Saturday, August 1, 2009

Delaying the Inevitable

Originally Posted 4-12-09

I remember when this show was in its final years, there was a question if the show would continue past Season Eight. The series was going to end with Rachel's baby. I even heard a rumor that Rachel was going to die at childbirth. Something tells me that I picked that up from the cover of a supermarket tabloid, so I really shouldn't give that rumor more weight than it deserves.

When it was decided that the show would continue for two seasons. At the end of Season Nine, it's very apparent that the series is trying to run out the clock, but they have to close the season on a big enough cliffhanger to make people interested enough to tune in in September for Season Ten. Of course, the bulk of the show's audience is tuning in out of pure habit anyway.

But, they had to figure out some way to keep it interesting.

Rachel has a dream that she kisses Joey. That, sadly, reawakens the whole Joey and Rachel she's in love with him. Of course, everyone knows that the show couldn't end like that, but again, running out the clock.

And then to add to this, there's a new paleontology professor at NYU, Charlie. Charlie is supposed to meet Ross at Central Perk—because where else would one meet Ross? His office at NYU? No, of course not.

I don't know if Charley knows how often Ross in in Central Perk, but her first thing to do is not to look for Ross in this small coffee shop, but to ask the man who may or may not works there.

Why wouldn't she start by looking for someone that may fit Ross's description?

Maybe Ross made it known that he's there all of the time, and he even always has a whole section reserved for him. This is why she had her meet him there. "Don't bother looking for me. Just ask for Ross," he told her.

In fact, when he's sitting at a table and someone walks in and sits down on the couch, he would think nothing of just leaving his laptop at the original, now empty, table not taking into account that A) It's a laptop in a busy coffee shop, and should probably be taken with him when he switches tables to avoid getting stolen and B) he should probably clean up the original table and join Charlie or invite Charlie to his table so that the busy coffee shop could accommodate more customers. Really, the management of Central Perk only asked for this kind of inconsiderate treatment from these six people.

Well, Ross is really into Charlie, but she ends up with Joey at a party on the roof.

If it were really Christmas, like the Empire State Building will have us believe, everyone at the party would be freezing their asses off.

So, in review. Rachel loves Joey, for some reason. Ross loves Charlie, for reasons that are pretty obvious (she's a hot paleontologist). Charlie's with Joey, for reasons that make less sense than Rachel loving Joey. All of this comes to a head in Barbados.

I'll get back to that.

Meanwhile, Chandler & Monica are getting fertility tests, because something has to happen with that storyline. The nurse approaches in the waiting room and tells Chandler to go into the back and deposit a specimen in the cup.

Really, nurse? You just announce the business right there in the waiting room in front of everyone? Isn't that something you should wait to tell the patient when you have them in the privacy of an examination room?

"Yep! It's cancer. Why don't you come into the back and we'll discuss the six weeks you have left to live."

If that's the case, screw the examination rooms. They could save so much money by putting everyone in a big room.

It turns out there's a reason why they had the nurse do the needless exposition in the waiting room. That way Chandler can express how embarrassed he is and Monica could reassure him that he shouldn't be because there is no one he knows is around to see him. That's when I became aware of another formula used once a season, much like the clip show set up.

When someone early in the episode remarks about something that had happened in the past, brace yourself, because it's most likely the set up to the one clip show of the season.

When Chandler is in a position where he doesn't want anyone to see him, and he's fed a line like, "No one here knows you," it means we'll cut to Janice saying "Ohhh. My. Gawd!"

See? Told you.

We learn later that episode that between his lazy sperm and her inhospitable uterus, they're not likely to have children. So Chandler does what any sane person would do in this instance.

He invites John Stamos over to see if he would donate sperm, only it's not really John Stamos, it's Chandler's co-worker, Zach.

Why not? His Uncle Jesse days are behind him, so he's not likely to revisit the time when he grew a mullet and said things like "Have mercy." He's handsome, but maybe I have a problem with John Stamos. I think it's that his ex-wife is now married to Vern from Stand By Me. Seriously, I have no strong feelings for Rebecca Romijn either way, but I think that all of the guys who didn't make Kangaroo Jack should get first crack at her.

Of course, that's all related to John Stamos and his at-the-time future ex-wife, and not Zach, the guy that works with Chandler. Monica likes Zach because when Chandler gets him a beer, he asks for a coaster.

If it were up to me, he would lose points for not using a coaster. Asking for a coaster and then not using one is a more of a dick move than just not using a coaster at all.

Zach's sperm is out.

Funny tidbit. Stamos went on to become a regular on ER, another Thursday night NBC fixture, which coincidentally had a character named Rachel Greene.

Joey wishes a happy 12th birthday to Gizzy via Magna Doodle. No idea who Gizzy is. I imagine it's a child of a crew member. Really though, who does Joey know that is 12? I'm a little unsettled by this.

Recently, I mentioned that Phoebe isn't really shown playing music anymore, which is a bit of a shame. Well, when Monica comments that her restaurant is so popular that people wait outside to eat there, Phoebe decides that it would be a good idea to play outside the restaurant to a captive audience. This becomes a problem.

