Friends Finale

Wed. May 5, 2004 12:00 AM
by David Viggiano

There's no doubt, the biggest event of this television season will be the series finale of "Friends". After 10 seasons and years of threats that cast would walk because they're not making nearly enough money, the drama is over. But wait, this is a comedy. One whose humor has escaped me. I'm one of those who wasn't born with the "Friends" gene. You know, the one that makes you laugh at a show that is only mildy amusing with only marginally interesting characters. That may describe most sit-coms currently on TV, but Friends has risen above the mediocrity and gained a huge following of dedicated fans. The kind who will surely send me hate mail for daring to write anything negative about their sacred show. But I just never got it.

I will concede, Jennifer Aniston has grown tremendously as a comedienne, and I've come around to really liking Rachael. She's the most developed and believable character of the group. I never bought Phoebe's strange mix of spacey ditziness and sharp-as-a-tack wit. Or Joey's complete idiocy even in the face of the most simplistic concept. David Schwimmer has shown only two emotions in the entire 10 years he's played Ross. Whiny patheticness and cutesy childishness. I think he and Hal Sparks, who plays Michael on "Queer as Folk", studied at the same school of acting.

I also find it sad that this finale is eclipsing the series' finales of such superior shows as "Frasier" and Showtime's "Soul Food". Both will go out with a whimper in comparison to the "Friends" phenomenon. And my harsh words will have little impact on the rating coup NBC will score on Thursday night.

You can pretty much walk into any bar in the city and find every TV monitor tuned to the event that will surely make television history. Sidetrack may be your best bet to see it in a public setting due to sheer number of screens, and Roscoe's always draws a fun crowd to these television event nights.

If you're looking for something different to do, all you Andersonville-ites can head over to Charlie's Ale House, 5308 N. Clark St. They will have a special menu that includes Joey's Meatball Sub, Phoebe's Smelly Cat Fish Sandwich, Ross' Wedding Soup, Chandler Bing's Cherries Jubilee, and Monica's Turkey Dinner. There will also be drink specials, plus a "Friends" trivia contest and a look-alike contest to win a season of "Friends" on DVD. Best of all, there's no cover.

If you're out in the burbs, a great option is to head on out to Durty Nellie's (believe it or not, a name like that and it's not a gay bar) at 180 N. Smith St. in Palatine. You can watch the final episode then stick around for a live performance by the Rembrandts, the group that sings the "Friends" theme song. The evening is free, but tickets are required. Register to win at For information call 847-358-9150.

Whatever you do, have fun and be safe. I'll be home catching up on back episodes of "24" before the big season finale. Now that's good television!

OK, now you can send the hate mail.