But Alice is a massive fan, and we have watched it on a loop approximately 4,782 times (seasons 3 -10 anyway, Gem doesn't seem to have the rights to the first two seasons, which is okay, cos they were not that great). There are many episodes we can almost quote by heart.
But recently I noticed something odd. In seasons 3 and 4, the Friends do quite a bit of reading. You often see Rachel or Monica in the coffee shop with a book. Rachel read Joan Didion at the beach. There were books lying around the apartments. Chandler bought a first edition of The Velveteen Rabbit for Joey's girlfriend (what a declaration of love!) One of my favourite episodes is the one where Rachel persuades Joey to read Little Women, then terrifies him, in the middle of an argument, by revealing, 'Beth dies!' She then takes it back, so he'll keep reading. But towards the end of the episode, Joey comes in, clutching the book. 'Beth's really sick... Jo's there, but I don't think there's much she can do...' Rachel hugs him, and says, 'Do you want me to put the book in the freezer?' (That's where Joey keeps the things that really frighten him.) I love that episode, and the fact that Beth doesn't actually die until Good Wives is neither here not there...
But something happens after season 4. The reading stops. Now you see the cast flipping through fashion magazines. The books disappear. The only appearance of a book after season 4 is when Joey discovers an erotic novel in Rachel's bed. ('Is the vicar coming over?' he asks her, leering.
'Joey!' she says sternly. 'Where did you learn that word?')
Why did the Friends stop reading?