Farr Side: Sitcoms devalue marriage, sex

Meghan Farr is a sophomore journalism major and writes "Farr Side" for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily represent those of the newspaper.

OK, I have been watching "Friends" on and off since it started when I was in junior high.

And yes, I, along with many of my girlfriends, even had the "Rachel" hairstyle. Not until the season finale last Thursday, however, did it dawn on me how incredibly demoralizing the show is.

I watched the finale with three of my girlfriends and we gasped and screamed when Joey accidentally proposed to Rachel. Our eyes did well up when Ross kissed Rachel after the baby was born. And we "awwwed" when Monica gave Rachel the name "Emma" -- the name she had planned to call her own first daughter since she was 14. But twenty minutes after the show ended, it just hit me.

Hidden beneath the most fashionable and copied trendsetters of my years growing up, are immoral and dysfunctional characters that so many people just idolize.

Let's do a "Friends" recap:

*Ross's ex-wife divorces him after she is pregnant with his baby and decides she wants to be with her lesbian lover.

*Ross and Rachel start dating. Break up. Get back together, and then break up.

*Ross marries an English woman -- Emily -- but the marriage ends over her jealousy between him and Rachel.

* Ross and Rachel get drunk and get hitched Vegas style, but Ross is forced to annul the marriage.

*Rachel and Ross have a little too much to drink one night (once again) and this time Rachel winds up pregnant.

That's three marriages for Ross, and two children who will now grow up in dysfunctional households.

*Rachel, then, realizes in Thursday night's season finale that she is a single mother. This worries her, so when Joey -- who has a had crush on Rachel for some time "accidentally" proposes, she says "yes" -- I am guessing solely for the purpose of not being alone.

Yeah, like that marriage would really last.

No big deal. Just get a divorce. We'll see next season.

All of this hits me while I was watching the season finale of "Will and Grace." OK. So Will, who is gay, lives with his best friend Grace, who is straight. They decide they want to have a baby. First, they try artificial insemination.

This is too "clinical" for Grace, so they decide to have sex.

After their two side-kick wacky friends Jack and Karen find out about their decision to conceive, they decorate a hotel room for them. When Will and Grace enter the room, Jack and Karen are sitting in chairs at the front of the bed with popcorn and binoculars as if they are going to watch some kind of sporting event. Is sex really that casual these days?

They decide it's too awkward since they are best friends.

Does anyone value marriage, sex and family at all anymore? It sure doesn't seem like it.

It seems dysfunctional-ism has become a trend.

I understand there are people who have extenuating circumstances, that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about promoting these lifestyles of sex -- whenever and with whoever -- and masking it beneath trendy characters who really just have a lot of issues.

And it's not like these shows help people to learn how to deal with the outcomes of their choices. It always works out perfect on television, and that is not how it is in real life.

Write to Meghan at mefarr@bsu.edu


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