Entire “Friends” Show Summary and Review

Cover from TV show Friends

Review by dancingforever27

The timeless television show of Friends was produced back on September 22nd, 1994 and continued airing until May 6th, 2004. It contains ten seasons of an American sitcom that can be described as comedic and relatable. It was produced by Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane originally, with changes to the behind-the-camera crew changing over the years.

In a Manhattan coffee shop, Central Perk, six friends come together to talk and live their lives in the Big Apple. Each character starts the show being in their early twenties, aging to their thirties throughout the course of the show. Some characters have been reunited over the years, and others have come together by fate. Love, friendships, occupations, and many other components of life are represented in this show.

Character Descriptions

  • Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston): a fashion expert and former friend of Monica Geller. They were once extremely close as they grew up together in grade school. As they separated in college, she befriended a woman named Mindy, causing her to lose touch with Monica. In the pilot episode, Rachel approaches the rest of the gang, whom she does not have contact with, in a wedding dress. We immediately learn that she left a man named Barry at the altar as she did not truly love him.
  • Monica Geller (Courtney Cox): an aspiring chef and best friend to Rachel Green. Along with her passion for cooking, she loves to clean and keep things in order. When she observes Rachel’s issue with letting go of her past, she ends living with her in their apartment. She has issues at home with her parents favoring Ross, her older brother, over her. Many people can describe her as being quite competitive with him, most likely because of this.
  • Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow): a spiritual, comedic masseuse. She performs her original songs at the Central Perk and is a self-taught singer-songwriter/guitar player. As a child, her mother killed herself and her father left the family. She and her twin sister, Ursula, do not remain in touch because of her disapproval for Ursula’s beliefs. Phoebe stays with her grandmother. She is quite ditsy, but due to her time on the streets alone, is quite street smart.
  • Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry): a sarcastic, desk-job type of man who is former friends with Ross Geller from college. He lives in another Manhattan apartment with Joey Tribbiani, across from Monica, Rachel, and formerly Phoebe. His father ended up being gay and transitioned woman, which was originally revealed to him on Thanksgiving, causing him to highly dislike the holiday. His mother is a writer of erotica, and he expresses his dismay with her, too.
  • Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc): an Italian, aspiring actor living with Chandler Bing in a Manhattan apartment. He is well-known for attracting many women. He also is a poor actor in the show, so a common character is Estelle, his acting agent. She is commonly portrayed as being a chain-smoker, and she encourages his behavior. Eating is stereotypically one of his common attributes.
  • Ross Geller (David Schwimmer): a paleontologist working at a museum. He had a major crush on Rachel Green growing up, mainly because he saw her often being his little sister’s best friend. He meets Chandler Bing during college, and the both of them performed in a band. In the first episode, we see him in distress after finding out that his wife is a lesbian and is filing for a divorce.

As this is one of my most favorite television series, I would highly recommend many people to watch this show, too. I would rate this a 10/10. This is especially because it is set in the late nineties to early two-thousands, yet it somehow remains timeless and hilarious. The contrast between each of the characters allows for various forms of humor and interactions. Each one makes me smile for different ways. It adds a nice touch with reoccurring characters such as one of Chandler’s ex-girlfriends, Janice. They are always “popping out” when you least expect them to, and they also add more drama. Lastly, this show, in a way, helps teach certain lessons about living as a young adult to make it more relevant for the audience.

Ages 14+

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“Message in a Bottle” Book Summary and Review

Cover of book Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks

Review by dancingforever27

In 1999, Message in a Bottle was mass-produced in an abundance of book stores. World-renowned author, Nicholas Sparks, narrates a love story between two unsuspecting love interests. This is a fictional romance story that debates fate and forgiveness, yet remains original and an easy read. Like all other stories written by Sparks, this novel takes place in the South of America in real locations.

The female lead is Theresa Osborne, a hardworking and determined woman. She previously has been divorced to a man unworthy of companionship, David, as he had an affair while they had a son to take care of. She has had a history of bad romantic relationships and some serious trust issues after figuring out his secret. Her friend and her husband, Deanna and Brian, have been focused on getting her out of this slump.

Theresa believes that her work in the city as a part of the columns in the Boston Times is too valuable to her life to be focused on dating. Her son, Kevin, alternates with both parents over summer, and he has just left to stay with David and his new wife, Annette. Currently, Kevin is spending a few weeks with his dad, and she believes she should be spontaneous and go to the beach for a few days. Her main focus for the trip is to relax and renew from these stressful situations she finds herself in such as taking care of Kevin, finding informative parenting text to write about in her column, being a single mother, and getting popularized for her work in the columns and later be featured in The New York Times.

