In your life, you have doubtless consumed dozens, dare I say hundreds, dare I say thousands of hours of Friends. Maybe you know it? The TV comedy that depicts the highly unrealistic, New York City lives of six twentysomethings turned thirtysomethings. A.k.a. F•R•I•E•N•D•S. A.k.a. We Were On A Break. A.k.a. Has Chandler always been this homophobic? (Yes.) A.k.a. The sitcom that will continue to play ad infinitum, in syndication, probably until the sun goes out. Me personally, I will conservatively estimate that I have seen every episode of Friends about 10 times, due to the fact that, when I was a kid, reruns reliably dominated hours-long blocks of after-school time on multiple channels. Then, a few years ago, Friends colonized Netflix, precluding any possibility that I would ever rid The Rembrandts from my earspace again.
Until! WarnerMedia (owner of Friends' distribution rights) announced in July that it would be moving the sitcom over to its forthcoming streaming service, HBOMax, in 2020. I hate to break it to you but that year will be upon us in fewer than five months, and when it begins to rain untold terrors down upon us, our fake TV "Friends" won't be there! So maybe you'll be excited to hear that a national internet service provider has invited you (well, maybe: the invite seems to hinge on the number of followers you have) to binge watch 25 hours of Friends, for money, before the series leaves Netflix for good. And in celebration of its 25th anniversary, presumably.
Yeah, it's almost certainly a publicity ploy, but should you satisfy Frontier Communications' medium-bonkers demands—corral some of your own, alive friends into your streaming arena, take a selfie, and then make the group watch while you live-tweet this questionable marathon for one day and one hour—you could receive $1,000 and a yearlong Netflix subscription. Which is... generous, I guess, but is it generous enough?
Seems like there should be strings attached to an offer that allows you to make money just by rewatching a TV show you've already seen way too many times, so we asked Frontier for more info.
Can contestants start anywhere in the series and just cherrypick their favorite episodes, or must they start from the beginning and grow with the Friends? Sorry but you must begin with Season 1 Episode 1 and go from there, in order; according to a Frontier spokesperson, this is non-negotiable.
How many tweets per hour constitutes "live tweeting," is there a tweet quota? The spokesperson states, who appears to have a high social media fluency: "We are flexible with our definition of live-tweeting—tweeting is something that should be natural and not feel forced (which in turn makes tweets more fun and interesting). We are simply looking for at least 10 tweets to happen within the 25-hour span," but each tweet "must include the @FrontierCorp handle," or no cash money for you.
Do you have to complete this mission on a pre-ordained day, or is any time during the remainder of 2019 fine? Can you take breaks, and/or are accidental naps allowed? According to Frontier, "viewing doesn't have to be a consecutive 25 hours" so you can begin whenever you want and end... whenever you hit your 25-hour mark. So you might, for example, roll the dice and wait for a merciless stomach bug to lay you flat, because what the hell else are you going to do if not pump your aching skull full of laugh track? Make $1,000 for doing absolutely nothing except sending fever tweets through the haze of your television fugue? Of course that's what you're going to do.
Yet most important of all, I think, is the question of whether or not viewers are allowed to skip the opening credits, or if they must endure the theme song ~65 times in a row, with only brief stretches of canned audience guffaws as a respite.
Consider, for a moment, what it would be like to share a wall with someone whose speakers have been looping the familiar refrain of "I'll Be There for You" every 22 to 23 minutes for one full day. To what wild extremes would such relentless noise pollution drive you? Snowballing 311 complaints may well be the reasonable end of that spectrum, and murderous rage, the natural conclusion. Do you feel like $1,000 is enough incentive to risk probable eviction after every living soul in your building (and probably some of the dead ones, too) run to your landlord demanding your carcass on a spike? Well, do you?
Luckily it doesn't matter, because the Frontier representative assures us that participants "can skip" the credits—with one catch. "They'll have to make up those remaining minutes of missed Friends credits by watching more actual show time," the rep says, "to ensure they hit their 25 hours!"
What I can't tell you is whether or not Frontier will be sending a home chaperone to monitor your progress: The spokesperson did not say how they'll know it's you tweeting, and not your buddy with your phone. They did mention that the FrontierBundles.com team will be setting "certain tasks" for the chosen binger, and only by completing said tasks will that champion claim their cash prize.
Maybe Frontier has some zany plot twist hidden up its corporate sleeve, because all of this sort of sounds like found money. $1,000 to watch a few dozen episodes of a meh series over the course of months, with a handful of tweets sprinkled on top? Literally, you could do this in your sleep. Hell, you probably have!