REDDIN: Now, ‘Friends’ is there for me too-ooo

This week, I did something I never thought I was going to. I watched “Friends.”

I imagine a good many of you are hung up on that last paragraph, so I’m going to clarify: Until this week, I’d never seen an episode of “Friends.” Ever.

While this may seem like an egregious lapse in my pop culture education, it’s not so unbelievable given that, during the majority of the series’ run, my favorite TV shows included “Pokemon,” “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “Yu-Gi-Oh.” To be fair, I did like “ER,” but I consider that the TV diamond in the cartoony rough, as long as we’re talking about the post-Clooney, pre-everyone-goes-to-Africa era.

The point is that I never bought into the “Friends” hype once I was old enough to appreciate it. By that time, the show was winding down, and I didn’t see the point in trying to jump onboard almost ten years late. It’d come up every so often in syndication, but I always flipped past, thinking it wasn’t worth the effort to try to understand the context of whichever of the hundreds of “Ones” I’d stumbled across.

Things, of course, changed. Part of the reason I never was interested in “Friends” was because I wasn’t especially interested in sitcoms in general. Now, on the other hand, I’m a “Scrubsie,” an “Office” drone, a “Modern Family” member, a “HIMYM” BFF — you get the picture.

(And a “30 Rock” lobster. Okay, I’m done now.)

TV watching also got a lot easier. Think about it: When “Friends” premiered, VHS was king of the world, and DVD was effectively a dream. Now, DVD is in danger of losing its crown to the Internet, due to both legal and illegal distribution.

It was the combination of these two changes that spurred me to give “Friends” a chance. So I picked up a free Netflix account and snagged the first season.

It surprised me by being neither excellent nor atrocious. True, being a firm adherent to the “How I Met Your Mother” style of sitcom — complete with story arcs, linear progressions, and clearly denoted A-, B-, and C-plots — the pilot’s disjointed, multinarrative structure threw me. But by the end I still wanted to watch another episode, and so I did.

In the middle of the second one, I realized why I didn’t have any interest in the show before, and why I couldn’t help but watch more now: I’ve started writing my age with a squiggle instead of a straight line.

“Friends” didn’t appeal to me when I was younger because I was younger. It’s still not particularly easy to relate to living in New York City in the ’90s — especially if I’m supposed to suspend disbelief long enough to buy that Monica has an apartment that looks more appealing than my house back home — but it’s getting easier to relate to a bunch of young city-folk who have no idea what they’re doing with their lives.

Am I going to turn into a “Friends” junkie and live my life according to the Way of Ross? Of course not. I may be only a handful of episodes in, but this is a sitcom. I already know those people are messed up.

But pretty soon, I’ll be out in the real world, just like them. And it can’t hurt to watch someone else screw it up worse than I hope to.

So I’m watching “Friends” now. It’s a little hectic. There’s too many things happening at once. I feel like I’ve been thrown right into the middle of the story.

No one told me “Friends” was gonna be this way. Or life.