Friends – Phoebe’s Unmitigated Tragedy (that could have been) 

Pictures of Phoebe and Joey taken from article below. The building is on my old street in Helsinki

https://www.indy100.com/article/friends-theory-phoebe-marta-kauffman-7797051 
Spoiler alert!!!!! They’re saying Phoebe was a Crystal Meth addict (and has always been), and the show is basically her biggest, most heartfelt desire projected onto our TV screens. 

I have no problem whatsoever with this. In fact, I really wish that were the premise of the show. And I can guarantee you that when I watch it again, that’s how I’m going to view it, a dream, an innermost desire that could never, under any circumstances, be. 

I know deep down inside that in terms of writing, it’s the lamest, most pathetic solution. So lame in fact that it would make jumping the shark appear Oscar-worthy. But as a viewer, it’s beyond gold. And I’m saying this as the person who read a similar story as a kid (two youngsters who fall asleep in a museum and dream that they were actually there when they couldn’t go to America to see the Nations they’d been dying to see after all – I’ll get into that little problem at another point, just remember that this was in Germany, and they had Karl May festivals. Google him, because if I start spouting off on him now, we’ll be here for another week. And you can bet they never mentioned the term Nation either). And I’m also saying this as the author of a very ill-received short story in which my then best friend and I hung out with some Hollywood teen actors, though – alas – as it turned out, ’twas nothing but a dream. 

My best friend (incidentally the only reader as I was writing these masterpieces during class for our own entertainment) nearly anihilated me for this little stunt. And I really should have known better, because I’d hated that very set up when I’d read it and encountered it as a kid. 

But this particular twist in Friends, would have been beyond the work of genius, completely different from the stories I produced and read respectively. Why, you ask? Because in the examples above, essentially the dream didn’t make or break them. They / we were very disappointed (I did have enough sense to put that in when I wrote that particular little gem), but at the end of the day it really didn’t impact on their / our lives. 

Phoebe on the other hand really needed it, that safety, that guidance, the caring touch of a friend. And yet it was denied her forever, dooming her to a life of hopelessly roaming the streets, the only respite she had being those few minutes when she’d observe those people through a window – people who weren’t even aware of her existence, never mind her presence but who signified a lifeline for her. 

The only thing better than that would have been if they’d found her dead body on the street with a notebook / diary detailing how much they meant to her. 

Mind you, I hate these tragedies in life. But if given the choice between a day time soap and this, I’d choose the latter immediately. Maybe I’ve always been more Hungarian than I bargained for (Hungarians are not just eternal pessimists, they also live and appreciate a good tragedy). And unrequited desires really do provide the best premise for deep tragedy. 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. great post Juliette, that pic is magical!

    Like

  2. Thank you! I was aiming for a spooky angle. But also because the building I added belongs to a past I will probably never get back again in Helsinki. It’s from my old neighborhood. Somehow I never tend to move back to the same district, even on the very rare chances I do go back. Seemed fitting with Friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. it actually is very elegant and dreamy!

    Like

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