Skip to content


I guess I just like liking things

It seems silly to announce a new recurring feature for the site because everything’s a new feature on the site. Regardless, this new feature is where I talk about an episode of something I just watched. Easy enough, right?

Friends was very good about telling you what the episode was about right there in the title.  Sure, every so often the title was misleading on purpose, but the episode titles come in particularly handy after you’ve seen it once. “Hey, remember that episode where Rachel turned thirty?” is exactly the sort of reason Friends episodes were named the way they were.

As I think it might help you understand where I’m coming from when I talk about Friends, and because I like lists a lot (have you noticed?), here is a list of the order in which I like the Friends: Chandler, Monica, Joey, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross. In certain episodes that order changes (for instance: some times I find Phoebe more irritating than Ross), but that’s the overall order. If I ever do a list of Favorite TV Characters Ever (ooh, idea!), I’m pretty sure Chandler will be on that list.

Anyway, in this episode, Rachel turns thirty, and she’s really bummed about it. Throughout  the course of the episode, everyone else remembers how they handled turning thirty (thereby marking Rachel as the youngest of the group), in an effort to cheer her up about it.  Frankly, waking her up with a 30th Birthday breakfast is maybe not the best way to get someone started on having a good 30th birthday, but choices were made and it’s best to move on from there.

How did everyone else handle their 30th? Joey was upset that God broke their deal that “everyone else would get older, but he wouldn’t.” Phoebe spent the day finishing up her list of things she wanted to do before turning thirty, a list that ended with “doing a mile on a hippity hop.” Chandler… well, Chandler didn’t get much play, as we only see Joey crying about how Chandler’s older now, too. Ross bought a sports car.  Monica got really drunk for hers.

Rachel, though, spends her 30th lamenting how she’s “so old” now, and what’s she doing with her life?  For the last few episodes she’s been dating tag, her 6-years-younger-than-her assistant at work. Tag is kind of a well-meaning goof, not terribly offensive, just another in the long line of terrible relationship storyline partners that Rachel got stuck with.  Everyone else got a Richard or a Janice (who, sure, was obnoxious, but she played a huge part in most everyone’s lives), or a lot of other interesting things, but Rachel seemed to only ever get “well, we need to give Rachel some sort of love interest here, so how about… this guy?” kinds of relationships (other than Ross, of course).

Jennifer Aniston was 32 when this episode aired, and I wonder how much of her own feelings she put into the character.  Rachel talks about her life plan, of how many kids she wants, when she needs to be married, and how soon she’d have to meet the guy, and it turns out she needs to meet him when she’s… thirty. Well, so long, Tag, it’s been fun!  Maybe you should have stuck to her gift list and not gotten her the scooter? I’m not so sure it made a difference, really, so it’s probably okay.

I was 29 when this episode originally aired and I’m 40 now. I don’t remember what I though about this episode when it was first on, but my thoughts this time around were “Thirty is no big deal, you whiners” and “I don’t really remember turning thirty.”

Additional thoughts:

  • My wife and I are making our way through Friends because we’ve already been through Scrubs and Seinfeld. I have nothing against Friends, I just like Scrubs and Seinfeld a whole lot more.
  • Chandler and Monica are getting ready to be married at the end of this season, so that’s in full swing. Since I love those two characters, their whole relationship is one of my favorite things about the series.
  • Furthermore, Matthew Perry is starting to look healthy again by this point in the season, so that’s good.  He looked scarily skeletal in the first few episodes of season seven.
  • Ross’s birthday storyline actually ended up being my favorite of the bunch, as the sight of him seeing a fellow deluded owner of a red convertible cracks me up. Sure, it’s the easy joke, but it still worked.
  • Phoebe finds out from her twin Ursula that she’s actually a year older than she thought. While I can see that being something a person wouldn’t like finding out, I don’t think there’s a single Phoebe/Ursula storyline I ever really liked.  The most interesting thing about Ursula to me is that she was a character on Mad About You, which ties the Friends and Mad About You universes together. Furthermore, Kramer lives in Paul’s old apartment (as revealed on Mad About You), so Seinfeld, Friends, and Mad About You all exist in the same universe.  The More You Know!

Tags: , , ,

Written by: