I have a confession. I was addicted to friends.
I was young, I was drinking too much and smoking too much, and I fell for it.
Ok, ok, maybe these are just excuses. After all, millions of people all over the world were addicted to that series. That shallow laugh-tracked no story sit-com at its worse. So why? What was the secret? How did they manage to catch even someone like me?
Let's see what we have here. A bunch of young urban not-too-successful people with a certain wit and repartee' who spends days over days doing nothing but drinking coffee and self obsessing about themselves. A clueless assemblage of lost souls in the big city wasting their time and basically most of the time going nowhere fast.
Isn’t that the description of Seinfeld? Isn’t that the description of every twenty plus urbanite you know? Every twenty plus urbanite you were?
Friends sold us the illusion that these were real people like us.
(if we had money for shopping without work and spent days doing nothing by chum up with our buddies)
Friends sold us the illusion we are as pretty as they are, as witty as they are, and as successful at doing nothing but live as they are. And they did that by making the concept accessible. Not the pretty faces you see in soap operas, not the high brow comic lines you hear in 'proper' sitcoms. It was mediocrity at its best. And that is exactly what we are. Mediocre. At best.
I loved phoebes little synchronicities, I loved chandler insecurities, I loved Joey's immaturity, I loved Rachel's superficiality, I loved Monica's obsessive behavior. I am sure they all had some good qualities too. I just can't think of any right now…
And that was the charm. Almost normal. Almost us. But with better teeth. And less work. And I don’t really have to mention thinner, right?
That's the secret. It was like gap jeans in a sitcom form. It was comfortable, it was close to reality, it was never too exciting controversial or anything that would rattle our comfortable existence in front of the idiot box.
Did it have great writing? Far from it. Great acting? Aniston and schwimmer, need I say more? Did it have any real impact on our lives? No. and that is EXACTLY how we like it.
Friends is , and was, the quintessential 90's sitcom. And in its shallowness and cozy unchallenging mediocrity it reflected a whole generation.
I normally don’t mind shitty sitcoms. Au contraire. But this conclusion I just came to? That's just sad. And so American.