Friday, June 7, 2013

Friends Friday: Episode 1.2 and 1.3

Back with another Friends Friday! We got two early episodes... Not my favorites, but an interesting indicator of where the series ultimately goes.

Episode 1.2 - "The One with the Sonogram at the End"

So continues the established formula of entering the show mid sex conversation - this week's "taboo topic" was foreplay, with a somewhat tortured concert metaphor. And a masturbation allusion. Scandal! Seriously, I'm not old enough to know - was this groundbreaking stuff back in 1994? In a pre-Sex and the City world, maybe it was.



This episode also establishes some of the show's trademark elements, like Ross's job at the museum, the first Ugly Naked Guy appearance (with his thigh master!), Rachel's trademark hairstyle, the Mad About You tie-in of Ursula (Phoebe's ditzy, waitressing twin), Fat Monica, the Gellers, and the Barry/Mindy hookup.

Things turn around 3 main plots (as most Friends episodes do)- Monica freaking out about her parents coming, Rachel returning her engagement ring to Barry, and Ross finding out that his lesbian ex-wife is having his baby. Which leads to another instance of his perfectly delivered greeting...


I can't help feeling bad for Ross here - I'm sorry, but Susan is such a pushy jerk here. She's the other woman and she's acting like he's completely out of line in wanting his biological child to carry his name. Seriously - she can't understand why this is hard for him? And I don't like this original Carol. The one who ends up being in the series long term is a much better actress.

The real highlight of the episode is the introduction of the Gellers. We see less and less of them as the Friends establish themselves more, which is a shame, because Eliot Gould and Christina Pickles are GENIUS. Especially Gould as Jack - he makes any scene he's in about a thousand times funnier. The producers do an amazing job throughout the series of casting parents for each of the friends that make sense for the characters - you can see how each of them got to be the way they are from their families. This is so true for the Gellers - Jack's good-natured dopeyness combined with Judy's smothering criticism very clearly translate to Ross and Monica's intelligence and neurosis.

And stray observation - based on Rachel's comments, Barry must have been an ogre before he cleaned himself up for Mindy.

No additional sexual partners mentioned in this episode, so the stands remain the same as last week.

The Great Hook-Up Round-Up:
Rachel: II
Monica: I
Ross: I
Chandler: 0
Joey: 0
Phoebe: 0

Best line: 
"Other people are fine staying where they are - I'm telling you, these are the people who never get cancer... And I read about these women trying to have it all and I think, thank God our little Harmonica doesn't seem to have this problem." - Jack Geller

Episode 1.3 - "The One with the Thumb"

The sex/dating intros are getting old fast... this week, it's diplomatic lies we tell in dating. We also get a penis size debate. I'm looking forward to getting out of this tone in future episodes - it just comes off as them working too hard to be edgy or progressive or something. I don't know. It's not my favorite.

Translation of: "I think we should see other people."
All around, this isn't a favorite episode for me. The overarching joke of the episode (that the rest of the Friends are more attached to Alan the Perfect Guy than Monica is) doesn't really work for me - it feels too ham fisted and just too sitcom-y. 

To me, Chandler's smoking plot is much more successful. We get a sense of history (he's quit before, causing him and everyone around him a lot of pain), we see the friends acting as a moral guide a la a family unit, and we see grumpy, nicotine withdrawal Chandler (who is just the best). 


It provides the only highpoint of the whole thumb plot - Phoebe pays Chandler $7,000 to never smoke again. Which, technically, he ought to give back to her, because *spoilers* he definitely smokes again throughout the series. He also successfully turns the gang's nit-picking around on them, pointing out that accepting people's foibles is a core part of friendship. Of the flaws that he points out, only Ross' over pronunciation and Rachel's terrible waitressing stick. Monica's snort, Phoebe's hair chewing, and Joey's knuckle cracking don't really come back up throughout the series. 

There is some epic fashion happening in this episode. Chandler's crazy folk art tie and patchwork knit vest, Rachel's jean vest jacket, Monica's gigantic drawstring pinstripe pants, Phoebe's floral, cap-sleeved pant suit -- it is all amazing. And we get to see an ancient computer, which took me back to my Oregon Trail days. Awesome. 

And I had my first Gunther sighting!

So sexual partner tallying this week proves problematic - it isn't explicitly stated that Monica and Alan get down to business. However, I'm going to go ahead and say that if a break-up talk is required for one the friends' relationships, there was probably some sex involved. Dispute if you wish, but that's just how I'll go here. That said, let's add one to the list: Monica & Alan the Perfect Guy.

The Great Hook-Up Round-Up:
Rachel: II
Monica: II
Ross: I
Chandler: 0
Joey: 0
Phoebe: 0

Best line:
"Yeah, he could row like a viking..." - Ross

And finally, see this week's AV Club round-up for episodes 1.2 and 1.3.

Yay! This is fun guys :)

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