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Best of Comedy,
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This review is from: Friends: Complete Season 8 - New Edition [DVD] (DVD)
There are funnier things than Friends on television, but nothing as long-lasting and consistently funny. In Season 8, the acting and directing (as well as visual quality) have improved from the early series, whilst it has lost none of its inventiveness and sparkle.
The season kicks off right after Monica & Chandler's "I do" and with the finding that Rachel is with child. Her pregnancy comes up in all 24 episodes. From the identity of the father ("Oh no- don't tell me it's her!"), to the possibility of marriage ("What, because that's your answer to everything?") and breaking the news to the parents (I particularly loved Rach explaining to her father why Ross won't marry her: "He says I'm damaged goods"). The question comes up: can the pair commit themselves to raising the child together whilst continuing their separate love lives as before? Certainly, it's not the sort of thing that blights lives: Rachel has a stable career and can afford to refuse a husband. It is perhaps in recognition of how anaesthetised it is that halfway through the season, she meets a much younger woman with far fewer financial means in the same situation. Interestingly, there is no mention whatsoever of the possibility of abortion.
Also involving R&R, an old friend from High School returns bearing an old and dark hatred (played by Brad Pitt, who is not mentioned in the credits for some reason) and that old favourite, a woman demanding sex from a man (nobody as attractive as Jennifer Aniston can be so pathetic at sexual provocation). Meanwhile, see Phoebe spell out her name ("P as in Phoebe..."), Joey reminiscing about his first good review ("Everything else was just terrible; Joey Tribbiani was abysmal."), Monica splurging on a pair of ill-fitting boots ("They're killing me, one toe at a time!") and Chandler taking a bath with oils and perfumes (but also a toy boat, which makes it a man's bath). And plenty of others that would seem flat and boring on paper.
What really puzzles me is how devoid of features the DVD release is. No interviews, commentaries or even scene selection (very annoying). However, they do promise: `Web enabled' (what's that?) `Scene access' (no, only episode access) `Interactive menus' (like selling a car as having a waterproof petrol tank) `Original TV broadcast episodes, each containing "never before seen" footage, exclusive to DVD' (I'm sure Hegel would love that). There's a dubbing in French, but it's awful (use subtitles). The franchise deserves much better.