Saturday, August 1, 2009

SPOILER: 'The One With the Proposal' Ends With a Proposal

Originally Posted 10-5-08

It's a little jarring.

You settle down with your latest mailing from Netflix, pop it in. The first episode is going well, until a few minutes into it, one character reminisces about something...

Then you're transported to 1994. "Dammit," you think. "It's another freakin' clip show."

It requires a little stretching of the imagination, but seeing another clip show (the second one so far) has a few upsides after all.

First of all, I was able to unlock the formula of a clip show.

CHARACTER #1 talks about some specified behavior that has persisted throughout the length of the series, which is then followed a sequence of three clips from past shows. After that, CHARACTER #2 makes some comment, audience laughs, and we cut to the next scene which repeats the process. This continues until nearly the end of the episode, which features a music-filled montage, followed by a comment that makes the audience laugh. Credits roll, and you just wasted 22 minutes watching something that was mostly a repeat.

My question is, what happens in the time that the clips are being shown? CHARACTER #1 says, Sure that's happened in the past." Clips roll, and we're back to present-day, when CHARACTER #2 has a response. Is the first character actually saying, "Oh, well there was x, and then there was y, and how about that time that z happened?" Or is there actually an awkward pause, because the second character doesn't need to be reminded of what the first person is talking about because they were both there?

Secondly, and this is very specific to my needs, I was able to see the continuity of appliances in Joey's apartment.

When we last left Joey, his fridge broke. I was interested to see if he was actually going to get a new one.

He did, somewhat surprisingly. However, he didn't really get one that was all that new. This model seems as old as the one that just went kaput. Maybe he couldn't afford a brand new one, but it doesn't really make sense to buy one just as old.

If your 1987 Ford Festiva that you've had for 10 years bites the dust, do you run out and buy another car from 1987? No! You may get lucky and get a few years out of it. It would make more sense to buy something later if you intend on keeping it for any length of time.

Anyway, the point I was going to make with the clip show was the fact that it looked like aside from an new old fridge, Joey also bought a new old stove. I don't remember there being a window.

I was going to backtrack here and see if I could find any older pictures of his stove.

But I didn't need to, because it's a clip show. They eventually showed it, and sure enough, Joey, at some point, got a new stove. A new tea kettle, too. This stove looks slightly newer than the older one. It just doesn't seem necessary, unless he got a good 2-for-1 deal with the fridge.

I'm curious to know how many times they used this shot in the length of the series. It always changes slightly, which means that there are several shots of a combination of these people walking or milling around in front of Central Perk. How many of those shots did they take? How many did they take that they didn't use? Does the mailman ever get a sick day?

For a few episodes, Ross dates Elizabeth, one of his students 12 years his junior. I wasn't going to mention her, as he character is pretty forgettable. Then I saw these pants, and I figured I had to comment in some way.

First of all, was that ever a thing? Instead of having a button on top of the fly, just get rid of that fabric, and just have the waistline curve down to the fly? That seems like poor pants planning. Zippers sometimes go faulty. Sometimes you get them up all of the time, sometimes you can't keep them up all of the way. If you have a button, that's not a problem. These pants, it's very clear. I mean, it seems like the purpose of the pants are to draw attention to the spot of flesh. While looking there, people would notice the zipper's not up all of the way.

In Elizabeth's apartment/dorm, there's a yearbook on the bookshelf. Class of 1984. Why does Elizabeth have a yearbook from 1984? Is this a preschool yearbook? Her old fogey boyfriend was even too young to have graduated high school in 1984. Why is this there?

Also, Elizabeth lives in 'Residence Hall.' How nondescript. Where does Elizabeth go to school? Soviet Russia? Or was this building named after a donor who happened to be named Residence.

Why would the set designers even bother making this plaque? We know Ross is leaving Elizabeth's. He could just leave any building, and we, the viewer, would just assume "that's the building where Elizabeth lives."

Actually, there's no way this is a residence hall. I didn't get a shot of Elizabeth's place, but it looks like a small apartment, not a cinder block compound of a university residence hall. Unless, of course, Mr./Ms./Dr. Residence was particularly benevolent and made a donation to the school with the agreement that they would build luxury dorms with the money.