While she was staying on vacation, Theresa notices a washed up bottle along the shoreline. Inside the bottle is a message on a scroll, one describing a romantic yet tragic love story. It seems to be understood that a man named Garrett loved a woman named Catherine very much. In a way, she has left him, most likely through death. As she reads a brief description of his passion for the missing lover, she cries of a longing for that type of relationship and informs her friend Deanna. She thinks that Theresa should release this into her column to find out who this poetic and adoring man is. This leaves Theresa with many questions about him, and she also has a few decisions to make based on that:

Questions about Garrett

  1. Where does he live?
  2. How can she meet him?
  3. What exactly happened between him and his previous lover?

Decisions to Make

  1. Will she listen to Deanna and publish the letter? If so, will she make it as personal as it was in the original print?
  2. If she finds out more information, will she try to find out where he is and meet him?

                                                                                 Find out more by reading the novel.

            I would rate this book an 8 out of 10 for the following reasons:

On the positive side of things, this story is a great romance with multiple layers of overcoming a devastating loss for Garret. Both characters are quite idealized by having great character. Each lead character are quite opposites. Theresa is a big-city woman with large dreams of being famous and well-known. Garrett loves to sail, is a rhythmical and romantic type of man, and is a classic type of southerner. These qualities allow for a constant struggle of how to work together and make their relationship progress.This works well to keep the reader interested, as they should keep attempting to predict and wonder about their future together.

On the other hand, it was tad bit frustrating to see Garrett use Theresa to get over Catherine, as it seemed. I also did not really see the two ending up together, nor did I really want them to because in no way would either one be happy giving up their lifestyle. This made them go through a constant struggle which was saddening to see them this way. Lastly, the secrets held between each individual of them led to the inevitable anger and fighting because of lying too much.

 

Ages 14 + for intimate scenes

“The Notebook” Book Summary and Review

Cover of the book The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Review by dancingforever27

During this past month, I read the literary classic, The Notebook. This romantic novel was written by Nicholas Sparks in 1996. It became popularized in 2004 when the movie containing Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as love interests was produced. The story takes place after World War II in South Carolina, yet little-to none of the historical aspects of that time were referenced.

The story first starts with an elderly man, in a nursing home, who is reading a passage from a notebook to fellow members of the nursing home. He partially serves as a preface to the story, stating it can be viewed as “romantic to the optimists” and “tragic to the pessimists.” The purpose of his role is to read the majority of the actual novel to the other members, which mainly consists of patients who suffer from dementia. He has an interest in this act due to the fact that his lover also suffers from the disease.

After this section, we explore the love story behind Noah Calhoun and Allison “Allie” Hamilton. They can be described as star-crossed lovers, as they come from two different parental backgrounds; his being completely ‘southern’ and free-spirited in the working fields, and the her’s being much stricter and conventional of higher class residents. The two first met when Allie’s family came visiting town fourteen years from present day. They eventually had a summer affair. It would be dubbed this because they fell in love over that time and Allie had another boyfriend who was unaware of them.

Their love was filled with passion, yet also quite short-lived as factors such as class and wealth divided them. After she left town, Noah had sent two-years worth of letters, yet was never met with a response. It was almost as if something, or someone, had been standing in the way of their love.

Many years later, Noah, 31, and Allie, 29, are reunited as she approaches him three weeks before her wedding when she sees an ad in the paper for Noah’s refurnished estate. They relive their previous magic for a few days and catch up on lost time. Allie is faced with three important decisions and questions to answer before she can move ahead in her life:

  1. Why did she feel compelled to visit Noah while she was in love with another man?
  2. Due to what occurred at his house, what does this mean for the future of her and her current lover?
  3. Will she choose her current fiancé, or will she return to the poetic, hard-working man of her past?

As she decides on what her future holds by answering these questions, the story is wrapped up with the return of the elderly man mentioned in the beginning. Some of the unfinished components are continued on in Spark’s sequel, The Wedding. I plan on writing a book review on the continuation in the near future to see how it compares to this novel.

My rating on this book would probably be a 9.5/10 for a great plot line.

Pros:

I personally loved the fact that this book had the necessary forms of closure that it required, along with an interview between Sparks and students to offer even more of it. These included who ended up with who after all of the drama unfolds. I also really did enjoy how Sparks was able to end the story properly by including the elderly man in the beginning of the story and in the end to come “full circle” with the notebook he read from. The romance itself was invaluably perfect as they had been previous lovers. This was especially because Noah was a romantic poet who hadn’t lost himself in the war while remaining vulnerable, and how Allie defied social standards by allowing herself to fall in love with a man of lower class.

My only personal issue was that this story made me cry as their relationship remained fanatical until their final days together approached.

Fair warning to any future readers out there, be prepared with tissues while finding out how the story unfolds.

Ages 14 + for intimate scenes

“See Me” by Nicholas Sparks Book Review

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Review by: dancingforever27
This month, I read the novel See Me by Nicholas Sparks. Sparks has published around twenty books, and ten of them have been produced into movies such as The Notebook. This book surely does account to the exquisite love story of those other pieces of literature.

This narrative focuses on two characters through alternating third-person omniscience that varies each chapter.

Colin Hancock is the leading male character with a history of impulses that have gotten him in trouble with the police. He has been granted, by the authorities, five year probation to erase all of his criminal records, but a single petty offense could have him locked up for all of his charges.

