Those of you who have read this blog with any regularity will recall my True Detective review in which I offered a fan theory about the fate of Ross Geller’s son, Ben. It was a strange blog post, in that it ended up being a theory about a show I haven’t watched in years. The other strange thing about that blog post is that it got a lot of attention, showing up referenced or summarized on Entertainment Weekly, Hello Giggles, Cosmo, Redbook, Refinery29, and a series of other websites.
With the year ending, it’s time to write and reflect about something that I had never thought about until 2015: the Friends character Ross Geller, portrayed by David Schwimmer.
During August of this year, I wrote an article in which I suggested that perhaps Ross lost custody of his son, Ben Geller, in the later seasons of Friends.
Two strange things happened after this: this blog began to receive more traffic than it ever had before, as my theory was huff-and-posted across the internet during two mild waves of virality. My theory was often described as “heartbreaking,” which surprised me, granted that the entire theory was that Ross was an unfit father and disturbed man who deserved to lose his son, and that Ben still had two good parents even without Ross in his life.
After several waves of intermediate virality regarding a theory about Friends, this blog and its author have received some very entertaining feedback, through the legions of recappers, bloggers, and commenters that have thoughts and feelings regarding my suggestion that Ross Geller was an inept father who lost custody of his son. My initial response, when reading some of these, was to want to go out there and argue with people.
Instead, I remembered something important: haters are inevitably going to hate. As proven by the celebrities who read mean tweets about themselves, the best thing to do is laugh and shrug and keep doing what you’re doing.
So here are some of the rave reviews that I’ve received:
“…completely ridiculous.” – Michelle B, commenter on Huffington Post.
“What a waste.” – Sally K, commenter on Huff Post.
“….what a bunch of dribble….” – Patrise S, commenter on Huff Post.
“This is stupid.” – Jessica F S, commenter on Huff Post.
“Seriously? I think a hobby is needed…” – Melissa S-A, commenter on Huff Post.
“Anyone who spends this much time analyzing character on a comedy, yes – a fictionalized version of peoples lives, has way too much time on his or her hands. Do something productive!” – Lori M. H., commenter on Huff Post.
“He’s not a bad professor.” – Nait A. C., commenter on Huff Post.
“Waaaaay too much time on your hands” – Jay R., commenter on Huff Post.
“Way too much time on your hands. How many years ago was this show cancelled?” – Deborah B., commenter on Huff Post.
“Someone has way too much free time.” – Ephy K, commenter on Huff Post.
“Coming to all of these conclusions would be like arguing for statistics based on the frequency of extremely rare medical cases all occurring in Princeton-Plainsboro from House M.D. …” – Vadim B
“…maybe the child actor who played Ross’s son had to be somewhere else, like school.” – Ariel Karlin, someecards.com
“Or more likely, the boy or boys, playing Ben actually had some career success with Big Daddy and decided not to be on the show anymore.” – Joseph F.
“…smells of SJW…” and “This author has sympthoms of feminazi.” – Honza8D, on the Friends subreddit. (SJW, I learned, means “Social Justice Warrior.” Huh. Okay. Thank you!)
Now brace yourself for this one, because it’s long but it’s a good one:
“I just finished binge watching Friends from beginning to end on netflix, over the course of a few months. Friends had a lot of internal inconsistencies which indicate that actually it’s not a show where you should put a lot of effort into logically understanding. For example in one episode Chandler flies to Yemen and in the following episode (one week later) there is no mention of Yemen. It takes practically a week just to fly to Yemen and return. In another episode Joey’s eyebrows are destroyed and in the following episode, another week later, his eyebrows have returned to normal. This is a show that can be enjoyed for the wonderful acting and wonderful writing and jokes, but that is not a holy text to be understood through study and close analysis. It’s more like Gilligan’s Island, less like Lost. What is going on here is that Lovett has his own dead horses to beat, and is using old episodes of Friends to beat those horses.” – Peter J, commenter on Huffington Post.
Haters will hate
I’ll leave one response to all of this: over-thinking things is fun. Blogging is one of several fulfilling hobbies that I have, and a hobby I would recommend to all the angry internet commenters.
And to answer one more question I’ve gotten: No, I’m not much of a Friends fan. If you recall from the original post, I thought of this while watching True Detective, not because I watch Friends. I didn’t watch a single episode of Friends while writing this theory. I’ve never even seen most of the episodes. It took, from start to finish, about one hour to research this theory on Wikipedia and a few other sites, and another hour to crank out the original blog post, which has now been viewed by over 10,000 people. (My favorite recap of my theory is the one on Cinema Blend, because it’s the only one to consider my thoughts on True Detective and Ray Velcoro.)
A recent scene in True Detective got me thinking about something I haven’t thought about in a long time: Friends. In probably the saddest scene of the second season, Ray Velcoro and his son Chad eat pizza in silence while watching the famous sitcom. It’s Chad’s idea.
Friends strongly contrasts poor little Chad’s reality. Friends is about a group of six, fun-loving twenty-somethings in Manhattan in the 1990s and early ’00s. Chad, on the other hand, gets bullied at school and has supervised visits with his father, a corrupt cop with a penchant for cocaine and at least one murder in his past.
But as I watched Ray Velcoro get overly-intoxicated alone and destroy his apartment, I started to think harder about how much this reality really is different from that of the Friends friends. Sure, the antics on Friends were slightly more cheeky and fun. The guys had a menagerie of fun pets. Monica dated Tom Selleck. Phoebe wrote jingles about cats. Ray Velcoro, on the other hand, threatens children and promises to “buttfuck your father with your mom’s headless corpse on this goddamn lawn.”