We must not let recent brouhaha on whether Friends (greatest sitcom of all time, IMHO) would still be “appropriate” in 2018 take away from the fact that it was, in fact, the greatest sitcom – bar none – in all the years of its 10-season run. It was top dog in TV ratings for 10 years straight, and you would have to dig so deep to find a TV show that would be able to top that.
Granted, the show was a little bit less sensitive in its humor and punchlines than what would be appropriate for 2018. Does that mean we were a little bit insensitive as well for laughing at the same jokes for 10 years straight? Be that as it may, the lives of Rachel Greene, Monica Geller, Joey Tribbiani, Chandler Bing, Ross Geller, and Phoebe Buffay made our 90s days and nights all the more colorful, and the world could use a little bit more color. Millennials will have “How I Met Your Mother” and “Big Bang Theory” in their hearts, but xennials will always have a soft spot for Friends.
So here are 10 reasons why you should get on Netflix, microwave up the popcorn, get your friends together and give Friends a shot in 2018:
1. Deciding which “Friend” type you and your friends are.
Guys are usually pretty chill and will agree immediately about who the Ross, Joey, and Chandler of the group was. But listening to your female friends argue who among them is more like Monica or Rachel is the best spectator sport ever. (Phoebe is perfect, so no one gets to be her.)
2. The show made living with your friends in an apartment cool.
Somewhere deep inside, we knew that we could never achieve the look of Monica’s apartment on the salary of a 20-something in our time (Joey and Chandler’s pad was more doable). But the concept of living together with your friends in an apartment suddenly became a cool idea, in a time and country where living with your parents would still be the default. It made for (very) complicated relationships, though.
3. Speaking of complicated relationships…
The showrunners of Friends were not at all bashful about awkward relationship situations (no Tinder required, haha!) and the wealth of comedy that it produced. Where relationship issues between a group of friends usually were the stuff of secrets, the show brought all of that out into the open, and it made for good TV. There was something totally engrossing about wishing Ross would end up with Rachel, no matter how awkward that got.
4. Chandler Bing is sarcasm in human form.
Nobody knew Matthew Perry before friends started. But by the third season, everybody loved him and his zingers. In fact, the writers of the show are to be commended for being able to make most of Perry’s dialogues as sarcasms from one episode to the next. And of course, it was Matthew Perry who brought those lines to life. You would not be able to imagine anyone else in Chandler Bing’s role, even if you tried.
5. Joey Tribbiani taught all 20-something men at that time how to chat up a woman
Joey’s “how you doin’?” gave every guy a chance to talk to the girl of their dreams, even if we didn’t have Joey’s hunky look and, err… charisma. The best thing about this line is that even if she doesn’t like you at all, you can just say you were trying your best Joey Tribbiani impressions. And you had an 80% chance of making her laugh just because you tried.
6. The opening song is karaoke gold, even if you didn’t know any other song by the Rembrandts.
You still know the song until today, and do the “clap-clap-clap-clap” where it’s supposed to be done in the song. You can even dance like Ross does in the opening credits. Your friends will go crazy the moment the intro starts and everybody has a right proper sing-along. Bonus points if you played in a band and are able to play this song. After you all get tired of singing, you can bet that the nostalgic stories about Friends are soon to follow.
7. You need to hear Ross say “We were on a BREAK!” at least one more time.
The magic of the scriptwriting of Friends is how they were able to carry a long-running joke and insert it in episodes for maximum effect. Of course, hearing David Schwimmer deliver this famous line (second only to “Pivot!”) is another thing altogether. But these one-liners and jokes (UNAGI, Janice’s “Oh. My. God!”, ugly naked guy, “jazz hands!”, etc.) have become legendary over the show’s 10 seasons.
8. The cameos. The many, many cameos.
The show lived on its diet of Rachel-Monica-Phoebe-Chandler-Joey-Ross for its week-to-week life. But then at any point in time, big-name actors like Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, George Clooney, and the late Robin Williams – among many others – would show up for a run of two to three episodes, and it was just amazing that all of these A-listers would want to be in a sitcom like this. You probably won’t see that happen in today’s sitcoms.
9. You get deep friendship advice like it’s ok for your friends to be different from you…
How do a rich girl, a chef, a paleontologist, an accountant, a masseuse, and a struggling actor become lifelong friends? We have no idea! Ok, so watching 10 seasons of Friends does give you an idea, but that’s the beauty of it. The show brought together six very different lives and personalities, and yet here we are.
10. Phoebe Buffay. Nuf sed.
The world needs more hippy weirdness from Phoebe. “Smelly Cat” is absolute perfection. Weird is ok. Phoebe is the bomb.
You can now watch all 10 seasons of Friends on Netflix.