Dahng-dah-na-na-nah-nah-na-na-na...(that's the opening riff of the classic Remembrandts' theme in case you were wondering). Let that sink in for a sec.
And it's time we take this hilarity of a column and focus the lens on this legendary sitcom of the 1990s. So, without further ado, here you have it: The cast of "Friends" as wines.
Ross. Oh, Ross. The nice guy. Successful, sweet, innocent, a little sad, romantic; he wants to do the right thing. But, Ross is just, you know, a tad pathetic sometimes. The puppy dog eyes. The looks of despair and disappointment. With the best of intentions, a lot going for him, decent genes, but that slight lack of, shall we say, 'oomph', Ross Geller is definitely from the new world...we're gonna say Argentinian Malbec. Yes, there are some fabulous examples. They can be tasty. But there's a glut of the ordinary, and I wouldn't describe them as powerful. Overly soft, cushy, and a little sensitive. But, the intentions...get you drunk and try to emulate the big, ballsy, Cabernet Sauvignons from Napa that cost 5-6 times as much. Noble. Just not always delivered. But we see it and we smile and say, "how cute"...
The female Geller's disposition does not mirror her big, floppy, golden retriever-like brother, Ross. Monica is sharp. Precise. Looks that can kill. Is that just me? I think not. Pardon the bias, but Monica was my TV crush, even though everyone else I knew was in love with Rachel. I also happen to love Chandler, so we've got that in common. Monica is a French wine. She shares the wacky sense of humour of the show and is a common driver of that very humour, so it's not the seriousness of Bordeaux, but she's not quite as clumsy as some of the overripe, gluggable reds from the South...there's room for fun. Let's go with Tavel, the deeper, richer, rosé wine from the Southern Rhône Valley. Plenty of fun, but with a little more extraction, also plenty of character. These can sublimely fit into any living situation or New York apartment...or the set of a sitcom.
Everyone's favourite neurotic. Chandler...BING! The anxiety. The nervousness. The adorable defensiveness. The Matthew Perry-ness. And the bowling shirts. Chandler is great fun. I have heard some of my colleagues describe wines as "nervous" in the past, so I've gotta go with something that could be described as such in the case of Mr. Bing. Which leads me to Pet-Nat. If a Pet-Nat isn't the definition of nerves, I don't know what is. Many a winemaker would describe the production of new, hip, pet-nats as a defense mechanism that attempts to cover some flaws in winemaking and viticulture, and by virtue of their in-bottle petulance and their organically living nature, they're liable to fly off the handle and bubble over at any time. I personally find them to be a blast, and I love the quirkiness that can arise from them. Just like Chandler.
The mystic of the bunch, Phoebe is in touch with another plane of existence. She understands the un-understandable, much like she is often at risk of being not just misunderstood, but freaking out a few passers by. But she's perhaps the most lovable and honest of the characters on the show, with nary a mean bone in her body. Haywire? For sure. Haywire-good? Definitely. She's definitely on the minimal-intervention scale, and we're going with Orange Wine. Something that involves a blend of whatever was available. The kitchen sink. But still, she has roots in historically influenced, spiritual, and nostalgic ideas, much like winemakers using clay amphora for fermentation and skin-aging. Sometimes, these wines come out with magical qualities that induce pure delight, against all odds, logic, and without a shred of desire to conform. Phoebe is one of these wines.
The haircut. The haircut. The haircut that defined an era. It doesn't take a genius to see that Jennifer Anniston has also aged better than any celebrity in history, with the possible exception of Julia Louis-Dreyfus. But back to Rachel. Stylin', sexy, smart, matter-of-fact, and romantic. Ross & Rachel. Has any other couple had such a ring to it? She's lovable, and when she's out there on TV, lookin' for love, you always wanted the best for her. She's a true classic. Rachel might just be the most lasting image of the sitcom. We're giving her the full points in relation to her peers and going with one of our personal favourite classics: Meursault. 'Nuff said.
How you doin'? Say it with me now: How youuuu dooooinnnn'? Pure fun, cheese, nostalgia, and goofyness. Joey Tribbiani can only be that Straw Basket Chianti that you buy when you're trying to fall in love with wine and drink like they do in any Italian-American themed New York movie. It's probably insipid, sour, and faulted because it's been sitting on top of the fridge for wayyy too long. But it doesn't matter. Because HOW YOUU DOINNNN'?
And there you have it, folks. Long live the 90s.