There are so many reason why Friends is the best television show, 19 years since the show first aired and it’s still being shown on television to an extremely happy audience.
First off, the characters. When you ask someone who their favourite character is the answer usually goes something like this “Chandler, definitely..no wait Joey he’s so good but I really love Phoebe and Rachel…wait, Ross is hilarious too. PIVOT and Monica, Monica when she’s fat is my favourite.” This is how it usually goes, with different quotes from the characters. In short this shows us that each character has equally funny moments throughout the ten years. Although you may favour one slightly more than the other, you have to admit that they are all quite equally matched.
Secondly, because Friends was shot in front of a live audience the jokes are far funnier. Like most sitcoms shot in the ’90s, Friends had a live audience. This meant that if the writers wrote a joke that didn’t translate well and fell flat, they could easily fix it. (Note: on most of the DVD extras you can see the cast getting involved in re-writing certain jokes) It’s quite interesting to watch television shows that add the laughter in afterwards, without the laugh track.
Thirdly, the character’s progression feels natural and real. Phoebe doesn’t have a serious relationship until she meets Mike in season 9, which of course she wouldn’t because her father abandoned her and left her with trust issues. Rachel ends up with Ross but it takes an extremely long and complicated road to get there, with them not really, fully, getting together for good until the last episode. The infamous scene when Ross is listening to a message from Rachel of her trying to get off the plane to Paris to tell him she loves him. Which of course, she does. I cry every time. Monica and Chandler, although surprising, are perfect together. Their attraction to each other is hinted at in the flashback Thanks Giving episodes, when Monica was fat she had a blatant crush on Chandler. Chandler reciprocated once Monica lost a lot of weight and throughout their friendship you see them grow closer and closer, even though they joke “we weren’t that close anyway”. Joey gets a big break as an actor, messes it up and then only in the late seasons does he get a second big break as an actor back on Days Of Our Lives. You know that Joey wouldn’t end up with anyway yet in his life and I love that the writers didn’t feel the need to force this upon the character at the end of the series.
The guest stars are some of the best on television. Bruce Willis as Elizabeth’s father (interestingly Matthew Perry bet Bruce Willis that the film they starred in together The Whole Nine Yards would open in the top US box office charts and if Perry won Willis would stare in Friends for free. Which he did.), Brad Pitt’s appearance was absolute genius, having him be in a club that was dedicated to hating his then-wife’s character Rachel Green (plus the YAMS line might be one of my favourite). To name a few we have Christina Applegate, Sean Penn, Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Tom Selleck, Hugh Laurie and many, many more.
Lastly, the story lines have not dated at all. They are timeless. Friends deals with finding love in strange places, losing love in strange ways, the jealousy of friends, the problems that arise with living together, the struggles of following your dream career, the hard choices you have to make in life between love and your job, when having children is unexpected, when you can not have children even though it’s all you’ve ever wanted and a lot more issues that mean Friends is always current. I do believe this is why there are so many comparisons between Friends story-lines and How I Met Your Mother story-lines, because they are current. (Note: I am working on an article showing the similarities between the two shows).
We all should agree that the Ross and Rachel story-line, in particular, is one of the best and most realistic of a couple who end up together. Ross has loved her since they were teenagers and they were always in love with each other at the wrong time. We have been rooting for them to be together since season 1 and they never seemed to be on the same path. Even with the addition of Emma, their baby, Ross and Rachel had to end up with each other somehow and how better than waiting until the very last episode to get them there. Amazing.
So, what can I say? Friends is maybe the best TV show (well sit-com) that has ever been made. Nothing has compared to it so far and I’m not sure it ever will. There is a reason people still watch this show every single day and it’s because it is absolutely brilliant.What’s your favourite Friends moment?