By Rhiannon Giles of rhiyaya.com
Hi there. You may remember me as Emma from Friends, daughter of Ross and Rachel. Way before people broadcast the birth of their children on Facebook or Snapchat, you gathered in your living room to watch me come into the world. Oh no, she did not just agree to marry Joey, amiright?
My story starts like so many love stories; producer meets writer, audience comes into the bedroom, and a sitcom is born. After a number of years the viewers start to fall out of love, and in an effort to spice things up, a child is conceived.
Some conceptions are the result of any number of accidents: broken condom, forgotten pills, abstinence-only education. Not me — my mother was artificially inseminated by sitcom writers during a ratings slump.
The first months were great. I was new and plot-driven. It felt like the world revolved around me, even if I was the subject of diaper mishaps and generally handled by the most incompetent parents you’ve ever seen. Any attention is good attention, right?
After my novelty wore off, I was relegated to the dreaded subplot — a dark space occupied by homophobic jokes, Miss Chanandlar Bong, and a smelly cat.
While my family sipped espresso and dated their coworkers, did you ever stop to wonder who was watching me?
Nobody. Nobody was watching me.
That giant E hung on the wall, not as a designation of my first name, but rather for the state of the crib: empty. My only job was to stay out of the way. There were no babysitters, only the occasional visit from Phoebe’s dead grandmother and my brother, Ben. Eventually Ben disappeared completely – under mysterious circumstances – and I was alone in those ridiculous apartments that nobody could actually afford. You could call me a latchkey kid, if anybody had ever bothered to lock the doors.
I spent my days drawing on the Magnadoodle and ever-so-slightly rearranging aunt Monica’s furniture. My closest friend was a white ceramic dog, except when we were on a break, of course. Sometimes I wandered down to Central Perk where Gunther traded me cookies for details about my mom’s underwear drawer, but hey, I was only a toddler and I had to eat somehow.
After the show ended, my parents moved to Paris and left me behind. I moved with Joey to Los Angeles for a couple of years and made a go of it on the reality TV circuit. After being overshadowed by Donald Trump’s hairpiece, I decided to give up on ever being noticed and went underground for the rest of my childhood.
I eventually found meaning in life by working with what’s her name from Mad About You to create a peer support group for kids like us. We recently welcomed our newest members — all the children from How I Met Your Mother. Poor things can’t even watch Full House without panic attacks. I tried to show them a very special episode where the girls do something stupid and then learn their lesson, but they just huddled in a corner, as far away from the couch as they could get. I know I am making a difference because last week they managed to sit in a moderately comfortable chair without shaking.
So the next time you watch a sitcom and notice that the kids haven’t shown up in a while, do me a favor — don’t just wonder where we are. For the love of God, please call Child Protective Services.
About the Author
Rhiannon Giles is an overwhelmed mother who only occasionally considers giving her children to the circus. She has a sarcasm problem and writes regularly at rhiyaya.com. To keep up with new posts and see some of her favorites, join her on Facebook and Twitter.