31 May 2021

Not a Music Monday: A Memory Pivot

Early Poster of the Cast of Friends

So, I somehow forgot that today was Monday. I was behind on my #onepanelvss until late into the afternoon. I kept thinking it was Sunday and wondering why Hubs hadn't called his family yet. I kept forgetting it was Memorial Day because, for us, it is Get Ready for the Deck Guy to come measure and help us plan our deck reno.

So no music today. Instead, this is The One Where Nancy Remembers, also known as I watched the Friends Reunion and laughed and cried...and finally understood why that show was and is such an important part of my life.

Is it problematic? Sure - most shows from that time period are, especially sitcoms like Friends. Could the cast have been more diverse? Of course it could have. Is it a product of its time? Absolutely. And do I love it, even though there are episodes I won't watch for some of the reasons I've just listed? YES.

Friends premiered on NBC in September of 1994. I premiered in my First Adult Job/Internship in June of 1994. I was just a bit younger than the characters in the show, but what they were experiencing was, as one of the creators said in the Reunion show, that time when your friends are your family. I was firmly in that age group at the time.

I had a family. They lived in Georgia and I lived in West Virginia. For a year, I had friends that were far, far away, and I was the loneliest I think I've ever been any time before or since during that year. So I decided to try this show that I'd seen advertised (because TV was my outlet, don't judge me) and at first, I hated it. I hated it for reminding me that all my friends were in Georgia and Tennessee and Ohio and everywhere that I wasn't. But I stuck with it, and soon I could see bits of all my friends in these characters that the six actors brought to life, and as cheesy as it sounds, I didn't feel so alone.

In fact, one of the Friends fans that spoke about the impact the show had on her said that she didn't have family, but these six people became her family. That's what it was for me, and that's why I get teary still at the last episode. I am blogging about it now, because if I try to talk about it, well, could there be louder ugly crying?

So I get that maybe it hits differently if you are watching now, in your late 20s and early 30s, and are trying to make it fit into your life and your world. I know that it is dated and that some of it is more than cringe-worthy. Thankfully, we are more aware now. Our world is so much bigger than it was...wow, this is hard...25 years ago. I don't want to go back to any of that.

But I won't apologize for putting that show on and laughing until I cry at some of the bits or remembering being a scared 22-year-old sitting in an apartment in West Virginia, watching a group of friends and feeling not quite so disconnected from the life I'd known and the life I wanted for myself for a half-hour on Thursdays. I can look back at her, and see that she eventually got her own Central Perk, her own home, and friends that are her family.

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