Tuesday, May 2, 2017
#10 Caroline Hollander, Installment 2
#10- Caroline Hollander
Friends and Philosophy
For my second installment of “Friends and Philosophy” (https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=2619743764213415433#editor/target=post;postID=2372990254173556877;onPublishedMenu=publishedposts;onClosedMenu=publishedposts;postNum=93;src=postname) , I want to dig further into specific episodes and characters. The theme of human connection above more material concerns and ideas is seen throughout each character progressively, and even develops within the plot.
S1E1 begins with Monica, Ross, Joey, Chandler, and Phoebe in Central Perk, the famous coffee shop, and Monica is telling her friends about a bad date she had. Everyone chimes in, giving their little snip bits of their personalities. Then Chandler begins telling them about his dream that night. The dream was of course, comical and yet humiliating and upsetting to Chandler. Within the first 30 seconds of the show, Monica and Chandler’s starting point as a character is summed up: Chandler is sarcastic and a little bit pathetic, and Monica is obsessive and also a little bit pathetic. Right on queue, Ross walks in and starts complaining about his ex lesbian wife. He’s sad, and a little bit pathetic. Next, Rachel walks in with a huge wedding dress on, soaking wet, and Monica sees her and runs up to her. Rachel explains how she left her almost-husband at the altar, and in the same breath asks for Sweet-N-Low in her coffee. Rachel is introduced at first as spoiled, and a little bit pathetic. The first episode is of course, establishing characters and plots, however each character is obviously down in their luck just prior to their establishment of their “friend group.”
The first episode follows Monica as she goes on what seems to be a good date, but turns out to be worse than the previous one, Rachel trying to figure out where she will live and what she will do, Ross feeling sad about his newly ex wife, and Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe making jokes in between. There are also scenes scattered throughout that classically showcase Phoebe and Joey’s starting point character. Here’s a link to this iconic opening scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weEHDrPQjrY
Jump 10 seasons later, S10E, opens with Phoebe packing for Monica and Chandler, who are moving to a bigger house in the suburbs to welcome their new adopted twins. Then within 10 seconds, the scene cuts to Rachel and Ross making out, who at this point also have a child together. The episode follows Chandler and Monica as they welcome their new children into the world, and Rachel and Ross as they prepare for Rachel to move to Paris for her career. The issue in this episode is that Rachel is moving to Paris, and Ross has finally realized that he loves her still. Throughout the episode, Rachel seems set on Paris, however within the last 10 minutes of the episode Rachel realizes her love for Ross, and in a classically almost-soap-opera way gets off the plane. Though it is difficult to wrap up and much less explain a 10 year long series in 500 words, the show begins and ends true to each “friends” character, however at the same time each person’s character is developed leagues beyond the pilot episode. Here’s the last scene on Friends: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9snbUbbMqbg
“Friends” typically is seen as a comic relief, slightly soap-opera television show, and it definitely is. However, to me, and to many other college aged ladies, friends is comforting because it reminds us that relationships matter, and all the other stuff does as well, but not as much. Friends shows time and time again that people matter. The idea that people matter is a philosophy in itself, and makes life messy, enjoyable, and fun.