Pros: Lots of content: 10 episodes on 2 disks, each disk has 151 minutes.
Cons: Not exactly what you need to show off your DVD player, but fun regardless.
You like friends...ha! Loser!
Ah yes, Friends...
I may run into some repercussions for saying this, but yes I am a big fan of the show.
It all began my Senior year of high school, and the root of the problem can pinpointed to my girlfriend at the time.
We had been dating for a good while, and with most cocky teenagers I got lazy toward the end of our relationship. A date would consist of ordered pizza and DVD and TV watching: Needless to say it didn't last much longer after that...
The problem was when we watched TV at my house, I was the king, I chose the shows...and I cannot tell you how much torture I must have put that girl through, making her watch action movies, anime, and all the Evil Deads that most females would rather be single then deal with. On top of that I could not bring myself to take her to any date movies, as a big film fan I just cannot watch 90 minutes of sappy teenage love stories.
So when we were at her house, despite my b*tching, she would have supreme control of what I was subjected to. Mostly it would be Friends, as the show apparently comes on 24 hours a day. I would use just about every excuse/complaint in the book to stop her from watching Friends, until finally after whining my way through about 20 episodes, I thought to myself..."Hey this is kinda funny, maybe I should give it a chance?" And I did, surprisingly I haven't turned my back on the show since.
(side note: to those who are sitting there going what a PIG, what a terrible boyfriend, I would just like to say that I am a much better boyfriend now that I am College, but that may have something to do with the fact that I completely whipped at the moment, and yes I am man enough to admit that. Luckily my girlfriend knows nothing of this thing we call epinions so there is no way she can see me admitting this.)
But if reruns are on all the time, why did YOU chose to spend $29.99 on this DVD?
Here is the simple truth:
At the moment I do not have cable.
Through the entire fall and spring semesters here at Auburn I had AT&T digital cable, solid stuff, a ton of channels, and lots of pay-per-view...I was a happy man...until the local AT&T group decided to show what complete idiots they are. During the course of the year they shut off my cable three different times, claiming I had not paid my bill. Yes they were right, BUT at the same time they had never sent my bill. For some reason they kept sending to the wrong street address. Fine I delt with it. Until it happened the fourth time and they complained to me about me not paying the bills on time in the past as well. I got angry and brought them their cable box and told them where they could shove the remote!
So since about early May, I have lived without cable, and it has been a difficult road. At first my roomate and I were quite excited, as we hoped the lack of TV as a distraction would bring us to study more...NOPE, not the case...instead we just watch more movies and spend more time online.
So I came up with the brilliant idea of getting some TV shows on DVD, and Friends was my first choice.
Well what about the DVDs! Nobody cares about the history of Justin's cable!
Alright chill out.
There are two DVDs in one sleek Case. I found the set for $29.99 although I have heard from some people say they have seen it cheaper. Each disk contains five episodes, that means ten overall. One episode on each disk is a double episode as well, which means in actuality we have 12 episodes. Each episode has additional footage, which is cool and all, but since I'm fairly new to friends and had only seen one of the episodes on the disk before, I didn't notice. They also contain The Rembrandt's I'll Be There for You music video (Riiiight...thats what sold me on the DVD), and 2 Behind the Scenes Featurettes.
A surprise is that all the episodes have been re-mixed in Dolby Digital 5.0 (Wooooo this is how you show of your surround sound boys and girls)!
As for the episodes, here is a synopsis and a rating for each, and the episode titles and brief descriptions are the ones that the DVD gives mind you, I didn't make them up.
Rated on ***** (***** being the best, * the worst)
1) Pilot Episode: Monica (COURTNEY COX ARQUETTE) gets a roomate. 09/22/94 -
A great introduction to the characters. Rachel seems to be a lot different in the first episode then she is the rest of the series. Shes a bit more ditzy and talks different. Oh well its fun and its cool to see how it all started, you gotta wonder about some of those hair styles though.
2) The One with the Two Parts: Phoebe (LISA KUDROW) copes with her twin; Rachel (JENNIFER ANISTON) and a monkey end up in the ER. 02/23/95 -
An episode that has guest appearances by George Clooney and Helen Hunt (Although Hunt's one scene makes almost no sense). Rachel falls of a roof, Ross' monkey swallows the scrabble letters M, K, and Y ("We think he was trying to spell monkey"). Funny stuff.
3) The One with All the Poker: Ross (DAVID SCHWIMMER) plays a game of high stakes. 03/02/95 -
The girls try to learn Poker, and take lessons from Monica's aunt. Ross lets Rachel win in the end because she is going through a rough time. A perfect mix of laughs and heart.
4) The One Where Ross Finds Out: Chandler (MATTHEW PERRY) works out. 11/09/95 -
A little bit shorter on the laughs and more serious, a motif of these episodes is that it all seems to chronicle the ongoing/offgoing relationship of Ross and Rachel. This time Ross (who has had feelings for Rachel for a looong time) finds out that Rachel has feelings for him now, but Ross has a new girlfriend that he starting to get serious with.
5) The One with the Prom Video: Joey (MATT LeBLANC) buys Chandler a flashy bracelet. 02/01/96 -
One of my favorites on the disk. Joey buys Chandler a gold bracelet that is just hideous, Chandler tries to pretend like he likes it until Joey overhears him making fun of it in a Mr. T voice. They find an old video of prom, the retro looks and a fat Courtney Cox make this one a keeper.
1) The One Where No One's Ready: Rachel (JENNIFER ANISTON) can't decide what to wear. 09/26/96 -
One that would be funnier for the female species. The plot mainly focuses on Ross and Rachel again and the friends inability to get ready for Ross' big event.
2) The One with the Embryos: Phoebe (LISA KUDROW) becomes a surrogate mom for her brother. 01/15/98 -
Where Phoebe gets Artificially Inseminated (A.I. never noticed that ;). Great stuff and a start to many more plot points in the series. Brings up the point that one problem is these videos is that if you haven't seen the following episodes before (like me) its kind of disappointing if you don't know what happens.
3) Both parts of The One with Ross's Wedding: Chandler (MATTHEW PERRY) tours London; Ross (DAVID SCHWIMMER) undoes "I do". 05/07/98 -
Comic gold bay Matthew Perry in this one (see his dinner toast). Here Chandler and Monica hook up for the first time, and Ross calls his bride to be "Rachel" at the alter, awkward funny stuff. Did I mention I'm in love with Jennifer Anniston (damn you Brad Pitt).
4) The One with All the Thanksgiving: Joey (MATT LeBLANC) sticks his head in a turkey. 11/19/98 -
The best on the disk, the friends revisit old Thanksgivings. Phoebe visits another life, Joey gets his head stuck in a Turkey, Monica cuts Joey's toe off with a kitchen knife (not kidding). Ross is as pathetic as ever, fun stuff.
5) The One Where Everybody Finds Out: Monica (COURTNEY COX ARQUETTE) can no longer hide the BIG SECRET. 02/11/99 -
Another top three episode. Here the secret hides no longer, as everybody but Ross finds out about the ongoing secret Monica and Chandler relationship. Ross attempts to get ugly naked guy's apartment and to bond he gets nudist with him as well.
For those unfamiliar with friends, the key to success in the show is undoubtedly the characters. Each one of them is unique in their own aspect, and with a successful sitcom you have plenty of time to develop the characters. Ross and Monica are siblings, Ross was always favored by his parents, Monica was quite overweight growing up. Chandler was a rich boy until his father announced he was gay and ran off with the houseboy on Thanksgiving day (hence why he hates Thanksgiving so much). Rachel grew up rich as well and is the last to join the group of friends as she does it on the first episode when the rest of them are Acquainted. Phoebe is goofy as hell, but charming, always resorting to herbal cures, and past life experiences, while Chandler is the complete idiot/womanizer who is always a joy.
The characters make the show what it is, and due to the success of the show, I can understand the $1,000,000 an episode paycheck to each of the stars.
According to the DVD these are the top ten episodes voted on by the fans. For the most part they are admirable choices, but they do tend to lean towards the more emotionally stirring than the funny ones, which isn't a problem because Friends seems to be at its best when it's heartwarming and funny. The Thanksgiving one is a perfect example, where we laugh the entire show at the old home videos, but at the end were shown something that brings it all to a happy ending.
The Behind the Scenes and Friends in London featurettes are more than charming, not something that would warrant the purchase of the DVD (thats what the episodes are for), but a nice addition to the already jampacked DVD.
302 minutes of anything is hard to argue with. I've paid over $30 for movies barely over 120 minutes on DVD, so the price tag is definitely worth it.
If you are a fan of Friends I don't care if you have every episode taped, get the DVD, it's something that will last. If you are a casual fan of Friends get the DVD, I can't imagine anyone finding it be less than charming. If you've never seen Friends and don't have cable get the DVD, it is the perfect introduction to the uneducated as it starts with the first episode ever, and ends with the breaking of the shows longtime secret.
ENJOY YOUR LIFE
PS: The eeriness of studio produced laughs:
Has anyone ever taken time out of their busy days to think of the eerie laughing voices we find in our sitcoms (I know I have). What is are the studios trying to tell us here? Is it that they think we don't know when to laugh? Is it so we realize jokes that fly over our heads are in fact jokes? Better yet if they put these laughs behind normal non-funny dialogue, would the viewer laugh because he heard the TV laughing as well? Questions like these plague me on a daily basis, I can only hope that I will come to a conclusion on this disturbing subject soon, yet I fear it may be a question right up there with "the meaning of life" or "why do Jerry Bruckheimer movies suck so bad"...we just may never know till its all over.