If I Don’t Input Those Numbers . . . It Doesn’t Make Much of a Difference: Insulated Precarity and Gendered Labor in Friends

If I Don’t Input Those Numbers . . . It Doesn’t Make Much of a Difference: Insulated... This article examines the middle-class work culture of Friends, reading it as a text imbued with both Restorative and Reflective Nostalgia. I argue that the “insulated precarity” of Friends’ protagonists, and their seeming nonchalance about work, marks out the show as a prime example of a Clinton-era “boom” text and as a one that struggles with rising anxiety inherent in neoliberalism. I focus on the role of Chandler Bing, who quits his nondescript office job to follow his dreams, before realizing he does not know what they are, and ends up in advertising. I argue that while Friends’ self-reflexive comic mode facilitates sympathetic treatment of Chandler as a “New Man,” his perpetual crisis of masculinity (his infertility, his periodic reliance on his wife’s income, and the constant questioning of his sexuality) is related to the lack of purpose in his career and, thus, the changing work culture that characterized the period. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Television & New Media SAGE

If I Don’t Input Those Numbers . . . It Doesn’t Make Much of a Difference: Insulated Precarity and Gendered Labor in Friends

Television & New Media , Volume OnlineFirst: 1 – Jun 1, 2018

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2018
ISSN
1527-4764
eISSN
1552-8316
D.O.I.
10.1177/1527476418778425
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article examines the middle-class work culture of Friends, reading it as a text imbued with both Restorative and Reflective Nostalgia. I argue that the “insulated precarity” of Friends’ protagonists, and their seeming nonchalance about work, marks out the show as a prime example of a Clinton-era “boom” text and as a one that struggles with rising anxiety inherent in neoliberalism. I focus on the role of Chandler Bing, who quits his nondescript office job to follow his dreams, before realizing he does not know what they are, and ends up in advertising. I argue that while Friends’ self-reflexive comic mode facilitates sympathetic treatment of Chandler as a “New Man,” his perpetual crisis of masculinity (his infertility, his periodic reliance on his wife’s income, and the constant questioning of his sexuality) is related to the lack of purpose in his career and, thus, the changing work culture that characterized the period.

Journal

Television & New MediaSAGE

Published: Jun 1, 2018

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