Sunday, February 15, 2004

From - 'Friends': The most overrated comedy ever by Frazier Moore, Feb. 12, 2004

In comedy no less than drama, the best characters have nagging flaws they must contend with. Think of Archie Bunker's bigotry, or the addictive personality of Sam Malone, a recovering alcoholic and dogged womanizer.
Throughout sitcom history, the best characters are forever reaching for a goal just beyond their grasp. Hawkeye Pierce wants to get home from Korea in one piece. Deputy Barney Fife wants to prove his valor as a lawman to the citizens of Mayberry. Mary Richards wants to show the world she can make it, after all.

But what of the tight little sextet of "Friends"? They just want to be loved by one another, and they are. They just want to hang out with their friends, and they do. So their mission was accomplished in the series' first week. After that? More and more icing on the cake.

I won't argue that Friends is over rated, I only catch random reruns, it's never been Must See TV for me. But I think Frazier Moore has missed the point. Hanging out with one another and being loved by one another isn't the icing, it's the cake. The comedy is the icing, the core of the show is the fantasy about people who stick with one another despite fights, break ups, marriages and divorce. In many ways it's the same formula that drove Touched by an Angel for years. Each week Monica declare that God is real and that he loves us. We (as a society) don't really believe it, but it moves us never the less.

I look at the fragile relationships around me are, how we often miss obvious opportunities to apply love and grace. How easy it us to burn a relationship with a quick word or a misunderstanding. The idea that a group of people would stick together even though they live badly is deeply appealing. The church should have this appeal. We are called to not forsake out fellowship with one another, to love our enemies, forgive our friends. Yet true fellowship, grace and reconciliation is rare in my life. I don't think I'm alone in that. I agree Friends is overrated as TV, but I won't underrate it's appeal.

- Peace

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