick.
    not a fashionable view in england but i think it’s a very watchable, very funny show. it dived a bit at the end with the moving out of NYC, getting married, babies emotional storylines (no jokes for five mins in one episode) but overal the jokes were better than most comedy.

    it’s just funny.

    James William Kendall Formerly Of Lincoln City

    4 Jul 05 at 15:36

  15. James, spot on there. No matter what the shows faults, it stood head and shoulders above most comedies of that era.


    5 Jul 05 at 11:29

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