?Friends' adds spice in last season

By Trina Trice

Close to the end of its run, "Friends" is finally getting some color.

Recently reported in general entertainment news was the addition of comedian/actress Aisha Tyler to NBC's popular situation comedy "Friends."

Since the show began in 1994, "Friends" has primarily been an all white affair, despite the fact it takes place in Manhattan. If you visit New York City and walk down a street, and I mean any street, there is no way you'd only see poor, unemployed, yet well-dressed, attractive, and finely-groomed white people as the "Friends" characters might have you believe.

What is supposed to make New York City the best city in the world is that it's where all people of different races, cultures, creeds, socio-economic statuses, and mental states converge to make what should be utter chaos, a thing of undeniable truth and beauty.

As soon as you step off a bus or train at Grand Central Station, you can smell this convergence lingering in the entranceways of ethnic restaurants and stores, or from the homeless person that just took a dump in front of you (That happened to me once, I kid you not).

The defunct and marvelous sitcom "Seinfeld," also based in Manhattan, received a lot of flack from ethnic groups who said they were underrepresented on the show.

Sure there were a couple of guest spots played by African-Americans, Asians, a Puerto-Rican, and several East European types thrown into the mix, but "Seinfeld" stuck to its main characters who were all white and Jewish.

I've always thought, well, it's Jerry Seinfeld's show, he'll put whomever he wants on there, so stop yer yappin'!

But I must admit it's nice to see a person of color on your favorite TV show. Not to make a big deal out of it as some people do, but the truth is that I'm black and I do notice when I don't see many like myself on TV.

I would like to say some new TV networks, such as UPN and Fox have been kind to us African-Americans by putting on shows that feature us exclusively. But guess what, I don't live in an all-black world, and as far as I can see whites don't live in an all-white world, either.

Unfortunately, "Friends" has stayed away from as much color as it possibly could. But to be fair, there have been some people of color on the show. Ross, a character played by David Schwimmer, dated an Asian woman who he conveniently met while living in Japan. I guess there weren't any Asian love interests for him in Manhattan.

Apparently, there was another African-American woman, Gabrielle Union, who had a guest spot on the sitcom, but I've abandoned my loyalty to the show long ago, and didn't catch that one.

Don't get me wrong, though. My not watching the show was never an official boycott, it's just that I got tired of seeing the actresses getting skinnier and more tanned for every progressing season and wanting to gag at the merry-go-round of hook-ups the characters engaged in, as if New York City had run out of people to snog and shag.

I've followed Tyler's career since I first saw her on "Talk Soup" another defunct comedy show from the E! Entertainment cable channel.

She's tall, funny, quirky, and (gasp!) black. Oh, and she's a cutie-pie.

If the writers do her justice, I'm sure she'll add some much needed spice to the show.

It's just too darn bad the show waits until its next to last season to really take chances with its casting choices.

All a sister wants is a friend!

Trina Trice is the education reporter for the News Daily. Comments should be sent to ttrice@news-daily.com.