Wednesday, 8 February 2012
That One Friends Episode Where They Read Some Books and Stuff
I mean, think about it. It's Joey and Rachel. Has anyone ever seen them read anything, apart from in this episode? I think Joey reads some kind of car magazines sometimes, and Rachel reads, I don't know, Vogue; but there's really not a lot of evidence of any other reading in their lives. Rachel can't even be bothered to read books when she voluntarily signs up for an English class (Remember?! Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre? Cyborgs?!) and Joey is, well, Joey. He goes into libraries so he can use the bathroom, not so that he can experience the wonders of the reading world. Suffice to say, they're not the most bookish of all the Friends crew (in fact, I'd say, they're the least).
But that's ok, because I guess what they're reading isn't all that deep and difficult- Rachel's favourite book is Little Women, which is presumably a leftover from childhood; and Joey's is The Shining, which is presumably because of the movie, which is, by the way, a mockery of the book, albeit a really good movie on its own ("Chandler: Joey's asking if you've just ruined the only book he's ever loved that didn't star Jack Nicholson."- It disturbs me that I didn't even have to check that quote. Damn.) And, whilst when I watched it the first hundred times, I pretty much decided that Little Women was definitely the best, because The Shining a) sounded scary, and b) was clearly a boy book; now I really don't know whose side I'd be on! Let's face it, they're both awesome.
The episode is riddled with inaccuracies though, mainly because I'm not entirely sure the writers had read The Shining, and had maybe just seen the movie. I'm saying this because they reference the 'All Work and No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy', which only happens in the movie, and the two dead girls in the hallway, AND he describes the end differently to how it is in the book too. It's a little irritating, but I didn't know any different when I watched it when I was younger. What really did annoy me was the things they said about Little Women- that Laurie marries Amy and that Beth dies! Nonsense, I thought: Amy's still a child when Little Women ends, and Beth is fine- her dad comes home and she's all happy and stuff. I honestly held onto this illusion until I saw the movie like 3 years ago, and I was horrified by the second part of Little Women- I apparently had some idea of how I hoped things would turn out between all the characters, and that just wasn't it! So then I decided to believe the movie was wrong, until I read Good Wives about a year later, and figured out that the two books are probably published together in the US, and so Rachel was right all along. Damn.
Having rewatched this episode, I now realise how little of it this skit takes up (it's literally the third, and I'd say smallest, storyline) and yet it's one that has remained in my imagination a lot longer than the other two, which isn't something I'd often say about Friends. I'm thinking that the combination of them a) talking about books at all, and b) talking about 1, and then later 2, of my favourite books; really made this whole thing stick in my brain, while much more important information was (probably) flying out to wherever such things go. Either way, this remains one of my favourite ever subplots, and its nice to see non-typical readers reading, especially when the books involved are so great. Friends wins at being awesome, yet again!