So it has finally come. That dark day. That dark, dark day when someone decided that Ross should get a pet to have a weirdly sexualized codependent relationship with.
Yes, Marcel is here. ARGGHHHHHHH. Hate this. I hate, hate this plot line. There are exactly two good moments that result from this development, which we will address as they come up. But seriously - I'm with Monica on this. Why the hell has Ross procured a monkey as a pet? I get that they're trying to show that Ross is lonely and is thus primed to creepily attached to a non-human entity. I guess. It's weird and I never really understood why they went this way.
Aside from the tragic introduction of Marcel, this episode is one of my favorites from season 1. The premise is fun - it's New Year's Eve and despite what the culture tries to pawn off on us, New Year's is always a let down. This year, the Friends vow not to succumb to the hype and fly solo. Which... doesn't happen. Along the way, we see Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe sporting great dresses (no, seriously - it's the height of 90s chic!), Ross with way too much hair product, Janice as Chandler's date (who is much crazier than the last time we saw her), Rachel getting attacked for no apparent reason by some crazy lady who wants her taxi, and Joey and Chandler kissing at midnight.
The real gem of this episode, though, is Hank Azaria as the bashful love of Phoebe's life. There is real emotion in this plot line and we see a beautiful sweet side of Phoebe emerge. But not before she goes all mean Phoebe on Azaria's ass when he interrupts one of her 13 songs about her mother's suicide ("with eyes so bewitchin'/how was I supposed to know that my mom was dead in the kitchen?"). Fantabulous!
More sex is had this week - Phoebe & David the Science Guy and Monica & Fun Bobby.
The Great Hook-Up Round-Up:
"Sorry, that's 'pathet' which is Sanskrit for really cool way to live." - Ross on roommates
Episode 1.11: "The One with Mrs. Bing"
This is an episode of great highs and lows for me. Let's get the negative out of the way first - the whole Monica/Phoebe love for guy in coma storyline is absurd. And unfunny. And not worth any more words. Moving on...
The highlight of this episode is Mrs. Bing - Nora Bing, that is, famous steamy romance writer. Just the fact that Chandler's mom has a bestselling novel called Mistress Bitch tells you all you need to know about Chandler's formative years. I'm bummed that they didn't have Nora back more in the series, as she has excellent chemistry with Matthew Perry specifically, but also with the rest of the cast.
She gets a great line to Ross about how Paolo is just a secondary character thrown in to complicate the plot. Ross is the hero. Which is a great thing to say to someone who is love lorn, but also provides a nice meta moment for the show.
Nora also initiates a compelling engine for the show's drama - by kissing Ross and having Joey walk in on them, the relationships between the boys all go deeper. We see Joey's intensely (and loveably) loyal side, who insists that Ross has broken "the code" and must come clean to Chandler. Joey and Ross's relationship gets fleshed out as they negotiate the social politics of when/who should tell Chandler what went down. Ross and Chandler are given a greater sense of history, as Chandler's indignation is as much driven by Ross' understanding of Chandler and Nora's contentious past as it is by the deed itself. And Chandler and Joey's buddy-buddy bond is threatened by Joey's complicity in the silence ("Well, knowledge is a tricky thing... you see what happens when you break the code!")
Everything turns out in the end, and Chandler grows a little bit in his maturation process. A little bit.
No new sexy times this week, so Monica holds her lead. I'm starting to wonder when Joey's man-slut status is going to kick in for him to pull ahead.
The Great Hook-Up Round-Up:
"Nora - Mrs. Mom - Your Bing..." - Ross