Why is F.R.I.E.N.D.S TV Show a Toxic Addiction?
Every generation has a TV show that defines its timeline for decades. With ‘The Fonz’ ruling the roost to the quirky antics of ‘Lucy’, these TV shows were a reflection of their time. Yet, F.R.I.E.N.D.S set its own path. It marched on a tune that the creators alone could hear. The show was so detached from reality that ‘Cancel culture’ termed the show as ‘Chaotic Neutral’. This Friendships Day 2020 lets discuss the best and worst of FRIENDS.
Where did FRIENDS get Right and Wrong?
There were many ups and downs in a show that had a stellar star cast with the 6 most desirable and attractive actors of the time. Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), Monica Geller (Courteney Cox), Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc), Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), and Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), were the pinnacle of beings for all 20+ year old young adults. This blog aims to discuss the 5 rights and wrongs of the TV show FRIENDS.
1.The Rachel: Nothing was more iconic than the bob hairstyle sported by Jennifer as Rachel. It became such a hit that years later, many young ladies still consider it as the best hairdo of all time. A practical ‘do’ it frames the face, while ensuring that no feature is hidden behind locks. The style was such a hit that last year in 2019, at the TV show’s 25th year anniversary, Google released its emoji for every search for ‘Rachel’. Here is a trivia. Jennifer Aniston herself was not a fan of the hair style and soon changed the looks of character to longer tresses.
2.Rachel Green: The character of Rachel was a typical air head who was brought to reality by the end of the very first episode aptly called the ‘pilot’. The neurotic self-obsession may have been true to her origins and upbringing, but ‘woke’ people know now that she was basically insecure! SHE SHAVED BONNIE’S HAIR OFF! Imagine a person in your real life who is so shallow that they prompt and edge a person to a wrong decision, a decision that may affect her relationship with her better half just to achieve their own goals! Such toxicity cannot be forgiven. Ever!
3.Joey and his food: Joey Tribbiani is my ‘Spirit Animal’. No moment in television history is more amazing than Joey showing aside his best buddy Chandler to save his meat ball sub! While he does become a hero for the same in the eyes of their buddy cops, and then sacrifices a bite of the same sub with Chandler, the vision and mission of this great man is alive with the very next dialogue, “What you doing man? I offered a bite, Not the whole sub!”
4.Joey and his conquests: A notch on the bed is only possible with the greatest womanizers on TV. Barney Stinston of HIMYM comes close, but none can surpass Joey! For him, the girls were mere conquests with no regard to their feelings or even offering them closure with a breakfast! Don’t even get us started on how he treated Janice!
5.Chandler Bing: Probably the most funny yet relatable of the entire ensemble, Chandler Bing, was a heartthrob for all us introverts. A perfect husband, a team player through and through, he never stopped standing up for his friends. The witty humour on that man is stuff of legend! I mean, ‘Could it BE any more easy to understand’?
6. Chandler and YEMEN: Yemen Street, Yemen! That's the address a coward of a boyfriend gave his current girlfriend as he did not have the decency to break up with her. He moved to another country, got his friend Phoebe to eventually call it off, only to rekindle a romance as he did not want to spend New Year’s Eve alone! Oh and if his bestie, Joey found the girl irritating, he did not help him deal with her issues, he went up and told her. Janice had to then spend a day with someone who was judging her just being herself.
7.Ross inclusive dater: The only ‘woke’ character in all of the shows was Ross Geller. He may have been termed as a ‘lobster for Rachel’, his childhood crush, but this fine upstanding gentleman, dated irrespective of race. With Julie (Asia actress Lauren Tom), whom he cheated on with Rachel, the viewers got closure with Russ. With Dr. Charlie Wheeler, portrayed by the graceful Aisha Tyler, the decision to hop, skip and jump from Joey, to Ross to Benjamin was all Charlie. We were sad to see her go, but respect her representation.
8. Ross the penny pincher: PIVOT! PIVOT! PIVOT! No one, and I mean this in all seriousness, no one who does not deliver furniture as a profession was qualified enough to try and take that sofa up the stairs. Ross, a tenured professor in a college located in upstate New York had the audacity to take a broken sofa back to the furniture store and ask for a cash-back! To top it all, this was not the first time, he tried to get away with a deal. His intention to hoard toiletries at the break and breakfast upon check out, is enough to give Scrooge a run for his penny!
9. Monica the Chef: Cook up a storm my lady, you have all the dibs to make it big in the culinary world. A woman who worked on her body weight and the constant amount of fat shaming from her own mother, we are amazed, Monica grew up to be the most self confident and assured lady in the whole gang! Shine on you crazy Diamond!
10. Monica the student: I Know! I Know! I Know! Miss ‘I know everything’ Monica’s constant need for gratification and need to be politically correct may stem from the emotional abuse she faced growing up, but to take it up a notch and then rub her perfection in the face of her peers is unbecoming. Her OCD for cleanliness and her penchant for being a hard task master may trigger ‘cancel culture’ but for us, she will always be the girl who fell in love with her best friend!
11. Phoebe the 'Flower Child': Phoebe was a free spirit that explored life from different angles and yet remained optimistic towards life given she had to steal for survival. She showed that the world could beat you down if you don’t stand up and walk with pride. Her life was unconventional, back she repealed negativity of ‘her mother’s suicide’, ‘her step-father in jail’, and how 'her birth mother was too scared to accept her' and turned out to one of the most zen characters on screen.
12. Phoebe the meanie: We love our FRIENDS, but Phoebe Buffay’s bad actually grinds our gears. There are immense examples show that she created her own world of distended reality which was so extreme, that it welcomes apparitions, spirits, deaths and a ‘giant dog’. She even tries to steal the cat of “Little girl who lost its cat and was missing her”. She gets mad at Ross for no reason, and she never lets Joey learn how to pla guitar .“I AM ACTUALLY SHOUTING” this phrase that she was ‘mean’ in various episodes many times. Aah Phoebe!
FRIENDS got many things right with a healthy balance of few wrongs. The characters were a testament of their times, and alluded to a world of ‘make believe’ reality that we discuss even on ‘Friendships day 2020’. The VENUS may not be to Chandler’s satisfaction but the power rush after executing the order was real. The mandatory therapy Ross endured after catching Monica and Chandler together, is a testament to their friendship and love.
We will be amiss if we do not bring to light the fact that all 3 of the ladies had very different pregnancies. Phoebe was a surrogate mother for her brother. Rachel was a single mother. Monica adopted twin newborns. It celebrated motherhood in all its forms.
While we may analyse and nitpick at the lack of diversity and the many misses in this show, no one can deny that it has inspired a generation and more with confidence of being accepted. All one needs is a group of FRIENDS that are ALWAYS THERE FOR YOU!