The "Beginners Guide to Friends for the Netflix Generation" surely cannot be serious. I understand they're trying to push a show here, but Friends has been so outrageously bad since the moment it aired, a fact acknowledged by all but lunatics (read: women), that I cannot in good conscience allow this pap to pass.
Let's look at it in a little more detail:
You've probably heard a lot of older people in your life talk about sitcoms. Sadly, they were probably talking about "The Big Bang Theory," "Two and a Half Men," "2 Broke Girls" or some other lesser — though technically accurate — example of a sitcom. Hopefully you were able (or forced) to watch a real sitcom like "Cheers," "Seinfeld" or "I Love Lucy," thus not spoiling the genre for you entirely — after all, the word "sitcom" stands for "situational comedy" and those CBS shows are missing the latter ingredient.Is "sitcom" really such a dirty word to the "Netflix generation"? For that matter, it is an alien concept? Despite its numerous flaws, Big Bang Theory is solidly a sitcom, and last season beat out NCIS for the most popular show on (network) television. Say what you will about the sitcom format, they cannot pretend to be unaware of it. (Side note: I compared Friends and The Big Bang Theory years ago.
And what's with lumping Friends in with Cheers or Seinfeld? Friends was -- again I stress -- utter dreck. If you want to compare it to sitcoms, stick with Home Improvement (though that too was generally a step above Chandler and the gang).
Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc specifically are instantly likable, a trait "Friends" took full advantage of for 10 charming seasons.Instantly likable isn't exactly the phrase that comes to mind when I think about the star of such TV gems as Top of the Heap. Also, when asked to carry his own show we saw exactly how likable he was. Other than Aniston, who is obviously ridiculously likable, none of the other Friends actors have exactly carried a movie career: Cox got some airtime in the Scream movies, Perry in The Whole Nine Yards, Kudrow in Analyze This and Schwimmer in Madagasgar. Of these, Cox and Kudrow were bit parts, Schwimmer's was a bit part *and* was voice acting. LeBlanc's one-note role in the Charlie's Angels movies puts him in the category with all of his costars not named Jennifer.
Back when "Friends" was being made, episodes were recorded in front of a live studio audience who were all well-prepped to laugh at every punchline (and sometimes at nothing whatsoever).Yes, sometimes they were stuck watching an episode of Friends.
Though it may seem a little bizarre, think of it as having your friends around while you binge-watch the series alone on your futon in the dark. It's a warm feeling, and it will soon wash over you. Just give it time.The thing about a laugh track, and you see it whenever "Seinfeld" or "Three's Company" is airing, is that when you agree with the audience on the joke it works great. It let's you know that you aren't alone, the studio audience agreed with you that it was hilarious. There were few worse feelings than watching a laugh-track sitcom and having a different emotion than the crowd: if they laughed and you didn't you wondered if you missed a joke. If you laughed and they didn't, you wondered if you were crazy. In the case of "Friends" its a 10-year run that feels like the last three seasons of "MASH": the audience is laughing at everything, nothing at all resembles a joke, and you feel less like you missed out on a joke and more like you're stuck with a crazy person on the subway who's got some sort of nervous disorder.
Guess what? There are famous people on "Friends"!
Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Robin Williams and more make guest appearances on the sitcom, and when they do, you're going to hear... applause. Clapping, whooping and genuine fervor can be heard and felt resonating from your TV when special guest stars arrive, as if God Himself was showing His appreciation for seeing their smiling faces.No, seriously. The author of this article, a
Considering how quickly fashion trends shift, "Friends" has held up relatively well over the course of 20+ years. The clothes are an odd mix of terrible and ‘90s era cute, with Chandler being the consistent Worst Dressed winner and Rachel, unsurprisingly, taking home Best DressedTo fully appreciate how dumb (and, indeed, bad) this bit about the fashion man-with-a-vagina added, let's take a look at the pictures the article threw in.
On the left is what Rachel is wearing in the prime example of her best dressed. Other than the fact that her t-shirt makes every man not named Ben Travers watching want to bend her over and take her right then and there, what they put Aniston in is clearly a fashion disaster. Chandler's shirt and tie with a sweater over it isn't that outrageous, and seeing as how he's a businessman in New York there are probably a lot of times a year that such an outfit is a smart way to go around town without needing a heavy jacket.
