Video, 2m22, 2011
The One with the Pancreatitis looks at a moment when fictional time and real-time are at odds, creating a visual gap within the text of Friends. In 2000, actor Matthew Perry’s drug and alcohol addiction caused him to lose 20 pounds in between seasons. This video highlights this slippage in text and the visual treatment of ‘covering up’. The One with the Pancreatitis also plays with titling, riffing off the standard title motif ‘The One with . . . ’ that is used to both summarize, and unify each episode.
Friends had one of the first online fan bases, with personal sites on geocities and livejournal dedicated to the show. While there were no doubt murmurs of Perry’s troubles, the culture of online gossip came some five years later with the age of social media. Blogs like Perez Hilton, Gawker and Dlisted didn’t exist. The Friends fan pages were less about gossip and hearsay, and more about community and a common interest—they were the Friends’s virtual cheerleaders.