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The 20 Annoyances of "Friends"

Old 04-27-04, 09:02 AM
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The 20 Annoyances of "Friends"

From today's Chicago Sun-Times, which most of you will know as the paper Ebert writes movie reviews for and Roeper writes columns for.
http://www.suntimes.com/output/rosen...tr-phil27.html

There's no question about the popularity of NBC's "Friends." Millions have welcomed the series into their homes over the past decade.

Even your favorite pals sometimes can get on your nerves, however, and Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Joey and Phoebe, with all their eccentricities, are no exception.

As the May 6 series finale for the hit NBC sitcom nears on WMAQ-Channel 5, here are 20 of the leading annoyances from the 10-year run of the show:

THE ONE ABOUT SUPERSIZING: No less an authority than William Shakespeare wrote that "brevity is the soul of wit."

So what happens when what's normally edited out of a half-hour sitcom is left in so NBC can cram in a few extra commercials and doesn't have to run so much of a less popular series?

Supersized episodes are good for the network and bad for comedy.

THE ONE ABOUT THE GUESTS: If not for "Friends," we would not have had "Suddenly Susan," "The Closer," "The Single Guy" and "Love & Money."

Brooke Shields, Tom Selleck, Jonathan Silverman and Paget Brewster all parlayed their successful guest shots on "Friends" into starring gigs in their own lousy sitcoms.

THE ONE ABOUT THE PET PEEVES: Ross had Marcel the monkey.

Joey and Chandler had Yasmine the baby chick and Duck the duck.

What is this, a sitcom or Old MacDonald's Farm?

THE ONE ABOUT THE MINORITIES: What minorities, you ask? Exactly.

And this is a sitcom, so having Jewish characters doesn't count.

Though a few people of color have slipped in there over the years, this show seems set in Woody Allen's bleached-out Manhattan, minus the Gershwin.

THE ONE ABOUT ALL THE SOAP: Almost from the very start, "Friends" sought to strike an odd balance between being a situation comedy and serial drama.

There was a certain melodramatic quality amid the snappy banter and jokes, a tendency to throw in a wedding, a birth, a breakup or some heartache when things threatened to get too light.

This was only exacerbated in recent seasons when NBC's overzealous promo department started hyping the sudsiest aspects of the series, selling the intertwined relationships over the zingers.

THE ONE ABOUT THE PROMOS: If we wanted to hear this much Enya, we'd spend our spare time riding in elevators.

THE ONE ABOUT ROSS AND RACHEL: Figure it out, you two, and get back to us when you know whether you are going to be a couple or not.

This together/not together/together/not together thing is wasting your time and ours. Seriously.

THE ONE ABOUT THE BABIES: Ross is father to a couple of children. Phoebe gave birth to triplets as a surrogate. As prospective adoptive dad Chandler might say, "Could these kids be any more of an afterthought?"

THE ONE ABOUT SHOOTING THE BIRD: "Friends" sometimes has trouble breaking off relationships.

None, including Jon Favreau entering the Ultimate Fighting Championship, was as abrupt or out of character as the way Michael Rapaport's Gary turned Phoebe against him.

The cop used his service revolver to gun down a bird chirping outside their window? And he seemed like such a nice guy.

THE ONE ABOUT THE MOVIES: "Ed," "Marci X," "Fools Rush In," "Kissing a Fool," "Lucky Numbers," "The Pallbearer," "Since You've Been Gone," "Lost in Space," "Serving Sara," "Picture Perfect," "Three to Tango."

Need we keep going?

THE ONE ABOUT APPEARANCES: What does it say that even fans of this series sometimes get more worked up about the cast's hair, weight and off-screen love lives than what their characters are doing on the show?

THE ONE ABOUT SCHWIMMER: David Schwimmer is actually a decent actor. Look at his work on HBO in both "Band of Brothers" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." But his Ross character is so over the top, you see his talent here much too rarely.

THE ONE ABOUT THE HOUSING: Those apartments? In New York? On what these people would make? Funny.

THE ONE ABOUT THE WINTER TANS: The cast does know this show is set in New York, not St. Tropez, right?

THE ONE ABOUT 'SEINFELD': Asked by Bob Costas not long ago if "Seinfeld" could get on the air today, Jerry Seinfeld wanted to know if "Friends" was on the air in this scenario. Told it was, Seinfeld said it was amazing it copied his show without his show ever airing.

It's been said that "Friends" is "Seinfeld" as reshaped by network executives who wanted a better-looking cast, characters who were nicer to one another and comedy that was a little more conventional.

In other words, it's the Bizarro version of Jerry and his pals that Seinfeld himself presented in one episode of his series, whose Thursday-night popularity helped buoy "Friends" in its first four seasons.

THE ONE ABOUT THE NUBBIN: Thanks for making us consider the possibility of Matthew Perry sporting a third nipple.

THE ONE ABOUT 'JOEY': "AfterMASH," anyone?

This post-show spinoff hopes to extend the life of Matt LeBlanc's character and become the next "Frasier."