Maria Sanchez, on the other hand, is a working daughter of a family that immigrated from Mexico. Speculated, everything in her life is met with awards, recognition, and success. She works at a law firm in Wilmington, North Carolina. Eventually, the reader comes to find out that this job has caused her trauma with their brutally aggressive cases.

In the first chapters, the reader is able to observe how the characters come to find one another, simply described as quite standoffish. The scene is set to be a rainy night where Maria has a flat tire on a stretch of road with little to no cars. Colin approaches Maria, tattoos and bruises laced across his body, offering assistance.She is immediately frightened as she suspects he could take her life without anyone knowing out in the middle of nowhere. Colin notices her terror and allots a large space in between them for her comfort, which helps her later trust him.

Shortly enough, the two twenty-eight year olds meet again and their love story begins. They are able to test how horrid tragedies, mainly involving a stalker, can either bring them together, or make them part ways.

All in all, this story has a roller coaster of a plot line, where every chapter has a new addition to the mystery of who is leaving mysterious signs for Maria.

This book also demonstrates consistency in many cases, especially through characters’ actions, to make it more compelling to the readers. Barney, one of Maria’s bosses, always stands or sits up straighter when he is feeling nervous or on the wrong side of an accusation. Colin frequently says “Okay.” whenever there is an open ended statement requiring advice or further explaining. This tells the readers that he does not provide life assistance or advice, is always honest, and excepts the limits of what people will confess to him.

With the fact that Sparks used great character development, made careful decisions when choosing what actions those people would perform that stay true to their identity, and provides a love story while menacing messages are  produced, I would absolutely rate this book 10/10.

(This book will be rated for somewhat older audiences for intimacy. However, nothing is ever described in detail and is mainly only referred to.)

Ages 14+

Pretty Little Liars Review

pretty-little-liars

Review by: dancingforever27

The renowned television show Pretty Little Liars, directed by I. Marlene King, aired from June 8th, 2010 through June 27th, 2017. Originally, this series was adapted from a multitude of novels by Sara Shepard. Simply, this show was centered around four girls, and their stalker(s), who reunite after their friend’s mysterious death.

In the “Pilot” episode, five girls are enjoying the last weekend of summer before they head back to Rosewood High School by having a sleepover on Labor Day weekend.

The Liars:
Alison (Ali) DiLaurentis- the most popular and mean girl in school. Valued by many as the “queen bee.”
Spencer Hastings- a girl too smart for her own good in a complicated family. The standards for her throw her into anxiety.
Emily Fields- a closeted girl on the R.H.S. swim team who has a crush on Ali.
Aria Montgomery- an artistic girl who fell in love with her young English teacher.
Hanna Marin- a girl who’s parents split up, leading to her eating excessively.

All five of the girls stay at Spencer’s barn and drink, party, and later fall asleep. Alarmingly, the four girls wake up to find Alison missing in the middle of the night.

The show skips ahead one year after Ali was reported missing where the police officers find her dead body. She was then pronounced dead at the scene. This then changes her case from a missing person investigation to a homicide investigation, which surely distresses many characters. Nothing quite like this has ever happened in Rosewood, well, of course since the liars came along.

While Ali was “missing”, the four girls part ways without their leader to keep them close with lies and deception. This was, until, they started receiving texts from an anonymous person going under the surname “-A”. This “A” knows all of the girls’ secrets, which each person only had revealed to Alison, rasing the question, “Who is A?” For the following seven seasons. Every two seasons or so, a new “A” seems to be revealed under troubling circumstances. The entire show is filled with mysteries over who killed Alison and what their stalker(s) want from them.

This show keeps all characters and audience members on the edges of their seats to find out answers to the destabilizing event, as many people could’ve wanted Ali gone.

I have to say that this show is my all-time favorite due to the constant suspense and dark undertones. Also, it sets itself apart from other murder mysteries as they cannot tell anyone about “A” without their secrets being revealed, too.

Throughout all of the seasons, each character gets further and further traumatized by the torture “A” puts them in, mentally and eventually physically. This is enhanced by the number of plot twists, especially while they try to uncover “A” and when he/she is revealed to everyone.

The pros above can really be summed up in the following-
The immense amount of secrets for such a small town makes everyone look suspicious; a great way to keep “A’s” identity hidden.

The only main negative part of this show to certain people could be that it can get a bit repetitive with the “game,” dubbed by many characters in the show, always somehow continuing by another, or even unheard of, character. Although, this would only be the case for someone who is not into mysteries and who does not really enjoy the up-and-down plot line that resembles an emotional roller coaster.

I would rate this television series a 10/10 because of the endless suspense, unpredictable (for most) “A” reveals, and shocking secrets the liars make and discover. In addition, I would highly recommend this series to anyone who is looking for another “Netflix show,” and for new surprises around every corner. (Due to the fact that this show aired the series finale in June, it is an especially great television show to watch on your own schedule without waiting for it to air every week.)

Age- 13+