Making the Grade: Characters from “Friends”

Hey, Neflix sent me my very own email! Awesome! I bet there’s something really exciting they couldn’t wait to share with those of us still celebrating the new year. Let’s see… wow, so they’ve got Friends now, huh? That’s… nice. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was a fun show back when it was on the air, but I can’t say I’ve been missing it since it ended a whole decade ago. But hey, our corporate masters say we should get excited, so… yay? Well, its return is as good an excuse as any for assigning some grades, I guess. Speaking of grades, let’s start with our resident palaeontology professor-slash-blooming-idiot, Ross. Yes, that may sound harsh, but it’s based on solid evidence, people. He had Rachel, for God’s sake. Had her. In every sense of the word. Then he loses her, and he screws up his big chance to get her back because -­- get this -­- it would have meant admitting he was wrong. Oh yeah, sure, I’d do the same thing, too. Right. You betcha. And don’t even get me started on how he dumped a sexy palaeontologist who looked remarkably like Rebecca Romijn just because she was a slob, just like any other heterosexual man with a pulse would do. Fie on thee, Mr. Geller, and your little monkey, too. D

Studly, good-looking Italian-American womanizer with a frathouse libido and a treehouse mind, except in those rare moments when he unexpectedly shows his sensitive, mature side. Nope, no stereotyping here. I bet the gruff Irish cop, Zen surfer dude and hooker with a heart of gold were that close to getting a callback. Anything else I have to say about him will be chalked up to jealousy on my part, so let’s leave him with a nice average C.

I used to really have a thing for Courtney Cox. I must’ve watched that Masters of the Universe movie a dozen times just because she was in it, and not, um, you know, because I played with my He-Man and Skeletor action figures well into my teens. Because that would be so sad and nerdy, right? Ahem. Anyway, when I heard she was in this show, I fell in love with her all over again. But then, something weird happened. She started out as “the normal” in the group, the nucleus around which everyone else’s kookiness revolved — but then she just got weirder and weirder, as if the show’s writers found a copy of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) one day and decided, “Hey, let’s make Monica exhibit one of these every week!” Bam! She’s obsessive-compulsive. Bam! Now she’s hyper-competitive. Bam! Now she’s crazy insecure with body-image issues. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy she and Chandler found true love and all that, but man, that was a lot of crazy week in and week out. Thankfully, she mellowed out after she moved to Florida and started drinking wine out of flower vases. C+

a.k.a. “the Hair.” Aside from daring new coifs that went out of style about the same time Monica Lewinsky finally discovered dry cleaning, what life lessons can society learn from this girl’s addition to the cast? (1) Being a coffeeshop waitress is no excuse for not wearing the latest fashions. (2) When you leave your fiancé at the altar and your father cuts you off, always remember high-school buddies who weren’t invited to the wedding are always happy to take you in and help you get back on your feet. (3) No matter how superficial and flighty you are, everyone always forgives a pretty face. Ross ought to know better, and so should I. B+

I like Phoebe. Yeah, she can be flakier than the croissants at Central Perk, but as they say, “Flaky is as flaky does.” And for someone with as tragic a childhood as hers, she turned out all right. I mean, I would have buried a fork in Ross’s scalp a long time ago if I were a former street person forced to listen to his whining about how the other palaeontologists never let him play in their palaeontology games. Plus, if you remember that episode about Ross’s sandwich, you’ll know there’s a little bit of darkness beneath that perky blonde façade. The kind of darkness that would enjoy… hurting people. Disciplining people. Especially bad people who deserved it, who begged her for more as she… I have to go now. A

My god and guiding spirit. This blog, my wardrobe, my general lifestyle… I want to be just like him. Except without the absentee father. Or the alcoholic mother. Or the thing where everyone assumes he’s gay because he’s thin and neat. Oh, and I just couldn’t live with that haircut, having a roommate, or keeping farm animals as pets. Come to think of it, I’d also tone down the sarcasm a bit, be a little more assertive at work, and maybe reconsider the relationship with the insecure neat freak next door. But aside from all that: just like him. A-


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