Let’s talk about F.R.I.E.N.D.S, the most overrated TV show ever

I am going to attempt to shed some light to one of the all-time favourite classic TV series ever written, Friends. While the series was an absolute delight for my 17-year-old self, the series was pretty overrated. 

The show justifies stereotyping with humour 

Rachel, a dumb yet pretty blonde woman who is only of any use when it comes to the fashion industry. Phoebe, another pretty yet dumb blonde who has no idea about the real world whatsoever. Joey, an Italian American misogynist whose character is garnished with humour to help overlook miles of sexism that hides beneath the layers. Ross, the only character in the show with a PhD. But who cares about that? Guys with PhD. are nerds who need 10 years to end up with any woman that is even mildly beautiful because sexy and smart doesn’t go together.

Helped create a culture of toxic humour 

All throughout the show, apart from misogyny and lack of diversity, we can also see how the show tried to justify body shamming in a subtle way. We get myriads of flashback episode from the time when Monica was obese and how she had to change herself because she had a crush on Chandler.

In another episode, we get Brad Pitt as a guest star where we find out Rachel’s character used to bully him. At no point did the show endorse body types that were anything other than perfect according to conventional societal standards. And they tried to justify such discrimination by hiding behind a curtain of toxic humour.  

Lack of depth for characters

Was “Friends” a funny show? Yes. But is it because the characters were funny? No. If you take any line said by Monica and make Rachel say that line instead, the show would still be funny. If you take one of Joey’s line and make phoebe say it, it would still be equally funny. 

While the show had a lot of good jokes, it didn’t have much depth when it came to its character’s character. 

Read more: That ’70s Show: The criminally underrated sitcom you need to binge.

Not realistic enough 

The show was targeted to the general mass as a representation of the day to day struggles of a group of friends. The only problem was, it ended up being a story about six straight white adults who are privileged enough to not care about their careers and can still end up living in fancy NYC apartments. Tagging this as “Relatable and Realistic” is just another way to justify white privilege through humour. 

Read more: TV shows you shouldn’t have watched but did anyway

Too much love too little friendship

I want you to try and imagine a world where Rachel and Ross were never in love, Monica and Chandler didn’t get married with kids, would the whole plotline still make sense and be as touching? No. And this is the biggest problem with the show. The show claims to be about friendship but it refuses to go in-depth about different dimensions of friendship that exists beyond the world of romantic relationships. 

I will never try to argue that Friends was not a good TV series because it was. It was iconic.

It was a series that will probably live on for generations to come. That is exactly why it is important for us to recognize the flaws in the series as well. Because if we keep idolizing a series that will live on for ages, if you let our love for the series cloud our judgment, the generation to come will end up with the same misconceptions.

While the hype around Friends is something that can’t go away, and it shouldn’t, but it should also be criticized in the same way that we would for any other TV series. Friends is a good Tv series but it does have its flaws. 

TV shows you shouldn’t have watched but did anyway

TV series usually helps us to waste our time in a productive manner. However, there are a few TV series that we watched while growing up even though we knew that these were not worth our time and energy. Here is a glimpse at such mistakes –

Grey’s Anatomy

Everyone has been through the Grey’s Anatomy phase during their high school days when watching McDreamy and McSteamy on the screen made them want to join Med school. Weirdly enough, some of us probably even joined med school just for the Grey’s Anatomy experience. But then we grew up, had children, our children went through puberty and are now going through a mid-life crisis but Grey’s Anatomy is still running on tv.

15 seasons of absolute fantasy fiction about the love life of one woman who happens to be a doctor.

We all know that this show wasn’t going anywhere right after the death of most of the major characters. Sadly enough, we are loyal enough fans who have absolutely nothing to do in life than to watch Meredith Grey mess up stories over and over again.

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Riverdale

Watching Riverdale was proof of how cool and pop culture aware you are. But that was back in 2015 when the first season of the show was released. The first season was excellent. Totally worthy of the “Netflix and Chill”. But then right after the release of the first episode of the second season, 3 min into the first episode and we all realized that this is a colossal waste of our Netflix subscription.  But we refused to let go of the show throughout the black hood tragedy which encouraged the producers to give us a season 3, which was ….. let’s just say the finale of Game of Thrones made more sense than the season 3 of Riverdale

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Supernatural

Watching Sam and Dean kill demons and pay a visit to Purgatory every few seconds was fun until Season 5. Then we decided to give them 9 more seasons just so that they can run out of Villans to fight and come up with extremely complicated mythology that makes the plot a giant spider web.