We soon learn a little known fact about the restaurant business that I don't think anyone would know unless they worked in the food service industry. Apparently, in addition to all of the duties confined to the kitchen that fall on the shoulders of the head chef, it is also his or her responsibility to shoo away any street performers that outside of the restaurant. You would think the head chef would have enough to do in the actual kitchen to not have to worry about what's going on outside the restaurant and that keeping buskers away would be one of the tasks of the restaurant manager, but Friends teaches us differently.

Hey look! Monica's reading Mental Floss magazine. I'm on their site everyday...because I'm too cheap to buy a magazine.

With Mike out of the picture, David's sensor telling him when it would be a seemingly convenient yet actually inconvenient time to have a chance run-in with Phoebe was going off. So sure enough, they have a chance run-in. Phoebe takes David to Barbados. If Phoebe didn't take David to Barbados, then this wouldn't have been able to happen.

Yeah, Mike flies down to Barbados as David was about to propose. It's the most drama Phoebe has seen through the whole series apart from the triplets.

How a poor musician and an even poorer failed scientist are able to afford to fly down to Barbados is beyond me.

Oh right, so now we're in Barbados. Ross is giving a keynote speech on something about paleontology (which explains why Charlie is going) and invites everyone along. Barbados? Okay!

So now we can get to all of the resolving shit.

Maybe I'm annoyed by the big charade because I know how the series ends. But it should be obvious that Joey isn't going to end up with a paleontologist, and this whole series has been working up Ross and Rachel running off to be somewhere where we won't have to put up with their wishy-washy crap anymore. All this season did was add another year for that to happen. I'm not saying this as someone who is saying "Come on! America needs to see Ross and Rachel together." I'm saying this as someone who is saying "Come on! This is annoying. Get on with it!"

Well anyway, Ross gets with Charlie and Joey gets with Rachel, blah blah blah.

The big joke is that Monica's hair gets really frizzy in the humid air. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, since they live in New York, where the summers are incredibly humid. But, as I've pointed out countless times before, this is a universe that completely skips the summer months. So Monica's hair's reaction to humidity remains a mystery to all, even though they've all been to London together, which I imagine is also very humid. Oh, and also to Ross, who grew up with Monica.

Most of the group is upset to learn that it's actually rainy season in Barbados. Everyone's bored. Rachel stays in and watches The Weather Channel. At first, my question was "Why would they carry The Weather Channel in Barbados?" To which I answered, "I don't know. Maybe for the American tourists needing to know what's going on at home?"

Next question. Is Alexandra Steele a real meteorologist?
Yes she is. I imagine some deal had to be worked out. Now, The Weather Channel is owned by NBC. If you look her up in Wikipedia, it takes you directly to The Weather Channel, but her name appears nowhere in the article.

Okay, my last question, I think is the best one. What kind of map of the U.S. is this that only two cities are labeled? Okay, thunderstorms in Miami, sunny in New York. What about elsewhere? Chicago? Denver? No? Just those two cities?

Was The Weather Channel doing this specifically to mess with Rachel's head? They said, "There's a New Yorker stuck inside in rainy Barbados, and we really want to stick it to her by showing her that, at this time, it is not rainy in New York." It seems like an inefficient use of weather reporting.

And why Miami? Would it be assumed that if it's stormy in Miami, that means it's also raining in Barbados? Because these two places are roughly 1,600 miles apart from each other. Barbados is actually way closer to Venezuela. It's less than a third of that distance to Caracas, and Caracas isn't even the part of Venezuela closest to Barbados.

Joey and Rachel are bored because the only thing going on in this hotel is the archeologist convention. That's when they discover the Tri-State Pharmacists are also meeting in another section of the lobby. They should probably scan the whole lobby before resorting to going up to their rooms and watching The Weather Channel.

Why would the Tri-State Pharmacists meet in Barbados? It seems awfully expensive. You would think that the Tri-State Pharmacists would meet somewhere in or around the tri-state area, whatever three states are covered in this tri-state area (I would assume New York/New Jersey/Connecticut, but I don't think that's the only "tri-state area" in the U.S.). I could see the Tri-State Pharmacists being part of a national contingency of pharmacists that would send their best and brightest—including some of the Tri-State Pharmacists—to a national convention that would get to go to an exotic location like Barbados. But this venue seems a bit big budget for a small group like the Tri-State Pharmacists.

And why would two groups made up of supposedly well-educated professionals plan a convention in a Caribbean island during its wet season? I mean the island is usually spared by hurricanes, but what's the point of throwing down the bucks to go to Barbados when you're planning for a convention in the wet season?

Also, the wet season in Barbados doesn't start until June. So these guys do have summer, or not? I just want to know.

The extra features this season are a bit disappointing. Normally there's a gag reel, which this season included. There's also usually a quiz section, which I normally kick ass in. Last season, I felt a slighted because the quiz came in the form of Bamboozled!, the nonsensical game show Joey had auditioned for. That left me feeling, well, bamboozled.

This season was worse. No quiz, whatsoever. Instead there was this.

What? Sounds a lot like the Flaming Lips album and song Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, only with Phoebe's name. It's not Wayne Coyne singing the song, only replacing Yoshimi's name with Phoebe's, is it?

Sadly, yes. Along with a montage of Phoebe over the past nine years. That's what Wayne Coyne did with his credibility earned by releasing one of the best albums of 2002. He appears on the special features of a popular sitcom's DVD, changing one of his songs to so that the character in the song is replaced by a character in the show.

Do You Realize how sad that is?

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