Enemy of the Week

Fiends

No more palling around.

By 5.7.04

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When you have Friends who needs enemies? Last night marked the end of the longest run of inanity since the last time Ted Koppel practiced listening to himself speak in front of his shaving mirror.

Even Enemy Central was suckered into watching the festive signoff. Not having seen the show before we weren't certain what to expect. One thing we didn't expect at all is that it would be more moronic than Sesame Street. The Friends crew managed to project all the intelligence of six pre-school dropouts who never resumed their schooling. Our sincere apologies go out to Bert and Ernie and the two dodos in Dumb and Dumber. Next to Friends you're somewhere up there with Einstein and Hillary.

Evidently the Friends sextet spent its latter years swapping partners within the collective. Two of them had just spent a dreamy night together. It was so good that neither could express his or her feelings for the other. Instead in sappy detail each described to the rest what it was they'd done. In this day and age it's amazing they didn't share digital photos and videos. No one owned a leash? Anyway, the gal then prepared to fly off to Paris, where she'd heard through the grapevine that a lot more behavior of this sort goes on. Her male dolt lover boy is then compelled to chase after her to prevent her flying off. No one knows why, since even if they hooked up again they wouldn't have an apartment to go back to.

The other subplot centered on another of the show's couples who somehow managed to get married. It's never explained who filled out their marriage license for them. But clearly they seemed clueless about what to do once married. More likely they reached the critical decision resolved last night the same way that modern marrieds do when they decide to build an add-on to their split level or maybe a sun-porch: they decided to have themselves a baby. Not theirs, really, but a young girl's. So there we all were in the hospital room with these three and the girl's obstetrician (humiliatingly played by the great Arthur Rubinstein's son, according to our spy-cam) while in no time at all out pops the consumer item baby -- who, as an unexpected bonus, is presently followed by a twin. Wow, two for the price of one!

The actual mother? She's sent away with a parting gift and a promise by the larcenous parents that they'll call her. If they were going to do it that way, why not have a stork do the delivering? At least then we'd still be in the realm of the recognizably human.

Too late, you say? True, Friends week had to contend with Katie Couric and all the other hypers at NBC exploiting the demise of the network's longest-running remedial sitcom. Katie interviewed all the stars, one by one by one. Not having watched the segments with the females, we can't say if she gave them equal time. But with the men all that 50-ish Katie, going on 15, could say is that he or some other hunk was "hot." Sex on the brain? That assumes the presence of a cranium.

Furthermore, it's no accident that Tipper's best friend Al decided this week to announced his great television project and his desire to produce programming for young people. As always, Al was thinking about Bill and how to keep him entertained. These aren't easy days for Bill, crashing as he must be to complete his autobiographical masterpiece, "War and Piece," by the June 30 deadline, after which it becomes the property of the Iraqi Governing Council.

Mercifully, next to no one had the wit to exploit the demise of Friends for partisan political purposes. So it's time to meet Mr. Next to No One, one Thomas Friedman, the most impolitic diplomatic columnist imaginable. He favored war in Iraq yet blames others for its ongoing difficulties. Quicker than you could say John Kerry he was calling for Donald Rumsfeld's firing. He's worried that everyone in the world now hates us. Even young Japanese he's talked to. In his New York Times column yesterday he said it's no surprise so many Americans were obsessed with the Friends finale. "They're the only friends we have, and even they're leaving." You've got to admit that's a better line than any written for the show itself. Just for that Friedman fails to qualify. We're thus back where we started. With Friends like those, we know who's the Enemy.

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