How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization
David Hopkins

This article is very well written and has strong opinions on the TV show “Friends”, bullying, intelligence, and the current state of western civilization. And while this writer has some good ideas on how to be a more intelligent and involved member of society, I disagree with literally everything else that is talked about and here is a 5 paragraph essay explaining why.

First off, audiences didn’t dislike Ross because he was intelligent; audiences disliked him because he was entitled, narcissistic, selfish, obnoxious, and constantly acted like he was better than his friends because he was “smarter” and received higher education. His friends didn’t groan every time he talked about his interests because they resented him for being smart and curious, they groaned because he almost always started a conversation by talking about himself. They sighed and made jokes because that’s a more comedic reaction than straight up calling him out for being an entitled narcissist.

Second, please don’t try to make Ross into some kind of martyr for nerdy kids who are bullied, when you do that you are associating all smart kids or bullied kids with those terrible Ross Gellar traits. Not all intelligent kids are self-centered jerks, so please don’t pretend like they have anything in common with Ross besides curiosity and intelligence. Also, you’re comparing real bullying and harassment to a group of friends groaning at their narcissistic friend talking about himself again. It’s not the same, not even close. Yeah, Ross goes through some tough times in the show, but it was nothing that he didn’t bring upon himself.

Third, I think it’s EXTREMELY unfair to call the rest of the “Friends” group idiots. Just because they all don’t have doctorate degrees in science, history, or engineering, doesn’t mean that they’re not smart in their own ways. Monica is a highly revered chef in New York City, and is the most nurturing of the group. Chandler is a successful businessman working in I.T. AND took the leap to change career paths when he realized that he would rather love what he’s doing than be miserable at a higher paying job, which is an admirable and brave feat in itself. Rachel is passionate about fashion and sales, which may not be akin to your definition of “intelligent” but she is successful and ambitious and happy and she built that life for herself on her own, instead of relying on someone else for her own happiness. Phoebe is the strongest and most independent character even though she basically raised herself on the streets of New York. She had by far the worst given circumstances growing up and yet, you do not perceive her as a victim? That’s because she is independent and content with who she is without needing constant validation from her friends like Ross does. Even Joey, who is the obvious “idiot” is smart in his own way. He became a fairly successful actor who never gave up on his dream, and is an extremely loving, caring, and empathetic character. This obvious kind of intelligence being discussed isn’t the end all be all for a person to be considered smart.

So I have to disagree, I do not think Ross needs better friends, because his friends are already pretty great. He might need more friends who are willing to discuss dinosaurs with him at length and in depth, but those friends wouldn’t be “better,” they would just have more common interests.

Yes, kids get bullied. And yes, a lot of those kids are the smarter, more serious kids who get excited about learning. But it’s unfair to blame a beloved TV sitcom for the lowered standards of intelligence in this country, or for the bullying of the intelligent. I would even argue that in recent years intelligence has once again become praised and valued by teens, and by a majority of the public in general. All kids nowadays are expected to attend college which requires you to be smart and get good grades throughout middle and high school. We have more entrepreneurs, and free thinkers, and young ambitious driven kids coming out of our schools than ever before — And you are telling us that our society is ruined? I think you must be looking in all the wrong places if you sincerely think intelligence and curiosity in Western Civilization is being crushed.

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