Right off the bat you're probably asking: "What in the sweet hell is wrong with you?" Stupendous question.
They just haven't happened, OK?! Both weed and the popular TV show "Friends" were, until recently, completely foreign to me. Do they have anything to do with each other? Not that I can think of, which is why they needed to happen together.
I've always had a weird, standoffish relationship with marijuana. It's not like I was never around it. There were opportunities in high school. There were opportunities in college. It just never seemed like something I wanted to do. At first, it was matter of principle.
"Of course I'm not going to smoke pot, it's illegal!"
I was like a walking after-school special. Weed scared me. The idea of "getting high" manifested itself as an altered state I didn't think I'd like.
However, my anti-pot stance soon evolved into a strange point of pride. I owned it. College rolled (pun absolutely intended) by, and I remained a guy who "has never smoked weed!" It usually came as a surprise to people because I was, and still am, a weird dude who creates weird things. I didn't mind talking about it. People seemed more curious than anything, which was refreshing. I was never bullied or intensely peer pressured into smoking. I'm thankful for that aspect every day because I'm sure I'd have a very different outlook on all of this if I had.
As time has gone on, weed has suddenly started to intrigue me. Maybe it's the post-college lack of pressure, maybe it's the desire to experience my favorite things from a new perspective, maybe it's the 4/20 memes I can participate in (niiiiiiiiiice.) I just wanted a doobie.
People don't say that, right? Joint. I wanted a joint.
I'm sorry to say, but the reasoning behind my avoidance of "Friends" isn't nearly as personal or interesting. Somehow, I literally have not seen 15 seconds of an episode. Couldn't tell you where it aired, when it ended, or who's the friends. I DO know it takes place in NYC, AND I'm familiar with the theme song, but that's all she wrote.
To many of you, this may be the more startling aspect of my experiment, and I'm sorry. I APOLOGIZE THAT I'VE NEVER SEEN IT. It actually runs a similar parallel to my experience with marijuana: first I just wasn't interested, and then I grew proud I hadn't seen it. When I told people I had never seen the show, I was usually met with responses that ranged from disappointment to rage.
But now the time had come to free myself. The time had come to jump headfirst into a cornerstone of American television.
After some internal reflection on the choices I've made and the life I've chosen to live, the ONLY logical next step was to try both marijuana and "Friends" for the first time, at the same time.
Before we dive right into this, I DEFINITELY did not Google "how to roll a joint" or "how to light a joint" or "how to smoke a joint." That would be something a not-cool person would do, and that is absolutely not me.
I've always heard experienced weed-doers say that you don't get high the first time. Well, I beg to differ. It came on slow, but when I smoked I felt this very enjoyable, front of my head sensation that kept me in the present.
In general, I felt calm. I liked the state I was in. It wasn't jarring, and I didn't feel at all out of control. I gave myself a solid 15 minute window to get settled on the couch in my apartment, then I jumped headfirst into the unknown realm of Rachel and Chandling. I didn't know the other ones. I also immediately learned there is no Chandling, but instead a Chandler. Great start.
I figured a fair assessment of "Friends" would be watching the very first episode. I thought about consulting some Friend-sperts, a word I made up, to get input on what a good episode would be, but it didn't seem right. We had to start from the beginning.
Keep in mind, I was high while watching this. Here are the notes I wrote down during my private screening:
- The audience laughter is aggressive
- I fucking love cross-fades
- It's pretty dark plot-wise like immediately
- Everyone sounds like a mobster especially Joey
- Wait what they're not all friends?
- Rachel isn't the friend
- mello yello
- This apartment is insane
- "You're a shoe" is probably a line people know
- I forgot Lisa Kudrow's character name
- Chandler and Joey live across the hall
- Paul the wine guy is also probably a thing
- Chandler is kind of a dick
- I've LOLed once
- It's Phoebe her name is Phoebe
- One person for everyone good thing there's an even number of main characters
- Show seems racy for its time?
- They just killed a plant by pouring coffee into it
- Chandler is absolutely a dick
- So. many. vests.
- Ross and Courtney are brother and sister I missed that
- People are laughing about suicide and it's like the 4th time in the episode
- Rachel and Ross here we go
- They play awkward really well, great genuine moment
- "Grabbed a spoon" is also a nice moment
Clearly I was emotionally all over the place. It was a 22 minute rollercoaster.
I'm a new person. In one hour I have experienced two new things. I'll never forget this day. I'm also very hungry.
I want to say I think so? I'm 100% sure that I didn't do everything correctly, which gives me hope that whatever I was feeling could be amplified to some extent. The lack of hangover is a big plus for me. I drink occasionally, but a massive deterrent is having the next day ruined by a tiny bit of excess drinking.
The feeling of being present was really peaceful. That was my favorite part. I was right there in my living room, not thinking about what I'm doing next week or how work was going. It was me, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Ross, and Monica, and we were blazing that shit up.
My mind is telling me no. But my body, my body, is... probably also saying no. I really don't want to be that guy who just goes against the grain to be different. But after watching the first episode, I don't think it's enough to pull me back for another round. Even though I smoked before watching, in my opinion I was still able to process and digest the show pretty clearly.
I absolutely appreciate the great dynamics of the relationships, and I can see the appeal of watching these characters grow and fall in and out of love. At the end of the day, 90's sitcom jokes and audience laughter just aren't doing it for me.
Don't even get me started on the vests. Too. Many. Vests.