Friday, 4 June 2010

TV Meme, Day 4: My Favourite Show

A few months back I was a pleased when everyone weighed in a TV show I flashed back to. I don’t think the dust has quite settled on the actual post, but the meme calls for it and so I shall revisit it. My favourite TV show is unequivocally a little NBC comedy called Friends. It’s a confession that’s almost a reflex. It’s actually the only question of the 30 I answered immediately. Friends is the type of show that’s a bit like lightning in the bottle. If it went into production today, I don’t know if it’d be as successful. Yet, it doesn’t depend on a wholly original concept. A group of friends and their lives…hasn’t that be done before? Certainly. And yet, Friends exudes an irresistible charm that I can confess to having seen every episode (of this ten season megahit) at least twice.
In assessing the lives of six friends in New York, Friends, like so many situational comedies depends on showing us types. We have Rachel – the spoilt, but goodhearted daddy’s girl, Phoebe – the slightly loopy working artist, Monica – the neurotic cook, Joey – the dumb, but good-looking ladies’ man and actor, Chandler – the slightly repressed office guy (where does he work exactly?) who has issues with romance and Ross – the good-natured, but often longwinded palaeontologist. Yes, the types are broad but there’s a consistency that runs throughout the show that makes it just a little more special. Every actor is comfortable in their “niche” and the tug-o-war that so often occurs in ensemble comedies never comes. Everyone is equal, and that’s a big part of Friends’s appeal. And those idiosyncrasies and catchphrases – Phoebe’s smelly cat; Joey’s “How you doing doing?” Monica’s angry, “I know!” It’s all part of the continuous hilarity that is Friends.
It’s a comedy, so it has to be funny. I said it before, and I’ll say it again – I don’t hold much stake in the sense of humour of persons who don’t find Friends funny. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. There are times when they go just a little over the top, but Friends always knows what’s funny and what’s not. It’s not the writers or the actors alone, but it’s everything together. Kudrow’s Ursula has a deadpan hilarity and the writers give her some delicious lines. I actually laugh when the in studio laughs, sometimes I laugh even when they don’t. Few things can put you in a good mood like spending time with Friends. I don’t think anyone who has seen Friends cannot find the escapades of our protagonist as realistic. Sure we may not be living on New York, or working as an actor but the realism with which the six interact with each other accounts for a large part of its appeal. Each episode works as a standalone, but even more impressive is hwo gags introduced in the first season can continue throughout to the final one. We know that Ross and Rachel were “on a break” and we know that Phoebe is a vegetarian (except for a particular bout of pregnancy). The continuity adds to the reality and makes it that much more enjoyable.
This entry is part of my ongoing meme on TV Moments

I’ll return to Friends again, not only for this meme but sometime again…because I love it and it only fills me with joy.


Jose said...

...and it's always such a delight to find them in reruns.
Just yesterday I spent an hour watching eps I'd seen a million times before and I still laughed my ass off like crazy.

Luke said...

Ah of course... I feel you and I will run into this problem often throughout this daily meme. And since you're one day ahead of me, my posts will feel like small potatoes because of her similar television tastes. :) In other words, I'm completely on board with this choice, and you just might see a post on it over yonder tomorrow. :)

Marcy said...

Ugh. I should do this meme.

I like Friends. I really do. It's cheerful and funny. The dialogue is witty. I enjoy watching it on reruns. I like the endgame couples. But I have a tendency to sound like I don't like Friends because everyone else likes Friends. THAT IS SUCH A BULLSHIT REASON.

But I'm genuinely glad this is your favorite show.

Rachel said...

A fine choice. If anything super crappy is going on, I can rely on this show to make it a little bit better.