June 25, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

Friends sure has a lot of lovers; responses to our cover story on the sexy sextet (#488, June 4) were overwhelmingly approving. Echoing readers’ warm and fuzzy feelings for the cast, Shannon Ackerson of Fredericton, Canada, writes: ”I thought Friends was the best comedy even when that other show (the one with that Jerry guy) was on. Our Friends deserve a big raise.” Only if David Schwimmer promises to stay far away from leather pants. A raise was hardly what Renee Friscia, of Wayne, N.J., had in mind for Hot Sheet scribe Jim Mullen. ”Two weeks in a row he insulted New Jersey. I’m tired of this beautiful state being criticized. He owes its residents an apology.” From now on, Jim will try to spread his sarcasm evenly across all states.

Loyal Friends
Thank you so much for your cover story on Friends and its incredible success. In the virtual plethora of pedantic and sophomoric TV shows this past season, my roommate and I looked forward to Thursday nights, knowing that we would not be disappointed by our Friends. It is amazing to me that after five years a show can thrive when others around it flounder. Each episode seems to get funnier and wittier.
Tim Micsko

I loved your article on Friends. I’m glad that EW has recognized that this is one of the best shows on TV. It is actually getting better as time passes. The one thing that is really bothering me, though, is Lisa Kudrow’s hair. She has had a great short haircut for a year now, yet Phoebe is still stuck with long hair. The fake hair is obvious and distracting.
Christina Valenti
Forest Hill, Md.

Acting up?
I’m writing in regard to the article ”D.C. to L.A.: ‘Drop Dead.”’ It’s about time Hollywood learned the one lesson we try to teach young people every day: Take responsibility for your actions. If Hollywood doesn’t want to admit that a 2 1/2-hour movie can sway someone to hold a gun, then why are they wasting millions on 30-second commercials trying to get kids to buy things? The fact is, teens are influenced by everything they see in movies, from hairstyles to clothes to the way they walk and talk.
Judi Westing
Long Beach, Calif.

The entertainment business is not called the ”educational information business” or the ”protecting the moral standards of society business” for obvious reasons. Its purpose, in the broadest sense, is to entertain. As such, it is both a reflection of our society’s values and a persuasive participant in shaping those values. But when some kid says they learned to make a bomb with gum and Scotch tape by watching a MacGyver rerun, an easy target is instantly provided for the folks in Washington. And what they never seem to notice is that millions of other kids play the same videogames and watch the same movies and listen to the same music, yet go through life with nothing more than an occasional speeding ticket. Sure, the providers of entertainment should act responsibly, but it’s not our job to preach to the masses or set moral standards. Parents and churches are better suited to that task.
Joseph Pierson
Cypress Films, Inc.
New York City

In their rush to save us from ourselves, the saints on Capitol Hill have neglected to mention the most violent, disturbing film of last year. The movie? Saving Private Ryan, one of the greatest stories ever put to celluloid. What Spielberg and his colleagues so viscerally captured was the hell countless Americans suffered through in order to protect the very rights our elected officials are now seeking to abridge. You can’t have the good films without the bad ones. Personally, I’ll take my chances. Maybe these guys just need to go to the movies once in a while.
Russell Summers
Austin, Tex.

Out of this world
Something is seriously amiss when a film, any film, drawing $100 million plus in its first five days becomes a disappointment. Your article ”Out in Force” seemed to join in that ridiculous bellyaching: ”Phantom is off to a great start. But should it have been greater?” Greater? Who are these people making these outlandish expectations? And why do these delusional prognosticators, like schoolyard taunters, keep raising Titanic‘s box office as a benchmark of Phantom Menace‘s worth? Rerelease Titanic in 20 years and see if it rakes in more than $138 million, which is what Star Wars made in 1997. Until then, let Phantom Menace earn what it does and don’t make $100 million sound less than it really is.
Kekoa Kaluhiokalani
Columbus, Ohio

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