Review: Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Inter-active menus; Scene access.
NINE seasons down and one to go... life without Friends is going
to be difficult.
As Season 9 drew to a close with yet another gem of a cliffhanger
(Joey kissing Rachel), thoughts began to turn to how the makers
of one of television's most successful franchises of all time
could draw things to a close.
Throughout their ten years together, the cast of friends have
consistently maintained the highest standards, providing us with
a little ray of joy on a Friday night, which we could tape and
enjoy endlessly whenever we felt down, or blue.
Season 9 was another corker. Beginning with the birth of Ross
and Rachel's baby, and confusion over marriage proposals, it took
in Chandler's decision to quit his job, and Phoebe's developing
relationship with her new boyfriend, Mike (brilliantly played
by Paul Rudd), before culminating with Joey's continuing bachelor
endeavours (this time with a potential love-interest for Ross,
in the shapely form of Aisha Tyler), and Rachel's feelings for
him.The final two episodes are set in Barbados, as Ross, Joey,
Charlie (Tyler) and Rachel are forced to confront their true feelings
for each other, and Phoebe considers marriage proposals from ex-boyfriends,
Mike and David (Hank Azaria).
There was also an hilarious guest appearance from Jeff Goldblum
to savour (involving an audition process for Joey), which helped
to ensure that season 9 lived long in the memory and seldom kept
a smile away from the face.
The enduring appeal of Friends lies in both the quality of its
writing (the way in which it effortlessly mixes laugh-out-loud
humour with a nice line in drama), as well as the charisma of
its six central stars.
And it is a tribute to each of them, that they have felt comfortable
enough to progress their characters, appearing likeable at times,
and selfish at others.
This time around, it is Rachel's turn to, once again, thwart
Ross's romantic endeavours, while pursuing any man that takes
her fancy - including Joey, once she realises she has feelings
Courtney Cox's character, Monica, is slightly more neurotic and
paranoid this time around, with a 'me, me, me' attitude, yet her
attempts to conceive with husband, Chandler (Matthew Perry) made
for some touching and poignant moments, as the married couple
are forced to come to terms with the likelihood of adoption.
It is the way in which they are not afraid to tackle life's difficult
issues, as well as its funny ones, that makes them seem, well,
like friends - we can always empathise, sometimes cry, but, most
notably, laugh along with them, through whatever ups and downs
life throws at them.
All of which leaves me to ponder, almost continually now, what
will we do without them?