Friends S5:E1 – And….we’re back. Is it just me or did that feel like a really long break? Don’t get me wrong, it was a much needed, well received really long break. But (that one time) when we graduated from Friends 20/20 University with our Bachelors degrees and then said our “so longs” for the summer…ya know, (that one time) back in early May…yeah, that feels like so, so long ago. So much has happened since then in the world. I guess that’s one of the side effects of living in Trump’s America. Weeks feel like months, months feel like years. I mean, our saying our “so longs” in May after completing our work on FRIENDS: Season Four was exactly 140 days ago…so um…(small c) conservative estimate (no pun intended)…that was 92 Donald Trump “this man is not fit to be #POTUS” controversies ago. Case in point: ‘member back in July when, under the scrutiny of Vladimir Putin’s cold stare, the guy who ran on “Making America Great Again” gave away the White and the Blue but kept his Red by kissing the ring of Mother Russia’s leader at a joint press conference in saying he believed the former KGB officer over the patriotic Americans who work in our intelligence community on the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election? ‘Member how the next day (no longer face-to-face with Putin) and now facing the scrutiny of the American press instead, he blamed his disgraceful, treasonous performance on accidentally saying the opposite of what he meant? Yeah. That dumpster fire first-ballot Hall of American History Shame moment was still 77 Donald Trump “this man is not fit to be #POTUS” controversies prior to the one we are attempting to endure today. The latest? It has recently come to light that Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States is, of course, a sexual predator. One might think that the recent allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh would prompt Trump, having also been accused of sexual misconduct, to rescind Kavanaugh’s nomination and look for a non-sexual predator to fill the vacant seat on the court. Nope. Of course not. To the surprise of no one, it appears that the sexual predator-in-chief is hell bent on grabbing Lady Liberty “by the pussy” (your president’s words, not mine) and stacking the court with sexual predators by adding Kavanaugh to the sexual predator already serving on #SCOTUS, one Justice Clarence Thomas. Yes indeedy, Trump and Senate Republicans intend on seeing that sexual predators have 22 percent control over the highest court in the land. As of writing this on Monday afternoon, Senate Republicans, with the backing of the sexual predator-in-chief, are attempting to deny Kavanaugh’s extremely credible accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, an FBI investigation into her allegations but grant her a sham of a Senate hearing on the matter so they can proceed with ramming through Kavanaugh’s nomination by early next week. YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP, PEOPLE. So yeah, May was a long time ago. It’s been a really long break and clearly, it was needed. In Trump’s America, sometimes even Pop Culture writers need to recharge the batteries. As you can see by the way I came blazing out of the gate shooting lasers with this here political commentary, after receiving that much-needed, long break, I’m ready to be back and my battery life is back to ?. That being the case, what do say we talk some Friends?
Normally upon return from break, I have a juicy pop culture FRIENDS reference that’s been marinating in the oven from the summer and is ready for me to serve up to you. Before you get too excited, let me inform you I have no such dish waiting for you today. I know that there were a few FRIENDS pop culture references that hit my radar this summer, but unfortunately (because of all of the craziness in the news that we discussed in the previous paragraph), for the life of me, I can’t think of any of them this afternoon. I do apologize and I also do solemnly pledge to circle back to them later this season if and when they are jolted back into my memory. Fair enough? Cool, I knew you’d understand. Speaking of FRIENDS pop culture references, do you remember how I excused the entire class from our Season Four final project – oral reflections on the intersections of The Handmaid’s Tale and FRIENDS the last time that we were together? The entire class except Johnny, that is. Well, even though Johnny happens to be absent today, I’m happy to report that, as instructed, he gave his HMT report to my boss, Ted James, passed, avoided being remanded to summer school, and graduated the Friends 20/20 undergraduate program along with the rest of you. I heard your chatter before class so I wanted to put the rumors that Johnny failed senior year to bed. He did not and he will be back with us next week. Not that it’s any of your business but the reason for his absence today is he’s down at the Loserville Mall attending a Cobra Kai fanboy event and trying to get his namesake Johnny Lawrence’s…grr…actor Wiliiam Zabka’s autograph. Johnny’s weird obsession with the moral code “strike first, strike hard, no mercy” aside, Cobra Kai is a surprisingly dope show. (On a further aside, I have a sneaking suspicion that Johnny bombed his HMT oral report but Mr. James passed him anyway because he didn’t want to deal with tutoring him all summer. As 2018 Texas Senatorial candidate Congressman Beto O’Rourke said on Friday during a debate about his opponent Senator Ted Cruz’s propensity to deliver a political attack as a loosely veiled compliment, Mr. James’ willingness to pass a student even when they fail just to get them out of your own hair is unfortunately “true to form” of the American educational system in 2018. Also, don’t tell my boss what I just said about him being a souless cog in edcucation industrial complex. Also, go Beto go!) But I digress.
