I watched a rerun of Friends today. It wasn’t funny. At all. Which isn’t to say that I never liked the show, but smug humor doesn’t age well. And I was mildly annoyed with its complacent tone even back in the nineties. “People get paid for writing this?” I wondered. “Hell, stuff a wad of cash in my fist and I’ll write lazy, sarcastic one-liners till the cows come home!” But graver still than ten seasons of crime against quality humor, was the crime once perpetrated against my favorite genre—more specifically, against The Shining.
In episode 13 of season three, Joey and Rachel decide to read the other’s favorite book. This means that Joey has to plow through “Little Women,” while Rachel gets to have some quality time with “The Shining”. Now, when this episode originally aired, a few years had passed since I’d read Stephen King’s tale of hotel madness. But I remembered the plot well enough. And since I’d already seen Kubrick’s adaptation a couple of times, I was especially attuned to the differences between source material and movie. Clearly, nobody who worked on that episode of Friends had read the book. Or if they had, they disregarded the facts for the sake of a stupid joke. In my book (geddit?), that’s cheating.
Joey: Oh, all blank and no blank makes blank a blank blank!
Say what? Forgive my confusion, but isn’t Joey supposed to be referring to the novel? They’ve exchanged books, not VHS tapes. Why is he talking about a scene that only appears in the movie? If you’ve seen The Shining, you no doubt remember the moment when Shelley Duvall riffles through her husband’s monotonous manuscript and grasps the true depth of his dementia. It’s a “whoa” moment, for sure. But like I said, you won’t find it in Stephen King’s original book. And in case you didn’t already know, it really bugs me when people don’t get their facts straight.
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