It’s been 12+ years since the classic TV show went off the air (06 May 2004), but it’s a sitcom that never went on a break. Not only has it endured in endless reruns (it’s now available on Netflix, in syndication, and on DVD), its fans are just as fervent as ever.
“It’s about a sort of experience that I think a lot of us associate with a pre-internet age, which is just getting in a room with a bunch of people and hanging out with them face-to-face,” New York magazine critic Adam Sternbergh said.
For fans, including those who grew up in the more socially-isolated social media age, turning it on is a bit like inviting a bunch of, well, friends over.
If you’re a Friends fan, there’s a natural tendency to quote the show in everyday conversation, regardless of your age or when you started watching it.
The differences between twentysomethings in the ’90s and twentysomethings today are obvious. You couldn’t land a date just by swiping right. You couldn’t make plans on the fly as we do now. And there is still a general sense that things were simpler. To my generation — one that remembers life before cell phones and the internet — it’s fun to look back at that time. To a younger generation — one that’s now discovering Friends for the first time — it’s fascinating to peek at what life was like not all that long ago, and a testament to how much has changed.
I think people love Friends because it’s real, but also because it’s not too real. No matter what, it always remains lighthearted and funny; even the darkest of major life events are punctuated with a laugh. That’s what a sitcom is supposed to be: a slightly exaggerated version of everyday life that reflects a little part of yourself back to you.
Friends – It’s nostalgic, it’s a fantasy, but it also feels kind of real, too — like you’re actually part of the gang.
“It was never an accurate portrayal of actual life, but I think for people watching it now that fantasy element has taken on an even larger appeal,” said Sternberg. “It’s very emotional and people still have a very strong connection to it.”
The thing that people love so much about the show is right there in the theme song: “I’ll be there for you, ‘cause you’re there for me too.”
So, “Friends,” how ya doin? The answer: Very well, indeed!
Here is a video compilation of the best scenes from all the seasons of Friends.
And here is a compilation of some of the bloopers from all the seasons.