Which is your favourite FRIENDS character? Next time you are asked that, behold! It is a trick question. It’s a great way to strike a conversation, find some common ground (What?! You are not a FRIENDS fan? Shortest conversation ever!).
The trick behind it is that the person asking either wants to know what you connect with most, what you aspire to be, or simply what you are all about.Sometimes it is to communicate what the asking party is like, in a quick non-judgemental manner. Would you call yourself ‘flaky’? No! But you wouldn’t mind calling yourself ‘Phoebe’. See the difference? (I am flaky I’ll say anything!)
The truth is, we identify with certain characters, songs, films, poems, stories. We look for characters that are like us, and hinge our solace on the way their story progresses. Whether it’s Dumbledore, Snape, McGonagall, Hermione or Fudge forbid Voldemort, our qualities or personality traits that are similar have been pointed out by those close to us.
Many times I have overheard people talk about the four diverse girls in Sex and the City. They are laughing and slotting their friends into the four categories and people deny or defend themselves. Why? It’s because they don’t like how that particular character’s story is progressing, or many times, how it ends. Sometimes they want to guard their personal life or traits, and don’t want to be easily branded as ‘Samantha , Carrie, Charlotte or Miranda’.
Popular culture has and always will play a role in the lives of those who consume it. So far I have been talking of Western content. (Some eyes are relaxing now, as the real stuff comes to the fore!) Hindi cinema and songs have had and continue to have a bigger impact on me. When I am not with my 6 friends at Central Perk or laughing at insults from Karen Walker, where Jack McFarland jumps around, Grace Adler stuffs her face and Will Truman looks upset and uninterested, I enjoy watching Hindi cinema, both old and new and I love Hindi songs! (Come on! The Lyrics are so much more meaningful! Eyes roll all around).
Whether its romantic classics or comedy capers, we all have a ‘Raj & Simran’ aspiration, a ‘Raveena Karishma Bajaj Gogo’ laughline, ‘Anjali & Rahul’ friendship, ‘Naina Catherine Kapoor Patel’ saga or ‘Rahul Pooja Nisha’ triangle that we like or enjoy watching more than once. What I have noticed without meaning to highlight, is that many times, we hide behind our favourite characters. We would all like to be someone else but settle for what we are popularly thought to be, because most stories do turn out ok, so even ours will, right?
But real life is not written by a team of writers playing to the ratings. You are the only audience, writer, director and the main lead of your show. Many times people become the side act, step up, take centre stage. It’s your story and you should get to say it! Yes by all means use the metaphors and references you are comfortable with, but create your own madness!
Having said that, will every Monica meet a guy like Chandler? I would like to believe so.