I’ve never actually participated in Camp NaNoWriMo before for two reasons:

  1. I didn’t know what it was.
  2. I didn’t know when it was.

But I’m changing that this year. I’ve been playing around with NaNoWriMo since … 2009, I think? And I almost always fail by the middle of the month, but Camp NaNo seems a bit more my speed to create this writing thing a habit of mine. I came up with my own goal, and I’m already prepping, which makes me a wee bit proud of myself.

If any of you are doing Camp NaNo this year, please feel free to add me: jujujuniper (which should be no surprise since that’s been my online handle for over a decade now). I know I could use the support, and hey, you may just write the next great novel because of me!

29 day challenge: friends, day 29: in which I discuss how friends inspires me …

Friends is as much a primer on what not to do as it is what you should do. It was ridiculously successful during its run, taking risks – like having Monica sleep with Paul the Wine Guy on their first date in “The Pilot” – and capitalizing on its popularity with that oh-so coveted age demographic (18 – 34), but it went on for too long, either because the writers/producers loved the characters/world they created or they simply viewed it as a can’t-lose cash cow that would be must-see-TV, even if it was shitty. Many later TV shows – “The Good Place” and “Parks and Recreation,” for example – may have looked at what happened with Friends when they decided to end on a high note instead of dragging things on for season after season, and I’m thankful for that. There’s an artistic integrity present in that choice.

And that’s really how this series inspires me. It’s not that there isn’t anything to garner from the later episodes; there were some excellent parts, like when Phoebe’s birthday dinner is ruined and she yells at Judy Geller from across the restaurant to pick up Emma’s sock, or the character arc for Rachel Green throughout the different seasons. But there is a lot to be said about brevity and knowing the story you are wanting to tell. Once it’s been told, you shouldn’t milk your creation until it’s bone dry. I get that sitcoms are a bit different, at least in the way they have been formatted up until recently. The characters are supposed to be static. That’s fine, up to a certain point, but it’s why I could never get into shows like Everybody Loves Raymond. It’s the same story, and while the actors may age, the characters they play don’t learn, grow, improve, deteriorate, etc. … they don’t change. Which is what I think Friends biggest obstacle was. The writers wanted to watch a bunch of people grow up but didn’t know how to handle that once it actually started to happen; instead, we see people just … stuck – Rachel and Ross can’t just move on and be happy apart, Monica is obsessive and controlling; Chandler is homophobic and never really fulfilled; Joey is a complete numbskull* with occasional moments of selflessness; and Phoebe just stays weird. It’s disappointing.

I know that what I create is not going to be perfect, and I’m not nearly arrogant enough to believe that everyone will love what I put out there. But I’m going to strive to maintain that type of dynamic momentum I see in the early episodes of Friends and throughout shows like the ones I mentioned above. I’m actually working on a TV show pilot script at the moment, which is partially why I went with Friends for my challenge (I’m writing the novel version for Camp NaNoWriMo) – I need to look at the best examples, both positive and negative, and Friends really is both.

And I’m done! I was actually unsure if that was actually gonna happen, considering the past week and a half, but phew! I’m actually a little proud of myself.

Art Credit: ThingLink

* I will admit that he does improve during the series, but the last two seasons completely deconstructed that growth.

29 day challenge: friends, day 28: in which I discuss what I’d like to see next …

Every time I see a post about a Friends revival, this is pretty much my response:

And I’m saying this as a fan of the show.

Friends was very much a TV show for its time, which is fine, but I really don’t want to find out what happened over the last almost twenty years since it went off-air. What would it add to the conversation? What would be the point, other than providing us with that tingly nostalgia feeling (or revulsion, if you’re one of the many people I know that loathe the series)? I’d rather see the actors on new projects than return to characters that were ruined by the end of the show (except Phoebe – do not argue with me on this).

Very few revival shows have that same magic, anyway. The Will & Grace reboot wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as the original (how it got renewed for a total of three seasons is beyond me), and even though I haaaaaaated Full House, I can honestly say that, Fuller House? That much worse, and I didn’t think that was possible.

So let’s leave Friends in the annals of history and our DVD collections (or apparently on HBO Max). I don’t want to see anything else.

Art Credit: ThingLink, PopSugar

29 day challenge: friends, day 27: in which I have favorite promo pics …

I unironically love the kitschiness of a large chunk of advertising in the 90s. Do you remember the over-sized images in Skechers ads? Or the fun fonts in Delia’s catalogs? The simplicity yet over-the-top message of the Got Milk campaign? Well, promotional images for Friends followed a lot of the same trends, and I kind of wish that we would go back in this direction when promoting TV/comics/movies/etc. Do they always make sense? Not even in the slightest, but they sure as hell look fun.

Continue reading 29 day challenge: friends, day 27: in which I have favorite promo pics …

29 day challenge: friends, day 26: in which I have a favorite song of phoebe’s …

There really was never a question which was my favorite Phoebe creation, and I’m big enough to admit that I sing this song to myself almost daily.

From “The One with Ross’ Denial” in Season Six

I found you in my bed. How’d you wind up there? You are a mystery, little black curly hair. Little black curly hair. Little black, little black, little black, little black, little black curly hair.

Runner Up:

From “The One with the List” in Season Two

There was a girl, we’ll call her Betty, and a guy. Let’s call him Neil. Now, I can’t stress this point too strongly: this story isn’t real. Now our Neil must decide: who will be the girl that he casts aside? Will Betty be the one that he loves truly? Or will it be the one who we’ll call … Loolie. He must decide! He must decide. Even though I made him up, he must decide!

