Real life can be boring….really boring. That’s where television swoops in with its more interesting version of existence. With television, we are free from ugly people, needing patience with life’s difficulties, and good friends don’t have to knock or call first. I’m going to try that with my neighbor later today – don’t worry, I’ll have a joke ready.
Since television’s purpose is entertainment, it’s difficult to quibble when the script is all roses and ignores reality’s thorns. We accept a little “play” in the rules of real life but only to an extent. Eventually the plot becomes hard to accept and we write off the show. This is the why a lot of folks won’t even bother with sci-fi, fantasy, and MSNBC.
I’m ashamed to admit that Mrs. Teply and I have multiple seasons of the late 90s standard “Friends.” You remember…single folks who enjoy coffee, wacky situations, and complete sexual freedom. The show where a courtship works a bit like this…
Step 1 – Introduce yourself
Step 2 – Sex
Step 3 – Comically fatal flaw or “I love you.”
Step 4 – Shack up or go back to Step 1
Only on two occasions do we reach the rarefied Step 5 which is marriage. Hey, it’s a television show…most folks know better than to buy what they’re selling. Sexual jokes are easy to write. It’s even easier to ignore the negative and dangerous aspects of this brand of courtship. I sometimes wonder if the writers and actors ever feel any responsibility for the message (albeit a sitcom) that they are sending.
Anyway, about six months ago I decided to watch each episode and record how many sexual partners each character has during the show’s ten year run. I tallied obvious sexual partners along with exact references to previous partners. For instance, Rachel off-handedly asks when she’d ever given herself to a man on the first date (as she’d just done). Monica rolls her eyes, offers a sideways grin, and lists three names – score four for Rachel.
Here are the totals…
* Monica – 10 partners. Her total was hurt by a couple of long term relationships. In this game , that’s not how you win. Curses!
*Chandler (Mr. Can’t-Get-A-Date) – 8 partners. He complained about his inability to find women but still managed 8 all of which were out of his league. He married to Monica for the last few years of the show.
*Ross – 10 partners. He was married three times…that’s not how you bag the most women!
*Rachel – 15 partners. Miss Unattainable really wasn’t.
*Phoebe – 17 partners. We also learned that she likes it a little kinky…good to know.
*Joey – Honestly, I lost count but the unofficial mark is 28. You knew this guy was going to walk away with it. We’ll have to wait until the ten year reunion show to find out how many STDs he picked up.