“Friends” was the Platonic Ideal of the kind of sitcom American network TV excels in.
More Soap Opera than comedy, it was all hugs and lessons learned from characters who any sane person would run a mile away from were they ever unfortuante enough to meet them in real life.
It would be nice to say something counterintuitive here. That, despite the flaws, the show was genuinely funny and that, despite the refusal to acknowledge anything beyond the white heterosexual norm, it did at least promote the idea that the traditional American family could consist of people other than blood relations.
That our real “family” is the people we discover on the way.
But none of that is true.
The comedy was mostly in the rhythm of the lines rather than the content and the show was obsessed with family and how the characters interacted with the concept.
But is there anything the show can teach us about the Vancouver Whitecaps?
Well, it can teach us that for an ensemble piece to work it doesn’t necessarily require an outstanding talent It just needs the team behind the ensemble to be efficient at what they do. To be able to harness the resources under their control in a way that produces the desired result.
The desired result for “Friends” was the telegraphed joke that got the laugh and a moment that made the studio audience gasp in either delight or dismay. And “Friends” pushed those buttons to perfection.
The desired result for the Whitecaps is results.
Thankfully though the Whitecaps and us are on a break right now while Marc Dos Santos indulges in what he has described as a time he will treat as a pre-season.
In an ideal world they would have done this during the actual pre-season and I’m not sure any of us can take Vancouver experimenting with systems for three more regular season games before abandoning it and going back to playing Cristian Dajome as a sort of number ten because his work rate is the Whitecaps best chance at creativity.
Could it be more obvious that the only way the Whitecaps will get better is by signing better players?
I know that sounds like a truism, but sometimes it’s possible for a team to improve on the training ground without strengthening the squad, but history suggests that won’t happen here.
In retrospect, the only time the Whitecaps have looked decent under Dos Santos is when Fredy Montero wanted to play and was playing well.
A good player who the rest of the team could look to as a leader and who made those around him better.
It’s not a strategy that will bring any kind of long term success and the only short term success it will bring would probably be failure in the playoffs. But it’s better than what we have now.
So splash the cash on a Brad Pitt style cameo player who will garner interest in a format that’s running mostly on muscle memory at this stage.
Or maybe bring in a monkey? Monkeys are always entertaining right?