Art Credit: ThingLink

29 day challenge: friends, day 25: in which I wish something did happen …

It feels weird to be completely on time with this challenge, but hey, I’ll adjust to it. I mean, I only have, including this one, five more challenge posts, but I consider this an accomplishment.

Anyway, as I’ve said before, when I finally watched Game of Thrones, I started in Season Seven. Now, I had attempted when the first season originally came out, but I noped out of that real quick after the ending of the very first episode. I actually felt like I enjoyed the show a bit more (until Season Eight, of course) because, as I went back to see the older episodes for the first time, I kind of knew where the story was headed. And I didn’t have to worry about Sam dying, because he was my favorite character from the very beginning.

How does this relate to Friends, you ask? Well, I didn’t start watching Friends until it had been on air for six seasons at that point, and I was able to catch a few when they aired and was curious as to how the characters had gotten from “your job’s a joke” in Season One to Rachel working for Ralph Lauren. I also knew that Ross got divorced from Emily and then subsequently got married to Rachel in Vegas, but I wasn’t really clued into the how. So I prepared myself, as I started on Season Four, to absolutely loathe Emily.

Continue reading 29 day challenge: friends, day 25: in which I wish something did happen …

29 day challenge: friends, day 24: in which I wish something didn’t happen …

Let’s look back to the year 2013: Brooklyn 99 was just beginning, and we were introduced to the character Charles Boyle: a nerdy, slightly neurotic man pining for the love of a woman, Rosa Diaz, who was not suited for him. But in a stroke of pure genius, Boyle and Rosa don’t ever have a romance, and their characters blossom over the course of seven years. I think you can see where this is going.

I wanted Rachel and Ross to get together. I saw how he longed to just tell her how he felt, only to feel as if somebody gut-punched him every time she went on a date with another man. Over the course of a season, I constantly wanted to yell at Rachel for not seeing what was right in front of her.

But it was never about Rachel and what she wanted. Or hell, even what she needed. Rachel was a spoiled little rich girl, who realized as she was about to marry a man she didn’t love because she never had to take care of herself. No one had ever invested anything in her, and she never had to do it herself because, like her mom, she was just going to go from her father’s house to the sorority house to her husband’s house. And Ross was just another example of her not really knowing what she wanted. I mean, she didn’t even want to date him until Monica convinced her that it might be a good idea. She just thought of him as Ross, her friend’s brother who was now her friend.

But think what could have happened if they’d never gotten together. Because honestly, I kind of feel the lack of chemistry that the writers put between her and Joey was much better suited to her relationship with Ross. Maybe they went on a few dates, maybe they even had sex in the museum like they did, only to realize … yeah, this whole “I liked you in high school” and “um, I was lonely and just kind of decided to try you on” thing isn’t so great? I think we’ll do better as friends. How much growth could both of them had over the course of 10 seasons that didn’t include that stupid “WE WERE ON A BREAK” argument that somehow made its way into the final episode?

I’m not saying that they couldn’t have been the end game for each other (like I still think Rachel and Joey were), but they both needed to grow and become better people in order for that to actually work. Ross needed to deal with the jealousy and heartbreak from his divorce with Carol, and Rachel needed to grab that independence and become the strong career woman she was destined to be. Take a look at Boyle and Rosa: Boyle is now raising a son with his girlfriend Genevieve, and Rosa is a proud bisexual woman. Both are far cries from what they were at the beginning of the series, and it just makes me wonder what could have happened had the writers of Friends been brave enough to keep Ross and Rachel out of a romance.

Sure, we wouldn’t have Season Two’s “lobster” moment in “The One with the Prom Video,” and the entire heartbreaking breakup scene in Season Three wouldn’t have been able to showcase the underrated acting talents of Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer. But we might have gotten something even better than that.

Art Credit: ThingLink

29 day challenge: friends, day 23: in which I have a least favorite romance …

You probably assumed that Ross and Rachel would be the winner here, but, while their relationship was meh, they aren’t anywhere close to being the worst. This was almost a tie, because Ross+Janice was pretty terrible, but I didn’t pick them because that was purposefully awful, an example of how fucked up Ross was after his divorce from Emily. Thankfully, it only lasted a single episode, unlike my actual least favorite couple.

Continue reading 29 day challenge: friends, day 23: in which I have a least favorite romance …

29 day challenge: friends, day 22: in which I have a favorite romance …

Lookie! I am only one challenge day behind!! And this shall be fixed by the end of the day, just you watch.

Okay, so this is a situation where I like the idea/concept so much more than the execution. I know so many people hated this pairing, but this is a couple that I will ship until the day I die:

There is actually a Twitter feed that already did a great job of summarizing why Joey and Rachel were such a great couple and “should have been END GAME,” so click on that link.

All I’m going to add is this: the writers botched this so badly. They ruined Charlie by having her reunite with her ex instead of being someone that Ross genuinely meshed with and thus could finally rid himself of that possessive, decades-long crush he had for Rachel, and they ruined Joey and Rachel, soulmates and best friends who supported each other and loved each other unconditionally. Had they actually believed in the relationship they created, it could have elevated those last two seasons. But instead, we get Ross and Rachel back together inexplicably, and then Joey got his own terrible spin-off show that shouldn’t have lasted more than a few episodes.

I’m still mad about this.

Art Credit: ThingLink, Pinterest