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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Friends Finale: The one with the goodbye

May 5, 2004

How you doin’?

Me? Not so well. I’m in serious need of tissues, and a therapist, to help get me through Thursday’s final Friends episode.

My Friends are leaving. TV, as we know it, is over.

For the last 10 years, I’ve met my Friends for coffee every Thursday. I’ve copied their haircuts, their clothing, and their pick-up lines. (Oh, like you haven’t?)

Watching the Generation-X gang always made me feel better. They seemed as confused as the rest of us in our twenties. But just as we had to grow up, so did they. I guess it was inevitable. How long could they really stay on the Central Perk couch idling away the day?

Through the years, the friends have been in some sticky situations. (Remember Ross in the leather pants with the bottle of baby powder?) Enough said.

Their shenanigans have proved memorable. And for us TV-obsessed-types, given us plenty of material for water-cooler conversations. I’m a vat of useless Friends trivia. I can sing the lyrics to Smelly Cat. I know words like crapweasel, unagi, and Mockolate. I know what to do for a jellyfish sting, that Phoebe’s favorite fake name is Regina Philange, and that Chandler Bing’s TV Guide subscription comes in the name Miss Chanandler Bong.

Could I be any sadder?

Don’t answer that.

As the theme song says, they’ve been there for me. So, how do you say goodbye to your friends of 10 years? With a touching tribute, of course.

Joey - Some have called him dimwitted. I prefer to think of him as simple. Underneath all the pretty, is a heart of gold. How can you not love a guy who named the inanimate objects in his apartment, i.e. Stevie the TV and Rosita the recliner. His charm with the ladies is endearing, as his appetite. He loves sandwiches, pizza, and Baywatch, and he hates big words. Joey gave us some of the shows’ best lines such as, “You don't own a TV? What's all your furniture pointed at?”

Ross - The geek in me loves Ross. (Who out there isn’t fascinated by dinosaurs?) Plus, he gave us Marcel the monkey, the Holiday Armadillo, and the phrase that won‘t die, “We were on a break!” Repeatedly unlucky in love, Ross never gives up. He was last seen kissing girl-of-his-dreams Rachel, who will probably turn out to be his lobster.

Chandler - Best known for his quick wit and dry sarcasm, he makes us all wish we could fire off a joke that rapidly. He loves baths, foosball, and wife Monica. His smoking addiction and unclear job description gave us some of the funniest moments of the show. Oh, and there was that pesky ex-girlfriend Janice, who is never far away.

Monica - She’s an obsessive neat freak who has 11 categories for her towels. She’s fiercely competitive, neurotic, a brilliant chef, and the nurturer of the group. She gave us one of the most memorable scenes ever when she and brother Ross performed “the routine,” a dance they’d concocted in the 1980s. Her pet peeves are sloppiness, losing and humidity. (Her hair reacts badly.)

Phoebe - The massage-therapist musician with a tragic childhood, Phoebe gave us songs. She even found inspiration from a bottle of Tegrin shampoo that moved her to draft this hilarious rhyming ditty: “I'm in the shower, and I'm writing a song/ Stop me if you've heard it/ My skin is soapy and my hair is wet/ And Tegrin spelled backward is nirget." The running gag with her twin sister Ursula gave us more than a few laughs.

Rachel - She’s the spoiled rich girl who matured into a workingwoman. She’s a long way from the days of her first job when she uttered, “Who's FICA? Why is he getting all my money?” Rachel became the Friends fashion plate whose hair, clothes and boyfriends we all wanted. Her guilty pleasures are Days of Our Lives, cheesecake, and dating company employees.

Will old acquaintances be forgot? Nah. I’ll see them again in syndication.

But one thing’s for sure. Thursday night coffee will never be the same.

Originally published 5/5/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


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