Why is “Friends” TRULY the Most Villainous Sitcom in Human History?


Just read this article about Seinfeld, if you’ve ever watched the show it’s worth a read.

I think it makes an important point, but one that should especially be taken into account regarding the show that owes it everything — Friends.

The difference between Seinfeld and Friends? If this article is to be taken as correct, the villainy and frankly anti-Christian behaviour in Seinfeld is to be read as satire. But by the time we get to Friends, all the characters have these same heathen attributes — they are all mean, all selfish, all promiscuous, all rich, all prejudiced — but it isn’t satire, we are made to empathise with them.

I remember my Dad saying that he thought the thing people like about Friends was that it had serious bits in it, but I think that’s the thing we should dislike about Friends. By inserting drama it becomes a show which can no longer be read as satire, I can’t watch Friends and think ‘is this what we’ve become?’ — which in theory I can with Seinfeld — I watch Friends and I think, ‘this is what we’re like and I love it’, which is awful and potentially dangerous.

I think my school-friend Zach summed it up well when one day he said, ‘I wouldn’t want to be friends with any character from Friends‘. He’s right. Rachel is a stuck-up, vein, mean-girl; Phoebe can often be homicidal; Ross is psychopathic; as is Monica; Chandler is emotionless and sarcastic to the point of death; and Joey is a greedy womaniser. All these are interesting characteristics in our society worth satirising, but the issue in Friends is that they are celebrated and encouraged.


What was the defining characteristic of the nineties?

I posted recently about the defining characteristics of each decade, from the 1930s to the 1980s. But what about the 1990s?

I read David Stubbs’ article Seinfeld Vs Rumsfeld and he claims that the 1990s were ‘(for many) a desultory, affluent, privileged era’ (2004) he concludes that it is a ‘sense of privileged desultoriness that might be the defining characteristic of the Nineties’ (ibid.).

This label: desultoriness, is similar to Swindoll’s ‘aimlessness’ (1992, pp.11) of the 1980s, however perhaps the aimlessness of the 1980s was not replaced by another mood, but merely concreted. The aimlessness of the 1980s became proud aimlessness in the 1990s. To build on Stubbs’ term, maybe the 1990s zeitgeist was a resolute desultoriness. 

Stubbs cites the Massive Attack fronted Bristol-based genre, trip-hop as an example of this puffed-up, determined, aimlessness: ‘what a washed up, boneless, useless a confection it now sounds, the muted trump of a white elephant’ (cop cit.).

And what about the most popular sitcom of the decade, Seinfeld? Well it gave itself its very own label, ‘The show is about nothing’ (The Pitch 1992). Brash purposelessness has never been so popular.

Seinfeld, 1992. [TV programme] Castle Rock Entertainment, NBC, 16 September 1992.

Stubbs, D., 2004. Seinfeld Vs Rumsfeld. [online] Available at: <http://www.mr-agreeable.net/2004/12/05/seinfeld-vs-rumsfeld-out-of-the-nineties/&gt; [Accessed 25 October 2013].

Swindoll, Charles, R., 1992. Strengthening Your Grip: Essentials in an Aimless WorldHodder and Stoughton.

Summer Heaven

The episode is called ‘The Pen’, Elaine is staying at Jerry’s parents’ house in Florida and neither of them can sleep because it’s too hot! Tis a funny one. That’s my first and maybe last summer thought.

I really haven’t had the urge to write for such a while and I wouldn’t have if jonblog (who’s new look blog is fab) hadn’t tweeted me to do so and follow WordPress’ suggestion to write about one’s ‘favourite summer sound’. I felt too constricted by the imperative to just write about a sound so I widened the margins to include summer as a concept, but now I feel I will widen it even further and just use summer as a spring board for yadayadayaing (to tip my hat to Seinfeld once more).

Summer is good though on the whole, it’s just generally a happier time. I often ponder what the weather will be like in heaven, I know that it will not be unpleasant (baby bear weather if you like). But will we have such beauties as snow and frost? Frost is beautiful when it sparkles in the sun, but is unpleasant to touch and inconvenient when one slips over upon it. More biblical study should be done by me on the criteria for heavenly features. The main thing will be the absence of sin and the presence of Jesus. That’s what I should look forward to most, but part of me just keeps wondering about the little details like snow, and whether we’ll be able to levitate.

At this point for no particular reason I am going to stray defiantly from the subject of heaven and summer and anything relevant to this post, because I want you to sympathise with my excuse for not blogging: busyness. I preached two sermons last month and am preaching another this Sunday (in Shrewsbury if you’re in town); we’re working in the Christian Bookshop in Aber as well as moving from our upstairs flat to the downstairs one. We had the arduous experience of having two holidays in a row, one to the Greek island of Santorini and the other to South Wales’ Gower peninsula. I also entered a play I wrote into a competition called ‘The Bruntwood Prize’ and I am currently praying that it would win it.

So, summer. Tis a funny one.