F.R.I.E.N.D.S- A Show that makes you Love your Imperfect Life.

I am sure most of you might be aware of the famous American television sitcom named- “Friends” and for some of you( I think many of you), it might be your favorite. I, myself am a very big fan of this sitcom. I guess some of you might have this question in your mind- “Why write about a sitcom that is already well-known and loved by most?” Well, my answer would be because this show made me feel that your ordinary life is beautiful. And even if it makes me one of those cliched fans, I am fine with it.

About F.R.I.E.N.D.S

The sitcom Friends was created by David Crane and Martha Kauffman which aired on NBC for ten years from 1994 to 2004. It is a story of 6 friends starring Jennifer Aniston as ‘Rachel Green’, Courteney Cox as ‘Monica Gellar’, Lisa Kudrow as ‘Phoebe Buffay’, Matt LeBlanc as ‘Joey Tribbiani’, Matthew Perry as ‘ Chandler Bing’ and David Schwimmer as ‘Ross Gellar’ residing in the New York city. The story revolves around the lives of these 6 friends showing how they deal with their daily lives, relationship problems and career issues.

Friends was a critically acclaimed television series that went on to become one of the most successful shows of all time. The series received 62 Primetime Emmy nominations, with its eighth season winning Outstanding Comedy Series in 2002. The show was voted no. 7 on Empire magazine’s The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and no. 21 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S teaches its audience to get through the difficult times

  • Rachel
    Rachel Green, a woman who belonged from a rich family, who never thought of taking a job flees on her wedding day because she was not in love with her fiancée and restarts her life on her own without taking any financial support from her father. She struggles initially, working as a waitress in a coffee shop for 2 years after which she finally quits to pursue her career in Fashion. Gradually, she ends up working for good fashion companies and establishes identity of her own.

    Another striking incident in Rachel’s life was when she got pregnant with a child on a one-night-stand with her ex-boyfriend Ross. She was obviously scared and unprepared but she learns and manages to be a good single mother.
  • Monica
    Monica with her dream of opening her own restaurant or becoming head chef of one, struggles in New York City for many years until finally she becomes one.

    She also wanted to be in a committed relationship and get married one day. In the journey of finding “the guy” for her, she gets into very unusual and unstable relationships which sometimes breaks her heart until finally she falls in love with her best-friend, Chandler with whom she gets married.

    Monica also always wanted to have children and broke-up with her ex-boyfriend, Richard, whom she loved very much because he didn’t want them. After she got married to Chandler, they tried to have kids but there were some complications so they decided to adopt.
  • Phoebe
    Phoebe, the weird but kindest one in the group had a rough life since childhood as her father abandons her family and her mother commits suicide after few years. She faces all kinds of troubles- not having a shelter, food and any guardians.

    As a grown-up she works as a masseuse, always wanting a family of her own. Finally, she marries Mike and starts her new life with him.
  • Joey
    Joey, a handsome young man who pursues a career in acting struggles to make his ends meet because of his unstable career choice and not getting a good role in a movie or a show. Nevertheless, he never gives up and finally gets a show in the end.
  • Chandler
    Chandler, the sarcastic guy of the show, had commitment issues because of his parents’ divorce when we was a child. He panics during the times when he realizes that things are getting serious with his girlfriend, Monica. But because of his true love and Monica’s support he overcomes his commitment issues and lives a happily married life with her.
  • Ross
    Ross, a paleontologist marries a woman who after seven years of marriage realizes that she is a lesbian which leads to their divorce. He marries another woman, named Emily after few years and that marriage also ends because he takes the name of his ex girlfriend, Rachel during his wedding vows. The series of divorce doesn’t end here because he gets divorced again as he gets married to Rachel in Vegas while drunk and not in his senses.

Conclusion

No matter how difficult life got for these 6 friends, they always fought, learned and moved forward. They always kept hope of better things and worked towards their flaws. They all lived ordinary lives like we all do, faced struggles like we all do but smiled through the pain. I think that is all what we should do. Whatever is the pain or struggle in our lives, with the right set of people, we can always overcome it, some people are always going to believe in you. I would like to quote some lines from the theme song of F.R.I.E.N.D.S-

“So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke
Your love life’s DOA
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month
Or even your year, but
I’ll be there for you”

Traditional Television vs OTT

Electronic television was originally invented Sir Philo Farnsworth, on September 7th, 1927, who was an American. On earlier days, having a Television was of a great deal. It was considered as a luxury because of its High cost. If one person had a television set, others gathered his home to watch news or sports. Televisions came after radio which became hugely popular worldwide as it provided audio also as well as videos. Television is a media where we ought to find and surf across a lot of channels, films and television shows in various languages, by paying off a fixed price. Shows such as Ramayana, Mahabharata on Cable television broke all the records and attracted a lot more viewers. Traditional television mandatorily needs Cable connectivity. There are several dealers all over India who provides these facilities to people regularly. This media works by sending transmission signals and transmits them through antennas, also Satellite televisions are also available which takes the help of Satellites for communications . Televisions basically confers people to their homes and it is a favorite time pass for many. Various shows all over the world are made specifically for this platforms. The Target audience for media platform is all the age group from children to old age. A person can choose any show according to his preference and watch the same. Televisions created a vast impact on people as because people from all over the world can enjoy these shows if it is live telecasted. Cartoons, Music, games also can be relished on. Televisions serves a great bundle of entertainment for those elders or the housewives who watch particular serials on their free times. T.V. can be used for a student’s purpose as well as it can help as a means of knowledge to children, in a funny way, without going anywhere else, when special classes are provided. Television is probably the best platform for Broadcasting International News.

