So, after I wrote my all over the board post on “House” and Dr. Cuddy’s adoption, I started thinking about what other tv shows I’ve seen that has adoption in them and I immediately thought of “Friends” As much as Friends has done things wrong and that their adoption storyline is still seeped in privilege I thought they created a good scene to explore both the rights of the birth mother and the desire of the couple who wants a child. Monica and Chandler go in to meet the birth mother only to find out that she thinks they are a different couple where the wife is a reverend and the father is a doctor. Monica immediately goes along with it and Chandler follows but they have a short but intense discussion in their hotel room after
Video starts with meeting of the birth mother and the argument is at 3:11.
I really enjoyed this because I do believe that individuals that adopt are doing it for the best and most pure reasons but it’s an emotional situation where there is always the chance that someone can become exploited (most often the birth mother). You have issues where you are unsure if the mother really wants to give up the child, issues of how much say you have before and during the actual birth of the baby, and how much information is given to the potential adoptive parents.
Monica’s plea is that of a mother who desperately wants a child. Someone who has always wanted to be a mother, was denied that by her body and wants, somehow, to fulfill that wish. It is understandable that she is reluctant to ask too many questions about the integrity of the situation. The woman is giving up her baby, it shouldn’t matter that she knows where it really goes, Monica knows she will love the baby unconditionally. It is easy, in that desire, to ignore others in the situation, to forget that what you want and desire is coming at someone else’s sacrifice and expense.
Chandler becomes the voice of reason in the scenario. He wants a baby desperately as well, but he also recognizes that it is not just their desires and needs in the situation. That this is not shopping at a store. Someone else’s, body, emotions, and possible peace of mind is involved in this process. His simple statement that she has a right to know where her baby is going is simple but effective. Erica’s decision to take part in this type of adoption agency shows that she is concerned about what life her baby will lead. She is not dropping a child off at a hospital in Nebraska, she is utilizing her right as the birth mother to say what happens to her body and where anything it produces ends up.
Obviously, this is the type of adoption only rich white people can engage in, and is sterilized to be funny but I think that it actually has some merit in looking at adoption. I feel that in the beginning Friends really was a smart effective show, towards the middle they lost their way and relied on cardboard character but I feel that they really gained some realism again in some ways with the last two seasons.
Also, the side plot with Ross wearing a women’s shirt is a pretty big statement on Gender norms and their effect on clothing. Ross is comfortable in a women’s shirt and does not care what others think until he realizes it is supposed to be for a woman. I don’t see any clearer statement that our clothes are dictated by what others think of as normal and not as what feels comfortable and right.