I remember when I was about 9 years old, walking around Caroga Lake (Upstate New York, what up!) with my aunt and uncle singing (probably to myself) the opening theme song to Friends and feeling very embarrassed about knowing all the lyrics simply because it used the phrase “love life.” (Similarly, I didn’t want to ask for the TLC album Crazy Sexy Cool out of embarrassment).
Embarrassment over the term “love life” aside, I LOVED Friends. Not life companions, but the hit NBC sitcom from the mid-’90s. In 7th grade, there was a “couple” that everyone referred to as Ross and Rachel and I tried more times than I’d care to admit to copy Rachel’s clothing. I was right there every week watching the show unfold until sophomore year of college, where I watched the series finale and bawled like a baby. (Monica dress shopping quote, anyone?)
This is a show I can get into discussions of the intricate details of, quote incessantly and use to relate to almost any life situation.
Because of Friends I. . .
1. Was Completely Unprepared For Living In NYC
I know, I know, many shows contributed to this problem. But I blame the root of the problem on Friends.
It’s not even just the apartment envy that I can’t get past. (Which, come on, I’m 27 and I’m only now coming to terms with the fact that I will never live anywhere nicer than my sophomore-year dorm at NYU.)
It’s the ease they have commuting to their jobs on the odd days they decide to go to them (have any of them ever even BEEN on a subway??), it’s the non-sweaty entrance to the coffee shop even in the summer months (it gets HUMID here, people!), it’s the way all of their friends live across the hall (I had this for a couple years, sort of, with a friend up the street but it’s not the same) and it’s definitely, absolutely, the fact that three different characters owned a car at one point (check my math: Phoebe has the taxi, Ross has his turning-30-crisis car & Monica gets her dad’s old Porsche).
This is just not how people live in New York and I just am hurt that they would lie to me like this.
(Also, they refer to “Disneyland” and I just find that horrifying when they’re supposed to be in New York. We only know DisneyWORLD in the east, guys.)
2. Think I Am Rachel Green
For the record, I’m Team Jennifer and J. Aniston will always be MY sweetheart.
Wait, that sounded wrong. She’ll always be America’s Sweetheart…to me. Yes.
Obviously, I am definitely a Monica who had delusions that she was a Rachel. Sigh. I was smart enough not to attempt the Rachel hair cut, but I definitely experimented with some of her clothing options. She wore her overalls unbuttoned with a cute sweatshirt and Erin showed up to 6th grade math with unbuttoned (and partially falling down) overalls with an over-sized “University of Miami” sweatshirt. Boom, Rachel’d.
But I think the biggest issue (and clearly one Jennifer Aniston herself faces) is that I cannot and will not separate her from her character. So I loved Rachel and therefore with love J. Aniston. Forever.
When did this turn into a creepy love letter where I send her my eyelashes?
3. Think the Group of Friends You Have At 22 Will Be Your BFFs For the Rest of Your Life
Here’s the deal. I’m totally, completely jealous of the idea of a close group of friends who only hang out with each other and are super co-dependant. I just am, okay? I feel like people have similar situations to this in college maybe but once your friends start being in long-term relationships and get real jobs it’s harder and harder to keep that dynamic going.
Why can’t all my best friends just date each other then? That’d be so much simpler! We could have two apartments across the hall from each other where four of us just swap living in each apartment on whims and everything would be great. I mean, seriously, toward the end of the series someone is moving almost every week!
I just want TV to stop telling me that I can live in a world where my bffs date each other and we never need to have any other friends or co-workers and we just get into wacky adventures all the time. Because it’s never gonna happen and that makes me sad.
4. Think Breaking Up Should Be Super Easy and Stress-free
This is a big one. Yes, yes, it’s a sitcom, I get it, okay? But the fact of the matter is, they chose to do a really big break-up and make me cry. So they should at least have the decency to not lie to me.
Does ‘With or Without You’ always make me cry? Yes. Does that scene when Ross and Rachel are crying and she says he’s a completely different person to her now also make me cry every single time? YES.
Does real life continue on with an episode about going skiing with the friends you both share and making snide comments about your ex? No.
Them “being on a break” was a HUGE deal in the Friends universe, obviously, but it also sort of goes away quickly.
They still hang out with the same people (as if it’s their job or something to see only those 6 people) and they still hang out in the same room all the time. And the most that ever happens after the initial breakup is some jokes at each other’s expense. It works out for them.
If you’re Monica your BEST FRIEND and your brother just had an awful breakup and you’re stuck in the middle and somehow it’s okay with everyone.
Poor teen Erin had to turn to Dawson’s Creek to learn about REAL breakups because Friends was of no use.
5. Know Being An Adult Is Not Even Remotely In a Million Years That Easy
Getting a job, making friends, getting a boyfriend, breaking up, dealing with your parents, all of these things are not easy. Clearly the point is, well, it’s easier with great FRIENDS!
And it is.
However, it’s still not as easy as deciding to work “in fashion” and then just showing up for jobs. It’s just not. It’s also not as simple as being an actor but not working ever and not having a part time job (until much later in the series). The overall idea of being able to decide what you want to do and just do it is probably the most egregious way Friends ruined my life.
And therefore, sort of made it better.
I sort of feel like, “okay, if these yahoos can get through life so can I!” Is this a healthy way to look at life? Probably not. But no one’s perfect.
I’m forever jealous of their perfectly balanced group of friends and proximity to said friends. I want people to just barge into my apartment too!
I think I said it best on Twitter recently:
I’ll be there for you!
(Post adapted from this on my Tumblr)
(main photo from here - with me added in)