Sunday, February 15, 2015

Real-Life Chandler Bing Watches Friends to Learn Who Chandler Is

I watched an episode of Friends once in grad school. People seem to reference it, so I thought it would make me part of their inside jokes. The only thing I remembered was that one of the characters was named Joey - and even that was probably because I'd heard his name referenced in conversation before. But then last night I was sent a link to Buzzfeed's list of 44 Reasons Why You're Chandler Bing. It was me. Uncannily me. Except for the blurting things out in public - that's simply a gimmick for laughs the writers use and doesn't actually occur in real life, right? But the fact that apparently all sarcasm is the default response to all uncomfortable social interactions, and he makes all interactions uncomfortable, is spot on.

The next morning I found myself at the grocery store mocking Minute Rice (something to the effect of, "instant rice: for people who want to make food, but not really.") I looked up to see if anyone overheard me, and then realized I fully embodied whatever traits this list described. Including saying things out loud without full realization at the time of pronouncement. Except for #18 (taking bubble baths) - normal-sized adults don't actually fit in bathtubs. Fact.

So I decided to watch an episode of Friends and compare Chandler's life to my own, as this would be a better metric than Buzzfeed's approach of "let's take funny things he says and boil those quips down to an entire personality." Desiring academic rigor, I placed a few parameters on which episode to watch. The show ran ten seasons, so I'd select something from season five; character has been developed and is properly complex, but not so far along the writer's have become stale or the well has begun to run dry on his identity. Episode one is a reasonable place to start, as the show will be reintroducing Chandler for new viewers. For those keeping score at home, it's entitled "The One After Ross Says Rachel."

:25 - Pausing. I let my dog eat some feta cheese and a rawhide this morning. No, I can't explain the feta. One or both just made him throw up. Have to pick this up before he reconsumes. We're off to a good start.

:30 - Pausing again to make sure I know which character I'm watching for. Did you know that Matthew Perry has been in a number of things I've never seen? Quite the illustrious career.

2:15 - Episode starts with an awkward wedding scene with no context. Chandler suggests the exchange of vows could have been worse, as Ross could have shot Emily during the exchange. Truthful, though not particularly insightful.

2:45 - I think. That may have been Joey. They look generically alike so far. Was probably Chandler because the laugh track suggested the observation was witty.

5:45 - Chandler tells a nice-looking woman in a red dress to meet him in the wine cellar downstairs for some hanky panky. Things that I cannot relate to.

Chandler always explains his emotions while waving a giant spoon.

Trying to be Buzzfeedy. Here's a random screen capture with a remark. Maybe I'll follow it up with a gif farther down.

5:55 - She appears to be an integral part of the show. Wikipedia suggests Monica is a main character. She sets to downstairs to meet Chandler.

6:45 - Chandler reappears and is heaping food onto a plate at the buffet. Nothing happened. That's fair - in comparing what my outcome would have been, different journey, same result.

8:00 - Just a note that no character was ever properly introduced and that I'm as lost with episode one as I would be with episode 15.

10:00 - There appears to be an extensive plot revolving around Chandler and Monica trying to find a place to have sex. So far there have been three failed attempts.

11:00 - Four. How unresourceful is this man that he can't find a private place in a hotel? It's literally a structure of nothing but private rooms. I could find a room in a hotel.

Chandler and Monica gif a la Buzzfeedy format.

15:00 - Chandler flies first class. Elitist.

16:00 - Chandler was going to meet Monica in the bathroom to join the mile high club, but instead engages in conversation with Joey long enough to drink three shooters of liquor. I respect this decision.

18:00 - Is finally alone with Monica in her apartment. Brief, awkward conversation ensues about what they did (it - they did it) in London. They decide it was nice, and then hug. Chandler follows up hug with... a high five. Starting to relate now.

18:30 - Comes back. Scores girl. No longer relating.

Show ends. My introduction to Chandler consists of him running around trying to get laid and ends in success. And it's not that awkward. I am not Chandler Bing. Buzzfeed lied.

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