Please stop talking about Friends
by Connor O’Brien
It’s not really a secret that I have a very complex relationship with Tumblr. Some of the blogs that I follow consistently post some amazing and hilarious stuff, but sometimes, they also post the most banal bullshit imaginable. By now, I’ve seen them all: Doctor Who photo sets and screengrabs, Sherlock theories about how they’re going to end up as lovers by the end of the show, and other things where people take their “fandoms” too far. However, I can usually put up with it because I’m basically like Joe Pantoliano in The Matrix, just staring and scrolling and filtering out the dumb stuff. However, the newest trend/piece of misappropriated 90s nostalgia that has been rearing its horribly pedantic and altogether horrible head may restructure my social media habits entirely.
Friends? Really? Guys, we can do better than that. Of all of the shows that we could have picked, we picked the longest-running piece of catchphrase-ridden, trope-heavy garbage known to popular culture? Good Lord. Okay.
The whole base of the show, like its apparent resurgence, is built on impossibilities. Also, if you like, you can replace all my descriptive nouns in this article with the word “bullshit” because that’s what I mean pretty much every time. It wouldn’t be a very interesting article if I wrote it that way, but in my heart, it’s all bullshit all the time. Anyway, so these six stereotypes live in amazingly large apartments in the Village, have sex with thousands of celebrity guest stars, drink coffee at Central Perk (LOL GUIZ), and are just generally horrible. Also, the name of the show is FRIENDS. I imagine the creators of the
show going into the pitch meeting with everything but the title and just blurting out “They’re friends, so it’s gonna be Friends. So the friends are friends and they’re great,” over and over.
But you know, I can’t really blame the show for being as popular as it was. The formula of boring people living together and having conversations about whatever wacky problem plagued them that week has been around since the invention of the medium. But let me know when people start talking about how totally hilarious Taxi was, and I won’t be as upset by it. Maybe I’m only finding so much fault with the show now because of the surge of complexity and ambiguities in modern television. But also, 2 Broke Girls is still on. So, we can assume that there will always be formulaic trash sitcoms on television. That’s another fact of life that we have to accept begrudgingly, but we really shouldn’t be drudging up a show that mercifully ended after eleven years of crap.
The characters are about as vapid as you can get, which pairs well with the boring writing. Some of the show’s most staunch defenders, usually averaging around age eighteen and possessing that ever-popular binge watching mentality, will say that the show is driven by its complex character development. The reality is, though, that six adjectives hanging out for two hundred and thirty-eight episodes makes your mind a special kind of mush, like that episode of The Boondocks when Huey watches BET for two weeks straight. So, here’s your premise: sarcastic (Chandler), neurotic (Ross), hen-pecking (Monica), spacey (Phoebe), idiotic (Joey), and boring white woman (Rachel) walk into a coffee shop for eleven years straight, some of them fuck, some of them don’t, and then one gets a spin-off. America cheers raucously, demands more, their children rediscover it, and restart the cycle.
Speaking of white people, off the top of your head, name a minority character on Friends that wasn’t a guest star. If you guessed Ross’s Asian girlfriend from season two, played by the awesome Lauren Tom, then congrats! You got the only possible answer, somehow!
All whitewashing and other complaints aside, I’d like to speak now about the main reason I despise the show so much. For me, evil becomes personified in David Schwimmer. I can’t even fathom how all of the factors that came together to make the character Ross Geller. Schwimmer’s character terrifies me in the same way that a creepy clown would, in that I just don’t agree with the fact that anyone thought it would be a good idea that he should exist. The neuroticism, the constant voice cracking, his job as a paleontologist living in lower Manhattan, and his complete oeuvre of horrible jokes and uneasy nervous breakdowns just make me want to curl up in a ball to hide from the fact that this man may exist in real life.
Additionally, for some reason, someone thought it would be okay to make him into a CGI giraffe in the Madagascar movies. Those African plain dwellers are terrifying enough as is, being notorious rapists and all, but putting David Schwimmer’s voice in one of their awfully misshapen bodies is one of the greatest crimes against humanity that anyone ever committed to film.
People, I beg you, please keep Friends in the past. It belongs there. There’s an infinite number of stupid and mind-numbing shows that don’t have David Schwimmer in them that you can watch anytime you want!