Saturday, August 1, 2009

Under the Purple New York Sky

Originally Posted 3-26-08

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."

I once said that to someone for some reason, and he replied, "Great movie."
Now, I didn't exactly know where I got that quote from, but it wasn't from a movie. For all I knew, it could have been something referencing a movie. What do I know...ever...I mean really. So, I said, "Huh?"
"Kung-Fu," he said.
"Oh, right," I pretended, and the conversation ended.

I couldn't tell you who the other person was in this conversation. I'm 99.992836747362% sure it's someone I haven't spoken to in a few years.

I never looked into the origin of this quote, because I never really cared enough to devote any time to it. For some reason, I thought the quote would be a good way to start this thing, but that previously mentioned exchange is forever ingrained into my psyche whenever that quote comes up, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Since I was thinking about this, I thought it would be a good idea maybe look into it once and for all. I have to be honest, once I started looking into it, I stopped caring, like, right away. IMDb says it's not from Kung-Fu, and Google says it originally came from Lao Tzu. Normally, I like to get at least two references for something like this, but like I said, I really lost interest right away.

There still are two Kung-Fu connections, however—and that's just off the top of my head.

For starters, Jennifer Aniston's character in Office Space admits to loving Kung-Fu.

Also, Kung-Fu starred a white guy playing an Asian. Another case of a white person playing an Asian was Marlo Thomas in an episode of Bonanza. Marlo Thomas played the mother of Rachel Green.

Look at that! See, this is fun!

Okay, down to business.

The main menu is actually pretty creepy, more so when animated. It's the New York skyline, and there's nothing wrong with that. When animated, the ominous purple clouds move much quicker than clouds move naturally, even when clouds are moving fast before a storm. It's enough to make me think that this shot takes place about two minutes before the apocalypse. Add to that the chipper theme sans vocals. It wouldn't surprise me that if the end of days were to descend on Earth, the music of the Rembrants would play heavily somewhere in there.

The Pilot isn't very good. Maybe that's unfair, because there needs to be an establishment of backstory, but the timing is off. It's different than the rest of the series.

The overall feel is a bit different than the rest of the series. Boyfriends and girlfriends are acquired with no mention of them in later episodes, or they're suddenly there without any previous mention. Maybe that's just them figuring the show out.

Monica has some interesting series firsts. She's the first character named in an episode—in the pilot. Her character has the first line. She is also the first character to sleep with someone; although Joey goes on a date, we assume—because it's Joey—that he sleeps with that date, we don't actually see the date. But we see Monica's date.

I wouldn't normally post a picture of "this momentous character that has a few lines." However, I wanted to share Monica's outfit. Yeah, what's going on there?

Other egregious fashion miscalculations include Chandler's...well, I wouldn't know how to describe this:

I find it extremely difficult to acknowledge that this short sleeve/vest/tie combination was ever fashionable, little yet in my lifetime, or even within the past 15 years.

Other things to note in this picture:

Yes, that is Gunther in the background. While he seems to have been present for a lot, if not all, of the scenes that take place in Central Perk—dutifully serving patrons—he is still yet to have a line.

Also, check out the length of the antenna on that cordless phone. That's one of those things that I'm going to have to explain to my kids. "No, they weren't cell phones, it was for your land line...but that was before anyone ever used the word 'land line', because this was at a time when only the unnecessarily wealthy had cell phones."

Chandler's fashion misstep is nothing in comparison to:

Joey's hair in the Pilot upsets me. Also, his belt buckle. That doesn't look like something guys wore. Maybe that's why the '90s aren't made fun of as much as the '80s. '80s fashion consisted of bright colors, acid washed jeans, side pony tails...the sort of thing that visually punched you in the face. Whereas the things I'm pointing out here from the '90s just seem to be bad choices in accessories. Suspenders, vests, and belts. The fashion mistakes of the '90s were way more understated than the fashion mistakes of the '80s.

Hey, remember this trend?

It's a schooner!

I have to come clean, but I was in the small percentage of people who were never able to see anything with these Magic Eye things. Luckily 1997 came around, people forgot about Magic Eye and it was no longer an issue.

Remember the old Snapple Iced Tea bottles? Possibly not. Snapple was a staple in our house in the early '90s, so I'm quite familiar with these bottles. Back when Snapple was a Long Island cottage industry before being bought out by Quaker Oats, which was later bought out by Pepsi, the Snapple Iced Tea bottle labels had a depiction of the Boston Tea Party.

Later, I heard some rumor that they changed it because "it was really a depiction of a slave ship." Also, people supposedly believed that the K that was circled with the word "PAREVE" next to it was some sort of acknowledgement to the KKK, and not something saying that the stuff was Kosher. I have no idea if this was actually what people thought, or if this was something that people were saying people believe.

Another race issue...I seem to remember a big hullabaloo because "There were never any black people on Friends." I remember hearing this while the show was in its later years. Yeah, well not true:

Here's Monica getting advice from a co-worker about another boyfriend who has since disappeared.
Unless the issue was that there weren't any reoccurring black characters.
If that's the case, then I have yet to see that.

Here's some weird product placement...

I'll be honest with you. I'm about as mad about saffron as anyone's ever going to be; meaning I loves me the Mello Yello. This coffee table seems to be fitted with, count 'em, FOUR cans of Mello Yello. Where one could find Mello Yello in New York is far beyond me, since I had any direct contact with the product until a trip to Nashville, TN in 1999.

Seriously, I really freakin' love the Mello Yello.
Sun Drop is also another citrus soda I love. Yet the only citrus soda readily available that's worth anything is Mountain Dew, but I'm afraid to be seen drinking it.

Chandler's seen here smoking in a coffee shop. The idea that people were legally allowed to smoke in a coffeehouse blows my mind, but it shouldn't. This was still legal in New York, and probably the rest of the United States at this time.

Also...Merrill Markoe apparently works with Ross at the museum. Sadly, according to IMDb, this will be the last time we see her in this series.

I feel like I'm the only person my age who knows who Merrill Markoe is, which is a shame. David Letterman's "Stupid Pet Tricks" were her idea.

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