For almost a decade Friends has been one of the most popular American sitcoms ever. Every year the question is raised whether or not the actors have to sign up for a new season. This has been pretty questionable for the past couple of years. A few years ago the actors agreed on doing a new season, but only if they could get $1m each per episode. They decided the only way to have their demands granted was by making a stand together. I was never really that much into Friends but became a real addict after purchasing some seasons on DVD for a ridiculously small amount of money. I never really watched the show on TV. I knew the characters, I knew the main storylines, but was of the opinion it was just one of those dumb sitcoms that waste American and European screentime. Well count me in, because I am loving it now and despite the really cheesy American touch, the show is absolutely amazing. It is a good thing this is the last season though. The first couple of episodes of the final 10th season have been aired in the US but here in the Netherlands we are going to have to wait until fall before we can see it. However… the DVD is already available. And what a great beginning… to end a show.
Season 9 ended on Barbados with Joey and Rachel kissing. This new season starts off where we left the previous one. In the meantime, Ross is dating Charlie (who just left Joey for Ross), Phoebe gets proposed to by the love of her life, Mike, and Chandler and Monica are still waiting to be approved for adopting a child. Now, the strong – as well as the weak – point of Friends is its soap opera touch. This has been really important to provide exciting cliffhangers at the end of each season. Or, read: to provide a lot of money for commercial incomes during the breaks. The first episode of the 10th season (The One After Joey and Rachel Kiss) is even longer than the standard 22 minutes. This might be for the benefit of commercial incomes, but as a DVD purchaser you don’t care.
The actor who really provides a lot of the comic relief is, in fact, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller. He has always been my least favorite, but the second and third episode (The One Where Ross Is Fine and The One With Ross’s Tan) are totally his. He proves to be strong on both the verbal and the slapstick level. One of the flaws plot-wise is the fact that most of the storylines that have built up in the previous season are abandoned quite soon, so things are back to normal again. On second judgment it is amazing how this doesn’t get in the way of having some really fun, hilarious situations. It doesn’t seem as though the show’s producers wanted to take it easy and just do that damn last season. The fun is still there, which is truly admirable. And it’s good to see some mediocre actors have turned into quite succesful, convincing performers. I still remember the first scenes with Jennifer Aniston (Rachel) that were quite horrible to watch. Now look at her!
These first eight episodes are already better than the rather slow and not so funny beginning of Season 9. There are some really fun guest-appearances, including Christina Applegate (reprising her role as Rachel’s snobby sister), Giovani Ribisi and Greg Kinnear. I am definitely going to miss this show, but it is also good this is where it all ends.
Directed by: Kevin S. Bright, Ben Weiss, Gary Halvorson, Roger Christiansen
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox-Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry David Schwimmer
Episodes with rating:
1. The One After Joey and Rachel Kiss
2. The One Where Ross Is Fine
3. The One With Ross’s Tan
4. The One With the Cake
5. The One Where Rachel’s Sister Babysits
6. The One With the Grant
7. The One With the Home Study
8. The One With the Late Thanksgiving
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