TV and Entertainment - Chumani Chamberlain and Delaney Moore

The One Where Friends Turns 25

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        “So no one told you life was gonna be this way...” sitting on your couch on a Friday night while binging Friends for hours on end. Without any regard for the homework you have ahead of you this weekend, or the other task you could be completing, you sit and watch with your favorite snack in your lap, bundled up in your fuzziest blanket while being enlightened by six individuals who somehow seamlessly create a bond that is centered around love, compassion, comedy, chaos, and most importantly... friendship!

        Now, of course, this Friday night is not complete without trying to figure out which character you are most similar to, or questioning whether Ross and Rachel were really on a break. Whether you have just begun watching Friends or began your obsession 25 years ago when the show premiered - the notable television series ran for 10 seasons and has left an impact on pop culture, fashion, and the media for multiple generations. Twenty-five years later, Friends is still many people's favorite Friday night pastime. This leads us to the ultimate question: how can a show touch so many generations, and leave such a lasting impact on television? 

 

        We interviewed a series of people from different generations about what Friends means to them. During our interviews, self-proclaimed Friends fans, specifically seniors and faculty members all struggled with one particular question: Were Ross and Rachel on a break? 

        There are three types of friends fans: those who agree with Ross, those who agree with Rachel, and those who have no idea who was right. When asked the million-dollar question, Senior Claire Cavanaugh, went on to say “I don’t know, that is still something I always ponder, but I think they were...maybe. But then again maybe they weren’t?” 

        Upper School Math teacher, Mrs. Khosla stated how Ross and Rachel were on a break but the decisions he made were wrong and unacceptable.  

        While senior Tori Carr stated, “They were on a break but it depends on what a break is in a relationship, in the TV show they were only dating each other and they were exclusive, a break is just a stop in the relationship it doesn’t mean you are broken up and can sleep with other people.” 

        Senior Maria Simpson also agreed on how Ross and Rachel were on a break, however, she also stated how “They never specified the specific details of what that meant so, therefore, they were on a break.” While also adding that is the only counterargument she would “ever agree with Ross on.” 

        Our interviewees also thought about which Friends character they felt they were most similar to. Simpson elaborated on how she believed she is the most similar to “Phoebe” and went on to explain why by saying, “I feel like we really vibe. I would definitely sing about a cat on a guitar that I don’t know how to play.” 

        Tori Carr stated that her favorite was “Monica, because I feel like I am more type A even though my life has been kind of a mess recently, I try to be organized.”  

        Further, Claire Cavenaugh stated how she believes she is “a combination between Rachel and Monica, because I like things in order and having control but I also like nice things, and I know that sounds snobbish but I have high taste, and I like to have fun like Rachel.” 

        Even Mrs. Khosla and Mrs. Sandoval believed they are most similar to Monica as well, Mrs. Khosla saying, “We’re both Type A, organized and can be rigid,” and Mrs. Sandoval elaborated that, “a bunch of my friends in high school used to refer to me as Monica because when we play any kind of game I’m incredibly intense, everyone always has to follow the rules and I have to win, and so the episodes when they have like the guys in the group and the girls in the group, I can’t remember exactly what the competition is but I know whoever is the loser is going to have to switch apartments, and I would be so into that, my friends would even say ‘ok Monica’ when we would play games because I was so intense.”  

        Senior Nik Sen Dasgupta went on to say that he was most similar to “Chandler because he’s awkward and he has a dry sense of humor.” 

        Senior Aidan Beckwith explained how he thought he was the most similar to “Joey because he’s short.”

In addition, our interviewees were asked: How has Friends changed your perspective on life and what is your favorite friends moment and why?

        Senior Claire Cavanaugh stated, “Well, it's kind of like I know that what they have at such a young age is unachievable but it's nice to see in a fantasy world, I can have a nice apartment and some good friends. It's nice to fantasize. Senior Maria Simpson went on to agree with Claire stating, “It has given me a false hope for life after college, I doubt I will be able to live such a stress free life in the middle of New York City in a big apartment, but it is still a great show.” 

        When our interviewees were asked about their favorite moments Mrs. Sandoval explained her favorite moment saying, “Definitely that first Ross and Rachel kiss in the rain, that was so unbelievable and one of the best love scenes in the show. The other one for me probably was when Phoebe is trying to replicate her family’s world famous chocolate cookie recipe, like Nestle Toll House and she does all the variations of it and then realizes the recipe is on the bag!”

        Cavanaugh explained that her favorite moment was, “when Phoebe sings about the Cat at Central Perk because I like cats.”  It makes sense that Claire’s favorite moment had to do with Phoebe because when asked who her favorite character was she explained, “I liked Phoebe, because she was so original and followed her own path. She didn’t care what other people thought of her and I really appreciate that.” 

        Many Friends viewers have a favorite character, for example Dr. Sidle expressed,  “I liked Mattew Perry’s character, Chandler and Courtney Cox’s Character Monica.”

        Senior  Aidan Beckwith said that his favorite was Ross. Mrs. Khosla agrees with Beckwith, saying her favorite character is, “Ross because I think he is just goofy and adorable.” Khosla and Beckwith’s opinions are completely opposite from Maria Simpson’s opinion. 

        When asked about her favorite character Simpson stated, “Thats really tough, I practically like them all excecpt for Monica and Ross, actually I like Monica, it’s just Ross I have a deep hatred for Ross. He is so stuck up and he thinks he is the smartest person and he just has this way of being there and annoying me, he serves as the parent nobody wants. He is just there I hate Ross.” 

        Mrs. Sandoval elaborated that her favorite was, “Joey because to me he is the funniest in terms of how naive, I guess, I don’t want to say dumb, but I’ve always found episodes where he gets himself into all sorts of situations that are hillarious.”

         Senior Nik Sen Dasgupta said that his favorite is, “Chandler because he’s the funniest.” 

        “I’ll be there for youuuu...” the famous words embedded within the Friends theme song is still the song people jam out to when it’s played in a grocery store, or even when you're home alone. Simple, yet hilarious, Friends created an atmosphere for people to come together and celebrate. Celebrate the Rachell in them, loyal and sometimes forgetful. Celebrate the Joey in them, extroverted and energetic. Celebrate the Monica in them, organized and contentious. Celebrate the Chandler in them, spontaneous and a jokester. Celebrate the Phoebe in them, creatively curious. Finally celebrate the Ross in them, compassionate and loving. These qualities gelled through every coffee shop, sitting through every joke, and every tear.