Sunday, July 19, 2015

Friends and Netflix: A One Episode Comparison

Yes, I liked Friends.  I may be one of 158 people of color that does, but I liked the show.
Hmph!  Be glad you can see can see all SIX.

Please, no comments as to why you don't, it serves no purpose here.  If you don't, you don't and that's fine.  One comedy writer characterized it as "Six Characters In Search of a Smack in the Mouth". I liked it and yes, there are weak episodes and it has several odd logistical issues about it, but to quote another show I'm fond of, "...we should really just relax".

As for the lack of African-Americans in starring or even recurring roles, well, valid point, but a video that addresses this issue by naming "all" of the Black people in Friends with a speaking role is not only not horribly funny, it's rude and it commits the sin of not including some of the Black people that did have roles, such as Obba Babatundé as a dance instructor. I won't even provide a link to it.

Having said that, there was quite the noise made about Netflix streaming Friends. It's good, and there were many articles written about this, but I think one point was missed: these are bowdlerized versions!

What you are seeing are cut (syndicated?) versions of these shows.  How much?  Let's do an anorak's comparison of the Netflix version and the extended DVD version of the Season 8 opener, "The One After I Do", written by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, which was not only one of their funnier episodes, but it was the first to air after 9/11 (it was dedicated to the people of New York City).

If you have not watched Friends, there are spoilers ahead, so stop reading if you want to watch the series in order.  If you are a fan, take the time to watch the episode and read this while watching.

Here are the differences:

DVD - Starts with Monica and Chandler talking about the wedding and ends with Ross talking about how well their wedding went in comparison to all of his.

NETFLIX - Sequence omitted.  Uses the first scene after the credits as the "teaser".

First scene:

The following lines are on the DVD and not on Netflix
Ross (to photographer) - "You, take a LOT of pictures!"

Chandler (to Joey): And, be careful who you hug, OK? My father's in tears because you got blood on his dress!

NETFLIX: The "teaser" ends with Phoebe saying, "What? Well, he never said that to me!"

Everything after the Ed Begley, Jr. discussion has been cut (38 seconds)

NETFLIX: Ends this scene with a still of Phoebe and Rachel
DVD: Ends with a still of Jack, Judy, Ross, Monica and Chandler.

Second Scene: Intact.
(Anorak note: "Our Love is Here to Stay" is Monica and Chandler's first dance)

Third Scene: Intact.

Fourth Scene:
DVD only
Chandler (using a fork on his new shoes): Who's slippery NOW?
Jack Geller: Isn't that just the BEST feeling, rubbing a fork on the bottom of your shoe?

Chandler (upon hearing his Mother brag about her new lover, Dennis): Are my ears bleeding?
Nora Bing: Don't mind Chandler.  He's always been shy.

Fifth Scene: Intact

Sixth Scene:
Chandler: No, apparently they locked themselves in a Men's room stall.  Perhaps when they get out.(cut)
Joey: Aw, who am I kidding?  I belong in radio.
NETFLIX: Scene ends with Chandler's reaction to Joey's defense of his small feet.

Seventh Scene. - Intact.

Eighth Scene:
Ben: Dad, can you go back to your table?
Ross: No, apparently, little Molly Gilbert is enjoying her grown-up salmon en croute. (eats a kiddie hot dog)

ODD PAN AND SCAN MOMENT: For some strange reason, when Ross gets up from the table in disgust after being teased by the children, on the DVD he is shot in full-figure.  On NETFLIX he is in a closeup.  Why?

Ninth Scene:

Chandler(commenting on Joey's small feet):'s like he's running on tiny little pegs.
NETFLIX: Scene ends with Joey saying, "Hey!" and storming off.

Tenth Scene - Intact

Eleventh Scene

All lines after "You stole my moves!" were cut, which loses all of Judy Geller's lines and a very funny denouement to the dance sequence (26 seconds)

Twelfth Scene - Intact

Thirteenth Scene (during the credits)

Mona walking away and Ross smirking has been cut. (8 seconds)

It's still a funny episode in the NETFLIX version, but if you are a fan, try to find the DVDs.  Some episodes have commentaries and they are good as well(NewsRadio's, by contrast are done by people that do NOT want to do them).

For those of you who like this type of show, I highly recommend the first three seasons of BBC's Coupling.  Steven Moffatt, before Doctor Who (and thankfully, after "Chalk") wrote some amazing episodes and any critics who say that Coupling is a Friends knock-off are wrong, they are quite different and both have their merits.  Skip the American version but... can't see it on Netflix at this time.  Sorry.