Friday, August 16, 2013

Friends Friday: Episodes 1.21 and 1.22 (Recaps)

Episode 1.21: "The One with the Ick Factor"

When I first saw this episode as a wee lass, I thought Monica was overreacting. I mean, yeah, Young Ethan was in high school - but he was clearly quite mature for his age and if she waited a few months, he'd be legal. If she didn't mind a 4 year age gap, was a 9 year age gap really that much worse?

Yes, dear readers, it really, really is. Now that I am the same age as Monica in this episode, the whole thing just makes my skin crawl. A 26 year old woman dating a 17 year old boy?!





Monica. Girl. Just...no. 

But luckily she understands the profound ick factor at play here. And I really do feel bad for her - Young Ethan seems like a great guy who really clicks with her. This is yet another instance of Monica choosing wildly inappropriate paramours - Richard? Richard's son? Need I say more? 

This episode is another of my favorites from Season 1, because every plot line is funny and moves the series' plot and character development along. This is a great episode for Chandler, Rachel, and Ross, in different ways.

Chandler is having to confront the fact that he's now the boss at his job and therefore can't be as collegial with his former peers. He doesn't want his relationships to change. He wants to still be the fun young guy whose not taking his job too seriously. Alas, part of growing up is accepting that you are part of the corporate machine. Chandler is now "the man," and Phoebe, with her amazing secretary voice, helps him see and accept that.

Also, we get to see the friends call attention to Chandler's distinctive speech pattern. "Could that report be any later?" "The hills are alive with the sound... of music." Chandler takes it very well.


Chandler also plays a delightful role in Rachel's plotline. She's been having randy dreams about the boys - first Chandler, then Chandler and Joey. 





Ross, of course, is totally miffed about being excluded from the dream sex. He's also being plagued by false labor alarms by his baby pager. His "JIMBO" digits for the beeper are being confused with "JUMBO"- meaning that he gets a lot of calls for a gigolo named Andre. It's pretty amusing to see him just go with the flow after awhile.

Back to his perturbance at Rachel excluding him from the dream sex. At the end of the episode, she finally has a sex dream dream about Ross. Ross sees her experiencing it, to his joy and elation, because, after all, he wuvs her. Her subconscious must be preparing her to date him because when he accidentally wakes her up, they share a sizzling moment of eye contact. It's first time we really see the kind of chemistry they could have...

And it's interrupted by Deus Ex Baby! Sorry Ross. Onto the birth of Ben....

New sexual partners return to Friends! And Monica retakes the lead: Monica & Young Ethan

The Great Hook-Up Round-Up:
Monica: VIII
Phoebe: VII
Rachel: V
Joey: IIII
Chandler: III
Ross: I

Ross 'n' Rachel State of the Union
Ross likes Rachel: 21
Rachel like Ross: 0
They like each other but aren't together: 0
They like each other and are together: 0
Nothing's going on: 0

Best line:

"A woman is being held - at gun point. And I thought, 'Why do people continue to go there?!'" - Young Ethan

Rachel: "Hey, did you guys check out the new hand dryers in the bathroom?"
Ross: "I thought that was just a rumor!"

"Believe me, sir, judging by his number, I'd be a huge disappointment." - Ross

"I'm sorry, it was a one time thing. I was very drunk and it was some else's subconscious." - Chandler

Episode 1.22: "The One with the Birth"

Here we have the first of several memorable birth episodes on Friends. It's mildly funny, but mostly just sweet and important for building our longterm emotional investment in the characters.

First, let's get the side plots out of the way. Joey gets rooked into helping a single mom give birth, allowing a lovely shade of humanity to come through. This very tender side of Joey gets explored more towards the end of the series, but it's nice to see them setting up his sensitive side this early on in things. Joey is truly a friend in the way the theme song describes these characters' relationship - he will be there for you no matter what.


Rachel is flirting with Carol's OB/GYN, who is totally hot. And also totally inappropriate when he explains his feelings about lady parts in his personal life. Yeesh... We also see some lovely foreshadowing (though the writers didn't yet know it) of Monica and Chandler discussing babies at the hospital. In 7 years, they will decide to try to have a baby at a hospital at the birth of Ross' second child. But we'll get to that.

The main show, though, is Ross having his first child. I find this genuinely moving because, for the first time, Susan expresses some awareness of the situation that Ross is in and therefore stops seeming so heartless. We see that she feels just as insecure about her position in the new baby's life as Ross does and we realize that this is what has been driving her insensitivity towards him. It's a wonderful moment to see Phoebe, the product of a completely broken home, reflecting back to them what is really important. She says that Ben must be the luckiest kid in the world because before he's even born, he has 3 whole parents fighting over who gets to love him the most, whereas she didn't even have enough pieces of parental figures to patch together even one parent. I didn't cry at all during this... not at all...

Thanks to Phoebe's perspective, Ross and Susan are able to get their acts together and be there for Carol as she finally gives birth to Ben. Ross' life is changed forever and he begins his journey in fatherhood - can we note that he is one of the few sitcom fathers who is consistently portrayed as loving, responsible, and competent? He is not a full time dad, but he clearly takes that role very seriously and is committed to both the children he has on the show. That is a refreshing take on things- it'd be nice to see more good sitcom dads, a la Dr. Huxtable. 

All around, this is a heart-warming episode that sets things up nicely for the finale, which is coming up next week. 

Everyone was too busy at the hospital to get busy with anyone else. Monica holds her lead into the finale.

The Great Hook-Up Round-Up:
Monica: VIII
Phoebe: VII
Rachel: V
Joey: IIII
Chandler: III
Ross: I

Ross 'n' Rachel State of the Union
Ross likes Rachel: 22
Rachel like Ross: 0
They like each other but aren't together: 0
They like each other and are together: 0
Nothing's going on: 0

Best line: 

"Every day is Lesbian Lover Day!" - Ross

"Well aren't there times when you come home at the end of the day and you're just like, 'If I see one more cup of coffee...'" - Carol's gyno

"They're tiny and chubby and so sweet to touch, but soon they'll grow up and resent you so much. Now they're yelling at you and you don't know why and you cry and you cry and you cry..." - Phoebe on the joys of parenthood


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