Saturday, August 1, 2009

Elephant in the Living Room

Originally Posted 1-1-09

Isn't strange how a sky blue sky still doesn't look right? I guess it's the fact that everything is sky blue, not just the sky.

The show continues its habit of starting the following season just moments after the previous season ended. This leads to glaring holes in the timeline, which I will get to in a moment. In the meantime, let's enjoy Chandler & Monica's wedding.

Hey, it looks like we do get to see the Swing Kings after all. To review, the Swing Kings were the band that Chandler desperately wanted. Monica even traded her dress with someone to secure the band. That part is never explained, because the woman who wanted Monica's dress booked the Swing Kings for the same date as Chandler and Monica's wedding, even though her wedding was in August. She just booked the band for some random date in May to be a vindictive bitch and to get the dress that someone else saw first. Was she going to have the band perform somewhere for no reason? If so, she'd have to book a party hall for that, which is another unnecessary cost.

Either way, Monica parts with the dress she loves to book the Swing Kings.

All this ends up being a moo point—aka cow's logic—some band called Dave Anthony Jungle Swing ends up actually playing at the wedding. So much for all of that plotting, scheming and dealing.

The day after the wedding, Ross decides to give his hair a reddish tint. I'm no stylist, but he probably shouldn't have done this. He also could have waited until he got back from the hotel to do that.

There's nothing really to see here. I just wanted to point out that Joey made some childish joke, and Chandler admonishes him by saying, "You're 32, Joey." Except that he's not, because he was 30 just months ago. Maybe that's what Joey meant when he said he wasn't going to turn 31 in 'The One Where They All Turn Thirty.' He meant he was going to go straight to 32 from 30.

After Chandler & Monica's return from the honeymoon, everything is back to normal. Here, Monica enjoys her new phone; possibly a wedding gift. It's about time. They had that last phone for years, which is much longer than Monica is used to keeping a phone.

Now, here's where we get into some problems with time.

The wedding is on May 15th. The first four episodes take place soon after the wedding. The fourth episode is when Chandler & Monica come back from the honeymoon, which puts this at early June, the latest. The sixth episode is Halloween, which is almost a five month jump, which would be fine, except Rachel isn't five months pregnant by Halloween.

There's also the fact that at some point between the fourth and sixth episode, 2,750 people were killed in part of the worst attack on American soil all within 2 miles of their neighborhood. I understand the terrorist attacks really don't have a place in a light-hearted show like Friends, but in reality, the first half of this season should have been very depressing.

Someone, among the six of them, would have known someone who was killed, be it first-hand or second-hand. Moods would have been edgy. These wouldn't have been six people, they would have been six frayed nerves living in a sea of millions of other frayed nerves living in complete fear that the next attack was just around the corner.

...and then the anthrax scare would start up.

Of course, the important thing for us to have done at this time was to get back to living our normal lives, and not to overstate the importance of a sitcom, but one thing America didn't need was a show about people too scared to get off their couch or running out and having as much terror sex they can. At the very least, someone would have slept with a firefighter—hero sex.

So the elephant in the living room was ignored, for the most part.

By September 11th, there had been a few episodes already completed and ready to air. According to IMDb, there was a storyline that had to be rewritten and reshot. There was a problem with Chandler & Monica boarding the plane to get to the honeymoon because Chandler made a joke about having a bomb. Funny in August of 2001, but not in October.

Actually, it doesn't sound like it would have ever been all that funny.

The MagnaDoodle at Joey and Rachel's place shows King Kong on the Empire State Building. Who drew this? I'm not sure that any of the characters have been noted to have any drawing talent.