Bojack Horseman

Bojack Horseman, a show about a horse that talks and walks and somedays he feels like he is in love with an owl, somedays he feels like he is in love with a cat and on other days he likes humans and underaged deers. And we have watched this series for 5 whole seasons because somehow we all feel like this horse is a reflection of who we are.

Honorary mention: SplitsVilla

Watching Roadies for an infinite number of seasons can make sense if we imagine ourselves as masochists but even then I can’t make sense as to why we secretly watched 12 seasons of Splitsville.

Russian Doll: The Perfect Weekend Binge

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A cynical person is compelled to relive a certain day in repeat, over and over again and stuck in a time loop.

Of course, you have. Because this is the exact same premise for a whole host of movies and TV series episodes. For example, Groundhog Day, Source Code, Edge of tomorrow and even recent Black Mirror event, Bandersnatch to a certain degree.

So can the same plot, that’s been done so many times over be any good or entertaining? In the case of Netflix’s new comedy-drama “Russian Doll” very much so.

Produced and co-written by Amy Poehler of “Parks and Recreations”, Russian Doll, as the show itself describes itself, “a long story involving multiple deaths.”

Minor Spoilers for the 1st and 2nd episode.

It starts off with Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne), a cynical New Yorker who is seen at her 36th birthday party thrown by two of her closest friend at their apartment.

Nadia happens to be a chain-smoking, alcoholic, video game programmer with a self-destructive nature and pretty bleak outlook on life. After an accident involving a local deli cat, Nadia is run over by a speeding taxi and is killed on the spot on the night of her birthday.

Russian Doll a bingeworthy netflix show

But surprising enough she’s transported back to the where the episode started off. At birthday party her friend threw for her, giving her the worst case of Déjà vu. Although writing it off as her imagination and side-effects of the narcotics she took at the party, she realized that the loop she’s in is very real after she ends up dying a few more times. Nadia is left to figure out how to free herself from this never-ending loop or if it’s even possible to free herself at all.

What makes it binge-worthy

Even with the worn out plot, Russian Doll has a lot going for it in term of making it one the most binge-worthy shows out there. For one, with having just eight episodes and a runtime less than 4 hours, it hits the sweet spot in terms of keeping the audience glued to their screens as the show keeps peeling off its different layers.

On the topic of different layers, the show is very smart right down to its characters. Dark humor and how it portrays it and handles heavy subject matter and even the theory of relativity at one point. The title of the show itself is a reference to depression and mental health which gets more prominent as the story progresses.

Russian Doll a bingeworthy netflix show.

The protagonist Nadia Vulvokov is a great reason to watch Russian doll in itself. The deaths were comically hilarious and some hilariously dark but the drama of the show was very genuine and heartfelt. Being funny, brash, cynical, and hedonistic from the beginning to the revelation of her troubled back-story and characters growth, she is the life of the show. Although the show can get a bit confusing and disjointed at times, everything comes together beautifully by the end of the final episode.

Verdict

Overall, Russian Doll is a solid show to watch with enough twists and turns and character development to keep the audience hooked. Although its overused plotline might turn away some initially, you could do much worse than giving it’s a shot and hopefully love it by the end.

That ’70s Show: The criminally underrated sitcom you need to binge.

“Hello, Wisconsin!”

If those words do not ring any bell to you, chances are you have never watched “That ’70s Show”. For those who are unfamiliar with this sitcom, here is a piece of television history for you. That ’70s Show is an American period sitcom that aired between 1998 and 2006. It ran for 200 episodes, spanning 8 seasons.

If you are a patsy for comedy, now might not be the best of times for you.

The Big Bang Theory is closing its curtain with its twelfth and final season this year. Modern Family will return for its final season in 2020. And I know you have already binged Friends a bazillion times (for some people, HIMYM applies as well). In case you feel void of a great sitcom in your life, here is a cue for you. Go watch That ’70s Show. You will be hooked. By hooked I mean you will not rest easy until you finish all of the 8 seasons. Oh, you are not convinced yet? Fine, let me take the lead then.

The resurgence of retroelements in pop culture is an indication that audiences, mostly millennials are obsessed with nostalgia. We love living in the past. This is why you will fall in love with That ’70s Show. It is set in the bell-bottom era of th mid-’70s, chronicles the lives of 6 high schoolers and interprets the cultural aspects of that period that few shows ever could. Keep in mind that this is a show about living in the ’70s and it was produced in the ’90s.

