But Santa isn’t the only one who’s been making a list…
“The One Where Christmas is a Bit Too Much”
This week the Friends™ are dealing with the aftermath of Ross and Rachels first kiss. It’s no surprise how quickly it spreads in such a tight nit group. I can’t help but feel sorry for Julie as she’s left out the loop.
Perhaps the writers intentionally kept the focus off her to keep the audience on Rachel and Ross’s side? But it really hasn’t helped the shows problem with characters from minority ethnicities. It’s been a while since I’ve dealt with this topic but I think it’s worth noting at this point that it’s not just black characters the show is under-representing. With Julie already on the way out it seems her ethnicity only served to add the joke last season where Rachel assumed she didn’t speak English.
Elsewhere, Monica (still unemployed) is forced to make a disgusting Chocolate substitute. Once she’s stopped “awwing” over all the gruesome details of Rachel’s kiss with her brother that is. Ew Monica. Ew! It sometimes seems like the writer’s took the title of the show too literally and forgot that Monica and Ross were actually related.
This B-plot does give us some welcome comedic respite in the face of the more serious romantic plot. Helped along by a reliably excellent turn from Michael McKeen (of Spinal Tap fame).
Although set before Christmas, I’m not the only one getting new shiny things (mostly underwear – covering those lost after we didn’t get the new house). Chandler has got a computer! It boasts an impressive 500 megabyte hard drive and 12 megabytes of RAM. To put this in perspective, the phone in my pocket has 32 times the storage space and a RAM of over 166 times Chandlers! How things have changed… still, I wouldn’t worry Chandler, it’s what you do with it that counts.
Speaking of storage space, I’ve just noticed the Friends™ must have absolutely massive closets. They seem to wear different clothes every single episode. Amazing what you can do style-wise, once you have a TV studios worth of wardrobe available.
Anyway, it’s crunch time, Ross has to choose – his wonderfully under characterised current partner or the stylish Rachel. So he does what any sensible man would do – and makes a list. Despite its lack of focus on Julie, this episode deals well with cultural differences. But it’s the “cultural difference” between men and women that’s explored, both in the opening scene depicting the differing reactions to the kiss and in the characters attitudes to the list.
Even now in our more enlightened “post-feminist” era my partner and I took opposing sides. I see no problem with looking at pros and cons in a situation like this, whereas she was bemoaning Ross’s betrayal before the episode even started.
The moment the list is suggested it’s obvious what’s going to happen. And sure enough Chandler has bought a brand new printer to go with his state of the art computer!
I understand how it would be hard for Rachel to see such a list after things have finally happened with her and Ross. But her reaction betrays a deep insecurity at best, and a worrying lack of self-awareness at worse. Given her preposterous lack of awareness over Ross’s feelings in the first season maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised? Perhaps Ross should have added those to the list.
Try as I might I just can’t relate, even with her beautifully written exclamation to Ross:
“Imagine the worst things you think about yourself. Now, how would you feel if the one person that you trusted the most in the world not only thinks them too, but actually uses them as reasons not to be with you?”
If my partner DIDN’T see my negative traits I’d be inclined to worry for their mental health. After all, isn’t one of the main benefits of a relationship spurring each other on to be your best? How can you do this without a realistic view of both your own and your partners’ flaws?
And as for the last part, how else are you supposed to decide whether to be with someone or not?!
Having said that, I do hope my partner isn’t in too much of a rush to write and print out my cons…
“Number 1: Lack of empathy for fictional characters.”
Real Live Sitcom Moment:
What is Christmas without parties? I’ve had my fair share this year.
The biggest one was disappointingly cut short following a surprise vomiting bug. I say cut short, due to my lack of proximity to the city centre, I was forced to stay at the party, as it rapidly became clear my sickness was not the result of an excess of alcohol.
What followed was one of the most surreal party experiences of my life, as I periodically awoke in my mates’ bed and threw-up in a bucket to the sounds of the party at whichever state it was in. Repeat. Ad Nauseum. Serve at a temperature swinging uncomfortabely between forty degrees and freezing. And there you have it, the recipe for time travelling through a party.
From happy dancing, through loud political chat, straight to the clean up. Rubbish.