Episode 584: The One Where They Talk about Friends by Talking about Dawson’s Creek

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle the 25th anniversary of “Friends.”

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Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather will be there for each other, and there for you, and there to overthink Friends, in all its farcical, melodramatic, zeitgeist-defining glory.

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3 Comments on “Episode 584: The One Where They Talk about Friends by Talking about Dawson’s Creek”

  1. John C Member #

    I guess I’m the other person who didn’t watch Friends. There’s been some editorial-feeling approach to NBC sitcoms–Frasier and Wings are sort of the last of the “old guard,” and The Good Place is the other side–with specific archetypes and storytelling rhythms that just never land for me, enough that I’ve never sat through a whole episode of Friends, Seinfeld, The Office, or a whole bunch of other NBC staples.
    And it’s kind of interesting (to me) that The Good Place, on one level as Schur has pointed out, is outright lampooning the production of an NBC sitcom in the guise of running Hell. Brooklyn Nine-Nine didn’t start on NBC, but it’s also an odd case in that the show seems very unlike the network (and even more unlike Fox), except that Chelsea Peretti’s Gina feels like she could’ve easily been written for a “Must See TV” role and Andy Samberg’s Jake started out as very squarely a Fox sitcom protagonist so the writers could poke at the archetype. And they’re easy to contrast with something like DC’s Powerless (the superhero show without the superheroes), which is basically my demographic, but it didn’t work for me because of its…NBCness? I wonder if any of that ties into Pete’s theory that the shows are about old people with young actors. Probably not.
    The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is another show that interests me in this respect, because, as much as I wanted to like it, it has so much of that NBC DNA that it was a show I struggled to sit through, because it seemed like it was trying to say something important.
    It seems like that model is going away, though, or at least there are enough alternatives that I don’t stumble across them as often. And I still have to wonder if it’s an intentional choice by NBC, it’s just that the people running the sitcom division just have that particular sense of humor, or some kind of mappable chain of influence dating back to Fibber McGee or Vaudeville routines.


    • Three Act Destructure #

      That makes three of us who haven’t seen Friends. We’re getting close to being able to fill out our own sitcom cast now.


  2. clayschuldt #

    I did watch Friends, but not to an obsessive amount. I can go entire years without watching an episode.
    But, that aside I support Pete’s theory about Friends being a show about old people played by young people. I never really noticed it before, but the cast of Friends never acted their age, but rather acted out of Fantasy of New York life in the ’90s.
    I think about the cast of “How I Met Your Mother” in comparison. In a way, both shows were similar. Both groups seem to live in a fantasy version of New York, but the “How I Met Your Mother” crews always seemed younger. I think because HIMYM is narrated from the future, it makes them seem younger, but it is still an older person playing with the memories of youth.


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