How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization
David Hopkins
15.1K1,265

I see your point — many of your points — but I think it’s missing something. We all loved Ross! We did! He was a major cornerstone of the show and also for his friends…but he did tend to make eyes roll when he talked about dinosaurs or sedimentary flow. You’ve gotta admit, it was pretty comical when he “rehearsed” his first university lecture at Central Perk, and it was TERRIBLE! A total snooze fest, whether you’re intellectual or not! And then when he did achieve a bit of success as a teacher, it turned out he was using a fake British accent to hold students’ attention. Like the rest of the cast, Ross was flawed and floundering…and growing.

From a psychology standpoint, I think the show does a good job of showing growth on everyone’s part. Rachel starts out as the vapid spoiled rich girl, but we get to watch her evolve into a self-sufficient, productive woman (and then single Mom). Chandler develops from his low self-esteem beginning, afraid of relationships and commitment, to a low self-esteem end where he is entirely committed to his wife and family. Unfortunately, low self-esteem is not easily corrected, and we see Chandler eternally covering that with humor. Joey’s evolution is also lovely to watch, climaxing with his struggling love for Rachel…but then he declines back into “goofball” ostensibly because they needed “the old Joey” for the ill-fated spinoff. Monica relaxes as she lets Chandler into her life,. Phoebe shows the littlest change over the 10 years, because she seems already to be wise in her own quirky way.

I take exception to your criticism of the opening song. I think you should listen to it again. The line “When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year…” is typical of how we have all felt at one time or another. If a relationship goes bad, we feel for a while that ALL of our relationships are doomed, now and forever. If a job is unfulfilling, or unattainable, we feel for a while that any attempt we make at a career will fail. This is also human psychology…and the thing that can most pull us out of such a funk is the support of our friends…the goofy ones, the nerdy ones, the ones who like to shop or cook or have babies for other people…and it doesn’t matter who knows the most about dinosaurs…what matters is ACCEPTANCE…and Ross had that, unconditionally, with his disparate group of Friends.

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