Bruce Willis shows up as Elizabeth's father. Bruce Willis is appearing on a sitcom airing in April, not May. What, did he lose a bet?

As it turns out, according to IMDb, yes, Bruce Willis lost a bet with his co-star in the Whole (unspecified number) Yards movie franchise, Matthew Perry. I'm curious what the bet was for, and what Perry would have had to have done if he lost. It's not like Willis stars in a sitcom for him to appear.

Real quick, this is a nice ring. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic. That's a really nice ring.

At first, I thought it was odd to have a quick close up of a prop that costs thousands of dollars, when a keyring could have done. Really, though. It's a nice ring, and it explains why Chandler would go through such hijinx to get it from the person who actually bought it.

Even if it is to propose to someone who voluntarily dyes her hair to this odd, unnatural brown.

So, the proposal will go off without a hitch right? Not likely. After all, it's an hourlong season finale

Oh no! It's trouble in the form of Richard.

There he is reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers, while ready to offer everything Monica wants and needs.

Then Chandler confronts him.

"Hey Richard. Nice apartment. You can see the Empire State Building from here. But why is it lit up in Christmas colors in May?"

Richard, of course, has no answer to this, so Chandler goes home to discover that Monica has bought and lit every fucking candle available in Manhattan.

How long did it take her to collect these candles, arrange them, and light all of them? I bet some of the smaller ones lit early on were nearly gone by the time the task was complete. How is she even able to be in this room? I would kind of be freaked out to be in a room filled with so many potential fire hazards. How is Monica doing this?

I guess it's just as well. Judging from what we can see of the hallway, the building seems to have suddenly lost power. Maybe Monica was able to see into the near future. "Oh, there's going to be a blackout, I should light some candles," but Monica, being as obsessive-compulsive as she is, decided couldn't stop at a few.

Now, I don't have Monica's ability to see the future, but this extra-long season finale is working up to the proposal. This isn't The Office, so it's not written with thought given for a surprise. Or there is a surprise, Joey said that Monica went to Long Island to be with her parents...but no, she's there waiting for Chandler. Oh, there's the surprise.

I know that going in, the episode will end with a proposal.

So why is it when Chandler actually pulls out the ring to propose to Monica the audience screams ten times louder than any other time in the past? This was easily the least shocking moment of the entire series.

Monica is seen in bed with Chandler in London, okay, that's a surprise, scream if you absolutely need to.
Chandler and Phoebe kiss during their game of chicken, okay, scream if you can't control yourself.

The guy who has been trying to propose to his girlfriend, in an episode titled The One With the Proposal, proposes to his girlfriend. No, don't scream, unless Jason Voorhees has been spotted somewhere in the studio. Even in that situation, I wouldn't scream. I'd immediately assume that he was there to enjoy a live taping of a sitcom. Once he starts offing people with a machete, then you can scream.

Everyone comes in and celebrates the engagement, and we're able to see a table in the foreground that is only there sometimes. It usually comes and goes, but it's never been important, so who notices it? Well, this time it was necessary. It was needed for yet another surface, because apparently, Monica had too many candles otherwise.

Honestly, I don't know if I could ever marry a woman who was willing to spend this much money on candles on one shot. It seems like a symptom of a much larger issue that will rear its ugly head several years later, only with much bigger—and most likely horrific—results.

So, that's that season.

Gunther Spills the Beans returns as a special feature, he tells me to run out and buy Season 7, available 2003!

The special features trivia game is done in the style of a casino night. I aced them, after being promised a special prize.

The special prize is a montage about 1-2 minutes of people quoting the show. What's upsetting, is that people aren't able to properly quote the show.

That is, until, we get to this young lady in a Hooters shirt who was able to successfully sing Smelly Cat.

Actually, if someone with a camera came up to me on the street and asked me to sing Smelly Cat, I would just lie and say I didn't know the words, and I'd go on about my day. Really, I wouldn't want it to be preserved on DVD for generations, only to be mocked by some dick with a blog.

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