I love when we’re introduced to how characters met, especially if it involves flashbacks. On shows that revolve around a group of friends, it’s the first thing I want to know. How did these people come to be friends? We all meet people throughout our lives, usually in boring ways like work, but with TV the story can be as wacky as you want. Some shows have done this very well.
How I Met Your Mother – Obviously the entire show is an origin story and flashback within flashbacks but how they become friends is fun to see. Any time a show does this it gives us a glimpse into a part of the friendship we don’t get to see in present day. By seeing where it started, we connect that much more to why they are friends and why we should care about them as friends.
Friends – The flashback episodes are well known. Monica in a fat suit, Rachel’s original nose, Chandler’s Flock of Seagull’s haircut. They are done well. The only flashbacks we get with Phoebe though are the ones where she is already living with Monica. How did this come to be? Probably something as boring as a newspaper ad for a roommate, much like Joey becoming Chandler’s roommate, but I would still like to know. It may not be as interesting as the long history between Ross and Rachel,and even Monica and Chandler, but they could have mentioned it at one point. More than anything, the flashback I wanted to see was Street Phoebe. How great would it have been to see her living on the streets stealing backpacks from nerds like Ross?
Happy Endings – My favorite episode of the entire series introduces us to how these six came to be a group. It took until the third season to fully find out how Brad came into the fold. Most everyone else is boring – Alex and Jane are sisters, they grew up with Dave and Penny, Penny dated Max in college. This is how most of us met our best friends. Brad’s story is one that I’m not sure any other show can top. He and Max were on the Real World together. Of course, a season where a house guest went berserk and burned down the house so it never aired. You gotta get around that loop hole somehow. The flashback to when the gang visits the Real World house is classic. Jane is a Gwen Stefani wannabe, Max is super closeted, Dave is basically the exact same, Penny’s got a pink velour jumpsuit and Brad’s got dreads.
Heartbeat – Flashbacks are ingrained in the structure of the show, which I like. It gives it a little something different from the 40 other medical dramas out there. I like that they tie back to what is happening in the present and actually serve a purpose in the episode. This is actually my favorite new show of the season. It’s got heart and character. Alex is lovable and I already feel very strongly about things (I’m very much Team Pierce).