Dee Discusses: Friends Season 9

Posted: January 9, 2015 by Dee in Dee, Friends, General Media, Television
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Friends season 8 was a little bump for me, but season 9 I think was excellent overall. I think everyone was getting ready for the show to end by this point, but they were still going to give quality storylines as long as it was on. All good things come to an end. This season saw the introduction of my favorite non-main cast love interest: Mike aka Paul Rudd. I’ve complained in the past that I was disappointed Phoebe didn’t get as much story as the others, but this season gave her more to do. She’s the only Friend to end up married outside of the group, but it works completely. Except I’m getting ahead of myself! Phoebe’s relationship with Mike grows over the course of the season, from when they met due to Joey forgetting about setting Phoebe up with someone, and randomly yelling ‘Mike’ until he got a reply. But they genuinely liked each other, and let’s face it, Paul Rudd is adorable. He can do no wrong. It was very sad to see these two characters with a lot of chemistry work together, but then split apart due to wanting different things. Much like Monica breaking up with Richard because she wanted children, Phoebe realizes she wants a more “normal” life. I really appreciated her coming to that conclusion when she recognized that her life had been a big struggle and never been normal, and she felt like it was her turn to get something more normal and satisfying.

Luckily they got back together at the end of the season, Phoebe/Mike forever! Although a fun guest appearance by Hank Azaria as the adorkable David, who tries to swoop in on Phoebe, but she’s already moved on.

Speaking of children, this season started one of the stronger serious storylines, Chandler and Monica’s struggle to conceive. Chandler has a back and forth season because he finally quit the job he hated to try to get into marketing, but he had to start from the bottom up. This led him to wonder if it was time to have a baby, but they were determined to try. They had money troubles for the first time on the show, and I think the writers always knew how to play them as a couple in a realistic way. Switching careers was difficult and money-sucking. And sometimes everything doesn’t perfectly go to plan, like the fact the doctor told them they probably wouldn’t be able to conceive. I know a lot of people who had struggles of their own in this area, and it was moving for them to see it played so openly and compassionately on the screen. They discussed the options, like having a surrogate and sperm donor, and chose by the end of the season to look into adoption. More on this in season ten. I think the reason fans enjoy the Monica and Chandler relationship so well is that it feels believable; they have real problems and real things to overcome as a couple. We’re in it with them. Whereas Ross and Rachel just feel forced at times or never really certain of what they want.

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Speaking of Ross and Rachel not knowing what they want. They start out the season trying to live together and raise their daughter Emma. Eventually things got bad when Ross’ ugly jealousy reared its head. I always disliked Ross, so this in particular made me mad. I do appreciate Rachel has none of that nonsense, calling him on how childish and ridiculous he was acting. So she moved back in with Joey. After this drama, the two of them manage to be better co-parents and less emphasis on the former love connection. If only it ended there. If only it ended a long time ago. Sigh. I’ll be glad to end these reviews in part because I don’t have to talk about them anymore. Ross instead has a crush on Charlie (Aisha Tyler, I love her!), a fellow science nerd who instead starts dating Joey. This always did seem really ridiculous, they were trying to set up drama only, but Charlie did say that she was dating him because he wasn’t her type. She’d gotten out of a long term relationship, so someone the opposite of her ex felt right to her. Well, it was never meant to be long-term. Ross is sad about it, but he doesn’t speak up, because he’s a child. Rachel meanwhile started developing feelings for Joey, a contrast to the season before when it was the other way around. Joey and Charlie broke up, with Ross swooping in immediately to kiss Charlie (inappropriate, man). Of course that evens out since Joey kisses Rachel. The season ends with us knowing that was all about to explode.

In general, season 9 was a strong one. Ross and Rachel raising their daughter was solid, and motherhood really suited Rachel well. I always loved how hard she worked to be a professional and a single mother, and I’ve come to appreciate her as a character a lot more with the rewatch. It was always Ross that dragged me down with her. Along with the introduction of Mike, who rocks, and Chandler and Monica’s infertility, this was a season with a lot of strong storylines. If a little bit too relationship-y by the end. But that’s how it goes. What’s in store for the gang for their very last year together? Wait and see.

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