Wednesday, February 1, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 1: How I Was Introduced to Friends

Via The Odyssey Online
I was only 9 or 10 when Friends first came on the air, and honestly, I wasn't really allowed to watch it. Well, that I'm not 100% sure of because I never asked, but based on the fact that everyone was having lots of premarital sex, starting with the first episode, I'm fairly certain that I would have received a resounding NO from the parental units. I watched my Doug and Double Dare and Clarissa Explains It All and Legends of the Hidden Temple like any kid in the early 90s did, and nobody really talked about it at school, so it wasn't like I was missing anything. I can't say that I wish I had been introduced to the show when I was that young because, honestly, I probably would have gotten bored with it. I can just imagine myself saying, "They're just sitting around at a coffee place and talking. And there are no dragons? Or obstacle courses? What is even the point?"

Ah, youth.

Fast forward to 2000: I'm working my first job at Sam Goody/Suncoast, and this girl whose name I can't remember (we'll call her Pam) had put in the VHS tape to play throughout the Suncoast side of the store. This Pam was particularly interesting to me. She was 21, dating a guy who was 40, and just seemed so grown up to me. I mean, I thought it was a little gross that she was dating a guy that was old enough to be her dad, but to my teenage self, she had a sophisticated air about her. Naturally, I wanted to be like her - minus the boyfriend part - so I watched the show with her in between stocking the shelves with these new-fangled digital video disc things that were $30 a pop. She even started from the first episode, so I began my journey at the beginning, which is not really that normal for me. I didn't even get into Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Battlestar Galactica until after the first season was over, but with Friends, I was a fan from the start.

I didn't have the opinion about it then that I do now: that the show is just one big fantasy about how life as an adult is. I wanted Monica's apartment (I still really like her cobalt blue glasses), my own version of Central Perk (I kinda have that now actually with Louisville's own Highland Coffee), a group of friends that I hung out with at every moment, etc. I even wanted to move to NYC because damn, look at how big that apartment is! Looking back, I see my own naivete, but I still feel a certain affection for the silliness that is Friends.

I wrote the intro to the challenge post several months ago, and while I could change what I said, I don't think I'm going to. Friends doesn't hold the same place in my heart that it once did - Parks and Recreation has become my happy place - but it does have that nostalgia factor going for it, so I don't think I'll ever part with the 10 seasons I have on DVD. I definitely still pop in one of the discs every now and again and a warm feeling rushes over me. Unless it's one of the dreaded episodes from Season 9 or 10. #shudder


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