In the Reunion, we came to know a rather (not so much) startling fact – the show had been viewed over 100 billion times on various platforms. And we saw how the fans – from the commonplace to celebs – dig it. But why? Why was F.R.I.E.N.D.S such a hit, why did it have such a fanbase, why does it have an almost cult status? Why not B99 or TBBT? Why?
Wow, it has been 17 years…just wow! And it’s almost… (just a min, counting lol)…yeah, 27 years if you count it from the very first season. But let me tell you something that wasn’t even told in the Reunion (top secret, isshhh). Did you know the show had never stopped airing since its season finale? It has been going on and on in one channel or the other for 17 years. Don’t believe it? Man, I have known Comedy Central for almost 4 years give or take – and they hasn’t been a single day when the show wasn’t aired. It would be at 7 PM, then it would start over at the 9 PM slot and then it would be aired at 8 PM – and then yeah, repeat for like 4 years. And you know what? I watched it. I watched it all – no matter which time it was aired (Mind you, I am not as jobless as you think). And this is not something that only I could have claimed to have done – many others have done it. This shows the love that the show commands from us. But why? Before we go into the whys, I would like to put into context how much the show still has us in its charms. Warner Bros still make a whopping 1 billion USD, with each of the actors getting 2% of it – amounting to 20 million each (Good bucks for not doing anything, hmm… I could use some of that action!). So, yeah that is how much the show is popular. But it has always puzzled me that
why has no other sitcom before it or since it has ever been that popular? Granted, they are popular in their timeframe but it kinda flickers out after it ends. But F.R.I.E.N.D.S is not like that – it is a cult. It is still a staple in binge-watching. Why hasn’t no other show ever achieved it? The Big Bang Theory came almost very close – but it just didn’t reach it, don’t ask me why… I just feel it. It hasn’t got the feel – the feel of nostalgia, of homeliness, of happiness – that F.R.I.E.N.D.S has. Don’t get me wrong guys, TBBT was one of the very first series I had watched and I absolutely and unconditionally love it. But hard facts, it hasn’t got the affection and warmth that F.R.I.E.N.D.S has got. Neither has Brooklyn 99 nor Two and Half Men or Modern Family or The Office (Ugh…don’t even think about Schitt’s Creek). And that brings me back to my original question: Why?
Six persons who are still commanding scores of hearts around the world.
(Image Credits: My Imperfect Life)
The Cast of F.R.I.E.N.D.S
Putting it like Chandler would (And it’s Chandler, not Chaan-dler James Corden), ‘Could the cast have been any more better?’ And the answer is a resounding NO! As we saw in the Reunion, the creators patiently and painstakingly chose the cast. Ross – the entire character was built around David Schwimmer and I don’t think anybody could pull off the dejected ‘Hi’s like him. Chandler – come on, that sarcasm, I am only think of Matthew Perry or Jon Cryer, nobody else hands down (Fun fact – yeah, I love TBBT – Jon Cryer actually auditioned for the role and it was offered to Jon – only Favreau – before Perry. I know, Happy as Chandler? I will be having
nightmares). Take Monica – do you know why Cox fit her so perfectly? That’s because she is Monica – a clean freak, who cleaned others’ dressing rooms during shoot. Though I don’t understand how Lisa played the ditzy Phoebe, cause she is the smartest amongst the ensemble but she played it to a perfection. Just like LeBlanc and Jennifer Aniston (Hey, I can’t write on everyone – the article could keep on going. So, yeah take no offence, guys).
The 1990s Ambience
I don’t know about you guys, but I just love the 1990s aura that the show just oozes. The not so picture perfect video quality, the 90s fashion, the famous Rachel haircut (which was a mistake btw, her friend cut her hair wrongly and she just had to make do) – like everything reminds me of the 90s. Call me sappy, but I love the 90s (thinking about it, even the Regency – though I suspect Downton Abbey and Bridgerton might have had a hand in it) because it reminds me of simpler times – times when life was not so hard. 90s was a comfortable period between the oppressing tradition of yesteryears and oppressing modernity of today – and I just want to sink into that comfy-ness. But I can’t and that’s where F.R.I.E.N.D.S steps in and lets me live it one
episode at a time, giving me enough strength to face the hard world outside. That’s why I think even the Gen Z is hooked to the show (something that hasn’t happened for any other show, except Ramayana).
