Monday, October 14, 2019

TV Show Review: Friends - Season 10


Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Laughs, great ending
Cons: Ross/Rachel/Joey triangle; painfully embarrassing early episodes
The Bottom Line:
Final season laughs
Brings Friends series to a close
Good but not the best




The One Where We Say Goodbye

Nothing lasts forever.  Nowhere is that truer than in TV where even the biggest TV shows eventually end.  2014 saw the end of the TV show Friends.  While the show was past its prime, there are still plenty of laughs to be had with season 10.

As is usually the case for the show, it opens exactly where season 9 ended.  In this case, it means the gang is hanging out in Barbados at the paleontology conference where Ross (David Schwimmer) was the keynote speaker.  Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) have decided to start dating since Ross has started dating Dr. Charlie Wheeler (recurring guest star Alisha Taylor).  Sounding like a soap opera?  The Ross/Rachel/Joey love triangle had definitely entered soap opera levels by this point in the show.  Fortunately, they get rid of these complications pretty quickly once the gang in back in New York.

What else is instore for our friends this season?  Unable to have a child of their own, Monica (Courtney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) start the adoption process, leading them to meet Christy (recurring guest star Anna Farris) and look for a house in the suburbs.  Meanwhile, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) plans her wedding to Mike (recurring guest star Paul Rudd).  While Joey doesn’t get any storylines after he and Rachel just decide to be friends, he makes a memorable and hilarious appearance on Pyramid.  Rachel’s sister Amy (guest star Christina Applegate) makes a return appearance.  And in the annual Thanksgiving episode, the gang convinces Monica to make Thanksgiving for them again this year, and then everyone shows up late.

Like many viewers, I was frustrated with the Ross/Rachel will they or won’t they storyline by this point in the series.  As usual, that pretty much gets ignored until the final few episodes where a big change makes them confront their feelings for each other one last time.  Personally, I was satisfied in the way they wrapped up this particular storyline, although I do agree with the many who question how healthy their relationship would really be.  (They can thank their writers for making them so dysfunctional.)

Honestly, I was very happy with the finale of this show period.  While this chapter in the character’s lives is definitely ending, we leave everyone in a happy place.  It’s very bittersweet, but the emphasis for me is on the sweet.  Even so, I can’t help but choke up a little at the obvious signs that a series I have loved for ten years is ending.  Still, the finale has enough nods to some classic moments from the show and some good laughs along the way.

But before we get there?  Oh the humiliation they put the characters through at the start of the season.  There are several episodes that are cringe worthy and not that funny.  Fortunately, they seem to be in the first third of the season, and once the writers get going, this is back to the laughs and antics we know and love.

The actors are in fine form again as always, bringing their characters to life and getting every laugh from the scripts.

Because season 10 was a last-minute pick up, it was shorter than the previous seasons – only giving us 18 episodes.  They are preserved in the first three discs of the set in full frame and stereo sound – how they were originally broadcast.  We get the standard three audio commentaries from creators and executive producer, which are fun.  The fourth disc of the set contains the extras.  There is a retrospective with the cast and creators reflecting on the run of the show and runs about half an hour.  The highlight is the five seasons of blooper reels.  Yes, there is one for season 10, but we never got them for seasons 1 through 4 – until now.  We also get three final interviews with major guest stars.  But you can skip the Joey Joey music video.

Friends had definitely peaked before we reached season 10, but there are still some fun episodes and good laughs to be had in the final season.  And the show got a very sweet send of.  Fans of the series will be glad they have this set in their collection.

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