Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Better Late Than Never

Last Saturday night, while everyone was getting ready to go out for their first weekend back at IC, I was sitting in my room, alone, in the dark, eating Chinese food (from Wegmans, because why not?), watching Friends.

I had been told since I was--I don't know--born to watch Friends by many people in my life. My friends reference the show all the time and I play along as if I know what they're talking about. Just last week, Taylor Swift performed in Los Angeles as part of her 1989 World Tour and brought Lisa Kudrow out to perform a song that her character, Phoebe Buffay, wrote on Friends called "Smelly Cat." My roommate Ali freaked out and showed me a video. I didn't really know how to respond.

This weekend I decided to give it a shot and Netflix made it very easy by putting all 10 seasons up (YAY). Also, each episode is only 22 minutes long, so it was very easy for me to get right into the show.

I'm not gonna lie, I didn't like the first episode. It seemed like every other cut was a jump cut, I couldn't see why everyone loooooves Rachel, and it just felt the same as every other sitcom I've ever watched. Then I realized that most of the sitcoms I watched growing up were based off the success of Friends; once I let this fact go, it started getting better.

By the fourth episode, I caught myself laughing out loud (literally) at one of Chandler's lines.  
By the fifth, I was invested in the characters. By the seventh, I remembered something important that one of my professors abroad had said about the show. 

Dr. Richard Weight taught my British Youth Culture class, and he often brought up the reasons why youth culture exists. Basically, young adults suddenly had more time to be young. They were going to school, living and learning with people of the opposite sex, and most importantly, not having children. He always put this into fancy terminology and called it "pre-marital cohabitation" and used Friends as the biggest example of this in the media. 

Friends is not just the sitcom that influenced all other sitcoms--it shows a drastic shift in youth culture. People did not go straight from being children to having children. Young people took their time in life and learned to be independent. In the pilot episode of the show, Rachel moves in with Monica when she runs away from her own wedding.

The show is also culturally important because it is one of the first shows where the characters openly discuss dating, childbirth, sex, and sexual orientation. (And I'm only 10 episodes in). Samantha Allen writes in an article for Arts.Mic that, "There would be no New Girl, no Mindy Project, no Sex in the City without Friends."

After reading her this blog, Ali says that she's "proud of me." I don't know how much more of Friends I'll watch, solely because there are many other TV shows I want to see, but I don't regret a minute of it.

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