(Or an early Christmas present from my partner).
It turns out I remembered last week’s episode pretty well after all! With three exceptions I want to briefly mention:
- Phoebe’s first gig at Central Perk being sadly cut short by the power cut.
- Phoebe not knowing her own phone number. My partner has this exact problem so she gains the honour of being Phoebe Number 3. Which surprisingly makes Phoebe the character whose traits have appeared most in my Real Live Friends so far.
- Joey telling Ross he’s in the friend-zone. A slightly nebulous concept, nowadays mired in gender-political problems associated with “nice guys who always finish last”. These “nice guys” often prove exactly how nice they are - by being annoyed their friend’s wont sleep with them. Friends™ conforms to the trope as Ross is beaten to the punch by newcomer Paulo (boo!).
“The One Where People Get Hurt”
Well, who would have thought a light-hearted sit-com like Friends™ would feature the heady topic of death before my life?
In this stand-out episode, we get a rather unexpected meditation on the passage of time and cyclical nature of life. It's beautifully expressed in the final scene where the Friends™ look through old baby pictures, but come across one of their recently deceased Nana’s – showing her and her friends hanging out at their very own coffee shop in bygone days.
We also see Ross having to go through his Nana's stuff. This took me back to my own grandfathers funeral (quite a few years ago now) where my floodgates finally burst open when I saw his empty glasses case in his room.
It’s not all sadness and a great job is done finding the humour in a dark situation. Including Joey matter-of-factually opining on the lack of life after death (which mirrors my partner’s sister’s lack of tact a few weeks ago.)
The writers also get a chance to flesh out the Gellar parents a bit more. It's mostly played for laughs with Gellar dad revealing he wants to be buried at sea and Gellar mum still having a go at Monica. However it keeps the sweetness of the rest of the episode when Gellar mum opens up to Monica over her own mother’s judgmental nature and they gain a better understanding of one another. I can’t help being reminded of my recent experience with my father. We all become our parents.
Thanks to the single nature of the Friends™ (as well as the fact there is no Christmas episode this season – see next week’s entry) we’ve yet to see any arguments about whose family to spend Christmas with. My partner and I have already done and dusted those, so this week brought her second favourite day of the year: “CHRISTMAS TREE DAY”.
She loves Christmas. To the extent that once, in a moment of drunken delirium, she asked “was it Santa or Jesus who died for our sins?”
Our halls are now fully bedecked with Holly after quite a traumatic experience for me. I had to a) spend time in the plasticised and disposable consumer hell that is Poundland™ and b) come to terms with the fact every year we kill millions of trees for little good reason.
But to say it was more traumatic for my partner would be a huge understatement!
Putting the decorations up is an important tradition for her and, as with most traditions, this comes with a large side of wine. Unfortunately the side of our kitchen top is not so wide, and one of the glasses fell and smashed. This meant a trip to A and E for me and my partner when she fell on one of the shards and got a large gash in her hand! The Friends™ aren’t the only ones spending time in a hospital this week.
We were shocked to find the hospital nearest to us is in special measures too. The large number of posters on the wall declaiming the service as “inadequate” didn't fill us with confidence. This, along with the poor timing of it being late at night on a Sunday, meant we had to hang around in the waiting room for over four and a half hours before we were seen!
And all the while we were haunted by the memory of our cats licking up the blood, and our new found knowledge that they would not hesitate to eat us should our boiler finally finish us off.
Apart from the poor waiting time, the staff were pleasant and helpful. Unlike the bullish nurse Ross encountered after the hockey game. We were kept amused by the appearance of two old and (presumably drunk) men on the ward, one of whom regaled us with Christmas songs. Thanks to him for lightening an otherwise awful experience. As our guardian angel I hope he didn’t have to wait too long to be seen!
Real Live Sitcom Moment:
My partner isn’t the only one in hospital this week, as Christmas decorations have successfully taken my boss out of action too.
Putting up an eight foot Christmas tree by himself proved more than he could handle. Doubly unfortunately he didn’t realise how hurt he was till he’d been lying down in his office for a few hours. Once he did he, eventually, worked up the courage to call me for help (uttering the phrase “I’ve been stuck here for longer than I’d care to admit...”).
This led to the, no doubt comical, sight of me struggling to lift him to a more upright position, which wouldn’t have been at all out of place in an episode of Friends™.
Strangely, this episode see’s Ross also hurting his back after he falls into a grave. I find this a worrying coincidence. (Made worse as I was listening to a Miranda Hart interview earlier where she talks about the comedic trope of someone falling into a grave.) Still, all these coincidences may be odd… But are they any odder than the Friends™ all wearing sunglasses to a funeral?