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Nine almost down, one to go for ‘Friends’

Television Commentary

It’s 8:10 on a cloudy Wednesday morning, and right now I’m supposed to be class. But that’s not going to happen now that I have just popped in my recently purchased Friends Season Three DVD ($39.99). Oh well, it’s not like I’m missing anything that’s actually important.

As I sit back and watch Friends, I can’t help but think about all the recent speculations about the upcoming 10th season. Has the show overstayed its welcome? And how will it all end? OK, just settle down. As a Friends “expert,” I’m going to share my insight into future of America’s favorite comedy.

Before we can consider the future of Friends, we must take a stroll down memory lane and remember what made Friends “must see TV.”

It was March 2, 1995, exactly one week after my 11th birthday, when I discovered Rachel, Monica, Ross, Joey, Phoebe and Chandler. The episode was “The One With All the Poker” — I was immediately drawn in and couldn’t move my eyes from the screen.

But the magic that pulled me in as a child, for the most part, is still there. Gone are the more superficial moments, which in turn have been replaced by motherhood (Rachel) and marriage (Monica and Chandler).

A key to Friends‘ success has been each character’s growth and development throughout the show’s nine years. For example, Rachel went from a spoiled, runaway bride to a Ralph Lauren executive with a child of her own.

The fact that the characters are constantly changing makes the show that much more authentic and allows the audience to relate with each character.

Nine years later, the charisma the characters had in their first season is still there. Granted, the current season doesn’t compare with the classic second or third, but it’s still better than Good Morning, Miami or Watching Elle.

Here are two possible ways the Friends finale might go:

1) Ross and Rachel get their act together and get married. Soon after, they move to Scarsdale, N.Y., and complain about the taxes along with their neighbors, the Bings (Monica, Chandler and their newborn). Phoebe is arrested when she sets a Ringling Brothers’ tent on fire to protest the treatment of their animals; don’t worry, she’ll be out in four to five years. Joey realizes that if he wants to make it big he has to move to Los Angeles, where he’s currently working as Robert DeNiro’s butt double.

Or, if I get my way: 2) Phoebe, finally realizing she’s been wasting her talents in Central Perk, decides to take her music career to the next level by releasing “Smelly Cat.” Thanks in part to her underground following, the song picks up three Grammy nominations and while at the podium, she spits at Christina Aguilera for just being so darn “Dirrty.” The notion of marriage hits Monica (now pregnant) and Chandler (still unemployed), spurring their decision to leave the city. Rachel, who is now in charge of Ralph Lauren operations for the East Side, is tired of dealing with whiny Ross and begins to fall in love with Joey (still Dr. Drake Ramoray). They raise Emma together. After falling in love with a mystery woman and rushing into marriage, Ross seems content until she opts for divorce after a mere six months later (ah, the good things never change).

No matter how the show comes to an end next May, it has already cemented its place as one of TV’s greatest sitcoms.

On the brighter side, we have Seasons One, Two and Three available to own on DVD. That means only seven seasons left to go.

Contact Pablo Saldanaat