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:
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…