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Friends is a sit com about three guys and three girls living in New York who become best friends. Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey deal with life's adversities together. NBC 1994-2004


Episode 15 - TOW It Could Have Been (1)

29 March 2012

Synopsis: The friends muse about what life would be like if (deep breath): Ross was still married to Carol, Rachel had married Barrie, Monica was still fat, Chandler wrote comedy for a living, Joey didn’t get fired from Days of Our Lives and Phoebe had become a stock-broker.

The Good: So it’s come to this. The six friends have such well established traits and histories that a two-part episode can be created playing entirely on the audiences’ rich knowledge of the characters. Watching the first two seasons of the show, an episode like this, so gimmicky and unreal, would have been unthinkable. As much as that is a criticism of how unrealistic the show has become, I am happy to turn it into a compliment. The writers have been so consistent with the characters’ traits over six seasons that these episodes are tributes to that effort. By simply playing with the mythology of the show, ordinary meetings between characters suddenly become hilarious to watch. You can see real effort being put in from the opening credits with all the characters getting new pictures befitting their imagined situation. The best part of the show is Monica, who released from being essentially “Chandler’s mom” shines here. Not only is the fat suit a nice visual gag but she reminds us of what a good actress she can be by bringing layers of greed, fear and insecurity to Monica. Credit the writers too for adding that depth as clearly she would be a very different person if she had never become slim. Ross shines here as ever. The scene where he embarrassedly suggests spicing up his sex life to Carol demonstrates his impeccable control of timing and delivery. Rachel is kitted out in perfect desperate housewife garb and the scene where she meets the now famous Joey Tribbiani is really fun to watch. Joey being the successful one and Chandler the hang-around-the-house guy is a nice juxtaposition to watch. This is an excellent episode which sets up an intriguing second part without ever feeling like a set-up show.

The Bad: The only blemish here is Phoebe. If she had remained the sweet innocent Phoebes from season one then her appearance as a hard nosed stock-broker would have been quite the sight. However by season six she behaves almost as rude and dismissive on occasion as her fantasy self does here. Her story is filled with the usual unsubtle writing as well, oh I lost millions of dollars, oh I’m having a heart attack, oh I’m smoking in the bathroom. Typically dumbed down and not funny.

Best Line: (Ra) “Oh my God, you’re a thirty year old virgin.”
(M) “Say it louder I don’t think the guy all the way in the back heard you.” (Guy in the back) “Yeah I heard it.”

Best Friend: Monica



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