You can ignore everyone's hair except Jennifer Aniston's, who you will soon know as Rachel.
Despite being created by her stylist while stoned, Aniston's 'do in Season 2 is still popular today. She has a variety of attractive,chic cuts throughout the series, so take your time to study them all and pick a favorite. (We like Season 6 — shown above — with the classic cut a close second.)More about fashion. Hey, do you know that this "Netflix generation" also lives in an era of Google Image search? They don't need to sit through 236 episodes of unfunny TV just to see a couple of haircuts.
Don't expect to see any tablets or even an iPhone in "Friends," as the landmark Apple device wasn't released until 2007 (I know, that's so long ago). Cell phones do pop up in the later seasons, but their absence is hardly noticeable — this group is so close they're rarely far enough apart to need phones to communicate, and the writers never draw attention to quickly-dated technologyIt's definitely interesting to see how a lack of cellphones changes how a TV show works: Seinfeld is a great example of this. Just think how different The Chinese Restaurant or The Parking Garage would be in today's wired universe. Most 80s and 90s shows had such episodes, and it's fun to remember the area where you had to either wait for your late friend to show up at the crappy bar, or hope that he didn't hate you for moving on. There are different shows to see this bit of "when I was your age" nostalgia.
If you liked a girl, you would make her a mixtape of all the songs that tell her how you feel. You probably do that now through coded Tweets or GarageBand. Chandler tries to do it for Monica using an old tape he found at random...and well, that’s a bad idea. Anyway, the point is that the idea behind the mixtape crosses generational barriers. Everyone has made one or made something with the same spirit behind it. You'll discover many commonalities between your life and those found on "Friends," hence the beauty of the program — this one just took a little extra explaining.They should watch an entire series to watch a single unfunny element from an unfunny episode about a mix tape? I don't think it was even that clever, let alone not being funny.
Speaking of music, Hootie and the Blowfish was an incredibly popular band during the '90s. Their 1994 debut album is the 16th-best-selling album of all time, they've sold more than 21 million albums in the U.S. alone and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone over the age of 25 who doesn't still immediately sing along to "Hold My Hand," most likely imitating the distinct, baritone voice of lead singer Darius Rucker. Is that name familiar to you? You may now know the man many referred to as "Hootie" as country star Darius Rucker, but trust us — Hootie was a much bigger deal. Other bands mentioned by the Central Perk gang may not be as memorable (or important): George Michael and Wham!, for instance, brought us one unforgettable hit, but nothing else of note.Again, watch it for a single mention of Hootie and the Blowfish! (Side note: on the Friends soundtrack, Hootie and the Blowfish do a really mediocre cover of the 54-40 song "I Go Blind").
A year before "Friends" went off the air, a movie of equally bright spirits and good intentions became the surprise hit of the holiday season. "Love, Actually" was and is all around, as the Richard Curtis-directed romantic comedy has since become a Christmas classic. In its memorable opening and closing moments, the film shows families, friends, and loved ones meeting outside the security gate of the London airport. The reason this happens at the security gate rather than the boarding terminal is because "Love, Actually" was made two years after 9/11, and airport security had tightened. Prior to that fateful day, you could actually make your way all the way to the boarding ramp without a ticket for the flight. So don't freak out when any of the "Friends" make their way willy-nilly through the airport. They're just living in simpler times, as can be seen on Rachel's innocent, hopeful face in the clip below.First off, Love Actually also managed to get airport security wrong. Secondly, we're again seeing a single moment from a single episode as a reason to watch this show. Finally, if your reason to watch Friends is that "it reminds you of the time before 9/11" you're completely out of it.
"Friends" lasted for 10 seasons and 236 episodes, more than 5,000 minutes in all. That's a lot of bingeing (more than 86 hours), so settle into those barcaloungers, folks. "Friends" is how TV was meant to be made, and now it can be enjoyed as was always intended — uninterrupted.Of all the many many things these 86 unfunny and uncomfortable hours are, "intended to be watched uninterrupted" is certainly not one of them.