One of my favorite TV shows of all time is “Friends.” I’ve seen every episode a ridiculous number of times, and my friend Ann and I used to quote it so much we basically had conversations in “Friends” dialogue. When it started syndicating in college, roommate Kristin and I established a ritual: Wendy’s drive-thru run before rushing home to catch it at 7 p.m. I just had to hold the rolled top of the food bag tightly so “Wendy’s fumes” wouldn’t bleed into the fabric of her new Jetta.
Then I lived in New York, toured my visitors past the “Friends” apartment building in Greenwich Village and came to realize how outrageously unlikely it was that any of those 20-somethings could afford to live in such apartments. But willing suspension of disbelief is much easier when it’s so entertaining.
“Friends” was special because it captured so well the urban family that forms, especially in NYC, and the needling and squabbling yet love and support among friends. I think we all could relate. Plus, it aired over the course of my important formative years — when it premiered, we discussed it on Fridays in high school, and by the time of the finale, I was out of college and had been living in New York for 5 years.
I can still find a “Friends” reference in anything. Just the other day I was complaining in the office about the suspiciously rapid reduction in my organic milk from the shared refrigerator, which called for a revisit of Ross’s “You! ate! MY! sandwich?” (with the moist-maker) breakdown. If only I could pull it off with such gusto.
One of my favorite episodes ever is 1998’s “The One with the Embryos,” when the girls lose their apartment in a trivia contest with the boys over how well they know each other. I always appreciate when TV series honor their history and the loyal fans who know all the backstory and get the inside jokes, as they did in this one. Brilliant.
Click here to watch it.
The best exchange in that episode — the line that I have quoted often over the years with disdain toward offenders — now hits close to home:
Q: What’s Monica’s biggest pet peeve?
A: Animals dressed as humans.
See, I bought Oliver a sweater. And a raincoat, in yellow. It pained and shamed me, but it’s necessary — his scrawny little cropped-haired body shivering in the chilly rain this weekend was just too much to bear.
So, I’ve become ‘that girl.’ I was already heading down a dangerous path when I carried him into the grocery store in a bag last week. Now he wears clothes.
Trixie + Peanut, here we come.
Photo source: today.msnbc.com