By: Brittany L. Reid
See, no one told you life was gonna be this way,
Our favorite sitcom ended, 10 years from yesterday!
That’s right! May 6, 2014 marked the 10 year anniversary of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S series finale. After a run of 10 seasons and 236 episodes, it is no stretch to say that the renowned sitcom left a lasting impression on American culture for many years to follow.
The series premiered on September 22, 1994 via NBC’s network, and followed the day-to-day lives of six 20-something-year-olds in the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. The characters all had a prior connection to each other, whether they were siblings, high school classmates, college roommates, or just apartment roommates. Yet, they all bonded over so much more than their adolescent history. The series consisted of these six people, who also embodied the struggles of conquering many adulthood challenges: getting jobs, losing jobs, familial issues, hook-ups, broken hearts, and even more trying, maintaining strong friendships throughout a variety of strenuous tribulations.
There was something about this series that nearly everyone could relate too. The characters were immensely diverse, but quirky in a way that a fan could say, “My gosh, I so GET that!” Whether you could connect with Ross being a nerd, Monica being a neat-freak, Joey being a player, Chandler being anxious, Rachel being materialistic, or Phoebe being free-spirited, it was the very essence of their personalities that made them…real. Even more so, despite the fact that they were all different, each and every one of them always had the well-being of the others at heart. While sometimes their deceptions would get out of hand, the measures they went through to avoid hurting each other in relation to those deceptions, showed just how much they cared for one-another. So, it was rather uplifting that every Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. on NBC, these people welcomed America into their small circle of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. via television sets nationwide.
We were privy to the most intimate of their secrets: from witnessing what led to Ross and Rachel being “on a break,” to the secret relationship instigated by Monica and Chandler in London. We were there when Ross had to give up his pet monkey, Marcel, and when Phoebe found out the hidden truths about her family. We felt the frustration of Chandler having to deal with Janice (Maggie Wheeler), and the rest of the gang having to deal with Joey. We felt the stress of Monica balancing her feelings for Richard (Tom Selleck), and Ross balancing the fragile web of his marriages in tandem with his dating life. We were there for everything, and while some situations may have been unorthodox, they were by no means unbelievable. Perhaps that is what made F.R.I.E.N.D.S so real for all of us: that their lives could have very well been any one of ours.
Thus, the series gave us a fitting goodbye in 2004, leaving behind iconic symbols such as the Central Perk coffee shop and “the Rachel hairstyle” that swept the nation in the 90s. Fans received genuine closure as Ross and Rachel’s rocky-relationship finally glided down the runway for a smooth landing. We also sent off fond well-wishes to Joey, who was gearing up for moving to L.A. with goals of continuing to pursue his acting career. Chandler and Monica took their first steps of parenthood together, and Phoebe entered the early stages of being a newlywed with her beau, Mike (Paul Rudd). The last episode was viewed by about 52.5 million people, making it the fourth most watched series finale in television history (Christiano, 2010). The show itself received a multitude of awards and was nominated for 63 Primetime Emmys (Emmys, 2014). Truly, it is one of the most treasured shows in televisions history. It has even been parodied on other hit series such as Murder She Wrote, and Animaniacs.
“Acquaintances” short-intro on Animaniacs
The 10 year run ended with a finale that was open enough to leave plenty of room for future continuity, yet allowed the fans to envision what they believed happened with our friends in the future. It was just last year the rumors hit the Internet like wildfire about the possibility of a F.R.I.E.N.D.S reunion special. Such a special seemed plausible because the anniversary of the decade was looming just over our heads. However, the rumors have been quickly dispelled by several members of the main cast, such as Lisa Kudrow (Duncan, 2014).
Still, it is fun to imagine that there could always be a possible spin-off with one of the 2nd generation characters (i.e. Ross and Rachel’s daughter or Chandler and Monica’s twins). Look at what is happening with Boy Meets World!
But in the meantime, we can always delight in the fact that whether it’s via reruns on television, posts online, or just seeing our favorite actors on screen, that feeling of friendship with these beloved characters will always be there.
I’ll be there for you, ‘cause you’re there for me too.
Kent Christiano (2010, May 6). Top 10 Most Watched Series Finales. Retrieved from http://www.indyposted.com/21133/top-10-most-watched-series-finales/
Emmys. (2014). Awards Search, FRIENDS. Retrieved from http://www.emmys.com/awards/nominations/award-search?search_api_views_fulltext=FRIENDS&search_api_views_fulltext_1=&search_api_views_fulltext_3=
Amy Duncan (2014, January 16). Were you left angry by the fake Friends reunion rumors? You might want to read this. It’s an apology. A big one… Retrieved from http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/16/were-you-left-angry-by-the-fake-friends-reunion-rumours-you-might-want-to-read-this-its-an-apology-a-big-one-4265098/