I started blogging in a world post-Friends. But if i had a blog when the show was still on, I’d be banging on about it much more, I’m sure. It was my life! Obsessed! #obsessed (although hashtags didn’t exist then). Did blogs even exist? Dunno. All I know is that when Friends was on, I used to record it weekly on a VHS and buy the Radio Times to read about what might happen in the episode coming up that Friday. I remember when it was part of the Friends, Cybil, Ellen, Frasier Friday night line-up, in a time before most of those shows were being show early in the morning on Channel 4, and before Ellen was even a lesbian!
I remember when Sky bought the rights to it, and would air the newer episodes about 5 months before Channel 4 did – which was torture for the few years my household didn’t have Sky. It was a very different time in TV and media overall. You’d never get away with such scheduling today, seeing as it would be all over the internet that Ross said Rachel instead of Emily, before the digibeta had even been sent from NBC to Channel 4.
But, while everyone else on the planet is reminiscing about the show as it reaches its 20th anniversary, with fond memories, I’m going to highlight something that Friends was always appalling at. A factor that we would always overlook because the show was just so damn wonderful.
Aside from cameras that you look through the actual hole at the top of when taking a picture, chunky TVs and massive house phones, the show has pretty survived the ageing process so far. But what was always infuriating to me was how it dealt with actual time. Each season was supposed to take place over the course of a year, yet was actually shot between September and May. Yet, things that took place in this timeframe often didn’t match up.
For example, the biggest case of apparent time travel that went on in the show was Rachel’s pregnancy. In the episode “The One With The Cheap Wedding Dress”, Monica tells the woman who she fights over a dress for that she and Chandler are getting married in May. We learn, in “The One With The Videotape” (which I suppose today would be “The One With The iPhone Recording”) that Rachel and Ross conceived Emma 6 weeks prior to the wedding. This means, they would have slept together in April. So, the law of biology tells us that Rachel should have given birth around Christmas. But the season 8 Christmas episode sees Phoebe explain to Rachel that during the fourth month of pregnancy she is likely to be feeling especially horny. So where did five months of Rachel’s pregnancy vanish to? Anyone? Rachel eventually goes into labour in “The One Where Rachel Is Late”, yet states that it is 100 degrees outside. And the end of the season was typically set in the Spring/Summer-time. So, theoretically, Rachel Green’s gestational period is about 15 months. Poor girl.
Birthdays always got my goat too. Again, Rachel’s seemed to skip around all over the place. In seasons 1 and 2, her birthday would be at the end of the season (“The One Where Rachel Finds Out” and “The One With The Two Parties”). Again, this ties in with the fact that the show would typically end its season in May. When Gunther asks her when her birthday is in season 4, she says May 5th. Yet, in later episodes her birthday takes place in the months of January (“The One With Phoebe’s Rats”) and February (“The One Where They All Turn Thirty”). In season 1, Phoebe celebrates her birthday in February (“The One With Two Parts”), but in “The One With Phoebe’s Birthday Dinner” she goes out to celebrate on Halloween (October 31st) and in “The One Where They All Turn Thirty” they are celebrating her 30th by hanging out, outside, in short-sleeves. Ross states in season 4 that his birthday is in December yet in season 9 tells Joey it’s in October. When is it?
This leads on to the age of the Friends. Monica states in season 1 that she is 26, yet Rachel turns 30 in season 7 – 6 years later. She and Monica went to High School together, and so are the same age. Two years seem to have slipped through the cracks here. Ross states, in “The One Where Monica And Richard Are Friends” that he doesn’t want any chocolate milk because he is 29. However, at the start of season 5, a year and a half later, he is devastated that he will be divorced twice before turning 30. So Dr Gellar has discovered an anti-ageing process, it would seem.
I could go on. But I won’t. Because Friends is the reason I discovered Pottery Barn and it taught me that it’s quite normal to have a midlife crisis in your twenties. I also think they should do a Thanksgiving reunion episode and I’m going to need them to get on with that please. Thanks.