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Continuing my season by season review of Friends, I will move on to Seaton 3. In this season of the hugely successful American sitcom, the six twenty something characters are very well established with the viewers, and the writers are able to enjoy longer, more serialised storylines, showing us even more depth and reality to their lives. So these six singleton friends live their lives in the west village area of New York, hanging out in “Central Perk” their favourite coffee house, or in Monica and Rachel’s large apartment. We follow their amusing dating mishaps, their comic career failings or successes, and the always entertaining interaction with each other.
Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green
Courteney Cox as Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer as Ross Geller
In series 1 the cast had been paid $22,500 per episode, and then in series 2 each actor’s salary was privately negotiated. In this season 3, the six member of the cast realised their collective power and began joint salary negotiations and agreed a price of $75,000 per episode, which was reputedly a drop for David Schwimmer and Jennifer Anniston. The success of this type of negotiation continued, eventually earning them syndication rights as well, until the final series 10, meaning the six became a tight nit trusting group of friends in real life as well as on screen.
===Special guest stars===
Watch out for these famous names appearing either as themselves or as short term or recurring characters: Tom Seleck, Isabella Rossellini, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, David Arquette, Ben Stilher, Eliot Gould and Terri Garr, amongst others.
===1. The one with the Princess Leia fantasy===
Ross reveals an unusual sexual fantasy to Rachel, which she promptly reveals to the whole group. Monica is suffering from insomnia and Chandler wants everyone to like his annoying girlfriend Janice, who he is now dating regularly again.
===2. The one where no one’s ready===
This episode was filmed entirely in the girl’s apartment, reputedly due to a diminishing budget. Ross is taking everyone to an important banquet at the museum, but none of the group seem capable of getting ready on time.
===3. The one with all the jam===
Monica pulls herself out of the break-up doldrums by making enormous amounts of jam. Phoebe makes friends with her stalker.
===4. The one with the metaphorical tunnel===
Phoebe impersonates Joey’s agent over the phone and is actually more successful at it. Chandler gets freaked out when his relationship with Janice starts to get serious.
===5. The one with Franks Jr===
Phoebe tries to get to know her newly discovered half-brother. Joey decides to use his spare time building an entertainment centre for the boys flat.
===6. The one with the flashback===
When Janice asks if the close group of friends have ever slept with each other, we flashback to 3 years earlier to before Rachel had joined the group and when Joey had just moved in as a new flatmate for Chandler.
===7. The one with the race car bed===
Monica goes behind Chandlers back and buys a new bed from Janice’s ex-husband. Rachel unsuccessfully attempts to get her father and Ross to bond.
===8. The one with the giant poking device===
When the group notice that their fat nudist neighbour seems to be comatose, they think he may be dead, so they invent a way of finding out. Joey has to tell Chandler that he saw his girlfriend, Janice, kissing her ex-husband.
Friends is one of the most iconic and loved TV series of all time, with millions upon millions of viewers all over the world. Although it ended back in 2004, repeats are still shown almost constantly on a variety of channels and so it's almost impossible to avoid even eight years after the finale. I absolutely adored Friends when I was younger and so, as a fan, I also have a lot of the DVDs and often find myself going back to episodes that I know and love and watching them again. I have to say that I massively preferred the first five series to the ones that follow them and so I usually watch earlier series when I get the chance. I remember the third series being one of my particular favourites and so when I recently got a craving to watch Friends, this is the series I went for.
== Friends ==
I assume that most of you if not all of you are familiar with Friends so will not provide a proper description of the programme as I normally would. Set and filmed in the 1990s and first half of the last decade, Friends is a sitcom revolving around a group of six friends (hence the name) who live in Manhattan in New York City. Over the ten series these three men and three women have lots of ups and downs and relationships with each other.
== Friends Series 3 Episodes 1-8 ==
At the start of the third series, Ross and Rachel are together, Chandler is back with Janice and Monica is very low following her breakup from her boyfriend Richard at the end of the second series. Since they broke up due to her wanting a baby and him not, but they still really loved each other, she finds it very hard to get over him. The first eight episodes of this series are some of my favourites in the whole ten series and I enjoy those from this series in particular as they were made after they had found their groove and before the characters started to become parodies of themselves in the later series.
The first episode is The One With The Princess Leia Fantasy. This is a great episode to open the new series, and involves Ross and Rachel sharing their sexual fantasies, and Ross being embarrassed when Rachel shares his with their friends. Monica is also very depressed over her break up with Richard and finds it hard to get on with her life, but there's still a touch of comedy to her sadness.
The second episode is The One Where No One's Ready, which was set in real time and all takes place in Monica's apartment, where the gang are getting ready to go to a dinner at which Ross is giving a speech. They all take a bit too long to get dressed, however, and Ross's stress that they're going to be late mounts. I enjoyed the fact that this episode was set in real time as it made it a bit different from the average episode, as well as the story and character interplay being very good.
The third episode, The One With The Jam, largely revolves around Monica making lots of jam to distract herself, and therefore also Joey eating a lot of Jam. Phoebe also meets one of her sister's exes. This is also a very good episode but I have to say that I preferred the other two a bit. In the fourth episode, The One With The Metaphorical Tunnel, Chandler confronts his issues with commitment in his relationship with Janice. His issues in this area are a common theme in later series as well but are made apparent in this episode, which is a good one with lots of comedy and laugh out loud moments. I also enjoyed the sixth episode, The One With Frank Jr., in which Phoebe tries to develop more of a relationship with her brother, which backfires slightly when they have little in common and he then misinterprets what she does for a living.
'The One With The Flashback' comes next and, unsurprisingly from the episode title, takes the form of a flashback to one day a year before the pilot episode took place, and shows how several of the six friends nearly had sex with each other, but it doesn't quite work out. This is an enjoyable episode as it shows how things were before Rachel arrived and although there are a couple of things that don't ring true, it was an interesting episode that I really liked. The seventh episode then is 'The One With The Race Car Bed', which sees Joey start teaching soap acting classes and Monica wanting to buy a bed on sale, despite it being sold by Janice's soon-to-be ex husband's company. I really liked this episode though it was a bit silly. The last episode included in this DVD set is 'The One With The Giant Poking Device', in which Chandler receives some news regarding Janice, and Phoebe is afraid to go to the dentist as in the past several of her friends have died while she was in the chair. I really liked this episode and thought that it made a good end to these eight episodes and had a few laugh out loud moments as well.
== Conclusion ==
As I said earlier, these are some of my favourites from the entire ten series run, with The One Where No One's Ready being a particular stand out episode for me. Watching these episodes again really reminds me of how much I used to love watching Friends when I was a child and then teenager and I'm amazed to see how little the programme has aged in terms of how much I enjoy watching it. Watching such great episodes does make me nostalgic and a bit annoyed about how poor in comparison later the later series were. In these earlier series, yes Monica is very much into cleanliness, Joey likes sex and pizza and Ross gets bothered by a few things, but these attributes become exaggerated far too much in later series and these characters seem to become caricatures of themselves. While Friends wasn't terrible in the later series, it wasn't as good as it was as early on as this, and I wonder why it and shows like The Simpsons dip in quality so when other series like Frasier can run for over ten years and, despite a couple of poorer episodes, get better if anything.
Anyway, the fact remains that these are eight great episodes which I highly recommend. This DVD is available on Amazon used from only £1.27 inc. posting and packaging, which I would say is an absolutely bargain price for eight great episodes. Of course, if you are interested in buying Friends on DVD you're more likely to want to buy the entire series, which can be bought on the same site for £8.99, which is also a very reasonable price.