How do I deal with two-part episodes? Do I watch them in one go and do a bumper blog? Or try and mirror their format with my own two-parter? Will it be weird my life jumping ahead two weeks if the next episode follows on immediately? Does anyone even care?
I don’t think any of us wants an extra long entry (oo-err) so perhaps I will keep the episodes split and see what happens.
But how do I incorporate a cliff-hanger into the blog? This episode not only ends with multiple threads unresolved but a very literal cliff-hanger as Rachel is left dangling from the side of her building - with nothing but Christmas tree decorations stopping her fall.
And all because “SOMEONE was supposed to take down the Christmas decorations around New Years!” but didn’t...
I had a good chuckle at this as our kitchen was cluttered with boxes of decorations for several months after Christmas. Despite repeatedly asking my partner to take them on the fifteen minute journey back to her mother’s garage.
Anyway, a two-part episode leaves a lot more space for multiple plot-lines so there’s a lot to get through. Here’s a few of the things we don’t really have time to talk through in more detail:
- They’ve updated the credits. Quite a common occurrence midway through a season. By this point they’ve finished shooting a lot more footage so have extra stuff to run with.
- Helen Hunt’s appearance garners another sitcom entry applause in the second of two crossovers with fellow New York sitcom Mad About You™ - where Phoebe’s sister Ursula originated. (The first crossover was earlier this season when the Friends™ experienced a blackout created by Helen Hunt in her show)
- After her confusing exchange with Helen Hunt, Phoebe goes and sits next to a completely random guy in the coffee shop. I don’t know if he’s supposed to be a friend of hers? It seemed like he wasn’t, but this is completely alien to me. As a Londoner I can’t think of anything more awkward than going and sitting next to someone I don’t know in a coffee shop.
- The African-American character count goes up by one for the first time in several episodes at Carol’s maternity class. Although I haven’t been keeping a specific count, already at this early point, the under representation of black characters (for which Friends™ has received much criticism) is readily apparent.
- The return of Mr Heckles!
“The One Where I Try and Have a Cliffhanger”
Chandler’s string of luck with unrealistically attractive women continues as he embarks on an office place romance. Having never been single and employed at the same time I’ve never had the opportunity for one. Mind you, if I worked in a place that used acroynyms like WENUS and ANUS I’d probably be pretty tempted too. Imagine the sexual tension!
I doubt I’d enmesh myself in a complicated web of lies though, as Chandler does when he can’t bring himself to fire his new squeeze. It seems promotions can have their downsides. With great office space comes great responsibility.
Inevitably Chandler loses control of the situation – failing to maintain his new relationship by blurting “will you marry me?” as a last ditch attempt to cover his lies. At least we now know where Maeby from Arrested Development™ got that quirk from.
Elsewhere Phoebe gets a welcome bit of character development as we're introduced to her previously mentioned twin. I only know one twin: the partner of my best Real Live Friend (of trouser biting dog fame). Next time I see her I’ll be sure to ask how her experience compares to that of Phoebe. There wont be any similar issues to Joey dating Ursula in my life though as her sister is already in a committed relationship.
But it really is tragic hearing more of Phoebe’s past. Her back-story is unusually dark as this fan theory explores. I believe it was already mentioned (via song) that her mother killed herself but I was still surprised when it popped up again.
Rachel: So Pheebs, what do you want for your birthday?
Phoebe: Well, what I really want is for my mom to be alive and enjoy it with me.
Rachel: Okay... Let me put it this way. Anything from Crabtree and Evelyn?
Phoebe: Ooh! Bath salts would be nice.
Ah, bath salts... the eternal gift. Whether covering for a forgotten anniversary or erasing the memory of a dead parent, is there nothing they can’t do?
I also noticed that Phoebe is wearing what, I’m reliably informed, is called a “choker”. Funnily enough the six year old little terror on my Ireland trip was also wearing one. The 90s fashion renaissance really is in full swing!
Speaking of fashion, I just noticed how stylish Susan always is. I’m not sure I can even blame Carol for leaving Ross at this point. The trio head over to their maternity class with first Carol and then Ross freaking out over the dawning reality of their incumbent parenthood. And I can understand Ross’s position, if he can’t control Marcel how can he be a father? By the same token, what kind of father will I be when I can’t even remember to get cat-food in our weekly shop?
I realise it probably seems silly the amount of time I’m spending talking about children when it’s still several years off for me. It certainly feels silly the amount of time I spend thinking about it – when it’s so irrelevant to my current life. But this is one of the major differences between Friends™ and my own life. Although my Real Live Friends are largely in relationships they all seem less serious somehow than the ones in Friends™. Only one of my Real Live Friends is married with another wedding scheduled next year. Children still seem far off.
But people all move at different speeds and this is why it’s weighing so heavily on my thoughts. I’ve been informed that next year’s wedding couple are keen to pop as soon as they drop (so to speak).
Most surprisingly two of my closest male Real Live Friends have recently ended up as surrogate fathers through their new relationships. The immediacy and shock of this, they’re both the last people I would have expected to end up with such responsibility at this age, has brought my apprehensions of my own future to the fore.
Real Live Sitcom Moment:
Despite me complaining last time about the lack of realism in the Friends™ visiting each other at work my Rachel Number 1 actually came to visit me at work this week!
We had an excellent catch-up conversation. Among other things her parents have thrown caution to the wind and gotten married after 37 years! She said it was great fun as the family laughed together at the registry office. But was less enthused when her father informed her a week later that the marriage had yet to be consummated.
I hadn’t quite realised how much I’d missed her until the conversation got a little deeper and we both shared our frustrations at how sick we are of the amount of time we spend thinking about things that don’t interest us – children, traffic, house prices. Being an adult sucks.
I really needed it if I’m honest. I’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately. I’ve been drinking again. Getting back from holiday and our flat being a mess, starting work again and feeling useless, not being able to afford anything, it’s really got me down.
“And to top it all off”, as I told Rachel Number 1, “my attractive young co-worker has just told me she’s got the hots for me.”
Silence fell, Ross’s words ringing in my ears:
“You don’t dip your pen in the company ink.”