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The Sex Ed of Friends

My son has fallen in love for the first time, and not in the way my partner and I might have expected- he’s in love with Rachel and Ross of Friends. He started watching it on Netflix about a month ago and will happily watch back to back episodes. I warned him yesterday that there are only ten seasons and he gasped in mock despair. friends_flickr_creativecommons 11103892_f57d05a21e_o

Re-watching it with him, I’m reminded what good writing it had. Some sitcoms struggle to find their sweet spot, but Friends hit a strong stride early on. I’m also struck by how white it is, which he and I have talked about.

There’s plenty to discuss about sex and relationships. The first episode in the series’ ten year run talked about sexual identity when Ross’ wife leaves him for a woman. And there’s a lot from there- consent, desire, one night stands, birth control choices and responsibilities, respectful use of porn, people having different sex drives in relationships, homophobia, and supportive friendships.

It‘s been a good show to watch with the kids to get these conversations going. It is TV, so life vs entertainment comparisons have been plentiful even as we laugh. In a “Where are they now?” post, Anne Thériault of The Belle Jar projected the ongoing drama of the six friends ten years after the series ended. It’s pretty great. As for the question that rang through multiple episodes, I agree with Ross and Hugh Laurie in his role as Rachel’s airplane seatmate- they were on a break.


Janet  |  @janet_madsen


Photo: Geoffrey Chandler, Flickr (Creative Commons)

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