Seinfeld is better than Friends. Let me just make that crystal clear from the get go. I just couldn’t find the Seinfeld font so I had to use… Sigh… the Friends font.
I’ve officially been living in the US for three months now (one month in Vegas, two in LA) and it’s been hard adjusting. I lived in Toronto my whole life, born and raised. My friends, family, and professional network are all out there. My favorite drug store, Shoppers Drug Mart (I miss collecting Optimum Points). Fourth favorite coffee, Tim Hortons. An actually GREAT subway system, TTC. Sorry, got a little sidetracked.
Now because of the different time zones, if a wrench is thrown my way (i.e. a dilemma), most likely friends and family aren’t awake to chat. Sure, I can chat with my LA friends, but it takes time to be completely honest and transparent with new people – so I hold back.
Well this brings me to the point of this post. Nobody can really tell you how to deal with it. Not many people know exactly what you’re going through and their “advice” comes off as cliche and almost disingenuous. After connecting with loads of friends back in Toronto and sharing my concerns, they say that I shouldn’t be stressing out – “Your life is like a fuckin’ sitcom! You just randomly decided to up and leave Toronto and now you live in LA. I don’t know what’s more sitcom-y than that.” When it comes to my relationships? Friends say they’re like romantic comedies. If these are opinions from outsiders, well it gave me something to think about and has sort of helped me put things into perspective.
But first, below is the fountain from the opening shot in Friends. It’s in Burbank, California – an hour drive from my home.
I asked my friend, “Can you elaborate?”
Her: “You live in LA. Recently just moved from Toronto. You’re meeting new people, and it’s on you to decide whether these are regular characters or just side characters.”
Me: “Okay, go on.”
Her: “That story you told me about H, it’s crazy, yes, but it’s so sitcom-y. Especially when he brought you to the stripper coffee shop after you said you didn’t want to go, and you told him, ‘Bro, that’s not very bro.’ I couldn’t stop cracking up. Or that date you went on, and when the waiter came by with the dessert plate and two spoons while your date was putting change in the parking meter, you muttering to him, ‘No no, take back one of the spoons. I’m not enjoying dessert with her.’ And just imagining the characters you’re telling me about – especially the waiter at the restaurant. It’s so vivid to me. That’s gold!”
Me: “Haha, you do make a point. Oh and he had wavy hair, and a moustache. I should probably be friends with him.
It has been hella interesting what I’ve been able to do. And right now I’m currently on the hunt for regular characters. And I’m looking for the conflict of this season. I’m also trying to see what I want out of my life – that does sound like an interesting sitcom synopsis.”
Sure, maybe it’s dismissive to look at your problems and simply categorize them into sitcom format: the teaser, the trouble, the muddle, the triumph/failure, and the kicker. And instead of actually putting action into place to solve your problems, you put a sitcom mask on top of it. It may not work for everyone.
But at this point in my journey, I think it’ll be super helpful for me. If you’re not able to step back and look at yourself as the protagonist of your own sitcom, even just as a laugh and exercise, I’d say you’re not being creative enough.
Sitcoms have helped us learn a lot about life:
Friends has taught us: not to be afraid of taking risks; too much pizza is never enough pizza; honesty is the best policy; coffee is one of life’s necessities; don’t give up on your dreams; and the best way to move a sofa is to pivot – pivot – pivot.
Seinfeld, the more random lessons: it’s not about taking the reservations, it’s about HOLDING the reservations; you can quit your job and go back in on Monday like nothing ever happened; never ever double dip a chip in public; watch out for close talkers; skinny jeans aren’t for everyone; and find humor in the little things.
I can honestly say in the last few years, I’ve been able to tell who are recurring characters and who are only with me for a season (or two). My synopsis is ever evolving, the lessons I’m learning are a plenty, and I’m trying to make peace with that.
If you can’t see your own life as a sitcom, you’re not having enough fun.
Is this something you can apply to your own life? Why or why not?
Check back soon as I plan on breaking down my last ten years into sitcom synopses.