The One Where Monica And Chandler Only Hook-Up
This has been a week of big news for the world. We learnt the fate of a number of musicals and plays as the Tony Awards were announced. We learnt that the one hurdle standing in the way of young people and home ownership was our lack of securing the available good jobs. And we learnt that the American prison system isn’t quite as secure as we would have hoped. But that wasn’t the most exciting news in this jam-packed week . . .
Marta Kauffman, the creator of Friends, announced that Monica and Chandler were never meant to get married!
Okay, maybe it isn’t the most important news of the week, but it certainly received plenty of social media chatter. And it also highlights something important about marketing in the television industry.
Musicals, movies and music. These entertainment forms have nothing on television when it comes to the opportunity to create audience-centred entertainment. By the time that a musical hits Broadway and the West End, it has had some opportunities to play for audiences but the piece of entertainment is essentially locked from changes. Films might have test audiences but once it debuts after a red carpet it isn’t changing. And the same thing goes for new music releases. But television is different . .
Marta Kauffman explained the Monica/Chandler conundrum this week. Originally the writers had planned for the popular friends to have a one-off hook up. This is always a funny concept in comedy shows resulting in unbearable amounts of sexual tension and awkwardness. But they failed to predict one thing – the audience response.
Audiences loved this new couple. They fell in love with the interesting pairing, so much so that the live tapings often needed to be stopped as audience members were screaming with delight. And this provided them with a unique opportunity. One that isn’t afforded to many other entertainment channels.
Either they kept the couple together to satisfy the audience. Or they broke them up to satisfy the creative vision for the show. If you have watched any episodes between Season 5 and 10 of Friends, you will know that they took the option which most pleased the audience.
This is a distinct advantage of television shows. They can easily respond to any audience sentiment to ensure that they maintain their long-term appeal. It is drastically different from many other entertainment channels but that doesn’t mean this unique opportunity should be ignored – in fact it should be leveraged to the fullest extent because in the world of incredible amounts of content, satisfied audiences are the one thing that will keep you in the game!