Saturday, August 1, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out, Frank Gehry

Originally posted 5-7-09

I hope everyone had a very nice summer of 2003. While the gang was holed up in a hotel in Barbados, SARS was being fully contained in the real world. There was also that monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. I only mention these diseases because of the swine flu situation. That's my poor attempt to keep things current.

When Americans weren't busy duct taping plastic tarps over their windows and doors to keep out disease, they were awaiting the conclusion to the whole Rachel-Joey-Charlie-Ross thing and, with it, the last season of the show.

Look at them, dressed all dapper for the big event. Well, all of them except for Ross, who couldn't have been bothered with wearing a tie.

Back to Barbados. I have to be honest, I should care about the love trapazoid, but I was more intrigued by the architectural wonder that was the hotel.

Apparently, they were able to hear what's going on next door from Chandler & Monica's room because they share a wall. That's not too odd. Hotel rooms share walls. Thin walls on a hotel is hardly an architectural anomaly. It would be great if they were more soundproof, but what are you going to do?

If you're these people, you're going to listen to two of your friends make out for the first time. And then you're going to go to the opposite wall to see if you can hear anyone else make out.

Sure enough, Ross and Charlie are getting it on.

Here's where the layout of the hotel gets to be unclear. The room has adjoining rooms on our left and our right. The far wall is the window outside, which means that the fourth wall leads to the hall. Like so:

This is actually pretty standard for a hotel.


From this angle, and by the way Ross is entering the room, it almost seems as if that wall we thought they shared with Ross's room actually leads to the hallway.

No, that's actually exactly what's happening. But it's not just any hallway.

A hallway that is inexplicably unlit just past Chandler & Monica's room that leads to what appears to be a...toilet? I'm no attorney, but it seems that a hotel with an unlit common area is a hotel just asking to be sued.

This makes the actual layout of the hotel looking a bit more like this.

Chandler & Monica have a magic hallway to the right of their room. You enter and exit that room and the door leads right to that hall which, I assume, leads you to other parts of the hotel. While the hall occupies actual space, when you put your ear to the wall shared by this hall, you don't hear what's going on in the hall, you hear what's going on the other side of the hall.

Maybe the wall is magic, and not the hallway.

Hmm, that doesn't really explain the toilet, does it?

Magic hall or not, this is an inefficient use of space. First of all, if there's a hall to the left of Joey's room and to the right of Chandler & Monica's room, then it's assumed that there's one along the wall closest to us that connects those halls. Also, Ross's room is next to the magic hall, but there's no door leading to it, which means that there isn't another room on the right side of Ross's room, it's another hall.

That just seems like a lot of space dedicated to hall, and not a room that could hold paying customers.

I also have to admit, I don't really see the point of having one end of a hallway being unlit, nor do I fully understand the toilet.

Also, where is Phoebe staying? Or do we not care because it's Phoebe?

The gang jets back to New York, courtesy of stock footage from Air Barbados. According to Wikipedia, there is no such airline. There's Trans Island Air 2000, which seems to be the only airline based in Barbados. Air Barbados isn't listed as one of the airlines serving Grantley Adams International Airport, which seems to be the only airport on the island that serves as a way to get to the United States. So where the hell did they get this footage of a fictitious airline flying over water?

Maybe they've been put out of business and erased from existence for their policy of allowing Rachel to stand in the aisles.

Seriously, people, the threat level is orange!

Quickly switching subjects, draw some attention towards Ross's shirt. It's so bright that it almost leaves an aura. This is a man with excellent laundry detergent. Ironically, as he's wearing this shirt, he's talking about wanting a tan as if anyone wearing this shirt needs a tan.

The events leading to Ross's overtan are "hilarious." I'm not quite sure what the big deal is, it's not like they last very long. That was originally going to be a way of me mocking the fact that his spray-on tan was completely gone by the next episode, but it apparently, they actually only last a week or two, so it actually is possible that it was completely gone. However, a tan as "laugh out loud" as this one may take longer to fade.

Also, I think anyone who would get a spray-on tan shouldn't worry about looking ridiculous any more than someone with a ridiculous spray-on tan.