The odds are better it will be the next "Golden Palace" or "The Sanford Arms."

THE ONE ABOUT 'SEX AND THE CITY': A couple looking to adopt, talk of moving to Brooklyn and a woman going to Paris in a New York-set series nearing its conclusion?

Hmmm.

Where have we seen this before?

THE ONE ABOUT SEX AND THE KIDDIES: From its very first episode, in which Monica slept with a guy on their first date, a hookup that so concerned NBC it polled audience members at the taping to see if they considered her to be slutty, "Friends" has had very little use for what long ago was known as "the family hour."

While other shows in the 7 p.m. hour have dealt with adult themes, "Friends'' never hesitated to play like an 8 p.m. show an hour early in what used to be something of a safe haven for family viewing.

And now that the show reruns on stations such as WGN-Channel 9 at 6 p.m., it stands to educate ever younger viewers on all sorts of fun grownup activities.

THE ONE ABOUT THE SERIES FINALE: This is the third season in which we've heard "Friends" is coming to a close. Each time NBC came by with a dump truck of cash and, voila, there were more episodes.

But this time for sure, as Bullwinkle used to say. Right?

Because we can't start to miss you until you actually go away.
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Old 04-27-04, 09:13 AM
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interesting
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Old 04-27-04, 09:21 AM
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Some valid complaints, but several of them are out of date (like the one about the pets).
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Old 04-27-04, 10:15 AM
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Translation:

I don't like Friends and don't get the people who do, yet I watch it every week anyway so I can write an article and bitch about it.

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Old 04-27-04, 11:21 AM
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I'm not sure how valid the comparisons to Seinfeld are. I love both shows and they are both distinctivly different. Although, I have noticed, watching the season sets on dvd there are MANY gags and plots lifted right from Seinfeld and a few from Cheers.

I guess I am contradicting myself. Oh well.
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Old 04-27-04, 11:28 AM
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Originally posted by Kal-El
Translation:

I don't like Friends and don't get the people who do, yet I watch it every week anyway so I can write an article and bitch about it.
If that's true, at least he's bitching about something he actually watches...
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Old 04-27-04, 11:58 AM
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Why the hell does everyone mention minorities when talking about Friends??? What about all the other sitcoms that the entire cast is white. Nobody whines about Family Ties, Growing Pains, Rosanne, Sienfeld and a billion others having only White people in the cast. Is it not possible to just watch and enjoy a TV show and not be driven to tears because the cast is the same race??? I seem to remember black people in Friends. Ross dated a black women for a while. Guess whiners like to forget that story line.

About the apartment, they told how they can afford it. It is rent controlled and listed under Monica's grandma. Besides, the seem to have good enough jobs they could afford them even without the rent control.
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Old 04-27-04, 12:19 PM
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Re: The 20 Annoyances of "Friends"

Originally posted by GuessWho



THE ONE ABOUT THE PROMOS: If we wanted to hear this much Enya, we'd spend our spare time riding in elevators.


how very true!
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Old 04-27-04, 02:55 PM
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Funny, I found none of those complaints to be valid.

THE ONE ABOUT SUPERSIZING: So a few episodes are 40 minutes, what's the complaint?

THE ONE ABOUT THE GUESTS: Yeah, it's the fault of the show that professional actors who guest starred on the show might actually move on to a show of their own. How dare they!

THE ONE ABOUT THE PET PEEVES: I had a monkey when I was kid. I also had a chick. I live in NYC. People have pets.

THE ONE ABOUT THE MINORITIES: As resinrats stated, there have been dozens of other sitcoms with no black characters

THE ONE ABOUT ALL THE SOAP: Adults have babies, love affairs, breakups, and general drama throughout their lives.

THE ONE ABOUT THE PROMOS: Who cares about the music in promos?

THE ONE ABOUT ROSS AND RACHEL: Not wasting my time, I've largely enjoyed the relationship between Ross & Rachel. From the unrequited love, to the dating, to the breakup, to the baby, and beyond.

THE ONE ABOUT THE BABIES: We spend 22 minutes a week with these people. As shown in an episode from this season, they do spend time with the children.

THE ONE ABOUT SHOOTING THE BIRD: Breakups happen. Phoebe breaking up with a boyfriend for killing a bird is completely in character.

THE ONE ABOUT THE MOVIES: Some movies are good, some bad, some lousy. Just like every other actor.

THE ONE ABOUT APPEARANCES: Again, just like every other actor. When Tom Hanks lost weight and grew a beard for Castaway, you would've thought the world was coming to an end.

THE ONE ABOUT SCHWIMMER: Sitcoms have never been the place to show off acting chops, but doesn't Schwimmer's histrionics go to show his skills?

THE ONE ABOUT THE HOUSING: This has been asked since the first episode and answered.

THE ONE ABOUT THE WINTER TANS: Uh, ever heard of tanning booths? Many, many people in winter climates use them.

