Vantage point

Monday, February 03, 2003

Today I watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode 913. It was OK, with a lot of the usual stuff happening. Rachel and Ross having a fight, Chandler talking about his gay father,Monica wanting to be liked by everyone, Phoebe being flaky, and Joey being dumb.

I like FRIENDS. However I do think it is a tad over rated. There are many sitcoms which are better written, but are not such big hits, simply because the actors can not pull it off. Now look at FRIENDS. I think the main reason behind its success are the 6 actors playing those 6 characters so perfectly. I am not saying they are 6 gods of acting, but they really play their parts perfectly. You can not imagine anyone else pulling them off.

That is not to say that FRIENDS was never well written. Far from it. The first season is really funny, and has amazing ideas in it. The second was good too until they brought that Richard fella(Tom Selleck) in it. The third season and the fourth is where they really peaked. Especially the chick and the duck angle, the quiz contest where Chandler and Joey win the apartment, all those Janice episodes and Joey's acting disasters. After that the series went downhill. What made FRIENDS special was the two sets of roommates. Chandler and Joey were really the heart of the show and separating them was a horrid idea. Ditto with Monica and Rachel.

In fact the real strength of the sitcom was Chandler. His bungling habits, commitmentphobia, self doubt, and his constant barrage of jokes made him a bit representative of the guy of the 90's. He really kept the humour up there. But what do the writers do? They hook him up with Monica, perhaps the most boring of the 6 characters. That is where they really stole his essence, his mojo, his spirit. Call it what you will.

Ever since Chandler hooked up with Monica, he has become a shadow of his former self. Joey, when he was with Chandler seemed endearingly stupid. Now he seems plain stupid.

Anyway, I still enjoy watching the series, but it is not a brilliant piece of work like Seinfeld, MASH or Home Improvement were. Nowadays it is also getting very predictable.

What never got predictable was Seinfeld. Seinfeld is something I really really miss. Its strength lies in its writing. Its standards never dropped, and in fact kept improving. I think the 8th, i.e the last season of Seinfeld is THE funniest of them all. Did you know that Jerry Seinfeld was offered 5 million per episode to keep the series going but he refused. 8 seasons was its natural life and keeping it on an artificial support system would have sapped it of its invigorating rollicking humour.

FRIENDS should have been stopped after season 4.

Anyway, I detected 5 episodes of the classic sitcom M*A*S*H on the network today and downloaded them. I am off to watch them. Happy giggling.