Friends S4:E12 – Happy and hopeful MLK Day, Friendinistas! I hope Week 52 of The Resistance finds you well. While it’s been a tough year in many ways, our efforts to speak truth to power have yielded some incredible victories and our defense of democracy in the face of the onslaught against it has held true so far. I often joke in this column about only working one day a week or 24 days a year. Of course, this ongoing gimmick is said in jest because the truth of the matter is that me, my editor Ted James, and everyone that works at theLeftAhead (yes, even theLeftAhead Bot), we’re all activists first and writers second. For the last 365 days we have been on the front lines of the struggle fighting every single last day until we’re too tired to fight. When and only when we’re too tired to fight, then we write. While we all love theLeftAhead, we all also firmly believe that the site must always take a backseat to interacting with our communities because movements are built in the real world, not behind a computer screen. I know Ted and I both wish we could’ve put up more political content on the site over these past twelve months but we know that writing about how to #resist should always take a back seat to being out in the world having face-to-face conversations that move people into action. One thing we are not here at theLeftAhead is keyboard activists. On the contrary, we are street fighters.
If you remember in the shocking aftermath of Trump’s improbable election to the presidency, we discussed cancelling Friends 20/20 so that it would free up more of my time as a writer and Ted’s time as an editor to instead publish sober political content. We questioned whether this Friends 20/20 pursuit was in fact trivial given the monumental challenges ahead. In the end, we decided (and I still believe rightly so) that one of the purest forms of protest and best ways to mount a resistance was to continue to be exactly who we are. In other words, if we had changed in reaction to the fear, we’d have already lost. So, while the times might seem to call for more serious content, the times certainly call for resistance and part of it is staying true to yourself and part of that for us is continuing to follow our projects through to completion. To sum up, I’m really, really proud. I’m really proud not only that we are here for another MLK Day celebration but also that we are here using the Friends 20/20 series as our vehicle for another MLK Day celbration. Furthermore, I’m really proud that we can say that we spent the year fighting, and yes we’re exhausted, but we are still here being who we are. You’ve been there for me and I’ve been there for you too. Thank you and solidarity forever.
On that determined note, let’s transition into today’s episode. I know. In our MLK Day posts in years past, I’ve generally kept the focus social justice and living in the moment. But as fate would have it this year, we just so happen to be covering one of my Top Five Friends Episodes of All-Time. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give this classic episode a proper breakdown so here we go. So I don’t know about you, but I just think that watching Monica and Rachel lose their apartment to Chandler and Joey is simply a hoot. I always have. I love everything about it. The who knows who better than whom challenge. The guess the grocery items in the bag bet. The double down on the guess the grocery items in the bag bet. The Ross Geller conceived game show questions. The tripling and quadrupling down on guess the grocery items in the bag bet prior to the lightening round. The lighting round. The scream Monica lets out when she realizes her and Rachel have lost their apartment. Monica and Rachel’s stages of mourning the loss of their apartment. The denial. The blame game. Finally, the acceptance. The watching Chandler and Joey move in. This episode is everything that is warm, and fun, and silly about Friends that makes us love it so much. I mean, Ms. Chanandolor Bong. Does television get any funnier? On second thought, my commentary can’t and will never do this episode justice. Do yourselves a favor and go back and watch it again tonight. That is your homework assignment. I challenge you to go back, watch it again, and see if you can try to make it through without laughing out loud at least once. Spoiler alert: you won’t. Bravo, bravo, bravo, David Crane, Marta Kauffman, Jill Condon, and Amy Toomin. You wrote one hell of an episode with this gem. Your writing is spectacumazing…and (say it with me) that’s not even a word.
Now, quickly, let’s get back to the moment that we’re living in in 2018. I’m really proud of the blog posts I’ve written for MLK Days past so I want to leave you today, as I did last year, with a quote. If you remember, last year’s holiday was a mere four days before the start of the Trump presidency. I quoted the great reverend, Dr. King, when he said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” I don’t know about you but those words carried me for a while after ruminating on them last MLK Day. So, in the spirit of replicating that blessing, again, now one year into the Trump presidency, I leave you to chew on more words of wisdom from the revolutionary social justice martyr:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Onward. To the recap and then the second year of the struggle that awaits.
Recap in the Key of Phoebe – This is the one where Ross creates a game board to emcee and referee a contest between Monica & Rachel and Chandler & Joey to determine whether the girls know the guys better or vice versa, Rachel wants the guys to get rid of the chick and the duck, Joey knows Rachel’s cycle, Chandler claims he majored in Lightning Round, Monica bets her and Rachel’s apartment on the contest against the guys getting rid of the chick and the duck, Phoebe finds out she’s pregnant with her brother’s baby, and Joey and Chandler win Monica and Rachel’s apartment when Rachel guesses Chandler Bing’s job is transpondster and Monica points out, “that’s not even a word.”
Gandalf Gaffes – None. Flawless episode!
Chan Man Quip of the Week – [The Setup] The opening scene cuts to Monica and Rachel’s apartment as you can hear a rooster crowing for sunrise. Monica and Rachel come stumbling out of there bedrooms disheveled and half-asleep. Visibly annoyed, Rachel turns to Monica and asks, “What the hell is that? Is that you?” Monica nods her head no so Rachel turned towards the front door and declares, “Ohhhhhhh!” She immediately starts marching across the hall over the Chandler and Joey’s apartment. Monica follows and foolishly comments, “Boy, you are really not a morning person.” Rachel gives her a death stare while responding, “Back off!” She then turns back to Chandler and Joey’s door and starts banging while yelling, “Get up! Get up! Get up! God damn it! Get up, get up, get up, get up, get up!” Chandler and Joey, equally disheveled and also half-asleep, open their door and stare out alarmed at Rachel and Monica in the hall. Rachel asks, “What is that noise?” [The Knockout] Chandler responds matter-of-factly but a sprinkle of annoyance, “You.”
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