January 5, 2012

January 5, 2012

Pastimes of Auld Lang Syne, Day 3: The FRIENDS Name Game

The open of a new year is a good time to look forward at all you hope to accomplish during the next 365 days. Unfortunately, since the world is ending this year, there’s not a lot to look forward to. So I’ve decided to look back instead, writing about various phenomena I pursued as a youth. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. This is sorta like that.

What’s your comfort TV show? I’m not asking about your favorite show. Your favorite show is the one you dress up and trot out at parties. The critically acclaimed and/or fantastically popular one. The one you take home to mother. When people ask me what my favorite show is, I say Mad Men.

But my comfort TV show? That’s Friends.* When I’m feeling depressed or bored, I turn on “The One With the Embryos” and all is well. You know who I’m NOT turning to when I’m depressed? Don Draper. I’m just saying.

A good comfort show is one you’ve seen so much of that you can quote scenes (yes, entire scenes). You should own at least one piece of memorabilia. You should know some serious trivia, too.

In fact, I realized that I knew so frakking much about Friends that I started a trivia website called “The FRIENDS Name Game.” It was part of that defunct GeoCities dealio I mentioned earlier, but it has been archived in all its Technicolor glory (sans pictures) here.

Really, I wanted to give other fans a reason to a) watch television even more obsessively, b) prove their superior intelligence, and c) be rewarded by public identification as A Smart Cookie. Coincidentally, these are also my personal life goals.

When I realized that I learned Chandler Bing’s bank account number (7143457) before I learned my own, I knew I had to use that power for good. And until GeoCities went bust, I did. Or at least, I tried. I composed a series of topical quizzes (food, animals, romantic relationships) whose answers could all be found in the shows.

Because let’s be real: grading people involves a lot of judgment calls. And I hate people, so only 1-2% of my judgments will be in favor. (As a jurist, I would be a prosecutor’s dream.) None of my questions were multiple choice, so people had to use spelling and logic skills.


Example: The answer to one of the questions was “Chanandler Bong.” (If you don’t know, don’t ask.) Now, I was willing to give people without closed captioning a break, so I’d take anything close. But, like, “George”? No. “asdf”? Really no. Why? Why would you not put in even a modicum of effort? Now I’m deleting your submission email because you’ve pissed me off. At least the “George” guy made a (poorly-educated) guess. Eesh.

*Runners-up: The West Wing (reminds me that government service has its moments) and Will & Grace. In fact, I prepare for my parents’ annual Thanksgiving visit by doing a marathon of W&G episodes. Keeps me from becoming completely homicidal when three people are shoved into 767 square feet and I have to wait to use my own effing bathroom.

0 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke: