Reviving Friends is like getting back together with your ex: a bad idea | Hadley freeman

I I know I need to move on, but I can’t help but think about reuniting the friends. Extreme 90s saying: what has been that anyway? I’ve never been a die-hard Friends fan – I liked it, sure, but let’s be honest, it wasn’t Frasier. But I can’t imagine that a fan of any stingray has spent the past 17 years thinking, “Dude, I’d love to see a reunion of friends!” And by “reunion,” I mean James Corden is asking the actors who laughed the most.

I hadn’t even planned to watch it, but when evening arrived, I was amazed by my sudden liveliness. Oh, folks! Back to the screen! It felt like a real TV event, and one that would be less miserable than the last TV event I watched, namely Prince Harry telling Oprah how horrible her family was. But Harry’s show felt like a sitcom (Arrested Development) in terms of how deflated I felt at the end of the two-hour (!) Nostalgia party.

The problem wasn’t actually with the show, although – in case I hadn’t made it clear already – the show was bad. The problem is with these meetings and restarts as a whole. Gossip Girl, Sex And The City, and even Frasier all return over the next year, with their creators apparently not discouraging the deaths of This Life, Arrested Development, Gilmore Girls, Will & Grace, Mad About You, Full House. and Roseanne. at the arrival.

You can see the thinking of the TV bosses: Movies are just franchises now – so franchise our old sitcoms! But Spiderman, Batman and so on are relaunched with new actors because it doesn’t matter who plays them. But it’s absolutely important who plays Carrie Bradshaw, as the creators of The Carrie Diaries found out about Carrie’s high school years, when she was canceled after two seasons. The cast of Friends are in an unusually awkward position, because while the ubiquitous reruns help them cash in $ 20 million a year each, they’ve also frozen them in screen time for the past 20 years, helping them. viewers maintain the illusion that we are still alike. , too much. Seeing the reality was always going to be overwhelming, like watching your own aging process accelerate. While you couldn’t tell the friends didn’t make the effort to reverse this, their faces were as frozen and puffy as dough. At what age can they stop trying to look 25? The response from the reunion show seemed to be: never. It was even more depressing than the sight of poor Matthew Perry, the walking and barely speaking incarnation of America’s opioid crisis.

That Friends, Sex And The City, and Frasier all received the rebirth treatment is telling, as they were all grown up in the ’90s and loved by the twenties. Well, these young people in their twenties are now in their forties, a decade where you usually wonder where the last 20 years have been, when Saturday nights are spent getting dressed while watching friends and then going out to meet your friends. true friends, now time to hunt for the missing piece of a Peppa Pig puzzle behind a heater and trying to remember what your friends are like. When I think about watching these shows in the late 90s and early 2000s, I think I live in my first apartment and feel completely free, and also incredibly lonely. The only times I see Friends or Frasier now is if they’re on when I turn on the TV for my kids, who then scream at me to switch to Hey Duggee.

These shows are based on nostalgia, but very rarely the nostalgia is about the thing you think you are missing; it’s about wanting to go back to how you felt then and where your life was back then, remembering only the happy parts and conveniently forgetting the bad ones. This is why people of my generation – a long euphemism for “me” – got a little too excited about the Friends meeting. It sounded, absurdly, like a chance to pretend the last two decades hadn’t happened. But trying to stop the progression of time never works, as all this cosmetic surgery has demonstrated too well.

Afterward, Mindy Kaling posted a photo on Instagram of Perry and Matt LeBlanc as they were 25 years ago, and their youth, health and beauty were heartbreaking. How did I not see him at the time? For the same reason that I never valued my own youth and my own beauty: you don’t appreciate the clouds when you’re lost in the fog, and then suddenly he gets up and all you can do is to look back with nostalgia, time gilding memories. These wake-up shows are the equivalent of getting back to your long-ago ex-boyfriend in an attempt to regain your youth, and, contrary to what the storylines of Ross and Rachel and Carrie and Big have insisted, this is not a good idea. They were there for us at the time. And now, for their sake and ours, it’s time to let them go.

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