- Kenneth Cotterill
Why Friends Is Overrated
Before we truly take a deep dive into why this show should not be as beloved as it is, this is in no way an article stating that Friends should not have been successful. Clearly, the show resonated with people worldwide, as it was on the air for ten seasons. It ran 236 episodes, holding consistent ratings for almost a decade. But it has been 6096 days since the final episode of season 10 ended. This is crazy to me since people clamor over how phenomenal this show is and how they have watched it dozens of times since then. The show, for its time, was good, but should it continue to be watched over and over? This is no Big Bang Theory, I am not saying “how the hell did this show do 10 seasons,” but I am saying let’s put it to rest and stop talking about this show like it is an all-time great show, because its not – for a few reasons.
*SPOILERS AHEAD: YOU HAD YOUR WARNING*
Laugh track ruins good jokes
From a comedic perspective, this show has its moments. Whether it be the “Pivot” scene or Chandler saying “Woopah.” I laughed at these moments I am sure like many that watched it did. But for the love of God is it not good enough for your audience to just laugh while viewing? Sure we all love it when Monica and Chandler are caught in bed together. That being said how many times do we need to see the cast react when they find out and also have an annoying laugh track in the background. This goes for most television shows with a laugh track, it ruined Two and a Half Men and That 70's Show, but especially Friends. Perhaps it is me overthinking it, but it seems that the laugh track is more prevalent in this show than others. For that reason, it takes Friends down a peg for me as far as how timeless of a classic it really is.
The Female characters are quite boring
Monica, Rachel and Phoebe all bring something different to the table, so kudos to the writers for making them different in their own way. That does not mean that the characters themselves are not quite dull for large stretches of the show. Monica, the bubbly chef that struggles to find her career for most of the show, is quite enjoyable to watch in the earlier seasons. Her relationship with Richard is quite weird given the age difference, but once she marries Chandler she might as well have just sat in the corner for the remaining seasons. Rachel, the least dull of the trio, struggles to discover everyday life skills given her upbringing. She fails as a waitress for a long time before getting into fashion and becoming a mother. But her constant fighting with Ross just wears you down as a viewer and makes you wish the show would just drop it. Let Rachel move on and find someone that truly understands her as a person, because Ross is not that person. Phoebe is so boring they have to give her an alter ego named Regina Phalange and a twin sister to make her seem more interesting. In reality, she is just a hippie that does not find a man until she truly grows up (shoutout to Paul Rudd for the late-season appearance).
Ross Geller is one of the worst characters in television history
Outside of "Pivot," which I mentioned earlier, tell me a really endearing quality about Ross Geller. Right from the jump, Ross is painted as the down on his luck man whose wife left him to be with another woman. But once you get to know Ross can you really blame her for doing so? He is constantly trying to control her, always has to get his way and is incredibly selfish, none of which is appealing to watch as a viewer. Then we have to watch him clamor over Rachel for the next 10 seasons, constantly deflecting blame off himself as to why the relationship is not working. The writers also really beat to death the "we were on a break" joke to make up for Ross just not being a very fun character. He also works with dinosaurs and is very condescending to the other characters about how "smart" he is. If you like Ross as a character I question your taste in people and hope you watch other shows to find more likable television characters.
The writers let down the show in later seasons
I mean if you cannot see the shift between Chandler and Joey in season one compared to seasons eight to 10, I do not know what you are watching. Granted part of the hilarity of Matthew Perry had to due with his drug usage, but it cannot simply just be that why he becomes unfunny. I found myself constantly laughing at the Joey and Chandler dynamic in the early seasons, but it is like the writers no longer wanted them to make you laugh. Chandler turns into a dull husband after marrying Monica and it truly ruins him as a character. Joey goes from being the fun, dopey actor to suddenly being a romantic, deep man which just seems to happen overnight. Joey either laid off the weed (c'mon we all know he smokes it on the show) or the writers just let him down in the later seasons. Ratings wise, the show will always hold up given it never dipped below 20 million viewers, but that does not mean the overall writing quality did not decline.
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