Today my 18 month old grandson lightly hit his head and exclaimed, “owww.” His mother’s response? “Oh, did Monica Bang?” Which would normally be a weird response, and for those that know, you know. For those that don’t know, this is a scene from our favorite family show, “FRIENDS.”
One rainy summer day in the late 90’s/early 2000s, the little girls and I roamed the house, going just a little crazy trying to come up with a way to entertain ourselves. Scott was gone, on a trip, and Sarah was out with friends. She was older by a nearly 7 years and had different interests – let’s just say, she wasn’t into Polly Pockets or “Puzzle Pirates. She had gone to Videl Video the day before and had watched movies the previous night with her friends. I absentmindedly sifted through the stack of videos, the requisite rom-coms, some Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Hugh Grant…. nothing looked worth watching for the third time, that is when I saw the “Top Ten Episodes From Seasons 1-3 of Friends.”
Up until this time, the B-Es had missed the whole Friends phenomena – we did watch a lot of TV (back then LOL) and I had my favorites that superseded other Thursday night shows (ER!). I was skeptical, but suggested we watch one episode to see what the big deal was…. we were aware how popular it was.
Scott was gone, and for some reason the girls and I had decided it would be fun to “camp” upstairs in the TV room. We had inflated the double air mattress and slept there the night before. With the sky gray and the gentle rhythm of rain on the roof, we popped some popcorn and snuggled down on the bed, and big cozy pile of us, and turned on the first episode.
We DID take a few breaks, the dogs needed walking, dinner needed preparing, a check in phone call with Scott, but we finished those 10 episodes in one day. Yep, we binge watched Friends before binge watching was a thing! And when we were done? Off to Videl we went and checked out Season One. Over the next few weeks we managed to watch two seasons. Thankfully or not, it was sort of a bad weather rainy spell and it was a welcome relief.
Weirdly, some of our favorite scenes were from the DVDs that we ended up purchasing, and it wasnt until years later when we watched reruns on TV, that we realized the DVDs had all the cut scenes. (Ross and Julie looking for an “old or sick” cat) We would watch the rerun and sort of scratch our heads, aware something was missing, but not sure what.
“They don’t know we know they know.”
“We were on a break.”
“The one with the (fill in with anything here….)”
It never felt uncomfortable watching FRIENDS with the girls. There was the occasional beer, but no drunkenness to speak of, while Joey was a player, the sex scenes were fairly innocuous. Looking at FRIENDS under the current lens, I agree with criticism that it was… So. Darn. White. AND extremely homophobic, at least where the guys were concerned, I actually loved the Carol character. But at the time it was hard to find fault.
I have always believed that any life circumstance can be demonstrated though that 90’s standard, FRIENDS. It found it’s way into our family vernacular. It is our common joke…. so if one of the B-Es says something weird, say for example, if we ever have to carry something, and we call out “Pivot, pivot, pivot,” you will get it.