Remembering F.R.I.E.N.D.S. on Friendship Day
Remember the six people you would not dream of cutting out from your life? Our friends and family accused us of spending more time with Ross, Chandler, Joey, Rachel, Phoebe and Monica at the coffeehouse "Central Perk" than with them.
If you were born between the '70s and the '90s you would know that I am talking about "Friends", arguably one of the greatest television phenomenons of the last century. Being addicted to the show, I could watch reruns of the show for hours and never come remotely close to boredom.
No one thought that the world would care about the lives of a group of 20 something New Yorkers. However, with the slick storyline and the side- splitting humour, it did not take long for the world to make friends with “Friends”.
Created by writers Marta Kauffman and David Crane, the series was lauded as being "the first true ensemble show", where all the six actors were equally prominent. The makers of the show could take a mundane incident or an everyday conversation and turn it into a hilarious story all within the first couple of minutes before the opening credits.
The show was also blessed with a talented troupe of actors who turned into household names over its journey of 10 seasons. One of the keys factors to its success has been the subsequent evolution of the characters and the dynamics of the core relationships over the years.
Jennifer Aniston as the scatterbrained Rachel became the darling of American television, with her love for shoe-shopping and bubble baths. David Schwimmer perfectly portrayed the role of the hapless Ross Geller, a geeky paleontologist with three failed marriages. The Ross-Rachel saga --from his unrequited crush for Rachel to a romantic relationship to a break-up made us laugh and cry with them.
Matt LeBlanc played role of the dim but loveable actor, Joey Tribbiani, a womanizing Italian hunk with an endearing innocence. Matthew Perry was hilarious as Chandler Bing, the dry wit who is seldom at a loss for words. His constant sarcastic remarks sometimes drove his friends to the point of punching him but made the viewers giggle helplessly.
Attractive yet down to earth, Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) was the most diverse of the group. The ever optimistic quirky singer would sing (about topics such as smelly cats, illness and death) at the coffee house or at the kindergarten without the slightest hesitation. As for Courteney Cox, she played the levelheaded Monica Geller who had an obsession for neatness and order and as Ross rightly pointed out, was “the glue that holds the group together”.
Though, the show might be mistaken for "just another American sitcom", the series, an instant hit from its debut consistently ranked in the top ten in the primetime ratings. Critics loved it as well. The show was ranked No. 21 on the critic's list of 50 greatest TV shows of all time. "Entertainment Weekly" said the show "operates like a Broadway farce complete with slamming doors, twisty plots and intricately strung together jokes....'Friends' is pretty irresistible."
Glittering Hollywood stars like Elliot Gould, Julia Roberts, Charlie Sheen, Tom Selleck, Susan Sarandon, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Helen Hunt, Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt and Jeff Goldblum also guest starred in the show making it even more special.
Today, it says something about “Friends” popularity that we huddle around with our friends, watching the-runs and quoting the lines of the show eight years after it wrapped up. Setting aside the awards it won and the fame it garnered, the fact that it made us smile even in our darkest hours is the show's greatest achievement.
"When it hasn't been your day, your week
Your month or even your year but
I'll be there for you.”
The theme song of “Friends” kept its promise. “Friends” was there for us, always.
On the surface, the six may appear to be up to their waist in pranks and silly jokes. Underneath all the silliness is a bond not easily broken.