What “Friends” Would Survive “The Walking Dead?”


We had so much fund deciding who from The Office would survive The Walking Dead that we decided to give it another go.

The beloved characters from our favorite 90’s show grew up in the same world we occupy. It was safe, a little spunky, and somewhat predictable. No one gave death a second thought, and certainly no one had to plan an evacuation route in case of some sort of apocalypse, namely a zombie apocalypse. But, in the case of Friends, how would the characters reacted to the threat of a zombie invasion such as in The Walking Dead? Read on to find out.

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What I Learned From Michael Scott

969352_559944844057684_817672203_nOn March 25, 2005, Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, and the cast of Friends stepped out of sight of adoring fans to make room for the newest addition of what would become a multi-Emmy-winning sitcom, unlike any the United States had ever seen before. And it would continue for nine years, taking its final bow on May 15, 2013.

Admittedly, NBC’s The Office has been lagging for the past two years, but being diehard fans of the show, the Toy household is still sad to bid farewell. With the season finale airing tonight, I thought it would be appropriate to tip our hats to this prime time phenomenon.

I’d like to point out that with Michael Scott being the heartbeat of the show, I think it’s fair to say the show died the night he left us with the words, “Let me know if this ever airs.” The last two years have been merely a memorial service, trying to recapture the life that once existed, like harnessing the ghost of a once-lively person – but couldn’t. Some jokes given by the cast of eulogists were good, and many were bad. But tonight, we gather for the long-awaited burial.

I hope and expect to use up every hankie in the house.

I’m not ashamed that I think Michael Scott is one of the most depth-filled, widely developed, funniest TV characters of all time. (Okay, truth be told, if Sarabeth would let me, I would have a poster of him hanging up in our bedroom.) But just because you’re funny doesn’t mean you’re bright. And so, in honor of the show’s ending, I thought it would be fun to take a look back and remember some good times with the world’s best boss.

(Forgive me if this seems out of place on my blog, but I just can’t help paying homage to my favorite show. Office fans, read,  remember, and laugh.)


Don’t promise an entire class of kids that you’ll pay their college tuition until you have the funds to do so.

Don’t write an age-sensitive joke in a woman’s “bird-day” card.

Don’t conduct a meeting on obesity dressed in a fat suit.

If you’re going to fake-fire someone, make sure you have the punch-line right. (“You’ve been X’d, punk!”)

You can’t declare bankruptcy by yelling it.

Giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dead bird does nothing.

Clear it with your boss before you announce in front of the whole company what branch is closing down.

Don’t invite your friends/colleagues over to a dinner party if you’re forced to sleep at the end of the bed in your own house.

Don’t hold a roast in honor of yourself. It actually might hurt your feelings.

It is, in fact, a “dog-eat-dog” world, not a “doggie-dog” world.

Abraham Lincoln never said, “I will attack you with the north.” (Though it has long been our favorite Lincolnian saying in our house.)

If the building is presumptuously on fire, and you’re a man, and the manager, don’t be the first one to run outside like a frightened little girl.

If you’re going to a job fair to represent a paper company, you might want to have some paper with you.

Don’t hold the pizza delivery guy hostage just so you can get your discount.

Watch out for indoor ponds.

Goodbye Office. We will miss you and forever continue to watch your DVD’s.

Feel free to add your own favorite Office moments.

[Image Credit]

Two Families, Two World Views

parenthoodThe 90’s was an effort by most major broadcasting networks to take the spotlight away from family-themed television shows that dominated the 80’s and early 90’s. Now that that era is over, some shows are attempting to re-fix the spotlight back on the family – with a few twists.

Two prominent shows are in the spotlight today. NBC’s Parenthood and ABC’s Modern FamilyOn the surface the only stark differences are that one is a half-hour long comedy and the other is an hour-long drama. Both shows consist of mediocre-sized American families where the siblings are grown and trying to figure out adulthood, sometimes guided by the patriarchs of the clans (Parenthood lead by Craig T. Nelson from Coach and Modern Family lead by Ed O’ Neil of Married with Children fame).

Both shows thrive on the flaws of its endearing characters, but only one of them takes the flaws seriously enough to run with them and expose the consequences of the actions that many (if not all) viewers can relate to.

But after watching a few seasons of each show, a bigger difference seems to set them apart.

One show is lead by a man who never quite graduated socially from the seventh grade tv_modern_family01and who makes his son take the fall for looking at porn on the family computer. (More on this type of TV man, here.)The other show is led by a man who is trying to connect with his son who has Asperger’s syndrome, tries to protect his daughter from having premature sex, openly confesses his life to his wife, etc. A model family man.

One show features the patriarchs as working through past mistakes and getting counseling for extramarital affairs, and working at keeping their marriage together, while the other sends a clear message that you can divorce your wife to marry a much younger, more shapely woman to fit your insatiable appetite, with little (if any) consequence.

In NBC’s (and Ron Howard’s)  take on the family institution, the loose bullet of the family commits fornication on many occasions, and in ABC’s version, it is “progressive” to feature a homosexual couple living together, and starting a family by adopting a child.

What I appreciate about both shows is the attempt to reflect many American family situations happening today. (Or or we reflecting them? hmmm…. more about that here.) But Modern Family’s lackadaisical approach to family life is somewhat off-putting. Phil Dumphy’s eagerness to role play a fantasy scenario with his wife by “picking her up” at the bar overrides his ability to mind the well-being of his children. And it’s disgusting – they might as well just have an affair already. Phil’s jokes and slapstick crashes are funny at first, and it keeps the kids interested, but the not-so-subtle messages of the show will begin to cement into their heads.

While Daddy Dumphy is tripping on the stairs for the twelfth time, the younger viewers are getting the message that Grandpa was justified for divorcing Grandma for a younger woman and the gay guys living together is okay because it’s funny and they’re nice.

Modern Family = Funny show (which dies out). No consequences to serious actions. Stupidity, divorce, and homosexuality are all acceptable and without consequences.

Now, Parenthood has not addressed the issue of homosexuality (at least as far as I’ve seen it). Maybe it will come. But it does address very seriously the consequences of extramarital affairs and how that act can change and affect everybody. And although Crosby, the loose bullet, is a fornicator (though, honestly, they probably all were), he at least makes it right by marrying the mother of his child. There is repentance there, not acceptance.

The characters in Parenthood are constantly trying to change themselves for the better, not accepting the mistakes they make, and refuse to turn a blind eye to those who are living in the wrong.

Here’s the irony. Modern Family is intended for kids, and Parenthood has a handful of scenes that could pass for a PG-13 rating if released in theaters. But when you get down to the world views each show is projecting, I’d feel much safer letting my kids watch Parenthood. 

Of the two shows, it’s what my family has chosen to continue to watch.

[Parenthood Image Credit], [Modern Family Image Credit]