Now, while I’ve always had a huge issue with people trying to show how virtuous they are*, it’s interesting to see that they chose Friends to attack. I remembered the show as being modern and pretty much unproblematic–except when they looked at the issues head-on.
So now it’s on Netflix, and we’ve been watching it. And…
Yeah, there’s a lot to like and not a lot to hate. The most difficult thing to watch is usually how Ross’ goofiness is so overblown as to be painful.
Other than that, the show still works extremely well unless you’re actively looking for reasons to dislike it. Most of the conversations that take place, despite the show’s age, could still take place today without raising eyebrows. Sure, some of them would raise eyebrows on a particularly activist campus… but only if the people speaking were other activists. Normal people–Democrats, Republicans and probably even Communist–still talk the same way.
The only things that have really aged are the relationship to technology and a few of Chandler’s clothing choices.
And therein probably lies the secret (in the tech, not Chandler’s clothes). By removing the internet as a real thing except as something going on in the peripheries, the first few seasons of Friends show humans talking to their friends. Since there is no such thing as Facebook, politics is essentially something that is ignored–the way it mostly is in offline conversations. Think about it: what percentage of your interactions with flesh and blood people is political. If it’s 5%, that’s probably because you’re an activist of some kind. I know if you were my friend and you spoke to me about politics too often, I’d good-naturedly remind you that normal people don’t act that way in the real world. That’s what Twitter is for.
It’s so refreshing that I have to recommend this one to everyone who wants a sitcom the way they used to be. Ten minutes in, you’ll remember why thie was THE show in the nineties. The writing is good, the acting is good and the situations are often genuinely funny (some do fall flat, but that is a rare occurrence). And if you’ve never seen it before, you’re in for a treat… either that or you’re going to need the support group for people who are too woke to have any fun at all!
*I’ve found that the really virtuous ones are usually awful human beings, whether their virtue is based on puritanism, prohibitionism or political correctness – essentially anyone who actively acts to force others to adopt their extreme beliefs is a twat.
Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine novelist and short story writer whose latest book, Timeless, is now available for all the major ebook platforms. You can check it out here.