I Was There for Her

31 Mar

Most people who know me know just how much I love the TV show Friends. I know, I know. Who doesn’t love Friends? So don’t worry, I won’t use this space to try and prove why I’m a bigger fan than you are. I’ll just remind you that the Boston Globe selected me as one of the four biggest fans in Boston during the show’s final season, and featured me four times in the paper that year (including this time and this time).

Why do I bring this up now? It’s to help explain why I went back to Brandeis Monday night to see a movie called Blessed Is the Match. The film is a documentary about Hannah Senesh, a 22-year-old woman who was captured by the Nazis while attempting to rescue Jewish people behind enemy lines in her native country of Hungary. But it’s not the subject that appealed to me, it was the film’s executive producer — Marta Kauffman, one of the three creators of Friends and a Brandeis alumnus (class of 1978). I’m happy to report that the film’s good and all, but to be honest, I was there to get some dirt on the show.

You’ll be relieved to know that when L.A. Times blogger Scott Feinberg finished his Q&A and turned the questioning over to the audience, I didn’t stand right up and blurt out, “So when’s the Friends reunion going to happen?” In fact, because most of the inquiries were serious and had to do with the film itself, I resisted the urge to ask any questions. Instead, I let one of the students in the crowd ask the only Friends-related question, and it was one of the more cliched ones: Is it true that Central Perk was inspired by the on-campus cafe Cholmondeleys? This has been an on-campus legend for years and a staple of admissions tours. Heck, it’s even perpetuated by Wikipedia. Well, Kauffman put the legend to rest once and for all: No, it’s not true. Chum’s was quite different back in her day, and the inspiration for Central Perk actually came from L.A.’s Insomnia Cafe. So there you have it.

But Marta wasn’t going to get out of the room without me speaking with her, so when the program ended, I joined the hordes of students who had brought DVD sets and cameras and I waited my turn. While waiting, I learned that Marta’s all-time favorite line from the show was “It’s a moo point.” Then, as she started to make her way out the door, I finally got my chance to remind Marta that I had interviewed her for the Justice back in the fall of 1994, shortly after Friends debuted (true story). And instead of asking her that cheesy question I was thinking of, I just said to her, simply, “Thanks. Thanks for ‘Pivot!,’ for trapping Chandler in the vestibule with Jill Goodacre, for the episode “The One Where Mr. Heckles Dies,’ and just for creating such a great show that I still love.” She’s obviously heard it many times before, and she was in a rush to get out of there after listening to similar commentary from all the other fans in the crowd. But I said what I wanted to, and I was happy.

So, a pretty cool night for me.

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