The plot

Without further ado, let’s delve into the cast and settings. The pilot episode opens in a basement of a middle-class house. 6 teenagers are orchestrating their plan to steal beer cans from Eric Forman’s dad. They are all in Eric’s house so Eric is coerced to go upstairs and scavenge the cans for them. We just met our lead cast of the show and most of them are very recognizable actors. Eric (Topher Grace) is a boy desperate to become a man, oftentimes get lectured by his funnily rude dad. Eric has a love interest, named Donna (Laura Prepon) who is not your typical retro chick. Her independent and strong nature is a hint of the burgeoning gender equality of that era.

Jacky and Kelso are an ever quarrelling couple played by real-life sweethearts Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. Jacky does not fit into the group yet sticks with them whereas Kelso is a stupid good looking guy whose greatest challenge in life is to break up with Jacky. Hyde (Danny Masterson) is a nihilist and rebel. He is easily my most favorite character in this show. His Zeppelin t-shirts and love for good old rock and roll makes me like him even more. And last but not least, we have Fez (Wilmer Valderrama), a foreign exchange student who is still recovering from cultural shock. Fez is the heart of this series and he will do anything to steal your girl.

What makes this show an underrated gem

One of the prime focus of this show is the chemistry between Eric and Donna. Their “More than friends but not really in love” affair is something to die for. Kelso-Jackie, the other two lovebirds put on quite a show as well. Ashton Kutcher does a phenomenal job playing Michael Kelso. Mila Kunis who was 14 while filming the pilot, is equally impressive. That ’70s show hilariously showcases the practice of smoking pot which gained notoriety in the ’70s. 4 teens lock themselves up in a basement, smoke pot and trash talk until their shenanigans get hindered by Eric’s dad. One of the most memorable scenes of this show, I can vouch for that.

I have met with mixed responses when I argued this is a gem of a show and quite underrated. Some people disagreed. The reason some people may not enjoy the jokes and sentiments of this show is because not all of us can relate to the references that entwines the music, norms and relationships of that time. Nevertheless, it rests with a special place in my fandomverse.

You will love the theme song. Rock, disco and pop reigns throughout the show. The soundtracks are unmissable, do check ‘em out!

We have got to talk about SEX EDUCATION, the hit Netflix show

We have all been there: endlessly scrolling away on Netflix to find the next show to binge watch. “Sex Education” may be listed under comedy, but the series holds so much more than that. The show is centred around an awkward teenager Otis (Asa Butterfield), the series shows his journey with Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) the ‘bad girl’ and a social outcast and his gay best friend, Eric Effiong (Ncuti Gatwa).

No spoilers but we have got to talk about it!

We have got to talk about SEX EDUCATION, the hit Netflix show. 1
Credit: Netflix

The teenagers’ journey is one of solving sexual and personal problems related to high school students’ bodies and sexuality. Being an ‘underground’ sex therapist comes naturally for Otis because his mother, Dr. Jean F Milburn (Gillian Anderson), is a well-known published sex therapist.

However, Otis himself is unable to meet his own sexual desires because he cannot masturbate no matter how much he tries. This irony adds complexity to the character and his actions, keeping the audience interested. What is more riveting is a pact between Otis and Maeve where they start counselling as a sort of ‘business strategy’. They decide that Otis will be the therapist and Maeve will the a ‘manager’ of sorts. The other characters hold an equally important part in the series as they slowly develop and reveal answers to the questions you might have.

Why you should 10/10 binge on this

We have got to talk about SEX EDUCATION, the hit Netflix show. 2

Laurie Nunn successfully portrayed different angels of sexuality and ideologies in a light-hearted but emotional manner. This was a highlight for the show. The art of portraying such heavy issues and taboo topics in such a way can be tough game but “Sex Education” definitely succeeded and won our hearts.

The unfortunate reality is that most rom-coms or comedy-dramas feel repetitive or similar with cliched plotlines. However, “Sex Education” is one of the most trending series of the year for Netflix, because it tries the genre in a fresh way. The characters, the message and the whole episodes have new twists and turns. Most importantly, the stories are relatable for teenagers navigating their sexuality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7-mYIlBxXo

We recommend the show, not only for its storytelling but also because it is important to talk about sex and sexuality and all its messiness.

The show takes a risk by broaching the topic and that pays off.  The stale genre of romantic comedies and the content hungry teenage viewers both benefit from shows which explore social topics, in an accessible way.

We all have our ups and downs with our sexuality and it is never easy to talk about it openly. “Sex Education” might just be the ‘push’ we need to break free of sex being a taboo subject. If you have not watched it already, then do it soon because season two will be released soon, delivering the same ‘wow’ as the first.

Let us know if you agree!