“I wish I could but I don’t want to.”
-Phoebe Buffay AKA Regina Phalange, a businesswoman in town for business
A few Christmases ago, I started receiving Friends DVDs as a gift – generally two-three seasons at a time. Intermittent and out of order, I’d watch the episodes repeatedly for the remainder of winter. (What’s falling snow without a viewing of Phoebe’s snowstorm wedding or Joey and Ross climbing down the icy fire escape?) Watching their witty banter, their general lack of responsibility, showed me what my post-college life would be. I’d drink from large coffee cups (I’d also grow to like coffee), I’d spend hours at a time sitting on a questionably clean sofa, I’d circle through boyfriends before falling for the guy across the hall. Each episode was like a premonition of what a version of my life could be.
Eventually, all 10 seasons (236 entire episodes) had been collected under my tree. No longer were sections repeated, but shown in their entirety, from pilot to close. I watched Rachel go from runaway bride to runaway employee. Ross went through multiple divorces, Phoebe became somewhat normal, Joey finally made it as an actor. And most surprisingly, Chandler settled down and became a dad.
Each time I watch he and Monica carry Anna Faris’s bastard twins out of that apartment for the last time, a little part of me dies. “It’s over, “I tell myself. “Friends actually ended,” like it was destined to be the Saturday Night Live or Energizer Bunny of sitcoms.
Canoes make great couches.
Despite knowing the show is done, Friends’ finale brings no closure. I want to know what happened with Rachel and Ross. I want to see Phoebs and Mike attempt parenthood. I want to visit the Bings in the suburbs. Ten seasons wasn’t enough for me – and no Joey doesn’t count; let’s pretend that show never happened.
Especially now that I’m approaching Friends ages, where bad music and mooching is a supposed way of life, I need to know what comes next. I’ve yet to meet a Janice, a Fun Bobby, or even a Gunther. At this point, I’d probably even settle for a Mr. Heckles … maybe even an Ugly Naked Guy. Anyone who can answer a list of nagging questions:
- Where can I get a lamp that controls park lights?
- How many abortions has Joey paid for?
- What state does Ross forget in The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs?
- Did Phoebe have some sort of hiding place for all of her disappearing boyfriends? Did she stab them all like she stabbed that cop?
These and countless others continue to nag away, a fact that has yet to keep me from repeating the shows. In the mean time, until a Friends addict cure is invented – some type of shot or single-dose pill – I’ll continue to recycle through by 40-set of DVDs, knowing that, for every clean, empty apartment, there’s an equally clean yet furnished one back in season one.