Column: Friends Reunion - why I won't be there for them
Right, let’s put it out there - I don’t like Friends. Never have done.
I remain genuinely baffled at its enduring global success, and the love people have for the characters.
I know, I know, such talk is akin to telly treason, and I should be banished forthwith to spend the rest of my days watching re-runs of Hi-De-Hi and Never The Twain until I weep for mercy.
But Friends just didn’t click with me - not in the way a show like Cheers did.
Give me a bar where everybody knows your name over the chance to hang out with the achingly hip crowd at Central Perk coffee shop any day.
Friends didn’t have a razor sharp Carla, or the bar-stool philosophy of Frasier, Norm and Cliff.
And Cheers had a much better theme tune too!
But Friends? I never got beyond the aspirational veneer of life in a Manhattan loft apartment which, in all honesty, had about as much individual style as one of the rooms set up to show off what you can create with nothing more than an allen key and a flat pack wheeled out of Ikea at Straiton.
But it did feel aspirational. You too could share the cool lifestyle of those 20 and 30 somethings as they fell in and out of love and embarked on some crazy-cat adventures.
All you needed to do was head down to the hair salon and get “the Rachel” - or, if you were a bloke, walk into a bar and greet your mates with a cool “hey, how YOU doin’?” just like Joey did.
Sadly, that’s about all Joey did.
He probably wanted to be as cool as the Fonz, but just didn’t know how to spell it.
As for the rest, well, there was the uptight one, the eccentric one, the geeky one and the, er, forgettable, bland one. Friends had Chandler in much the same way the Young Ones had Mike.
My vision of hell is being strapped in a chair in a locked room with a television tuned to a station that shows episodes of Friends on a loop until I finally crack.
It’s 17 years since the show ended, and yet it remains more popular than ever. It has achieved something very few sitcoms do, and appeal to a whole new generation.
It has made its stars and creators very, very rich - almost rich enough to afford that Manhattan penthouse they crashed in back in the 1990s.
It won so many Emmy awards it had to hire a storage unit to keep ‘em, but its appeal remains elusive.
I grew up with Soap, a brilliant parody series that pushed boundaries in some gobsmacking ways, while Frasier, Cheers, MASH, remain genuine classics.
But even they have to bow to the global phenomenon about six friends living a life we all, seemingly, aspired to.
As the reunion rolls round and the Friends’ bandwagon cranks up once more, I shall make my excuses.
There’s a bar in Boston with a beer which has my name on it…