"Hey, it's been two years. Can we take down the American flag?"
"Hmm, don't want to seem unpatriotic. Just cover it with needless props."
"Got it."

Emma, whose birth originally aired May 2002 finally celebrates her first birthday in October 2003. Everyone seems unapologetic about the party being four months later than it should be. No jokes like, "Oh, she's a baby, she doesn't know the difference." Or "We actually forgot we had a baby because we rarely see her because she was with her nanny, Molly, who we also rarely see or mention."

No, none of that. I thought that maybe they were just getting around the fact that they skip summer every year. Even though it's been 16 months in the real world, the season finale and the following season premiere usually take place in the same day, so the characters are aging differently.

This is probably true, since Joey mentions that he'll be 52 when Emma turns 18, making him 35 now...even though The One Where They All Turn Thirty aired less than three years earlier.

Maybe we're supposed to ignore the way time spans.

That would explain why the very next episode is Mike & Phoebe's first anniversary.

They met in October of '02, and here they are a year later (although later in the month) celebrating one year together. Why was the time between Emma's birth and Phoebe meeting Mike longer than the time between Emma's first birthday and Mike & Phoebe's first anniversary?

I guess it could be worse. We should be glad they didn't go the way of Family Ties or Growing Pains and have Emma come back after the summer as a five-year-old.

Jennifer Coolidge shows up as Amanda, a friend of Monica and Phoebe from before we started following their lives. She apparently lived in the building back when Monica and Phoebe were still living together. She moved out at some point after Phoebe moved out. We know this because Amanda knew that Phoebe was trying to cut Monica out as a friend after she moved out. However, Chandler and Joey were already living across the hall from Monica by the time Phoebe moved out, and Chandler seems to have no idea who this person is, so who knows what is really going on there?

Of course if Joey had remembered Amanda, he would totally freak out when he later moved to L.A. and found an agent, Bobbie, that looked exactly like her.

Most other people look at Jennifer Coolidge and think of the character that popularized the word MILF.

Phoebe is seen here rounding up things to get rid of for when Mike moves in. For some reason, the 2000 bookends are still there on the shelf and not in the box labeled "Stuff I shouldn't have even bought in the first place, but since I did, I maybe should have gotten rid of it over two years ago." I guess no one would really label a box that way, but you get my point.

Speaking of "getting rid" of things. Charlie kind of disappeared for a few episodes after the whole Barbados incident, making me think that after all of that buildup, her relationship was going to end with a fizzle. It did, it would just take a bit longer. She would eventually run away with her Nobel Prize winning ex-boyfriend played by Greg Kinnear.

The kid who was in the Spy Kids movies plays some adopted son of Phoebe's friends whose life is ruined by Chandler. The Cub Scout uniform isn't explained, but I dig the "NYC2012" poster in the back.

New York was one of the five cities in the running for the 2012 Summer Games, along with Paris, Madrid, Moscow and London. New York was unable to secure funding for a stadium on the West Side. The backup plan was to use what is now Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, as the Olympic Stadium. New York came in fourth in the final voting, ahead of Moscow. The announcement of the 2012 Olympic Games being awarded to London came a day before the suicide bombings in the London transit system killed 56. Talk about a huge range of emotions for a city to go through in a 24-hour period.

I'm such a downer.

Ross had invited a few people over. It looks like in an effort to tidy up quickly, he just threw everything in the playpen. Do parent's really do this? It seems like a somewhat convenient solution, especially if the baby is home as rarely as Emma is. The playpen serves as a kind of box to hold all sorts of loose stuff lying around the house. Of course, the point of cleaning up for guests is to make them believe you're not a slob. Throwing everything in a playpen is cheating a bit, and it kind of defeats the purpose if you're going to leave the playpen right there in the living room for everyone to see.

You know what? Since it's the last season, we should tie up some loose ends.

Hey, remember the triplets?

Yeah, Phoebe carried them for her half-brother, and then we barely saw them again even though Phoebe said she would be in their lives. Well, Frank Jr. brings them to Central Perk, because that's the appropriate place for three obnoxiously overactive five-year-olds.

Instead of taking them to a park or something, she and Frank Jr. decide to just hang out at Central Perk.

Well, that's the last we'll see of them. Thanks for dropping by that one day, triplets.

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