Anyone who knows me well, knows what a huge fan of Friends I am. Having said that, I haven’t actually watched an episode for two or three years, or however long it is since E4 stopped showing the repeats here in the UK. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it and quoting from it, on a regular, some would say slightly obsessive, basis. I don’t mind admitting this because I know I’m not alone; it was one of those TV shows that generated a huge and loyal fan base who still lament over its passing. And find me one person who hasn’t, at least once, considered which Friends character they are most similar to, and which one they would most like to have dated (for the record, I think I am most like Monica, although I definitely have elements of Rachel and Phoebe in me, and I would most like to have dated Joey because I think he would be the most fun, and food would feature heavily on the dates which is always a bonus).
It only dawned on me in the last few days however, just how often I relate things in real life to episodes of Friends; not a week goes by where at least once I don’t think, or say (depending on who I’m with!), “Oh, that was just like on Friends, that episode where…”. I don’t think it’s necessarily surprising that I, or any of us, can relate to one or other of the characters, or indeed that we can find lots of comparisons to real life; after all, they had a mix of different character types on there, and covered a wide range of situations over the 236 episodes. What I find surprising though is just how often those comparisons come to me. Again, I know I’m not alone – not specifically with Friends, but many people find that a TV series has somehow become part of their lives, beyond just enjoying it when it’s on.
It wasn’t an immediate love affair. When Friends first started, I may have caught an episode or two from that first series, and I remember being vaguely amused/entertained, but not overly enthused, then as further series came and went, I caught more and more episodes, and enjoyed them more and more. It was probably not until the last two series that I absolutely HAD to watch every one, and after the final series ended, I inhaled every repeat that I possibly could. Every now and again, right until E4 stopped showing the daily repeats, I would occasionally catch an episode that I had never seen before, which would fill in a blank from an earlier series, and how exciting was that!
I’ve often thought I’d like to do one of those marathon weekends where I get the box set of DVDs and watch every episode back to back from the first to the last, while gorging on junk food. Oh wait, I don’t think a weekend is going to be enough…236 episodes x an average of 22 mins per episode = 5192 mins, divided by 60 = 86.5 hours, so…factoring in sleep and bathroom breaks, I’m going to need about 5 days. Anyone care to join me? Can you bring a spare fridge so that we don’t run out of drinks and snacks?
Just to clarify (in case anyone is worrying about my sanity) I think I’m making it sound more obsessive than it actually is, it’s not that my love of Friends affects my day to day functioning in life (apart from those aforementioned 5 days, where my day to day functioning clearly WOULD be affected), I just find it surprising that it so regularly pops up in my thoughts in one way or another, despite, as I mentioned, not having watched it for quite some time.
Are you a big Friends fan like me? Or is there another TV show, that you have subsumed in this way?