“Friends” @ 25: The One Where I Don’t Understand What All the Hype’s About [OPINION]

NBC’s much beloved sitcom Friends is celebrating its 25th anniversary, with the cast and fans subjecting us to memories of how 6 friends living in NYC found the pool of available singles too small for their liking and instead chose to keep an oddly high percentage of their bodily fluid exchanges among them. Interestingly enough, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) – the supposed “dumb one” – was the one character who seemed to avoid venturing into the incestuous cult-like sexual playground of Monica’s (Courtney Cox) apartment.

friends
NBCUniversal

Apparently, the sitcom inspired and guided many fans. . . to do what exactly? Lose brain cells as we learn valuable lessons on what not to do? The Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Ross (David Shwimmer) relationship was central to the plot, although I always felt like Ross is the type of guy you want to smash into a wall for being such an in-your-face loser (not quite Jerry in Rick and Morty, but one could make the argument). The nerd gets the hot girl, nothing wrong with that in theory… right? Actually quite admirable except for one thing: how often does that happen in real life when the nerd is this annoying?

So I’m guessing knocking up Rachel when they weren’t together and having her raise the baby pretty much solo was a “way to go, Ross” moment we’re supposed to love and embrace? Maybe that “valuable lesson” when Rachel fell for “best friend” Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and the awkwardness that created? I’m guessing the “dumb, subpar hot
men who have feelings and yearn to be loved by women who often change their hairstyles” felt under-represented and were needing to be given their due.

The Monica and Chandler (Matthew Perry) coupling… seriously wtf? The only things that made sense about that relationship was that we clearly had a “submissive-meets-OCD-dom” themes at play. Then they throw in the drama of infertility, but they presented its importance as a flip-flop between “after-school special melodrama” and on the same level as if Rachel was shopping for deodorant at her local Walgreens

Here I thought this was a comedy show – and yet, nothing funny about the struggles of adoption (see Modern Family for a better and more honest take on that subject). I was pleased that Monica and Chandler moved to the boonies to probably expand on their sexual cult activities – possibly open up a basement dungeon catering to suburban folk who need a little kink in their lives.

Finally, one of my biggest problems with the series was that they sold it as a show about “six friends” but it always felt more like “four friends and our two comic-relief mascots.” Metaphorically, from a narrative standpoint it was as if Joey and Phoebe were porn set “fluffers” whose purpose was to make Ross, Rachel, Monica, and Chandler look impressive on camera – even at the expense of their own respective storylines.

Let me be clear: this isn’t about bashing a show that others love just for the sake of bashing a show. To each their own, and I know that there are shows I enjoy that people would scratch their heads over – like my unhealthy obsession with Frasier. This is about trying to get the fanbase to dial it back a little, and appreciate that there have been other quality sitcoms over the years and that people like me not liking it is actually okay.

Just don’t get me started on how they were able to afford living in NYC makes my brain hurt…

Don’t get me wrong: I can get on the bandwagon for celebrating Friends on its 25th anniversary – if it’s held at a gravesite… and the only person I’d pay respect to is/are the individual(s) who finally took it off life support.

About Margo Staten

Margo Staten is a Ukrainian born, raised in Brooklyn, organically driven, coffee loving, twice-divorced mother of one baby Einstein. Has a passion for books, yoga in the park and all things 80’s and New Orleans.

twitter   envelope