Sunday, May 30, 2021

The one with the Friends: The Reunion episode


There's a lot of serious material coming out from me on the Dr Wealth blog so I prefer to do something more frivolous for the weekend. Incidentally,  this week is also the launch of the Friends: The Reunion episode. I just want to share my thoughts about how the series shaped Generation X today. 

In case you are Gen Z and have no idea what Friends is all about. Friends is the most successful sitcom of all time having sustained itself for 10 years across 10 seasons. It revolves around the lives of six good-looking Gen-Xer as they navigate through that period of time just before they start their families. Sadly there is no real equivalent for Gen Z, because, in their mid-20s, Gen Z is still living in their parent's basement subscribing to OnlyFans and trading shitcoins to make their first million. Also, any show about six good-looking heterosexual whites adults would induce too much woke rage in society today.

I only have one point to make today about my philosophy of reunions - Reunions are about seeing how old our contemporaries are these days.

I love reunions because I hardly enough of them. 

I don't come from the elite schools that find ways to get alumni back for donation drives so I have to wait for someone charismatic to organise one for the cohort by tuning into my secondary school  Whatsapp group. I know that I'm not the only person who enjoys this - some of my forever alone friends love stalking the beautiful classmates of their secondary school days and derive a lot of joy at seeing how old and "chui" they are. 

Like the cast of Friends, Gen X is longer young and hip. If anyone is successful it would already be obvious when there is a reunion. 

So the central theme of every reunion to me is Schadenfreude

Questions like these abound:

  • Did the class scholar end up being forever alone? 
  • Did the school flower become an auntie? 
  • What power relationships form between males in a reunion, is the guy with the loudest mouth the wealthiest in the batch?
  • Do soccer hooligans stay soccer hooligans? (That would be a yes in my book. )
Because I was largely misunderstood as a (very cruel) jester, outcast and troll, I can take a detached perspective when I meet my classmates.

As such Friends: The Reunion allows a second-tier B-Grade Singaporean like me who cannot attend an old boys donation drive of RI, HC or ACS some measure of vicarious schadenfreude

Thanks to the miracle of aesthetic medicine, all the women look as young as before. I would say that I can't even see any change in Monica.  

But the true satisfaction for any Gen X pot-bellied uncle like me is to see Joey with a head full of grey hair and a middle-aged paunch. Another thing I enjoyed is that Chandler is no longer full of witty comebacks. Matthew Perry's just not that good without his script! For me, there is a certain sense of Karmic justice as Ross seems to have the most dignity when it comes to ageing. I used to get so mad because Ross gets bullied a lot despite being the smartest and well-educated guy in the clique. 

Some points I really like are the high-powered cameos and the show really exceeded my expectations in the graceful way a reference was made on Brad Pitt. 

Now all I hope is that my secondary school friends don't disinvite me to the next class reunion. 


1 comment:

  1. I remember being wowed in the early-00s when Friends became the first TV show to pay their leading actors US$1M each per episode.

    I hope the GFC wasn't too hard on Chandler. He made many property investments in the 90s & 00s (his grandpa told him they weren't making any more of these i.e. land). Would be long earned reward if he held on --- US property prices today are 50% higher on average than the bubble top in 2006; in desirable locations they're 200% higher.

    In terms of real life outcomes, I think the spaced-out kooky Phoebe experienced the best outcomes in terms of having a grounded stable family & relatively successful-enough career, without all the high-publicity hijinks that can throw spanners into the personal & professional lives of some others.

    As I see developed countries (incl. SG) ramping up their healthcare spending, together with richer Gen X & Boomers (esp. in western countries), I've been adding on to my healthcare portion, in particular dividend aristocrats like J&J, Medtronic, Becton Dickinson, Abbott, its spinoff Abbvie, Baxter, and insulin powerhouse Novo Nordisk.