The next episode, the MagnaDoodle says "I (heart) NY," giving some hint that this episode was filmed after September 11. However, this is the episode where Chandler & Monica return from their honeymoon, so it's really early June, making this a little out of place. Not that people didn't (heart) NY before 9/11. There wasn't as much reason to state it.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. On September 9th, before the men's U.S. Open Finals in Flushing Meadows, there was a big to-do performance. Liza Minelli did this big song and dance number, New York, New York. I remember watching this with my mother, both of us making snarky comments about how weird it was. Minelli was really into it, really soaking it up. I mean, this was a tennis match. Was all of this necessary? The whole thing seemed incredibly phony and out of place.

On September 21, before the Mets-Braves game at Shea Stadium—the first professional sporting event in NY after the attacks—Minelli did the same performance as at the U.S. Open. Same song performed in the same neighborhood done in the same overdramatic style. It seemed to fit. I remember turning to my mom—she's a tennis and a Met fan—and saying, "Remember two weeks ago when this was ridiculous?"

In the fifth episode of the season, Joey is seen wearing an FDNY shirt. So far, this and the MagnaDoodle have been the only references to the attacks.

Moving on, Tag makes an appearance as a possible father to Rachel's baby. Phoebe contacts him and arranges him to meet Rachel at Central Perk. Here's how I imagine that conversation.

PHOEBE: Tag? It's Phoebe. Listen, I was wondering if you'd be able to meet Rachel at Central Perk.
TAG: Sure.
PHOEBE: Or, if not, I guess you could always see her tomorrow since you work for her. Wait, you still work for her, right? To be honest, Rachel hasn't mentioned you once since you guys broke up.
TAG: To be honest, I thought I was just going to disappear conveniently, so I haven't been paying attention to where I've been working.

I think this is the last time we see Tag.

Rachel's baby's conception is on this tape. That's a little weird, and it makes me wonder just how many conceptions have been recorded.

In one continuity error-laden scene, Joey pops open a beer, and it makes a small mess. You know what would have been decent acting? Cleaning it up while delivering the lines, as if this sort of thing happens from time to time. Or, he could ignore it and hope that it would magically clean itself in the next shot.

The latter prevails!

SNL's Chris Parnell makes a guest appearance as Chandler's co-worker who is under the impression that Chandler's name is Toby. I've had a similar situation, and I handled it as passive-aggressively as Chandler. Luckily, the situation corrected itself before it reached sitcom proportions of ridiculous.

Joey is heavily engrossed in what is possibly the maze on the back of a cereal box. Not just any cereal, Vaffle Crisp; made, of course, by Bost. This shouldn't be confused with Post's Waffle Crisp—which, at the time, was represented by Waffle Boy.

Vaffle Crisp, I image, would have a German kid known as Die Vaffle Kind. His catchphrase would be "Mien vaffles!" As imaginative I am in terms of the cereal's background, the one thing I can't imagine is what Joey is doing with German cereal.

Back to Halloween. I could be alone in this, but you know what I think is hotter than Catwoman?


I think it's the combination of boots with a skirt. Also, I've always had a thing for Phoebe.

I feel that I should point out a connection, no matter how weak. Brenda Vaccaro, who played Joey's mother, was in the 1984 movie Supergirl.

Sean Penn appears as Phoebe's soon-to-be brother-in-law in what turns out to be Ursula's final appearance.

This seemed like a fun party, but there was something missing. Something that every party at Apartment 20 should have. Gunther.

He showed up later to bring candy for trick-or-treaters. I'd have to say, he wins the costume contest I was having in my head. Non-hot category, of course.

All of this talk about skipping months gets a little more complicated when we see that the Empire State Building is lit in Christmas colors for Halloween.

1 comment:

Nikkiwashere said...

i realize this blog was posted 6 years ago but whatever. First of all Joey was 31 it was mentioned a few times in the season before so he must of turned 32 before the wedding at some time. Second the first mention of 9/11 was season 8 episode 1 where it was dedicated to "the people of new york" so that was in reference to 9/11 that episode aired sept 27th. there was one flash back episode in season 7 where it made it seem like it was joeys 30th b day but, chandler references him being 31 a few times after that.