Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Keeping Up With Friends

On the first day of 2015 my life came to a screeching halt. Not because of a tragedy or big change, but because Friends was put on Netflix.
I had watched the entire series before, but suddenly I had immediate access to the entirety of the program on any device I pleased. This is something that definitely has been taken advantage of. Since it was added to the vast catalog of programing on Netflix, I have watched the series roughly six times all the way through. I love characters of that program more than certain members of my family, and have no shame about it.

Friends is an interesting program for my age group. I’m 22 years old. I was born the same year that the program began, so obviously it wasn’t something that I could have watched live. There are many people of my age group that could tell you everything about this series, and there are several others that couldn’t care less to consume a program that came out before they were born.
When I was reading Chuck Klosterman's article “Death by Harry Potter” this was all I could think about. My cousin, who I live with, shows no interest in viewing the program no matter how many times I try to get him to start. For this reason, I say countless Friends related jokes and make a number a references that go right over his head. He probably doesn’t even realize that they’re from the program, and he probably thinks I’m a crazy person because I'll normally just let them pass without any explanation as to where it came from.
When we were moving in furniture to our new apartment, I yelled out “pivot” which would have had a Friends fan laughing most likely, but was just met with a blank stare.

According to Klosterman there are three types of information. There’s information that you know you know, information that you know you don’t know and information that you don’t know you don’t know. My cousin falls into the third category here He is constantly being bombarded with Friends references that go over his head so fast he wouldn’t even have time to flinch.
I’m a big fan of Chuck Klosterman, I have read a lot of his work in the part and always feel like he brings a lot of insight to whatever topic he’s discussing. He knows his stuff, which is evidenced by interviews he does and Podcasts he takes part in. The teaser for this story is something I think everyone should take to heart as well, “Ignoring a cultural phenomenon today may render you completely irrelevant in a few years. Just so you know.”
I’m the type of person who hates being out of the know. If I see a large group of people rally around something, I tend to dabble in it. I don’t like Dr. Who at all, but I’ve watched a lot of episodes just so I can have conversations about it without sounding out of the loop. I’m constantly watching new television shows, and spend an absurd amount of money at the movie theatre to make sure I’m up to date with the latest movie trends.
I refuse to be rendered “completely irrelevant.”  I even watched My Little Pony to see what the whole Brony phase was about. No offense to those that are, do what makes you happy. I don't think everyone should be as obsessive as I am, but I don't think anyone should just ignore major pop culture phenomenon because and not learn anything about them just because you don't like them.
This leads me to these questions: What big movies or tv shows have you skipped because they just don’t interest you, even though everyone else seems to love them? Do you feel like you’re ever left out of conversations or miss references because of it? What current pop culture trends do you think will have the longest lasting impact on our society?

1 comment:

  1. Bryson, I can completely relate! I have consumed a lot of media to remain in the know. I've even watched entire shows and read comic books just so I didn't feel left out at Comic con. I watched three seasons of Dr. Who just to be able to keep up on the pop culture references. I'm not really huge a fan either, but I felt I needed to know about weeping angels and daleks and what "It's bigger on the inside" actually meant. I have found that a good share of my pop culture knowledge probably came from a subconscious desire to remain connected to others.

    One of my biggest surprises is when old pop culture trends like Friends reappear. I am actually old enough I watched Friends when it aired originally. To hear an entirely new generation fall in love with some of my favorite characters and have conversations about pop culture references I assumed were long dead has added a whole new element of fun to the conversation. I do find it interesting that Friends has made such a lasting impact on pop culture. There are so many other shows I would have assumed would have lasted longer because they were certainly more impactful at the time, like Seinfeld. I guess that goes to show you the unpredictability of pop culture. Its nearly impossible to predict what exactly will have a lasting impact. That's part of the fun of studying it a suppose, pop culture always keeps us on our toes.