Lastly on the pop culture corner, and since we here at theLeftAhead love basketball so much, we had an interesting basketball reference in today’s episode. (Yes, kiddos. 1100 words in we’re finally going to discuss today’s episode.) After sneaking back to Joey and Chandler’s room to have sex after Ross and Emily’s wedding reception only to have Joey knocking moments later wanting to get in the room to have sex with a bridesmaid, Monica and Chandler tell Joey that they have already rented the movie My Giant on pay-per-view and intend to watch it in the room. To Monica and Chandler’s chagrin, Joey informs them from outside the locked door that he loves My Giant. Well, boys and girls, that movie just so happens to star the tallest player in NBA history Gheorge Mureșan. Gheorge, a former Washington Bullets / Wizards and New Jersey Nets player, is 7’7″ tall. The random reference to his movie in today’s FRIENDS episode is neither here nor there. I just wanted to mention it because I used to love watching him play. I also wanted to mention it in order to say the following to Joey Tribianni: “No, Joey, no. You will never be as good an actor as that giant.” Whoa, would you look at the time. Sometimes, after these long summer breaks, I forget how long it takes to write these intricately woven tapestries of perfection that double as my blog series. Okay, gotta go. But before I do, I’ll close today’s proceedings by quickly commenting on how dumb Ross Geller is. First, he says his ex-girlfriends name at his wedding and then he follows that gem up by inviting the ex-girlfriend who’s name he accidentally said the day prior at his wedding to accompany him on the honeymoon he was supposed to be taking with his new bride? Predictably, Emily has a change of heart, shows up at the airport, sees Ross with Rachel, tries to escape, and is chased by Ross thus leaving Rachel to fly off to Barbados alone. Ross Geller, Ph.D., ladies and gentlemen. And they say Joey is the dumb one. I respectfully disagree. Man, the future Will & Grace guest star needs to pull it together. And that’s what I got, y’all. It’s good to be back. On to that next.
Recap in the Key of Phoebe – This is the one where Ross and Emily set a world’s record for shortest amount of time for a marriage to enter crisis, Monica and Chandler decide to keep hooking up while in another country but agree to return to just being friends after returning to America, Joey stresses that he’ll never be as good of an actor as the giant in My Giant, Phoebe correctly guesses that Monica had sex overseas, Rachel agrees to go on Ross’s honeymoon with him when it seems that Emily won’t show, and Ross gets in trouble all over again when Emily sees Rachel boarding her honeymoon plane right before it’s leaving bad London.
Gandalf Gaffes – None. Flawless episode!
Chan Man Quip of the Week – [The Setup] The gang sans pregnant Phoebe are in London attending Ross and Emily’s wedding and Ross has just accidentally said the wrong… (oh, who am I kidding, you already know what Ross accidentally said). After the most awkward ring exchange in the history of ring exchanges, Emily’s stuffy English minister announces, “Ross and Emily have made their declarations and it gives me great pleasure to declare them husband and wife.” Fawning enthusiasm, Ross exclaims, “Yay!” The minister continues by instructing Ross, “You may kiss the bride.” Ross goes in for the First Kiss and Emily evades him until he is forced to plant a pathetic peck on her cheek. Observing this absurd display from the first row, Judy Geller turns to Jack Geller and opines, “This is worse than when he married the lesbian.” As the recessional begins and Emily and Ross turn to walk back down the aisle, Emily continues evading Ross by refusing to take his hand. She instructs him, “Just keep smiling.” Ross submits by agreeing, “Okay.” After the newlyweds have cleared past the bridal party, Joey turns to the minister and sarcastically says, “Well, that went well. Yeah?” [The Knockout] Hearing Joey’s remark and picking up on the sarcasm, Chandler shrewdly asserts, “It could’ve been worse, he could’ve shot her.”
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