THE ONE ABOUT 'SEINFELD': So stupid. Yes, it's just like "Seinfeld", except for the characters, the tone, the comedy, the cast, etc. And don't forget, Jerry Seinfeld was getting his ass handed to him every week by Tim Allen when they were in direct competition.

THE ONE ABOUT THE NUBBIN: Gotta use some filler to stretch it to an even 20, eh Phil?

THE ONE ABOUT 'JOEY': How about we wait until the damn show is on the air before we dance with glee over its failings?

THE ONE ABOUT 'SEX AND THE CITY': Successful shows need closure at the end of their runs. What's more exciting than a new child (w/o pregnancy), a new city, and a new job?

THE ONE ABOUT SEX AND THE KIDDIES: Exactly what parents are for. It's their job to monitor what their kids watch, not the show's or mine.

THE ONE ABOUT THE SERIES FINALE: Amazing! The only show in the history of television to remain on the air for more money!

Last edited by Charlie Goose; 04-28-04 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 04-27-04, 03:10 PM
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I haven't watched Friends in years but I myself thought the list was pretty funny.
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Old 04-27-04, 03:39 PM
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Originally posted by Charlie Goose
THE ONE ABOUT THE BABIES: We spend 22 minutes a week with these people. As shown in an episode from this season, they do spend time with the children.
Really? Ben is rarely mentioned, if at all. We have never seen him with his half-sister Emma. I checked - Ben was last on the show season 8 ep 12 (aired 1/10/02). So he's been missing 2+ years from the show!

The triplets showed up this season but had been missing/not mentioned since season 6!
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Old 04-27-04, 04:04 PM
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Originally posted by rfduncan
Really? Ben is rarely mentioned, if at all. We have never seen him with his half-sister Emma. I checked - Ben was last on the show season 8 ep 12 (aired 1/10/02). So he's been missing 2+ years from the show!

The triplets showed up this season but had been missing/not mentioned since season 6!
And to reiterate what he said, 22 minutes people. 22 minutes. What do you care anyway if they show the kids? You all hate 'em anyway. You're saying if they show the kids once in a while the show would actually be better? We all know that's not gonna happen. It would've just been another annoyance but put this way:"this is supposed to be about the 6 Friends! why are the kids hogging all the screen time?". Lose-lose either way.
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Old 04-27-04, 04:24 PM
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I think the thing about the kids is that these characters have had ZERO (or almost 0) change in their life due to their children. We have just had our first and I can tell you that our lives have changed about 180 degrees.
When I am forced to watch this, the wife loves this show, this is oen of the biggest complaints (along with about 15 others on this list) I have of the show.


And this is not 24, it is not 22min of real time, it is usually closer to a week their time.
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Old 04-27-04, 05:28 PM
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I can't believe you are arguing about their kids. I do not want to see an episode in which every episode I see Ross going off to see his kid. And I could careless if they show me Ben meeting Emma. Those two are not main characters.

And, the Triplets are not Phoebe's! Yes, she had them, but they are not hers. We don't need to see them every day in the life of Friends. I only see some of my Aunts at Christmas. Sheesh.
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Old 04-27-04, 05:35 PM
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Originally posted by Cusm

And this is not 24, it is not 22min of real time, it is usually closer to a week their time.
It's still 22 minutes cumulative regardless if it happens in real time or spread over a week. It actually makes less sense to show the kids the longer the time span of the episode when you think about it.
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Old 04-27-04, 06:03 PM
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#21 - Friends has created way to many whiney people. If Friends was never created, then people wouldn't be arguing over why we should or shouldn't see the kids of our Friends on the TV. Who flippin' cares? If you don't like the show, DON'T WATCH IT. I love the show dammit, and obviously I'm not the only one that thinks that or else this show wouldn't have stuck around for so long.
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Old 04-27-04, 06:17 PM
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I liked Friends when it came out because it wasn't popular but now that it's popular I hate it simply because it's popular.

I'm so anti!
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Old 04-27-04, 06:21 PM
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Originally posted by SBatL8y
#21 - Friends has created way to many whiney people. If Friends was never created, then people wouldn't be arguing over why we should or shouldn't see the kids of our Friends on the TV. Who flippin' cares? If you don't like the show, DON'T WATCH IT. I love the show dammit, and obviously I'm not the only one that thinks that or else this show wouldn't have stuck around for so long.
Yeah what she said!!!!!

*sidenote* Your posts are much cooler now that I know how you look from the pics page! :-) Yours and lots of others, actually. Not that they weren't cool to begin with...
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Old 04-27-04, 07:09 PM
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Obviously a sign of success if a show can invite this much criticism but remain so highly beloved despite its many "flaws." Of course the show is not perfect, and yes after 10 years it's showing signs of aging, especially in the area of storylines. But I've never seen a show before like this where you felt like you knew the characters and could see these people as friends of your own. In Cheers and Seinfeld you knew the characters, but it's hard to imagine hanging around with those people for that long. This show I almost feel like I know these characters, which some may say is a sign that I am delusional, but I prefer to say is a sign of successful character development and writing over time.
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