|"Non-fat" yogurt, anyone?|
Some shows – Seinfeld and Friends in particular – are so familiar to me that I feel like I know the characters almost as well as I know the people in my life.
I respect Jerry and Monica's appreciation for cleanliness and identify with how they sometimes struggle to fight their compulsion to clean.
I get frustrated with how ditsy Phoebe and Joey can be, but at the same time, I value them for who they are - likable, entertaining people who march to the beat of their own drum.
|When they say "I'll be there for you," I believe it.|
Spending time together
My husband and I will joke about what "friends" we're going to watch at night. And although it is a joke, I’ll admit that I do feel an identifiable kinship with the characters in my favorite re-runs.
When I need a break from my own reality, I can power on our Panasonic and get lost in the minutia of other peoples' every day lives. Finding out what "ugly naked guy" is up to or uncovering the truth about frozen yogurt that's allegedly "non-fat" is markedly more enjoyable than doing the dishes or sorting through the mail.
With the press of a few buttons, my "friends" are there for me doing what friends do best - making me laugh, distracting me from my troubles, and showing me that they made it through difficult times and I can too!
You already said that...
Although I admittedly care about the characters in Seinfeld and Friends, I recognize the inherent limitations of investing in virtual relationships with fictional sitcom characters in syndicated re-runs.
Although they're always available, it's inevitable that eventually they’ll start repeating themselves.
And there is the matter of the the relationship being decidedly one-sided... I've heard Jerry talk about "Golden Boy" numerous times, but I'm SOL if I need to talk to somebody about Favorite Shorts.*
|Yes, "Golden Boy" is Jerry's favorite t-shirt.|
What is a friend?
I think my sanity is relatively in check since I can recognize the differences between my real-life friends and my televised “friends,” but I think the qualities that define the term "friend" can be fluid. If you can "friend" the dog walker of your plumber's mother-in-law on Facebook, is this really such a stretch?
When my flesh-and-blood friends aren't available, televised "friends" are a viable second option - a far second, but still an option all the same.