[Edit: I originally wrote this post months ago and never really got around to posting it, but I was talking to Maddy about this today and she totally said I should post it, so yay!!! Everyone thank Maddy now!!! (That is, if you like the post, if you don’t… I guess don’t thank her?) 😀 ]
As if you already didn’t know but… I am a HUGE Friends fanatic. Seriously, I have watched the entire show (that’s right, all ten seasons!)–I don’t even know how many times–a lot! Probably an obscene amount! It is (obviously) one of my favorite shows ever and I am super obsessed and crazy about it! In fact, I have a great deal amount of confidence that I could do very well in a Friends trivia game 😉 (Anyone want to join me?? 😀 😀 )
I bought the DVDs this past year–best decision ever! And I have been having so much fun going through the show again! As convenient as Netflix is, unfortunately, they only play the twenty-two minute, syndicated version (Pft! I have no idea why! I get very rageful about this, so I’ll stop here!), which the main reason I was prompted into buying the DVD set.
Lately, I’ve been watching the episodes with the commentary! There are about three of them per season and it features the three executive producers of Friends: David Crane, Kevin Bright, and Marta Kauffman. You may know, but David Crane and Marta Kauffman are the creators/writers of the show and Kevin Bright directed many of the episodes.
They have been so, so fun to listen to! Though writing for a sitcom and writing for a novel are two completely different things, I feel like I’m learning so much! It seems as though writing, whatever medium you might be going through, is really hard.
I think Friends has amazing writing on their show. I am constantly in awe of the stories they tell and how they make the simplest things absolutely hilarious! So I was very interested to see what the commentary would hold for me in that respect.
And like I said, I feel like I learned so much! I don’t think it necessary applies to writing directly itself, but I come out feeling very reassured and very inspired. The three of them talk about a number of things in an episode such as how the cameras had to be placed, how sometimes the actors couldn’t get through some of the lines because of how funny they were, how the set was designed, how some parts or episodes were hard to write, etc.
I loved seeing the struggles! David and Marta in particular would talk about a lot of writing challenges they had during the course of the ten season run! They were things that I had never thought about, like how in some episodes they would have to “stall” because the main story didn’t start until midway through. Or how sometimes they wondered if Joey was too stupid. Or how they had to start making the show shorter because of increased ad times (I know, so sad) and in turn, had to cut some of the jokes that wouldn’t further the story along. They always pay a lot of attention to the characters as well–not only making sure they stay true to who they are, but also so that the characters never come off too badly/in a bad light.
They talk about how they revise and rewrite constantly (something I’m sure authors are well-versed in). And they continue to rewrite throughout the filming process as well, gauging the audience’s reaction to see whether a joke was funny or came across the clearly. I also love when they talk about how hard to write some of the episodes or scenes were. It really soothes me to know that writing, no matter what it is, is really difficult.
In some of the bigger episodes, such as The One with the Proposal, they talk about how the emotional aspects of the story are just as important as getting the funny across. They explain how they knew they wanted to end the season with a proposal, but then they had the challenge of coming up with a funny way to do it with enough twists so that the audience would be interested through the entire episode. And as you know if you’ve watched the episode, there’s a great twist at the end! Friends, I think, has some of the best twists ever that I’ve seen in a sitcom and I love that they didn’t take the obvious way out, but really really tried to be fresh and new! They really do catch you off guard without completely throwing you off the map!
Anyways, I just think it’s so interesting to listen to these writers and how Friends worked. I could probably go on and on about this and bore everyone, but I’ll stop (for now :))! Ugh, I only wish they had more episodes with commentary–I’m dying to know all about my favorite episodes and ask them questions about EVERYTHING.
This is pretty much just a rambling post where I talk about my love of Friends, so sorry that it’s so long and virtually pointless!! But, I thought I would end with some clips of Friends that I think are hilarious! There are waaaaay too many favorite scenes to pick from, but here are some of them!
I really love how quirky this one is! I think it’s both very Phoebe and Chandler!
So hilarious! I love how at the end Jennifer Aniston is totally covering her face with her hand to mask her laughter! There are so many good jokes here!