There is a common collection of questions one might ask when getting to know another.
“What do you do for work?”
“Where did you grow up?”
“What sports team do you root for?”
Amongst this ritualistic curiosity typically comes the question “What TV shows do you like?”. Most everyone has one simmering on the surface. Some gravitate toward dry humor such as The Office. Others find comfort in cringy reality TV and the ridiculousness the cameras tend to catch. Then there are folks like me who have a show running on repeat for the rest of forever. Without a doubt that show is Friends. It’ my lullaby, my Sunday morning cartoon, and the cozy noise that hums in the background of a particularly lonesome or lazy day.
I had a handful of friends painfully reach out to me Saturday night to gently share the news of Matthew Perry’s death. Their pensiveness was endearing, and it’s made me thoughtful of our connections to the actors and actresses that play such subconscious (or sometimes all consumingly conscious) roles within our life stories. Media is as blended into our identities as the colors of our eyes. Quotable moments of movies, episodes, and blurbs circulate our thoughts. They are the essence of our generic coping tools.
I didn’t discover Friends until I was in college. Each character was differently relatable, and each episode brought such random and cozy comfort. No matter the chaotic rhetoric of the day, Friends was undeniably always there for you. Twelve years later, and the motely crew continues their jovial meanderings as my bedtime story.
When we think of secure attachments, it’s the consistent and reliable presence of a caretaker within our early years. Our attachment styles predict our tendencies to form certain types of relationships within our adult lives. For many, attachment styles stray from secure and lean more into the insecure styles led by anxiety, avoidance, or overarching disorganization. Not only did Friends showcase each type of attachment style, but they did so in an approachable and relatable manner. In a way, the cast was present for so many people when others in their lives were not or could not be.
(Hop over to Different Spectrums Podcast to listen to the episode where I had the delightful honor of exploring attachment styles within Friends with lovely humans if you’re curious.)
Motion pictures in all forms have the potential to provide security. This is something that is an innate human craving. We need connections for survival. When our realities contribute uneasy insecurities, it is valid that we turn to worlds that offer stability. Predictability. Endings we can expect.
Matthew Perry was one of those contributors to peace. So many sought solstice within the confides of his humor. His projected spotty self-esteem. His profound love. His masked pain.
Rest easy Friend. Enjoy a hot cup of joe with Gunther for us.