Why “Friends” Would’ve Never Been Made in Present Times, but Fans Still Adore It
It’s hard to believe it, but the sitcom about Rachel, Ross and the other guys will turn 30 this year. In the first season, Rachel was younger than Friends are now. However, that doesn’t stop fans from watching their favorite seasons and episodes again and again. On the other hand, if someone with a modern view of the world watched Friends for the first time now, they would definitely have some questions and complaints about the show.
The characters’ relationships are not very healthy.
We have already written once that Ross and Rachel’s relationship is far from being perfect. Ross simply poisons Rachel’s life: he is jealous about her and tries to control her, and he doesn’t take Rachel’s attempts to build her career seriously. In addition, he has serious anger issues — often when he needs to solve a problem, he just throws a tantrum or swings his fists.
But Rachel is no better. It’s obvious that Ross annoys her, but she continues to date him and gives up her dreams for him. All in all, in this couple, they are both worth each other.
- He is manipulative. He is cast as the weird nerd, but he is controlling and manipulative. But the worst is when Rachel gets a job in Paris, and he tries to stop her at the airport from going because he should be more important than the job. After them not being a couple for six years... And Rachel gives up her awesome Paris job for him. So disappointing. © brokentao / Reddit
One of the constant reason for jokes in Friends is Monica’s excess weight. We are immediately informed that she used to be fat in high school, and we’re regularly reminded of this as if it was a shameful thing to be. And Monica continues to be shamed by her closest friends for having been overweight. For example, after watching some video from the past, Joey exclaims, “Some girl ate Monica.” Or Ross talks about his childhood like this, “I grew up with Monica. If you didn’t eat fast, you didn’t eat.”
Also, we see “fat Monica” happy at first. She seems confident and content in the Thanksgiving episode. But then she falls in love with Chandler, who calls her “Ross’ fat sister,” and we first notice her feeling ashamed of herself. It’s as if Monica’s story implies, “Fat people can’t be loved, but if you lose weight, things will get better.”
- This was the 90s, where models were so skinny, they bordered on skin and bones. And that’s what they pushed as beautiful in the 90s. © LovingWife82 / Reddit
- Kinda like Renée Zellweger, when she fattened up to a disgusting 125 pounds for Bridget Jones’s Diary. © southshorerefugee / Reddit
- And Courtney Cox was really, really skinny, so any fat Monica would be fat next to her. © WeelsUpIn30 / Reddit
There are many jokes in the show that make fun of women and femininity. Some episodes directly imply that it is shameful to be a woman. For example, when the friends decided that Joey’s bag resembled a woman’s bag, or when Rachel hired a man as a nanny and Ross was incredibly outraged and ridiculed the employee. Ross also didn’t like the fact that his son Ben was playing with a Barbie doll.
- Way too many jokes about men being worried their masculinity is compromised for silly things like wearing a pink shirt. © army__mali / Reddit
And this is true for both the female and male characters. Remember when Rachel hires a handsome assistant just because she likes him and would like to start a relationship with him? And Joey collects women like sports trophies and evaluates them only from the point of view of possible intimacy with them.
And here’s why our generation loves Friends: the cool cast
The cast of the series has been favorably noted by critics many times. After Friends was released on television, tabloids wrote that the cast looked strong and funny. Fans also praised Ross, Rachel and the remaining acting ensemble.
- They share an incredible cast chemistry. All 6 characters bring their own unique charm and humor to the show, and you just know each actor was made for their role and couldn’t be played by anyone else. © likeneonlove / Reddit
- The biggest reason I still love Ross despite how awful he is at times is because Schwimmer is so freaking hilarious.© onlyhere4laffs / Reddit
- Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe is absolutely hilarious in the way she speaks and her body language. She’s great. © plasmagd / Reddit
A friendship that has passed all tests.
The most important thing in the series is not love, but friendship, which does not fade away despite quarrels and domestic problems. And this friendship took place not only between the characters, but also between the actors who played them. They have been staying in touch, working together and supporting each other for decades after the start of the show.
And, of course, the characters became friends to everyone who watched the show. When Matthew Perry, the actor who portrayed Chandler, passed away in 2023, many fans visited the apartment where Friends was filmed with memorial gifts and notes that read, “The One Where We All Lost a Friend.”
- I used to watch Friends when I was in class 8. I think it was the first adult TV show I had ever watched. So it was well before the time we could download shows online. So we had to rely on good old cable.
Anyway, I think we were a group of 6 to 7 people, of which 3 of us loved Friends. The rest were indifferent to it. But we used to go on and on about it, and it used to annoy them so much. And that’s how a group of people became Friends. Because every time we said anything about our favorite TV show, they had something snarky to say.
Suppose me and my friend were like, “Did you watch the new episode of Friends?” The others would immediately pounce upon the opportunity to annoy us and say to each other, “Oh my God! Did you catch the new episode of Enemies?” It was a veritable battlefield. But it united us, and we all became such a tight group. Eventually they did watch the show. © Priya / Quora
It’s hard to argue with the fact that the jokes in the series are really funny, and they have long been used as quotes and memes. Can you remember “Joey doesn’t share his food” or “You’re my lobster?”
Also, in the first few seasons, the characters would mostly sit at home or in cafes and chat. It’s not that easy to make a scene funny where nothing happens. But the Friends writers did a brilliant job.
- All their conversations flow naturally. To get 6 people to have a humorous moment one line after another while staying close to their personalities and all it making reasonable sense has to be hard. © Boss452 / Reddit
A huge influence on culture
Just Rachel’s hairstyles became immediately popular among women right after the episode release. Courteney Cox was even upset that Monica’s hairstyles didn’t gain the same popularity. And Rachel’s fashion style is imitated even nowadays. Recently, singer Taylor Swift walked down the street dressed as Rachel.
But Friends left its mark not only in fashion. A lot of sitcoms that came out in the noughties were inspired by the show. The action took place in just a couple of major locations, without dynamic sets and beautiful views. In The Big Bang Theory, for example, it’s mostly Leonard and Sheldon’s flat and a comic bookshop. The creators of the series, like in Friends, focused on the characters and humor, and that was the right thing to do.
The show was very cozy.
Are you familiar with the concept of comfort food? These are simple dishes that evoke warm feelings, remind us of childhood, or just calm us down. Like chicken soup when you’re sick. So Friends is that kind of comfort food in the world of TV shows, and this is why we like to watch it again and again. Each episode plunges us into pleasant nostalgia, and the jokes that we have already heard for a hundred times still bring a smile to our faces.
- Friends is another old show now, but Friends environment started and finished with actors and me getting older. Sometimes I prefer not think how old the show is (and myself), and have fun watching it, pretending that we are still the same young and lighthearted like Joey and Chandler, and still sitting in our armchairs in front of the TV, still waiting for everything to come with no end.
© Conspirologist / Reddit
- I started watching Friends when I was 8, and I’ve loved the show through my teens, my twenties and now in my thirties. Lastly, it’s nostalgic. For us, original fans, it brings back a lot of memories, and newer fans will appreciate the simpler times. © likeneonlove / Reddit
We feel like we want to watch Friends again. How about you? And here are 15 of the funniest episodes of the show.