I decided to make a random blog-tribute to my favorite sitcom, Friends. Even though it is not currently running, it has always been my favorite TV show. I probably have watched each episode over 100 times.
Friends perfectly documents, in 10 seasons, the lives of 6 fictional characters as they transition from their post-college years to their early-30’s. In real time, they portray all the stages of entering adulthood. While they make every episode laughable, they don’t attempt to sugarcoat the actual difficulties of trying to make it on your own in your twenties. Friends has followed me throughout my late high school and college years and will continue to accompany me for the rest of my life. For me, this show has cured bad days, cramps, loneliness, and heartbreaks.
Here are some other reasons why Friends is, and will always be, my favorite TV show.
1. The show was filmed from 1994-2004.
You get to see the drastic changes in fashion (what was with high-waisted pants?!), technology (answering machines??), and hairstyles (I really did like The Rachel…)
2. The show portrays that your past does not necessarily equal your future – and that’s a good thing.
Although we don’t see a lot of scenes of the Friends during their high school years, viewers know that in high school, Rachel was the popular, rich, blonde cheerleader while Monica was the “fat friend” who often felt overshadowed. The pilot episode marks the end Rachel’s flawless life when she decides to run away from her wedding, realizing that her perfect life came at a great cost to her. She then has to struggle to make it on her own and is helped by Monica, who is now skinny and pretty. They rekindle their friendship as equals and Rachel learns to be independent.
Meanwhile, Chandler trumps his traumatizing family past by entering a successful marriage. Ross proves that being a nerd is cool with his cool professor job. Phoebe also gets past her dark childhood into a happily married life. Joey, after 10 unsuccessful years, makes his mark in the acting industry (and gets his own spin-off for 2 years.)
3. The theme song.
What Friends fan didn’t like rocking out to this?
4. Chandler’s jokes.
I thought they were funny.
5. There is an episode for everything.
Dating, relationships, breakups, Christmas, Thanksgiving, career issues, friend problems, family problems, weird bedroom problems, and every awkward moment imaginable.
6. The show makes light of stressful situations.
None of the characters have it easy. They all go through a series of failed relationships, divorces, and crappy jobs before they eventually get what they hoped for. They all turn 30 with a little anxiety because they did not reach all of their milestones in time. The show doesn’t sugarcoat the awkwardness and stress felt by the characters, but still manages to make it funny.
7. The characters get into weird situations.
Friends wouldn’t be Friends if it weren’t for the weird shit that happened to the characters. Ross and Rachel got married unconsciously in Vegas and didn’t even remember it the next morning. Ross said the name of the wrong woman on his wedding day and still tried to keep up the marriage. Ross faked a British accent during his first lecture at NYU. (Ok, most of these have to do with Ross..) Chandler flew to Yemen to avoid breaking up with Janice. Even then, Janice popped up everywhere throughout the series. Joey wore a fake foreskin to one of his auditions. Monica befriended the woman who committed fraud on her credit card. This list could go on. And don’t get me started on Phoebe!
8. The show normalizes non-traditional families.
This is probably one of the few sitcoms that does not revolve around the traditional nuclear family. Instead, it celebrates a support system outside of the nuclear family mold. Most of the characters are unable to rely on their actual families for emotional support. Chandler is weirded out by his parents and traumatized by their divorce; Phoebe’s parents went M.I.A. via shady means; Monica’s parents are emotionally abusive; Rachel’s parents never had a healthy relationship with each other, plus every member suffers from the kind of crazy that only comes with having too much money.
The Friends themselves go on to have unconventional families. Ross and Rachel have a child out of wedlock (and even though they eventually get back together, we never do see them marry.) Monica and Chandler end up adopting. Phoebe and Mike get married but don’t have children within the series (Phoebe has only been a surrogate for her brother’s triplets.) Joey stays a bachelor. Carol and Susan are a stable lesbian couple since the first season.
9. The convenient episode titles.
The One Where… Perfect!
10. The characters are well-rounded.
While each character obviously comes with their sitcom-style quirks, they each possess a perfect balance of character flaws and good intentions. Monica is bossy and high-maintenance; Ross is uptight and neurotic; Chandler is insecure and self-loathing; Rachel still suffers from remnants of alpha-female syndrome; Phoebe can be self-serving and crazy; and Joey lies to girls. However, they have their hearts in the right place and support their loved ones when needed.
11. The Friends keep it real.
If one of their friends hurts them, the characters are always upfront about it. In “The One With Five Steaks and an Eggplant”, Phoebe, Joey, and Rachel communicate their inability to keep up financially with their richer friends’ more expensive hobbies, even when it’s uncomfortable. Whenever the characters do try to suppress their true feelings, the situation always ends up in disaster, such as Ross burning his hand in “The One Where Ross is Fine”, and Ross eventually has to admit to Joey how he feels about Rachel.
If the scriptwriters are trying to tell us anything, it is that communication is key. After all, this is Friends, not Frenemies.
So thank you, Friends, for all the good times!