by Wil Forbis
A few weeks ago I
was out of town visiting a friend of mine. We hadn’t seen each other
in a while and after about two minutes of conversation we decided to
do what we do best: watch television. We settled down in the various
comforters and began flipping through the channels. “Hey, it’s FRIENDS!”
I said, catching sight of a rerun appearing on one of the cable stations.
“Let’s watch it!”
“FRIENDS!” my compatriot
responded. “FRIENDS is for fags!”
“Then just call me ‘Johnny
McCocksucker!” I replied. “Because I think FRIENDS is a great show!”
And I do, though I recognize
that a lot of the cutting-edge hipster types I constantly find myself
involved with consider FRIENDS to be the epoch of commercial drivel.
And for a time, I was with them. On the surface, there’s a lot to criticize
about FRIENDS. It’s yet another comedy featuring impossibly attractive
young adults with the sorts of dating problems most of us would kill
for. (“Geee…” Joey muses. “Should I bang this drop dead gorgeous broad
or this other one? I know - I’ll have a three way!”) They all live in
comfortable apartments in downtown Manhattan, while working part time
jobs that wouldn’t cover the rent on their closets. (Sometimes I like
to imagine that in addition to their regular jobs, all the characters
are professional escorts.) And while real life friends can only be
counted on to steal your oxycontin prescription and sleep with your
significant other, the gang on FRIENDS actually love and support each
other. (At least I think that's what they're doing - having only heard
of the phenomenon, I have a hard time recognizing it up close.)
But whatever blemishes may
cast themselves upon the show, it still has a lot going for it. For
instance dig these exciting FRIENDS AIN'T FOR FAGS FUG FILLED FACTS
(TM)*. (By "facts" I mean "my selected opinions.")
* Nope, that's not a typo.
Regular facts are fun-filled. My facts are FUG-FILLED!! Here.. open
wide and have some more delicious, nutritious FUG!!!
1) At times, it’s the
most cutting edge show on television
Let's be honest - Comedy
is a contest. It's a contest to see how far you can go towards offending
your audience while still remaining popular. Murphy Brown may have tweaked
Dan Quayle by having a kid out of wedlock, but FRIENDS' Phoebe did her
one better by having triplets out of wedlock. And the dad was her brother!
(How did that work exactly?) If that's not enough, remember Joey's rubber
eraser penis? The Lesbian Wedding? Ross having sex with his five year old
nephew. (Sorry, just wanted to see if you were paying attention.)
2) On top of a great
cast, the show has featured some of the best sketch comedians around.
One of the weakest criticisms
FRIENDS detractors make about the show is contention that the actors are just a
bunch of pretty faces. If someone such as I, who always begrudges beautiful
people their good looks, can acknowledge this isn't true, then so should
the pop critics of Hollywood. The six main characters all possess a
comic talent that is extremely rare on television. On top of that, the
show has featured players like Giovanni Ribisi ("Boiler Room"), Debra
Jo Rupp ("That 70's Show"), Jon Favreau ("Made"), Steve Zahn (Tons of Shit),
Adam Goldfarb (fucking hilarious as Chandler’s short lived roommate),
Michael Rapaport ("Boston Public") and Sean Whalen ("Got Milk?"
ads). And more importantly, FRIENDS featured many of these players before
they got famous. Clearly the producers go out of their way to find good
3) It was the first show
to offer positive portrayals of gays that transcended feel-good archetypes.
Ha! See! You read the title
of this column and thought I was some sort of right wing homophobe,
didn't you? You stupid buttmuncher!
Up until the late eighties,
gay characters on television were either effeminate twits like Billy
Crystal or one-dimensional, holier-than-thou characters created in an
attempt by liberal scriptwriters to make up for the centuries of oppression
homosexuals have experienced. This tide was turned by two shows. Rosanne
made great strides for gay characters by using Martin Mull, Sandra Bernhardt
and Morgan Fairchild to portray them as either bumbling buffoons or
flighty egomaniacs. FRIENDS utilized several non-moronic gay characters
like Ross's ex-wife, Carol, her lover, Susan and several guest characters,
the most humorous being Phoebe's "husband" as played by Steve Zahn.
I think you can safely say, that there would be no "Will And Grace" without
the water tested by FRIENDS. (No wisecracks, Saleeby.)
4) It’s got Courteney
Look, I don’t usually go
for overly skinny chicks but there’s no getting around the fact that
Ms. Cox* is the hottest piece of ass since a secret government project
in the late sixties cloned a fusion of Brigitte Bardot and Jane Mansfield.
The girl is just plain tight, y’all - and only gets better with age.
When you look at her in that old Springsteen video she just seems like
some forgettable gal next door, but as the years have passed, her features
have cemented themselves into one of the classic beauties of our age.
Well, it’s either cement or Botex.
* Notice I don’t call her
Courteney Cox Arquette. This is because I have discovered a little known
law that proves her marriage to David Arquette is invalid. This law
also dictates that Courteney is actually married to me and must be my
mindless love slave. Hey, I don't make the laws around here. Blame John
5) It allows you to relive
the endless stream of romance and self discovery that was your late
In the same way that watching
the "Wonder Years" allowed me to vicariously enjoy the bittersweet teenage
coming of age story I never actually lived, FRIENDS allows me to experience
the joy of "finding myself" in my twenties while engaging in variety
of relationships with fantastically attractive sexual partners. In the
world of FRIENDS, even a dolt like Chandler gets some pretty hot pussy!
What do you think? Leave your comments on the Guestbook!