During Reading Week, I did an internship at The Herald newspaper through in Glasgow. Informative and fascinating as it was, this was not the life-changing event I experienced in November. No, it was settling down on my sofa at home in Edinburgh and watching television. “Oh God,” I hear you cry, “I knew Melissa needed to get out more, but this… Really? Where’s the shovel? I’ll put her out of her misery now.” Hear me out – I think you will agree with me.
I surfed the channels, finally settling on E4. From about 7pm every night it regurgitates undemanding comedies for the masses- namely Scrubs, Friends, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory. Good old Prozac television to relax with. That and the second beer I had in the hand the remote wasn’t in. The only problem was that the old reliable, Friends, was not on the listings. At first, I did not really notice (a couple of beers, okay, three, does that to a girl). However, its absence was definitely felt as the evening wore on. Surely some season premiere had temporarily ousted it from the roster?
No. A visit to the E4 website confirmed my worst fears; ‘It’s true! After 15 years in the company of good Friends, E4 have decided to move Ross, Rachel, Chandler and the rest of the gang out of the E4 flat and finally go our separate ways.’
First of all, how dare you? These poor characters had nowhere else to go, and, having become increasingly redundant stereotypes, had sought refuge in the arms of you, the protector of past-it clichés, E4. You abused trust in this relationship I just made up. Even from a more grounded point of view, what are the stars going to do without their royalty cheques now? I am sure it takes a lot of money to make Matthew Perry constantly look that bloated and Jennifer Aniston that desperate.
Secondly, if this isn’t the final nail in the coffin of our youth, then I don’t know what is. To have a classic television show not just syndicated, but taken off air, seems to demonstrate its increasing irrelevancy to the E4’s young adult-centric market. It seems sad that a whole generation might miss out on such handy tips as how to cope when your wife turns out to be a lesbian or when you accidentally say the wrong name at the altar.
My more cynical side (Oh dear. That suggested there is a less pessimistic side somewhere) thinks that it is all a ruse on the part of E4, an effort to drum up enough whining on our part that they can bring Friends back in a haze of glory. After all, it would be quite the publicity stunt.
Whatever the reason for Friends leaving our screens may be (unless you have Paramount Comedy. Incidentally, if you do, we will get you when the Revolution comes), I am still sad to see it go. Even if I have made crass jokes about the stars of the show (but what else are Friends for?), I will miss the nostalgia the reruns provided. The programme was essential Friday night viewing, and the theme tune always takes me back to spasmodically dancing around the living room with my mother ten years ago. It is not so much of a loss, though. We still do that now. Maybe it is time for the tweens of today to find a new show to instigate intergenerational limb-flailing to.