The reunion of the protagonists of ‘Friends‘, which has just premiered on one of the streaming platforms, is reaping notable success among Spanish viewers because it combines two of our favorite hobbies: nostalgia and slit. Of them (Botox, surgery, extreme thinness); of them (fat, gray, false teeth, sagging skin).
In order not to lose that old custom so homeland of – no matter how much ‘Friends’ is part of our lives – ranting about celebrities who earned a million dollars per episode 25 years ago, the broadcast of the program (have your handkerchiefs handy if you see it ) has placed many of us in front of the mirror, basically who they now call boomers, the imported word with which those born between 1949 and 1968 are known in demographic and consumer terms, although it may also include the so-called Generation X (from 1965 to 1981), which precedes the millennials o Generation Y (1981 to 1999) and Generation Z (2000 to 2010).
Fortunately, the alphabet is over, although another Anglicism for those born before 1948, the silent generation, the children of war, who I imagine have never been hooked on ‘Friends’ or nonsense like baptizing their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with a letter.
The boomers, among whom is the author of these lines, also represent that part of the human race that thinks itself smarter than anyone because he went to university and lives better than his parents, but also better than his children; that portion of humanity that read Kafka as a teenager, listened to King Crimson on vinyl, wore his hair in the Movida and has lived just enough time to combine paper and mobile phones, two extremes that give those who emerged from the baby boom an imposed moral authority by the mere fact of having seen black and white cinema and maturing in parallel with the protagonists of ‘Friends’.
Since the series ended in 2004, many of us have had the pleasure of reviewing it or to finish a chapter hunted at random on DTT, one of those melancholy exercises that we like so much (the other, as I said, is cracking). Ross and Rachel’s love story, which we wished was ours; Phoebe’s phony humor, which we occasionally took to practice; Monica’s obsessive-compulsive manias, which we have all suffered at some time or known someone who suffers from them; the good-hearted playboy in whom we all wanted to see ourselves reflected with Joey; Chandler’s intelligent and scathing joke, with which we wish we had won any argument the moment we had it and not several hours later in the solitude of our house, when it was already late. We called them by their stage names and not by the real ones because, in reality, they were that: friends, colleagues.
All this has been accompanying us over time in a kind of peter pan syndrome, through which we had our birthday and they did not, like those teachers who are combing gray hair as they teach one course after another to teenagers of Generation Z. We did not care either because none of the six friends had made a brilliant star race and we saw them separately. Their failure reassured us in a way because we didn’t want to stop thinking of them as an indivisible pack., like the boys and girls of ‘Friends’, together in their apartment in the Village, or within the series or nothing. After all, the quality of Jennifer Aniston’s movies was rather debatable, always playing Rachel but under another name. ‘Friends’, in short, was the “place” where we wanted to be.
All this until HBO brought them all together again on the same set where the series was filmed and our friends stopped being Monica and Joey to “become” Courtney Cox and Matt le Blanc. And that was not Monica, but someone who was Monica one day. Suddenly, we ran into a man with dyed hair who looked like the balls had risen in his cheeks, and we saw that Ross was no longer Ross, but David Schiwmmer; and that a sad and serious man with brand new dental implants did not tell a single joke. There was no sign of Chandler there, just one Mathew Perry. And next to him, round and smiling, a guy with white hair who had eaten Joey. From nostalgia we went to cracking and the desire to see the series again from the beginning, although it was no longer the same because the Peter Pan syndrome was beginning to take effect. Our friends had become… oh my, us.
That same week, part of the baby boom generation we receive an SMS with the day and time to receive the vaccine covid. We were older. And it was at that moment, after having matched the impossible teeth of Mathew Perry, when the years fell on us and we found that ‘Friends’ had not aged at all. Lisa Kudrow may be, but not Phoebe; maybe Jennifer Aniston, but not Rachel. We, not them. So we wish that reunion program from the series of our lives had been made with The Simpsons. Time never passes for them, Lisa and Bart are the same. Even Maggie. Because, truly, we were never Joey. Rather, it seems that our whole lives we have been Homer and Marge.