I came across an article that really piqued my interest and bothered me, both as a journalist and an avid TV watcher.
The article, The Sexual Proclivities of Friends, was written by Mike D’Avria and aimed, I think, to discuss how disgusting and shocking it was that over the course of 10 years, six characters had 85 sexual partners between them.
I don’t know why this is shocking, many other series did it too. He sites Sex and the City as an example of one character who has many sexual conquests, but as I remember the series, it wasn’t just Samantha who jumped into the sack (or sac as he wrote it) with every man she saw.
But I digress.
How did D’Avria come to his conclusions? By watching the series again? Of course not. Instead, he went through and read “every single outline, and look(ed) at the guest star cast list, for every episode aired in the ten seasons on NBC.”
He admits the number could be “way higher” (but not way lower) because of the way he collected his data (which the column header refers to as “important”).
(And in case you’re wondering, Chandler scored the lowest and Joey scored the highest.)
The first comment on the piece rips apart a number of the partners that D’Avria sites in it, pointing out that those people never had sex with any of the friends, they were in relationships — or just casually dating them. D’Avria responds to the comment, admits he didn’t rewatch the series “something that would take an extremely long time,” and even congratulates himself for admitting his mistakes saying, “I wanted to show how I got to my conclusion — wouldn’t it be nice if all journalists were as transparent in their reporting?”
Here’s the thing, if you’re going to do an analysis of something, you need to commit 110 per cent to that analysis. If that means renting the DVDs and spending a weekend watching over 200 episodes of Friends, you need to do that.
And just what are D’Aviro’s qualifications to write such an article? He has a journalism degree. That’s it. And sure, there’s a lot of so-called “criticism” from self-proclaimed critics on the Internet these days, but really there should have been something more here. Like what, exactly, is D’Aviro criticizing, we never really get a thesis in the intro to his piece except, “Hey, remember that show Friends? Yeah, they had a lot of sex.” Uh, OK.
As an aside, my partner wonders what the next piece of D’Aviro’s will be. Perhaps the fact that Dexter kills more people than any other character on television before him? Oh the outrage.
If you’re going to try to your hand at criticism, you need to know what you’re criticizing and actually do the work involved to properly criticize your subject. Journalism is not just looking up stuff on the Internet, there’s offline work to be done as well.
This piece has almost inspired me to rewatch the series of Friends and do a proper analysis of their sexual conquests. Who’s in?