You have to understand that I'm not a big TV watcher. I changed service provider back in October, meaning I have a new "box" for the telephone, internet and TV - and I haven't even installed the TV part yet. So I haven't watched TV AT ALL since early October.
It's always been the same - or at least, since I first arrived in France anyway (which was a LOOOOOONG time ago, believe me). This might be because I find much of French TV to be utter crap (an odd blend of totally dated variety show type things, reality TV and endless detective series, mixed with 3 or 4-hour pretentious chit-chat shows with eggheads and philosophers and bla, bla, bla, meh). I don't watch much TV, is what I'm trying to say.
For a while, way back in the late 90s (like, 97, 98 or perhaps 98 and 99, I don't remember), D and I had cable TV, so we were able to watch certain TV shows actually in English. We watched Seinfeld, and Dream On, and we kind of got into the "Friends" thing. We "joined" the series half-way through (probably series 3 or 4 I should think). But when we stopped paying for cable, we stopped watching Friends, even though it was on French TV because OMG - it's sooooo not funny dubbed into French. Lame, lame, lame. Absolutely not the same. So there are a lot of episodes - whole series, in fact - that I've never seen.
So. Back to the point of this disjointed post that's been rumbling round my brain all day (and, apparently, half the night too because it's now after 4 am. AGAIN.). A couple of days ago, I got this sudden urge to start watching Friends. I bought seasons 1 and 2 (which I'd never seen) earlier this year and found them pretty funny. And I've been watching them for the second time in the last few days. I've just got to the part where Monica hooks up with Richard Burke-Tom Selleck (that's for those of you who are fans - for the rest, it's about half-way through season 2).
I couldn't figure out what exactly was making me watch these episodes so compulsively. They focus quite a bit on the Ross-Rachel saga, and they are the two characters I've always liked the least. So that's not the reason.
And then, this evening, it finally hit me. It's the theme song. That chirpy, brain-wormy theme song; not the chorus so much, as the verse:
"So no one told you life was gonna be this way; your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D.O.A. 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..."
THAT GODDAM SONG IS MY FUCKING LIFE, people. OK, my job isn't a "joke", but the fact that I end up working ridiculous hours, every damn day of the year, and am still broke makes it pretty close to one (oh, plus the fact that there's no possible promotion and I'll never be able to afford to retire...).
These 6 characters are living the kind of life I should have lived when I was their age (but didn't because I was such a freak), and would like to live again (but can't because it's too late). I would love to start over, go back to when I first arrived in France and just do things totally differently. I would love to be young, and free and single-dating-falling in and out of love, instead of the pathetic creature I was back then, and the hopeless future old-maid I've become. I would love to hang out with friends, drink coffee, share meals together and have fun, like I used to back in university, but now can't. Don't get me wrong - there isn't one nanogram of regret concerning my beautiful little girls, I wouldn't change a thing about them, but the rest? Meh. Total waste of time.
I now feel like I'm living vicariously through the characters in Friends. Ross bugs the shit out of me, and Rachel has much the same effect (she's less annoying than he is, but still. Grrrr). Phoebe makes me laugh and Joey's cute, but the ones I like best - now and when I watched them on TV way back when - are still Monica and Chandler. They crack me up. I want to slip into their lives, become part of the Central Perk scene, BE SOMEONE ELSE.
My "real" life is such a fuck-up that these ridiculous fantasies are all that get me through. If I could just walk away from the shit storm blustering around me, believe me, I would. But I can't, and I won't. But I still feel like I'm being eaten up with worries and anger and frustration and loneliness. Lots of anger, actually.
Friends was hugely successful and I pretty much missed the boat on that one - I kind of know what happens, who ends up with whom etc., but I haven't seen the episodes yet. I will, though, I will. And I'll continue to live my life vicariously through them, trying to get through the real stuff the best I can. I'm not eloquent or good with words like Avitable, but I'm definitely feeling the same depression, the same funk. I know I'm strong, and I know I'll find a way through this, but right now, like him, I don't feel it. Till then, I'll watch Friends, and Mad Men and Glee, and get sucked into these alternative universes where I can feel, for just a short while, that I don't suck quite so much.