TV-PROGRAMME: Friends (1994-2004)

Friends is one those TV-series that everyone has seen at least one episode of. It was a huge success when it first aired, and TV-networks haven’t let us forget with countless reruns. Friends was a real phenomenon of the nineties, but when watching the old episodes, the era is not that clear. The jokes still seem quite fresh, mostly because the humor is pretty timeless, and jokes about current events are rare. Some might call it brainless fun, because the viewer doesn’t have to know anything about what is going on in the world right now, but in reality that’s the secret of its success. People like “brainless” sitcoms, because while watching, they don’t have to think much and they can just sit and relax (and laugh a bit every now and then).

The plot was very simple: six friends in New York. That’s pretty much it. The show followed their lives, romances, heartbreaks, jobs and all other normal aspects of life. The show didn’t try to preach or spread awareness; it was purely just for laughs. The comedy was entertaining with strong characters; each had their pros and cons, and they also stayed almost the same throughout the whole series.

Monica Geller (Courtney Cox) is almost a manic woman, obsessed with cleaning and cooking. She constantly wants to be the best at everything, and her competitiveness often annoys everyone else. Still, deep down, she’s sensitive and gets hurt after a heartbreak or because of nasty co-workers. At the end of season four she starts a relationship with Chandler, season seven they marry each other and at the show’s finale at season ten adopt twins.

Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) is Monica’s nerdy brother. He works as a paleontologist, and often bores people with his talk about dinosaurs. At the beginning of the series he has just divorced from his lesbian ex-wife, who is pregnant with their son Ben. He has had a crush at Rachel since high school, and their on and off relationship becomes one of the most memorable things in the series. He also gets married to an English woman Emily, accidentally say Rachel’s name at the altar, and is soon divorced again. He divorces three times during the series, and the others constantly make fun of him because of that.

Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) is from a wealthy family, and used to go to high school with the Geller siblings. She is vain and superficial, but becomes a fairly strict businesswoman during the show. At the end of season eight she has a daughter Emma with Ross. At the final episode they are reunited when Rachel decides not to move to Paris to work, but instead to stay at New York with Ross. Aniston’s haircut “The Rachel” was also world famous. The haircut was the same the whole ten years the show aired; rumors were that Aniston wanted to change her style, but the producers of the show denied that because it had become such a trademark.

Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) is a struggling actor, and a bit simple. He often understands things wrong (or not at all) and thus is probably the funniest character in the series. He has lot of one-night stands, but is also very lovable and a trusted friend. He has the catch phrase “How YOU doin’?”, which has become world known and is still being used as a pick-up line.

Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) is a masseuse and a musician with a rough childhood. She is still naive and lovable, and much like Joey, doesn’t always understand things quite right. At season five she becomes a surrogate mother for her brother and his wife, because they can’t have children on their own. At season ten she marries Mike, a man introduced in season nine.

Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) is executive and in later seasons a copywriter. He had a traumatic childhood because his father turned into a transvestite. He was Joey’s roommate for most of the series, and in season seven he married Monica.

After Friends, Matt LeBlanc started a spinoff series, simply called Joey. It wasn’t really that successful (or maybe it just seemed like it wasn’t, the success of Friends is pretty hard to beat). Aniston continued her acting career in movies. Her most successful films include Along Came Polly, The Break-up and Bruce Almighty.

Courtney Cox continued her successful TV-acting career, and is currently starring Cougar Town. She also had a role in the Scream-films. Schwimmer, on the other hand, made it to Broadway and directed a movie called Run Fatboy Run.

Kudrow and Perry also continued their acting careers with little lesser known movies.

Since the show ended, the cast of Friends have been in the news more because of their personal lives than for their careers. But if you want to take a trip down memory lane, go and get yourself the DVD set of the episodes. Or just open you TV, and watch the reruns for the millionth time.

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