Unless you live under a rock, it can’t have escaped your attention that the behemoth that is Friends turned 20 this week and that’s got me feeling all nostalgic. So why is this show that aired its last episode ten years ago still so beloved:
Because it is laugh out loud funny There are so many shows that come under the banner of comedy, and sometimes I have to wonder if I missed the ‘get humour’ gene because I seem to miss the funniness in so many of these shows case in point Seinfeld and Flight of the Conchords (someone please explain to me how these are funny!) Friends was different, it had me in stitches from the moment Rachel aka runaway bride ran into Central Perk and interrupted a group of friends (Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross). Such was the genius in the writing that each episode was a laugh out loud funny gem.
Because of the language use Just like how ‘lovely jubbly’ (made famous by Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses) and ‘what’chu you talkin’ ’bout Willis?’ (first said by Arnold from Diff’rent Strokes) entered into our lexicon without us even knowing it; so too have many phrases from Friends especially the emphasis of words like ‘Could you BE any funnier?’ or ‘SO not’ or ‘How you doin?’ I’ve even been known to give my name as Regina Falange on occasion when I haven’t wanted my personal details known.
Because it is all relative The premise of Friends is that of a group of six twenty-somethings finding their way through the ups and downs of career, relationship and life issues; well it just so happened when Friends debut in 1994 I was a twenty-something finding my way through the ups and downs of career, relationship and life issues, so in that sense you could say the show spoke to me.
The characters themselves are also relatable. From a one dimension point of view you have Monica who is the motherly borderline OCD one, Joey who is the stud and a little slow on the uptake, Rachel the attractive one, Phoebe the kooky one, Ross the smart one, Chandler the funny one. Somewhere in that mix you can relate yourself and/or someone you know.
Because of the ties that bind As the show went on (it went on for ten seasons), I came to care about the characters. Yes this was a comedy but at its root it was a show about friends and how those friendships progressed. I was invested in knowing what happened next – if Ross and Rachel would end up together AND just how conventional the very unconventional Phoebe would end up being AND how far the Monica and Chandler romance would go AND Joey being, well Joey.
Because of the amazing guest stars Too many to name but off the top off my head here are some: Sean Penn, Julia Roberts, Elliot Gould, Marlo Thomas, Kathleen Turner, Giovanni Ribisi, Hugh Laurie, Elle Macpherson, John Stamos, Reese Witherspoon, Christina Applegate, Brad Pitt, Susan Saradon, Jennifer Saunders, George Clooney, Bruce Willis, Jon Farveau, Paul Rudd, Ralph Lauren and Adam Goldberg (who rocked it as Chandler’s crazy flatmate).
Some Stats: If the show had continued – Monica & Chandler’s twins would be nine this year, Emma eleven, Phoebe’s triplets fourteen and Ben eighteen.
Favourite Episode: My hands down favourite episode was The One Where No One’s Ready. It is the perfect showcase for each character’s strengths and even though I must have watched it like a hundred times already it still makes laugh (a ‘can feel it in my belly’ kind of laugh).
Reunion: Do I want a reunion? I go back and forth on this. Firstly I do think the show finished on exactly the right note. The idea of seeing these six back together is something a fan can’t help but want; but as there is too much scope for disappointment in a reunion, I’m think okay with not knowing how Chandler handles being a father of twins or if Ross and Rachel managed to make it work together.
Speaking of reunions, this recent mini one was completely nuts but just seeing the girls back together hit the right nostalgic note.
Enough from me, I’d rather hear from you: Were you a fan? Do you have a favourite episode? How do you feel about a reunion? Favourite guest star?