The TV show Friends was obviously a huge hit back in the day, and was one that my wife and I made a point out of catching every week. Thursdays at 7 p.m. if I remember correctly.
And recently it showed up on Netflix for our bingeing pleasure. So I popped myself some popcorn and went to town. It’s always weird in some way to go back to a cultural artifact that used to have meaning to you and reinterpret it as an older person with more experience.
In general, you know what? season one and two of Friends were really solid—that was a tight show. But the wheels came off pretty quick after that as the show ran out of ideas. Something you feel very urgently when you’re bingeing a show, but the realization comes much more slowly when you’re on a drip line being fed one episode a week with breaks for summer.
Be that as it may, my big revelation was during a show where the character Monica dates one of her father’s friends, played by Tom Selleck. I’ve now seen that show as a person about the same age as Monica and as a person about the same age as Tom Selleck’s character.
That is a disconcerting feeling.
To add to the time warp, I watched Aziz Ansari’s show Master of None (also on Netflix). If you’re not familiar, it’s about two young men in New York City, one of Asian descent and one of South Asian, as they navigate the beginning of adulthood. It’s pretty good.
But one of the themes of the show is our two protagonists dealing with their fathers who are both immigrants and trying to keep their offspring somewhat in tune with their own cultures.
And I realized, I’m not the two main characters, I’m the immigrant dad.
How did I become the immigrant dad?
And then I went outside and yelled at a cloud.
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