Friends S5:E20 – Hey there, FRIEND-watching galaxy! I hope you had another excellent week in the vortex. Speaking of such, while we all know there’s nothing better than living that vortex life, we also all know that writing (or in your case reading) weekly blog posts on the 20th anniversary of the initial airing of each episode can sometimes be tedious, tiring, soul-crushing work. (Especially when I assign homework. Right, Johnny?) Well, class, one of the best antidotes to the doldrums of this weekly grind that we were foolish enough to sign up for and are too stubborn to back out of is acknowledging when some relief is on the horizon. With that in mind, I’m ecstatic to start today’s proceedings with the official countdown clock for Summer Vacation 2019! That’s right, Phoebes and Phoebos. Counting today, there’s only four posts left until an 18-week break! Can you believe it’s already almost that time again? As if this wasn’t exciting enough “hope is on the horizon” news all on its own, here’s the kicker. On May 20th, after I put the finishing touches on the blog post for the infamous Vegas double-episode, WE WILL BE EXACTLY HALFWAY THROUGH OUR RIDICULOUS DARE OF AN IMPOSSIBLE MISSION!! It’s almost surreal to think about but the halfway mark of the FRIENDS 20/20 blog series is a mere THREE WEEKS AWAY! If you haven’t noticed, I can’t wait to get to Summer Vacation 2019 and now that we’ve officially started the clock, let’s get this “Four Posts to the Halfway Point Countdown” party started right about now (the funk soul brother).
When last we left our heroes, Joey and Chandler were best buds. Based on everything we knew to be true about the universe, nothing had been discovered in the field of physics that could split this pair of ride-or-die homies apart. It brings me no pleasure to report that all of the norms are challenged in today’s episode when Joey seemingly chooses Ross over Chandler in a gut-wrenching game of “Whose life would you save?” During the ride-along with Phoebe’s boyfriend Gary the Cop (and after Officer Ross was kicked out of the front seat for almost blowing the undercover assignment), Joey is sitting in between Ross and Chandler in the back seat when they hear a loud noise that sounds like a shot was fired. It was actually a car backfiring but in the moment, Joey reacted by diving in Ross’s direction in an apparent attempt to shield Ross from the bullet. Being that Chandler is Joey’s best friend and roommate, he’s understandably hurt that Joey would choose to save Ross over him. Chandler spends the next several hours moping about it until he confronts Joey back at their apartment. Viewers are left on the edge of our seats questioning whether the Chanoey bromance might actually be in jeopardy. But in a hilarious twist, when confronted by Chandler about it, Joey admits that he wasn’t trying to save Ross but rather he was trying to save his sandwich which happened to be next to Ross. MY SANDWICH? Since Joey turns out to be the type of guy who’s instinct is to protect a sandwich from danger and wasn’t actually choosing Ross over Chandler, the Chan Man forgives and order is restored to the universe.
Switching gears, in Friends Pop Culture Watch new, Reelz aired a two-hour Friends documentary yesterday called Friends: Behind Closed Doors. I’ve gotta say…the documentary was really entertaining. It provided an inside look into the entire 10-year series run from an in depth review of the casting process to an insiders’ perspective into how one of the most commercially successful sitcoms of all-time navigated the challenge of pulling off a smooth landing with its universally acclaimed finale. One of the insights I picked up from the show was how after Season Two, David Schwimmer organized his co-stars to handle contract renegotiations through collective bargaining rather than capitalizing on his perceived starring role as Ross to only worry about his own salary. While I already knew that the Friends stars made a pact to always get paid equally for the duration of the show’s run, I didn’t know the specific details on it. This was a brilliant leverage play by Schwimmer. Had the costars (who were experiencing varying levels of career success outside of the show as it gained popularity in the early season) decided to negotiate contract renewals individually, it is almost certain that jealousy would’ve eventually crept in and prevented Friends from having the on screen chemistry and longevity that allowed it to blossom into the GOAT sitcom. Here at theLeftAhead, we are a blog site with strong ties to the Labor Movement and the principles of collective action. That being the case, I find it fascinating and inspiring that David Schwimmer had the foresight to protect the show’s longterm success using the principles of collective bargaining and that he had the chops as an organizer to bring his costars together and get their buy in to operate in unity through the unbreakable bond of solidarity. Bravo, D-Schwim! Well, class…being that this Wednesday is May Day aka International Workers’ Day, I think our discussion on the Friends costars collective bargaining decision is a fine place to wrap up for this week. If you haven’t watched the Reelz Friends doc yet, I highly recommend you check it out. It gets the Ken Adams stamp of approval. Holler at you next week when the countdown clock to Summer Vacation 2019 reaches the two-week mark! Late.
Recap in the Key of Phoebe – This is the one where everyone is concerned about how Ross is going to handle Emily getting remarried, Phoebe is the smitten kitten with Gary the Cop, Chandler, Joey, and Ross ask to go on a ride-along with Gary after they find out he took Phoebe on one, Joey reacts to a car backfiring by diving on Ross during the ride-along, Chandler gets jealous because he thinks Joey chose to save Ross over him, Ross believes the car backfire is a near-death experience and promises to seize every opportunity in a newfound appreciation for life, Rachel overhears a message to Ross from Emily asking him to call her the night before her wedding, Monica tries to convince Rachel to delete the message so Ross never finds out, Joey fixes things with Chandler by letting him know that he was trying to save his sandwich not Ross when the car backfired, and Rachel tells Ross about Emily’s message but convinces him not to seize the opportunity to call her back by having him agree that escaping Emily on the same day he escaped death makes it Close Call Day.
Gandalf Gaffes – None. Flawless episode!
Chan Man Quip of the Week – [The Setup] The gang is hanging out at Central Perk when Phoebe arrives with her boyfriend, Officer Gary. Phoebe says “hey” to greet everyone. Gary follows suit with “hello.” Monica, speaking on behalf of the gang, returns the greeting with her own enthusiastic “hey.” Continuing the pleasantries, Gary asks the group, “How are you?” Before anyone can respond, Phoebe jumps back in by addressing Monica directly with, “Monica, I’m sorry I didn’t come by last night. I was out with Gary; he let me ride around with him in his cop car. We saw and prevented crimes.” Intrigued by Phoebe’s reporting, Joey asks, “You got to go on a ride along?” Phoebe confirms, “Uh-huh!” With childlike enthusiasm and a hint of jealousy, Joey declares, “I want to go on a ride along!” Ross chimes in with, “Me too!” Seemingly open to the prospect, Gary responds, “Okay!” Hoping not to be left out, Chandler informs Gary, “Yeah, yeah! Me too!” Surprised by Chandler’s declaration, Gary asks him, “Really? You?” Chandler timidity responds, “Yeah.” Pushing him on it a little, Gary says, “Well, it’s kinda dangerous.” Now more defensive than timid, Chandler fires back, “Well, I like danger.” Satisfied with Chandler’s insistence, Gary asks all three of them, “Okay, you guys free tonight?” Joey and Ross enthusiastically respond, “Yeah!” [The Knockout] Revealing his true colors when it comes to bravery, Chandler goes into self deprecation preservation with, “Tonight? You-you didn’t say it was going to be at nighttime.”
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