Saturday, August 1, 2009

Twelve Months Later

Originally Posted 2-18-09

How many clip shows does a series need? I've lost count as to how many we've had so far, but it seems like there's one every season.

What was especially upsetting about this one is that in the tease before the opening, Joey talks about how he's being interviewed by some soap opera digest; possibly Soap Opera Digest. Joey expresses being nervous by that. He says something to the effect of "don't you guys remember the last time I had an interview?"

I braced myself. Normally, a character saying something like this means that a clip from an earlier show is coming. No. Instead, Joey explains that the writers of the soap had his character written off. Phew, looks like this won't be a clip show.

Then there's the opening, cut to Central Perk where we see the interviewer and Joey. Interviewer asks Joey about some of his early roles.

And we're treated to a clip of Joey playing Sigmund Freud in a musical. They faked us out. It's a clip show after all. Look, if you're going to cheap out and make a clip episode, don't have a character refer to something that happened several years ago without a series of zany clips. That's just mean.

Why has it never been explained why this area of Central Perk has a reserved sign? And if it's always reserved, then why do they not sit there sometimes?

And why does Chandler insist on sitting on the arm of the sofa, putting his sneakers on the cushions, when the chair is empty? Monica's been married to him for almost a year, and she still hasn't broken him of this habit. She wants to have children with him, but her children are going to be raised by a guy who thinks nothing of putting his shoes on the furniture at a public place. Monica doesn't want children that do that.

Something that the extras were doing caught my eye. The extra on the left hands—what I thought was—a tea kettle to the extra on the right. I just say this because the coffee place I go to serves tea in similar metal pots. The extra on the right grabs the hot kettle on the bottom, and she calmly puts the kettle down, as if it wasn't filled with extremely hot water.

This is either bad extra work, or bad prop work. Maybe I shouldn't blame the extra. Maybe it's not supposed to be a tea kettle. Why would people at two separate tables share tea? Maybe it's creamer. Why would Central Perk keep creamer in a container so large? That would take up more table space than necessary for creamer. Also, fill a container that large with creamer for individual table use, and its liable to go bad before it's empty. Unless, of course, that container isn't for individual table use. It's possible that the extra on the left took it from the communal area where extra napkins, straws and sweeteners are kept. In that case, then the extra on the left is just pigheaded and selfish. Central Perk should give her a stern talking to about not taking the communal creamer to her table. That won't happen, though. They don't yell at Chandler or Phoebe for all of their transgressions.

Ross has a corkboard in his apartment. On the upper right-hand corner, there's a bumper sticker that says "Little Red Riding Hood Lied: Restore the Wolf." It doesn't necessarily surprise me that Ross is a conservationist. I just don't think it's been established that he is.

Below it is what looks like a Far Side comic from a day-to-day calendar. While it's never been mentioned, I'd have to say that Ross is definitely an avid reader of The Far Side.

I wish I were big enough of a nerd to be able to identify exactly which cartoon this was.

Someone, I don't know who, was drinking "Mdntain Dow." I know what kind of product this could be from the last word. Clearly, it would be marketed towards stock brokers; something to give them energy for when they're on the floor of the stock exchange.

But what the hell is a "Mdntain?" The first two letters implies a connection to the state of Maryland, but after that, the word makes no sense. Besides, what does Maryland have to do with the stock market?

The' woman who plays Monica and Joey's cooking instructor used to play Herman's sensitivity in the 90s FOX sitcom Herman's Head. That show also starred Ross' ex-wife and Phoebe's scientist ex-boyfriend...also the voice of Lisa Simpson, and the guy in Mannequin 2: On the Move, but that has nothing to do with Friends, so it's really not worth mentioning.

Marlo Thomas is seen again for the first time in six years to play Rachel's mother. This time she's more—let's just say—abrasive. Her character has changed, and Rachel doesn't seem surprised. It's as if she's always been this way. I don't remember her being like this. Would it kill the writers to take a peek at her previous appearances so that they can get an idea of what the character is like?

Joey's movie finally opens. The Over There didn't get much mention throughout the year. You would think Joey wouldn't be able to shut up about the movie he starred in due to open in May.

And one has to wonder why Joey's co-star, Richard Crosby, isn't anywhere to be found at the world premiere. Why is the premiere in New York and not in Los Angeles? Aren't they usually in LA?

I guess everyone's too busy giving Rachel's pregnancy the attention.

The long pregnancy shows. Here she is six weeks before the baby's birth. That's another six weeks of growing.

Rachel later complains that it's a hundred degrees. She may be the first woman to become pregnant in the spring to ever complain hundred-degree-weather in New York in the final month of her pregnancy. I say that now, but in a few decades, when climate change really takes hold, this will be common place, assuming Manhattan still exists at that point.

While the heat really hits 11-month-pregnant Rachel pretty hard, Ross seems unfazed in his long-sleeved shirt tucked into his jeans.

Finally, Rachel's water breaks, and she is taken the hospital.

For reasons unclear, everyone goes to the hospital right away. I know these people are close friends and all, but why do they bother going to the hospital? They could be there for hours. If any of my friends go into labor, I'm spending my day doing whatever it is I had planned. Dad can tell me about the baby when it comes, in the meantime, I've got things to do. I'll come see mom and baby after the fact, thank you.

Of course, you let these people loose in a hospital for hours on end, wacky hijinx is bound to ensue.

Joey poses as a doctor in order to get Phoebe laid. I'm pretty sure posing as a doctor in a hospital is pretty illegal.

Monica wants to get pregnant, so she and Chandler decide that there's no time like the present. They do it in various places in the hospital. This is also illegal, I'm sure, but less dangerous and morally reprehensible as what Joey is doing. I'm saying that because the thought of people having sex in public doesn't offend me as long as I don't accidentally walk in on it.

One of the places Mondler attempt to conceive is the janitor's closet. Judging from the visibility of the closet's back wall, this may end up being the shallowest closet in Manhattan. I can see the novelty of being able to tell your child that he or she was conceived in a shallow closet. I'm unclear of the mechanics of it, though. How do you have sex in a closet so shallow? It seems like it would go far beyond uncomfortable and well into the territory of impossible. It almost seems that this was built just deep enough to let two actors stand side-by-side long enough for someone to yell "action."

When all is said and done, Emma is born.

It's funny to me how people get paid to smear grape jelly on infants to give them a realistic "just born" look. Do infant smearers compare notes?

"You smear grape jelly on infants? Me too! Who did you do?"
"Emma Geller-Green from Friends. You?"
"Mikey from Look Who's Talking."
"Wow, you're old school."

Despite her extended gestational period, Emma is not 15 pounds.

And that's Season 8.

The DVD comes with the standard bloopers reel and 'Gunther Spills the Beans' features.

This season's quiz comes in the form of Bamboozled!, the game show Joey auditioned for.

The point of the episode with Bamboozled! is the fact that the game show makes no sense. This quiz made no sense either. I was supposed to break up into two teams. Team Ross and Team Chandler. Team Ross answered three or four questions correctly before I drew the Bamboozled card, meaning that Chandler automatically won without answering any questions.

That was it. No prize, just a quick congratulations to the team whose only contribution to the game was showing up.

As the person who both won and lost my only game of Bamboozled!, I'd have to say that it really is a stupid game.

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