I’m having a really stressful week, so this post is going to be fun! You may or may not know that today is the 20th anniversary of the series premiere of the TV show Friends, which is my all time favorite TV series. I think that’s an understatement; I’ve watched the whole series repeatedly more times than is acceptable to admit. I just thought I’d go through and comment on some of the elements and events of Friends related to food, health, weight, etc.
- Phoebe’s a vegetarian. She only ever brings up moral reasons, i.e. not believing in eating other living creatures, but that is indeed an important consideration that people actively ignore. If people grasped, like Phoebe, that every time you eat an animal, an animal had to die, you’d probably eat animals less, which would be better for your health and the environment.
- Monica used to be fat. This is a recurring motif throughout the series, and it makes her the source of a lot of jokes. Though I hate to criticize my dear Friends, this is what we’d call weight bias or weight stigma, and it can be really harmful. I might delve into that more in a future post. What’s great though is that in The One That Could Have Been, Chandler and Monica end up falling in love despite her weight.
- In The One Where Ross Finds Out, Chandler discovers he’s put on some weight, so Monica anoints herself his personal trainer while she’s unemployed. She works him day in and day out exercising, but no one ever mentions food. Regardless, it’s a great example of how friends can motivate each other!
- One of my favorite episodes is The One With All The Cheesecakes, where Chandler and Rachel share an entire stolen cheesecake and cannot get over how delicious it is. They end up with another one and eat that one too, even after it falls on the floor. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my favorite food is cheesecake, and this episode really resonates with me because I can eat healthy like 90% of the time, but hand me a good cheesecake and I might eat the whole thing. Being healthy is not all or nothing–you should treat yourself when a great cheesecake comes along; but make sure your regular fuel is whole, plant-based foods.
- Joey is known for being the most indulgent when it comes to food. He never fails to order an enormous amount of food, and in the Thanksgiving episode of the 8th season he eats an entire turkey to make it worth it for Monica to have made one, and to prove to himself that he could. He’s never exactly skinny, but he definitely gets away with eating a lot for his size…damn men with their fast metabolisms…and damn TV for making us think we can eat that much and still be slim! There is this great moment though when Rachel’s sister is visiting and she tries to make Joey feel bad for eating pizza and he shouts “I’m curvy, and I like it!”
Please comment if you have other memories. Look out for this stuff in the media!