Saturday 23 November 2019

Book ~ "Friends: A Cultural History (The Cultural History of Television)" (2019) Jennifer C. Dunn

From Goodreads ~ A cultural phenomenon for a decade, "Friends" ranked in the top ten for every year of its original run, an accomplishment unmatched by any other scripted series. 

And more than twenty-five years since its theme song promised "I'll be there for you," Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross are still entertaining audiences around the world. 

As the characters maneuvered their ways through dating, love and the occasional conflict, their loyalty to each other remained steadfast. 

In "Friends: A Cultural History", Jennifer C. Dunn explores why the show immediately took hold of viewers and how the series remained must-see TV for so long. Dunn examines the cultural landscape that allowed a show not centered on traditional sitcom norms of family and career to become such a critical and commercial success. 

The author also addresses how the show's complicated depictions of gender roles and class distinctions - as well as its lack of ethnic diversity - did not detract from its popularity. In addition to exploring memorable plotlines, cherished moments, and the quirks of the principal players, this book analyzes the show's enduring cultural relevance. Featuring a discussion of the show's 25 best episodes, "Friends: A Cultural History" offers an engaging look at the series that has resonated with generations of television viewers. 

I was a fan of Friends and still watch the shows now and then when I come across them on TV ... so that's why this book caught my eye.

This book covers a lot of information about Friends and for the most part I found it interesting.

The chapters were:
  1. Friends changes the sitcom landscape
  2. Friends one-screen and off
  3. Friends as family
  4. Friends happy not doing too much
  5. Friends happy not thinking too much
  6. Thin, white, upper-middle-class Friends
  7. Stereotypes, sexuality and Friendly tensions
  8. Friends music, fashions and locations will all be there for you
  9. Friends among fans:  memes and alternative narratives
  10. Friends forever
  11. Appendix:  The One with the Twenty-five Best Episodes

This book discusses the beginnings of the show, the actors, their characters, what was happening in their real lives when they were doing the show and what they've done since.  When I originally watched it and even watching the shows today, I didn't consider it too deep ... but this book does.  It analyzes how, though there were brief secondary characters of colour and different nationalities, the main characters were white, how they were able to live in such nice apartments, etc.  It also examines the different roles and relationships of the characters over the ten years.  It showcases some of the sayings from the show that have come into our lives like "How YOU doin'?", the impact of the song on the Rembrandts and how the show connected to other shows.

Though there was a lot of information, I was surprised that there was no mention of the surrogate mother of Monica and Chandler's surrogate babies, Bruce Willis, Pete and a brief mention of Gunther.

According to the author, the Ross and Monica were the least liked characters ... I personally found Ross and Rachel annoying and hated how prominent their storylines were.

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