I’m sure I’m not the first one to point this out nor will I be the last.

But having just finished rewatching Friends on Netflix there was always one thing that bothered me about the show as I watched episode after episode.

The opening.

Why?

This probably happens with all shows – you cast a bunch of actors for a show and then you need an opening title credits sequence.  Hey – you are a family?  Let’s show the family having fun and playing basketball together!  This way we can show you “having fun as a family”!

Say what you want about Cosby now but I always thought the opening sequence to The Cosby Show was pretty fun.  Cosby dancing around and then his other cast members just dancing too.  I’m not sure why it is so memorable – especially because I didn’t watch the show that often.

But the Friends sequence?  Episode after episode, year after year, title sequence after title sequence I watch as they go back to some original footage and pull new shots of these six characters playing in or around a fountain.

What was the direction?

Go in the fountain!  Splash around!  Have fun!  Dance!  Go on a couch!  Have fun!  Here’s some umbrellas!  They are different colors!  Open them!  Then we’ll have a lamp – next to the couch – out near a fountain – that we’ll turn off!

I just find it weird because you have these actors who are TRYING to have fun.  Trying very hard.  But the smiles look fake.  Their dance moves aren’t sharp.  They look pretty tired.  Chandler spits out disgusting fountain water.  It’s pretty awful.  Even Courtney Cox, long known for her dancing as the ‘Bruce Springsteen girl,’ wasn’t pulling off anything close to incredible moves.

It just looks very off.  And the fact that they then decided to continue to use this footage over and over again, year after year, combining it with actual footage where the characters (cast) do know each other and are comfortable with their roles just makes it look very, very FAKE.

Here they are having fun on set with their characters…let’s then show them awkwardly dancing seven years ago in a fountain!

Anyway I still love Friends…even if at their core most of them are just awful people.  It shows the quality of writing that these characters can usually not be good people (except Joey…and perhaps Pheobe) but you still root for them.

Now?  Now I’ve moved to Seinfeld.  Different opening sequence every time (when they bothered to do them at all later in the series).  Those characters are truly awful and truly amazing.  My solution?  Just watch more Seinfeld.