Friends: The Complete Sixth Season
October 13, 2002
Those fabulous Friends we all know and love so well are back in a box set of DVDs that collects all of the episodes from the sixth season of this immensely popular television show. When we last left them, in season five, they went to Las Vegas to support Joey (LeBlanc) after an acting gig on an independent film fell through. Ross (Schwimmer) and Rachel (Aniston) pulled a Britney Spears and got married after a drunken night out. Once everyone returns to New York City, Chandler (Perry) moves in with Monica (Cox Arquette). They kick Rachel out and she moves in with Ross. The prevalent storyline that runs throughout the entire season is Chandler and Monica’s relationship that develops to the point where he proposes marriage to her in the season finale.
Once again, Joey and Chandler are responsible for some of the funniest episodes of the season. “The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance” is a comical episode that deals with how important health insurance is in the United States. LeBlanc steps up and gets a lot of comedic mileage out of dealing with a hernia, including going on acting auditions in an increasingly worsening state. Like any good comedy, there are serious issues lurking underneath that informs the surface humour—Joey didn’t work enough in the past year and so his health insurance ran out, which is dangerous in a country where it costs so much money to even be examined by a doctor. Perry, with his sardonic sense of humour, plays off LeBlanc so well in this episode. They make a really good comedic team, which the writers of the show wisely capitalize on whenever possible.
Alas, Ross continues his slippery slide into annoyingville. He does have his moments, though. He is actually quite funny in “The One With Ross’s Teeth” where he whitens his teeth to impress a date. However, his teeth are blindingly bright and glow in the dark, which makes for an amusing situation. In the same episode, much humour is derived from Joey adjusting to life with a female roommate (Elle Macpherson) and her attempts to re-decorate his apartment (she informs him that potpourri is not for eating).
Monica and Rachel get their fair share of screen time and significant story arcs with Phoebe (Kudrow) suffering as a result. Rachel’s job at Ralph Lauren is mined for a lot of comedic gold and Monica has her relationship with Chandler as a source of a lot of humour. Phoebe has her story arcs but they are minor at best and aren’t as memorable as the other characters’ ones. It isn’t until her relationship with Mike (Paul Rudd), in recent seasons, that she has finally been given a significant and meaningful storyline.
The second DVD features an audio commentary on “The One Where Ross Got High” with executive producers Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane. They talk about their love of Thanksgiving episodes because they are the ones that usually involve just the six friends and allow the writers to create all sorts of banter between them as they prepare dinner. The producers also talk about the challenge of juggling multiple stories in one room for the entire episode. They contribute additional commentaries on the third and fourth DVDs on special hour-long episodes.
“Friends of Friends” features interviews with some of the significant guest supporting cast, including Monica and Ross’ parents, played by Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles. They talk about their characters and how they interact with the main cast.
The “Gag Reel” is the strongest extra on the set in what is traditionally the weakest element because blown lines and physical mistakes reek of a you-had-to-be-there kind of vibe. However, long-time fans of the show will find this blooper reel to be very entertaining as the cast cracks each other up through various mistakes.
Also included is a trivia game in the style of various casino games (i.e. blackjack, roulette) that will test your knowledge of Friends arcana.
Fans of this long-running show will no doubt enjoy this box set; however, the lack of substantial extras is a bit of a disappointment. Still, the episodes are the thing and it is nice to watch them without commercials and in their entirety.