I always put off watching the Friends series just because I assumed it would not be my cup of tea. I'm always into things that are in someway educational (nerdy, I know). The pandemic hit me hard and I had nothing else to do but waste my time as lazily as possible. Ed, my brother, was pestering me about how 'ancient' my preferences were. To give him a jab, I decided to start the ultimate binge. Mind you, it's the first ever series I've watched. Sure enough, I did not quite enjoy the first few episodes. I almost gave up. But then I couldn't, because my honour was at stake. I persisted and little did I know I would soon fall in love with it.
Friends is iconic. It makes you laugh, think, giggle and even cry. It's a little handle that the world could hold on to when life takes a narrow curve. The cast of the show is everything. There has never been a perfect assemblage of characters in television history like in Friends. The dynamics the actors have is unparallelled by any others, before or after. I love Chandler's sarcasm and good looks (damn, he is hot), Phoebe's hippie-ness (also that laugh of hers: that is the sunshine to my many moons), Monica's brutal competitiveness, Ross's smart yet touchy nature, Rachel's beauty and strength – and mind you, Joey is my Hugsy.
Hands down, Phoebe and Chandler were my top people. I loved Phoebe (a.k.a. Princess Consuela Bananahammock) since the first episode. There is something ethereal and loyal about her. I just love how free she is. She is unapologetically herself and is unwilling to appear as someone other than herself. (Who could even think of writing a song about smelly cats other than her?) She cares deeply and has values that seem too good to be true sometimes; nevertheless she clings to them always. About Chandler – now who couldn't love him? 'Why were girls not into him' is a question that puzzles me to this very day. He is the reason I understand what sarcasm really is. The bromance between Joey and Chandler is everything, and I love Mondler more than Roschel. (I dare you to fight me.)
I love this show and it's not only based on my fickle heart's favour. It has a more concrete foundation. Friends gifts us an insight into cultural and societal taboos, and shines a light on the eminence of stark contrasts. The beauty of motherhood, whether through one's own biology, surrogacy or adoption, is always alluring. A biological motherhood can never dim the shine of being a surrogate mother. Both are equally beautiful. Also, the evolution of Rachel from being a pampered, spoilt teen to being a strong and independent woman is a fresh twist from the traditional plots where one's personality remains stagnant.
Watching Friends during the pandemic sure did hit differently. I couldn't help but think of my friends and I, having fun over a cup of coffee, getting rid of all electronic junk and just laughing out loud, freely. I know for a fact that we may not get such perfectly raw friends in real life, but that doesn't mean I couldn't wish for them. From their apartment of purple wallpapers to Gunther's baldness, Rachel's fashion sense to Joey's acting choices, I will continue being a Friends stan, not because it's the most perfect show ever made but because of how it showed what my life could be, how it taught me the loveliness of holding people close and why you should have a sip of that latte and just laugh at yourself once in a while.