TEENAGER

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - ELLA GARAI-EBNER

one, gets caught by both of them at Cen­tral Perk.

I had to learn the hard way that the em­bar­rass­ment of fail­ing to pick never fades.

Friends pro­vided cul­tural ref­er­ences for my non Jewish friends, even if they were some­times mis­led. Some to this day ask what the ar­madillo has to do with Chanukah.

Friends is the pro­gramme you never get bored with. No mat­ter how many times you claim to have watched all 236 episodes, there is al­ways some­one else’s favourite you don’t re­mem­ber.

It can turn a hun­gover Sun­day from hell to the per­fect day on the sofa. And it is wholly re­spon­si­ble for sell­ing me the idea that liv­ing with your child­hood pals would be fun. It took 20 years to re­alise that this was a se­ri­ously mis­guided idea.

Un­like the char­ac­ters, I‘m no longer friends with any­one I’ve shared a flat with.

The fact I’ve fallen out with all of them means I’d be in­sane not to take a step back and look in the mir­ror.

Maybe it was my Jewish princess, Rachel-like ten­den­cies that rubbed my for­mer flat­mates up the wrong way. Or was it my Phoebe-like ditzi­ness?

Or maybe it was my Mon­ica-like neu­roses, which made it im­pos­si­ble to live the dream with peo­ple who smoked in the house all day, and used my cut glass heir­looms for ash trays. I’m sure Phoebe never did any­thing like that.

Ac­tu­ally I think what Friends has taught me most, is that in or­der to love the con­stant dry wit of the Chan­dlers, or to tol­er­ate the aca­demic snob­bery of the Rosses, or the spoilt brat­tish­ness of the Rachels, you need to be able to go home at the end of the day to a place where the Joeys can’t just wan­der in and open your fridge.

ICAN WATCH Friends re­peat­edly, and I don’t seem to get bored with it. Over and over again, the same episodes, laugh­ing at the same jokes and recit­ing the same lines along with the TV. What is it that I love so much? What makes it so ad­dic­tive?

I think it’s the char­ac­ters; as clichéd as it may sound, they re­ally do start feel­ing like our own friends. They’re so well rounded, they’re not card­board cut-outs — they’re fully formed, with all the flaws of nor­mal hu­man be­ings. They’re also writ­ten in a way that makes them very recog­nis­able, you learn to pre-empt their in­di­vid­ual re­ac­tions to things. They in­ter­act in a way that is very en­dear­ing, which means you get hooked — you feel you’ve got to know them all.

It’s amaz­ing that 20 years af­ter the show first aired, it doesn’t feel old fash­ioned when you watch it. Of course, there are some el­e­ments that don’t feel as fa­mil­iar — the most no­table ex­am­ple be­ing the use of phones and so­cial me­dia, or lack thereof. How dif­fer­ent things may have turned out, had Rachel been able to FaceTime Ross be­fore his wed­ding in Lon­don, in­stead of jump­ing on a plane!

If you have the sense of hu­mour Friends is pitched to, there’s no rea­son you shouldn’t find it funny, what­ever your age. It is so well writ­ten, acted, and di­rected, it has aged and will con­tinue to age ex­tremely well. Love for the show spans three gen­er­a­tions in my fam­ily, and my mum and I will never tire of com­mu­ni­cat­ing through quotes and ref­er­ences.

I think the most re­cent show to par­al­lel Friends is How I Met Your Mother. Both re­volve around a close group of friends, and seem to at­tract sim­i­lar au­di­ences.

Friends will al­ways be my favourite, though, there’s no other show quite like it, it’s com­pletely unique in its hi­lar­ity, so easy to watch and I can’t see that I’ll ever tire of it.

It took years to grasp that Friends was not a great role model

Friends­fest is at Clis­sold Park, Lon­don N16, Septem­ber 15-24

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