In fact, no sign of a lot of people. Being in your late 20s really hits home when you organise an impromptu party and only end up with three guests.
The quality of guest was high at least. We had my Real Live David the Science Guy and his partner, as well as Chandler Number 2.
Life is imitating art once again as David the Science Guy is moving away from London. Thankfully not quite as far away as Yemen.
I’m happy that he and his partner are buying their first place together. Although unfortunately this meant a large part of our evening was taken up with more talk of mortgages.
“The One Where My Cliffhanger Gets Me Into Hot Water Again”
Hang on; are they literally just playing poker in this episode?! There must be more... no, it appears that’s the entire plot. Well at least the title is spot on.
“The One With” title format is one of the unique stamps that makes Friends™ special. The meta-joke of it and how easy it is for people to discuss the show round the water-cooler form a big part of Friends™ continued success. Along with the show being a nostalgic touching point for a huge number of people, thanks to it being repeated Ad Nauseum on the telly.
One of the best bits of advice ever given to me is that if you ever run out of something to talk about with someone (in the original context it was a member of the opposite sex) then the best thing to do is start talking about food. It’s the one definite shared experience everyone has. But I think Friends™ comes a close second.
Another thing that's part of the continued appeal of Friends™ is you can really see the cast enjoying themselves. This is never clearer than in the many instances they laugh at each others jokes. In this episode Lisa Kudrow tries to cover up laughing at a joke Rachel makes at Phoebes expense.
It’s often said Friends™ works so well because, well, they seem like real friends. When I pointed out to my partner that Lisa stifled a laugh, she disagreed and saw it rather as Phoebe laughing at Rachel’s joke. The casts use of their amusement to strengthen their characters – much like how we laugh with our Real Live Friends – is one of my favourite things about re-watching the show.
Another highlight is Marcel dancing to Lion Sleeps Tonight. So far there’s been a lot less of the iconic monkey than I remember. (That might be the greatest sentence I've ever written.) But this definitely sticks in my mind as one of his classic scenes. There’s another running joke as poker brings out “competitive Monica” and one of my own running jokes continues too thanks to Chandler’s choice of shirt.
No, turns out it’s just another weird incidence of 90s fashion coming back. (Incidentally if anyone knows the name of that style of shirt please tell me. I’ve been wanting one ever since I realised it’s now fine to essentially walk around dressed as a Star Trek™ character. But I never know what to Google™.)
The crux of this episode, its ace in the hole if you will, is the continuing development of Ross and Rachel.
Their sparring during the poker game – with Rachel eager to prove women can play just as well as men – allows Ross to finally be more comfortable around her. As anyone who’s ever got with someone they fancy knows: being comfortable in yourself and not letting your feelings make you act like a fool is key to success. I embarrassed myself several times when I attempted to woo my partner during school. It was only after I moved away from home for several years and became happier with myself that something happened between us.
Or maybe she’d just lowered her standards by then.
I suppose in that way our relationship mirrors that of Ross and Rachel. I am hesitant to give her the title of Rachel Number 2 however, as she’s actually incredible at poker. Seriously, she once won hundreds of pounds after being severely underestimated by a group of men in a casino! One day I will defeat her... One day...
Perhaps I, myself, should be Rachel Number 2? After all I’ve had a similar experience recently of a job interview that I thought went well. At least Rachel gets the courtesy of a rejection phone call. I’m STILL waiting to hear about that job. Although it’s not quite as bad as when I managed to be so unmemorable at an interview they emailed me two weeks later asking if I still wanted come for an interview.
Anyway, I can’t be Rachel Number 2 as:
My partner would never let me win at poker.
I’ve just a got a promotion.
Yes, it turns out that, despite previously moaning that “getting a promotion in real life isn’t quite as simple as quitting and waiting”, it is actually possible to get one by doing nothing but waiting.
My “cannibal boss” has given me an offer I can’t refuse – a pay-rise in exchange for leaving my other part-time job and working for her full time. This means I’m still Chandler Number 3, I’ve just got promoted and quit in the wrong order...
The problem is I don’t really know how to quit. I’ve never left a job before! My lack of quitting experience is probably why I ended up staying in the same “temp job” for three years. That and my fear of failing if I ever try hard at anything.
I always say I would have left a year ago – much like Chandler – if it didn’t coincide with me and my partner moving in together. But I wonder if I would have had the guts to do it? I’m only comfortable leaving now that I’ve definitely got a better offer. I couldn’t even decide whether to take the offer at first. Thankfully the agonising decision was made easier when I told my other boss I might be leaving and they looked more relieved than anything.
It seems weird I’ve been thinking and talking about leaving for so long and now it’s finally come everything’s happened so quickly. And with so little fanfare.
But we play the cards we are dealt. Except in Ross’s case as he, very sweetly, let’s Rachel win to make her feel better.
I guess there’s more to this episode than poker after all.
Real Live Sitcom Moment:
I continued making amends for my cliff-hanger this week with a romantic evening for my partner.
This included a foot-bath and a lovely home-cooked stir-fry. Or at least it would have if I hadn’t forgotten to check which ingredients we had. This led to a very awkward moment when we realised we’d have to come up with new plans for dinner half-way through the foot-bath. I don’t know if you’ve ever been crouched on the floor massaging someone’s feet in rapidly cooling water whilst having a terse discussion about where to eat? But I wouldn’t recommend it. Especially if you’re dressed as a naked butler.