• Thu. May 30th, 2024

A Love Letter to F.R.I.E.N.D.S

ByTilly Roberts

Nov 9, 2023
Central Perk cafe from the sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S."Central Perk" by wwarby is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

For almost three decades, Friends has stood the test of time. The beloved sitcom is often underestimated; yet the recent tragic passing of Matthew Perry and the clear impact he has had on multiple generations demonstrates how close to our hearts the show, its characters, and its stories remain.

I cannot remember the first time exactly I watched this show, but I can remember the instant obsession. Obsessed may not even be a good enough word to describe the cultural phenomena, as one of my pals even started to think she was seeing Jennifer Aniston in the supermarket. From the get-go, this show made its mark on my life, and it was all I could think about. All I wanted was to be one of the six characters. I was in love with the fashion, the city, the friendships, the romance and mostly, the will-they-won’t they of Ross and Rachel. It was aspirational and made being in your 20s seem like an adventure waiting to happen. 

Now I’m in my 20s, and I know that life is a bit harder than drinking coffee and joking with my friends about how it’s everyone else who’s crazy, not us. But still this show means just as much, for now I see these characters as comfort for the hardships of adulting – they are just as lost as any other 20-something. They struggle with their careers, they stumble through love, they confront the complexities of adulthood, and they make so many mistakes. 

People love to hate the obvious, and, indeed, the morality of the show is a little outdated. The show’s humour often targeted and made jokes at the expense of queer individuals, with Chandler’s father being a major comedic plotline as a transwoman. Moreover, all six of its main characters are white, contributing to its perception as outdated when compared to modern standards.

Nevertheless, the show was ahead of its time. It showcased all three women having unconventional modes of pregnancy, featured a lesbian wedding fifteen years before New York City made gay marriage legal, and provided positive portrayals of singlehood. These progressive elements remain important today and contribute to its status as an enduring classic. 

By the end of the show, each character has charmed you at least once, whether it’s from the awkwardness and geekiness of Ross, the hilarious neurosis of Chandler, the loving perfectionism of Monica, the spirited stylishness of Rachel, the eccentric optimism of Phoebe, or the good-natured goofiness of Joey. By the end, you have a well-rounded love and appreciation for each. An ode to lousy bosses, quirky family dynamics, hilarious date stories (lest I bring up Ross’ leather pants) and unforgettable catchphrases like “PIVOT” or “We were on a break!”- this show has something for everyone.

And so, a love letter will never be enough. Friends has helped countless people around the world, and just in my life, I’ve witnessed how it helped people through the toughest times, taught them English, and even what a palaeontologist is. Its humour left a stubborn mark on my young mind, taught me never to let my friends cut my hair and to at least attempt to find light-heartedness in life’s challenges. And for that, I’ll never cease to be grateful for this show. 

Central Perk” by wwarby is licensed under CC BY 2.0.