4

Friends forever and other cool-destroying admissions

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Okay we all have some skeletons in our closet, shit we dig -- be it music, movies or television shows -- that we'd just as soon that nobody else knew about. Guilty pleasures is what most people term these sort of inclinations. Well, here at Backbeat, there's no shame in our game -- assuming, of course, you can Justify My Love, which just happens to be the name of our latest feature. For the inaugural edition, Cory Casciato attempts to explain why he's so taken with Friends. Good luck, dude. Have at it.

Of all the cool-destroying admissions one could make as a pop culture critic, there is probably no quicker or more thorough way to destroy any illusion of "coolness" than by admitting a love for Friends. The wildly popular, long-running NBC sitcom is pretty much the nadir of hipness, the least edgy thing one could possibly embrace. So here goes: I love Friends.

Just so we're clear, I do not love it in any smarmy, ironic, hipstery way. I love it in the way your kid sister or high-school girlfriend probably did. I've seen every episode at least twice, I'll stop and watch it if I come across it flipping channels, I can identify most episodes within minutes, drop quotes -- the whole nine yards. Not crazy obsessive fandom (I don't go to conventions, cosplay as Chandler or have posters on my wall, for example), but a genuine, deep and sincere appreciation for it.

Now, I started off dismissing it the same way all you people giving me the head shake and frown this minute are doing. I called it tepid mainstream garbage -- crass, commercial, dumb and unfunny. When my ex-wife started working her way through the DVD set, I was exasperated. But then something funny happened -- literally. I ended up laughing, a lot. Then I engaged with the characters. Before I knew it, I was hooked and I made her start the series over at the beginning so I could catch up.

Sure, it was largely unoriginal. Yes, it's artless. It admittedly became a comedic soap opera. So what? We're talking about a sitcom here -- not exactly a form known as a bastion of high Art or boundless originality.

What it lacked in art, it made up for in craft. The cast had incredible chemistry, their comedic timing was usually impeccable and the writing, while not groundbreaking in any way, displayed a nuanced understanding of the sitcom form and an occasional flair for the absurd.

I enjoyed every one of its 236 episodes, even though some of them were pretty lackluster. At it's best, it was as entertaining as Seinfeld, with more likable characters. It was as funny as Cheers with a better looking cast (seriously, Jennifer Aniston vs George Wendt? No contest). And for a little while, it even had a monkey! What's not to love?

A long time ago I realized that liking something because it was popular was stupid. It took me a lot longer to realize that not liking something because it was popular was equally stupid, and it took falling in love with Friends to drive that home. Thanks, Friends.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.