OTT stands for Over the Top which is in fact a relatively new Technical concept. This is an online media platform which provides content entertainments like Films, Television shows e t c. OTT do not requires a cable connectivity. the best part here is that several latest films are being launched here, or directed and made for this platform only, hence this created an immense trend across the world, and is also adopted by our country. OTT mostly refers to such media field via high speed Internet connections rather than the Cable connections, as used by televisions. By charging appropriate data, these contents can also be passed through smartphones supporting the same. Television was more of an offline Platform whereas OTT is an online platforms. Here you can make your own time to watch a series or even download that to see it afterwards. OTT is so much well-liked and approved by the youngsters because they have a busy study schedule for which they do not have time to watch regularly. OTT cuts off a lot of costs as you get to see only what you pay for, not extras. Also you don’t have to sit and watch unnecessary advertisements in between. You do not have to go to Cinema Halls, just have to download the movie and watch it for free. OTT has encouraged raw talents to show their creativity and gave new life to dynamic entertainment shows. Televisions basically has single handedly controlled the market and distribution o such creations till this day before onset of OTT platforms. OTT holds the copyright of the shows to and is the sole supplier. OTT is also known as Online or Media TV.

According to KPMG Media and Entertainment report 2018, the Indian OTT market is expected to grow 45 per cent to reach R.s. 138 billions by end of Fiscal year, 2023. Reports by Ernst and Young states that number of OTT users in country will reach 500 million by 2020, making India 2nd biggest market after US. 5 most subscribed OTT platforms are Disnep + Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Sony LIV, Netflix and Voot.

Indian Soap Operas Need To Do Better

A woman is chided by society for her loud and brash manner; background music meant to tug at one’s heartstrings accompanies the sermon they deliver about how her behaviour is unbecoming of a woman and causes everyone distress.

“You’re in love with someone?” her sister gasps. “I was under the impression that you are a good girl!”

Another ludicrous scenario that I can recall goes something like this.

The parsimonious mother-in-law taunts the beguile protagonist saying that she has no clue on how strenuous it is to operate a business and that it requires years and years of hard work and struggle. The protagonist retaliates to her mother-in-law’s call down by saying that anybody can be a doctor or an engineer, and it’s nothing to be proud of, and that she can accomplish the same if given 3 months of time, but what’s not any layman’s work is cooking a perfect kheer and she dares her to accomplish that. The episode ends with mother-in-law failing to accomplish the task and giving in to the daughter-in-law with a ‘victory soundtrack’ playing in the background resonating with the proud face of the protagonist.

Now you may ask, what’s so problematic about this? In a day and age, where hundreds if not thousands of girls are studying day and night and working their fingers to the bone just to be able to sustain themselves in the corporate world, the soap operas project that kitchen is the ultimate fate for a woman. Neither is getting into B-school is easy, nor is cooking a perfect meal. But just because your target audience mainly comprises of housewives, it doesn’t mean you’ll need to defame and demean the female workforce.

It’s really disheartening that despite being women-centric, most of the TV serials reinforce archaic beliefs about a woman’s modesty and her place in the household and in society. Maintain your dignity, keep your head down and endure the humiliation, for that is a testament to your strength of character, they seem to say. It’s generally achieved through stereotypical (and regressive) portrayal of saas-bahu relationships who are often pitted against one another just for the sake of it. Another way of doing it is through drawing a dichotomy between ‘an ideal woman’ and the ‘vamp’. The former is primarily seen in traditional attire, is respectful and performs all of her daughterly duties with precision. On the contrary, the vamp is often clad in pants or decked in heavy jewellery and make-up, has a domineering or outspoken nature, and is possibly unmarried (because who would tolerate her, right?).

So, who do you think comprises the majority of the viewer segment for these on-screen aberrations? Mostly the women-folk, specifically the elderly and the housewives and in a nation like ours we all know the sad truth of an women’s existence. Kitchen, marriage and babies, in most cases, are the holy trinity amongst which many a woman’s dreams and ambitions are snuffed out. Who are the staunchest implementers of oppressive practices on women? Women themselves! All in the name of ‘tradition’ and ‘culture’. For these women, these serials are providing a validation of their existence which otherwise is always limited to being the shadow of a male family member- Mr. X’ s wife or Mr. Y’s daughter or Mr. Z’ s mother but never an individual.

These serials with their mindless and baseless storylines make martyrs and Goddesses out of these brainless, one-dimensional female characters; glorifying submission and sacrifice to the point where rationale ceases to exist in totality. Add to it a dash of black magic and divine intervention and voila! You have just created the perfect potion to keep womenfolk tame and submissive and most importantly voiceless accompaniment to male demand and fantasy! I’m rather inclined to think of these serials as a well thought, well-crafted and well-executed strategy by a largely patriarchal powerhouse to keep women away from exerting their rights or voicing their ambition and dreams.

To conclude, these serials are basically a reflection of our societal mind-set at large and are meant to sustain that sick mind-set going forward. These storylines, intentionally or unintentionally, prevent women from being exposed to concepts of freedom and strength of character and determination, and as result women are simply reduced to an epitome of sacrifice and fragility who aren’t allowed rebel but always endure and adjust!

Indian soap operas, it’s a sincere request, please stop glorifying misery, mistaking stoicism for masochism, degrading the art of storytelling, and reinforcing gender roles on television.

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Regressive portrayal of women on Indian Television.