F.R.I.E.N.D.S who needs them? Right, RIGHT? You think you know them, then one day, BAM, a guy on the internet writes things you never even knew about them.
Some friends they are! And you thought you had something special.
1. You’re not them.
The year is 1994, you have finally thrown away those parachute pants for something far more formal and less comfortable and you’re about to tune in to your new favourite show, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. You love the show because you don’t understand acronyms and you can really relate to it the characters, you and your friends always get up to whacky antics like the friends in friends do! You even joke around and pick which member of the cast is most like you and your buds.
“Steve’s like Chandler because he’s funny! Jane is like Monica because she’s a woman and has OCD! And I’m like Lucifer, Lord of the Underworld!”
People want to feel special, and what better way to feel special than to project yourself onto a group of friends who are happy, attractive and successful. A pole, in which I made up just now shows a 20000% increase in unisex groups visiting coffee shops since the beginning of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
The problem with this is it’s a risky mentality to have. We have all made the mistake of feeling like we’re in a film or a TV show from time to time. The escapism you get from it can sometimes outstretch the time you spend in front of the box or at a cinema and creep into reality causing you to imitate and try to replicate certain plot lines or gestures. Like I did with The Matrix and shot a load of security men at my office.
This imitation means that when bad stuff does happen in life or things don’t go exactly to a structure, then you can feel yourself getting lost and confused and maybe even hurt. I mean look at these ass (click link) clowns. Imagine a Tsunami happened right after that. They wouldn’t have a clue, they’d just be throwing chips at it and laughing it until they drowned to death.
This phenomenon happened several years later with Sex and the City and women would flock to cocktail bars to discuss blow-jobs and how they’re going to get cosmetic surgery to get a mole on there chin just to feel as cosmopolitan and important as the faecal matter in that show.
The difference with reality vs. television is that you will always be short changed with reality. You can’t turn off life because it gets too real…
2. Chandler isn’t funny.
Chandler was everybody’s favourite character, he was witty, self deprecating and had a gay dad, the American dream. What you loved most about Chandler was how funny he was! I mean, we all want this role in a group, to be the funny guy! God, I’ve been trying for 15 years to make my only friend Brian laugh.
But sadly Brian is an inanimate slab or iron.
Chandler didn’t go 10 seconds without cracking wise. And we all loved the “fluctuating weight due to his Vicodin addiction” gag he did from seasons to season. The problem with this is he was only funny to us, the audience. If you ever watch the show closely and I mean, really closely. Every time The Bing would make a witty retort, none of the group laughed. Sure, they occasionally cracked a smile, but even then it looked like it was out of pity. Due to the laughter track, we all thought the group were involved in the chortles, but this was just a trick of the mind. Hundreds of shows do this, canned laughter or even audience laughter (which is often proven to be forced by peer pressure*) They look at the poor fool with contempt.
This is even brought to attention a few times quite clearly. In one episode Ross and Joey mock Chandlers rhythm of speaking and how he emphasises certain words, but wait, isn’t that why he’s funny? Do they not get it?
In one particular episode, Monica meets a guy at work who she claims is the funniest man she’s ever met. Chandler gets so offended he flips out. Monica can’t even put her finger on why. Almost as if she has never even thought Chandler was funny in the first place.
We, looking in, saw him as the comedy character, saying witticism after witticism, but it was all lies! He wasn’t funny, he was just a sad man married to a woman with a serious undiagnosed mental illness.
Ross is full blown crazy.
Let me break this down for you. Six friends, who seemingly have no other chums besides the same five they hang around with everyday, in the same places, who have incestuous love affairs, who never go to a bar, who know each others personal details and only talk about themselves and never want to socialise.
That’s right. They are the gang of goths from school.
Only if you look at the groups infrastructure and lives from afar do you see how warped and perverse it really is.
Now, the one that intrigues me most is Ross. A character so rich with mental illness it wouldn’t be a surprise to find him in a J.D. Salinger book. Now, don’t get me wrong, Dinosaur doctor – cool. Everything else about him is straight up: fucked.
Nervous Breakdowns: He suffers from about 4 nervous break downs a season, he even went bat-shit crazy at a guy who ate is sandwich. A SANDWHICH.
Pathological Liar:Not to mention his divorce competition with Liza Minelli, remember the part when Ross doesn’t tell Rachel about the whole “not getting divorced” thing and expects them to stay blissfully married forever, without her knowledge.
Schizophrenic:One thing that always puzzled me is, when does he see Ben?
Remember Ben? His son.
Yeah sure, Ross can spend a copious amount of time at a coffee shop discussing hair-gel but he hasn’t got any time for his kid, whom I presume is being looked after by a very stressed out Carol. You hardly ever see him playing with Ben or even talking about him, like he never even exists! At best, neglectful father, at worse – schizophrenic who forgets he even has a kid.
Autistic: The man even has trouble understanding the human language, not being able to understand what the word ‘Break’ means in the phrase ‘We were on a…”. Surely, with this logic, whenever his boss at work say he can go on ‘Break’ he presumes it means forever and to sleep with a photocopy lady.
Ross is an enigma to me. I wonder if the writers ever purposely put these strange characteristics in the show to represent that mentally ill people are all around us?
Maybe though, just maybe, Ross imagined it all.
Picture it, the finale of friends fades out only to fade back in again a few seconds later. We see an older faced Ross, in a padded room adorning a straight jacket. The camera slowly zooms into his face. He imagined the whole show, think about it, it was a perfect ending for him: getting a beautiful girl, has great friends, great job he always dreamed of. Now obviously the crazy Ross couldn’t always keep his real life attributes away from his character so he just went with it.
The gang never existed, just faces he knew of the other people in the mental home. Joeys the guard, Rachel and Pheobe are fellow inmates, while Chandler is the warden. The only real person is Monica, his poor sister who comes to visit him once a week bringing him a club sandwich.
Now that’s an ending I’d watch.
*See: Linguistic, social and gender contexts of laughter