Oh, the 90s…*sighs* (Image Credits: Mews)
The Theme Song ( And Others)
*Humming ‘Your job’s a joke. You’re broke. Your love life’s DOA!!!* Umm…must ask the Rembrandts what DOA is. Anyways, ‘I’ll Be There For You’ is a cult classic and it brings a smile whenever you listen it – you other brothers can’t deny (And yeah, that was a ‘subtle’ allusion to ‘Baby’s Got Back’ – the song that Ross and Rachel so endearingly sang to Emmy. God, I am pleased with myself for that line. Pat, pat.) And don’t forget Smelly Cat. And I don’t wanna write anything about it because the Reunion stole my thunder. I am actually very angry with the Reunion, because I had amassed such a collection of trivia about the show over years (the quiz, I made it yeah; and if you missed it, your bad *makes a face*) and the Reunion comes along and discloses over half of the stuff that used to make me feel all high and mighty over the other F.R.I.E.N.D.S fans. So, yeah, am really angry.
The iconic theme – And if you haven’t seen the video song, do yourself a favor and watch it.
(Image Credits: Local Current Blog – The Current)
The Cameos in F.R.I.E.N.D.S
We wouldn’t have paid much thought to it – but cameos are a hallmark of a great show. This is because it breaks the monotony – I don’t complain that I am seeing the 6 characters over and over again because there are cameos. People who come in an episode and shake things up when the audience least expect it. Brad Pitt, Jon Favreau, Danny DeVito (though I have no idea of who he is whatsoever, just remember seeing him somewhere – can’t quite place it. Go, don’t you hate it when that happens?) and the guy from the The Night at the Museum…these people deserve credit for the show’s popularity too.
How you doin’?
Ranked No.4 in popular catchphrases of all time, ‘How you doin’?’ has connected with us in more ways than we could have imagined – come on, don’t tell me you have even once tried to pick up your crush with the ‘subtle’ ‘How you doin’?’ amongst the other, more cheesy options. And the credits? The content creators. They had a best team for creating their lines – with Kauffman and Crane leading them. Believe me, as a content creator, I know how difficult it is to do it – especially more so for one-liners and other short stuff like graphics. That’s why I am inconstant awe of people like Chuck Lorre – creator of TBBT, Mom, Two And Half Men, Young Sheldon, Mike and Molly…yeah, pretty much all the modern hit sitcoms – Martha Kauffman, David Crane because I know how difficult it is and they do it for years and decades on end. Thinking about it, Amul has got a killer content team (you have seen their ads on the last page of the newspaper? Top notch) and yeah, Amul – me, big fan. These are the people who work hard the most, behind the screens putting forward the best content possible. So, yeah, remember them guys, it means a lot to us.
The people behind F.R.I.E.N.D.S, without whom the show would have lost its direction (Image Credits: Warner Bros)
The Unsaid Things in F.R.I.E.N.D.S
The little things, small things that we wouldn’t notice if we weren’t looking for it is perhaps what sets the show from the rest of its peers. The timing was just perfect – perfect, I can’t iterate this enough. It was the time when people when people have had enough of heroes and heroines and the entire story revolving around them. And F.R.I.E.N.D.S offered just the perfect alternative – it was the first true ensemble. In the first few seasons, the creators actually counted how many lines and jokes each character had and made a pie chart to make sure everyone was equal – that no one was overpowering another. Cox was the biggest star at the start of the show and she constantly reminded everyone it was an ensemble and most probably held them together. As said in the
Reunion (Ufff!!!), the cast dined and did almost everything together in the first few seasons, they were friends which made them just perfect for F.R.I.E.N.D.S and the crushing between David and Jen was what made Ross and Rachel thing to survive 10 seasons. I have written almost 1500 something words and I am still not able to express the unsaid things – the expression of the actors, their chemistry, their looks, their personalities…and aren’t some things best left unsaid? And yeah, enough of my ranting on how awesome F.R.I.E.N.D.S is…let’s hear it from others too. Here are some of what many DUites had to say about the show (I know it’s cheesy but
“I think its the most relatable and perfect show like we can actually find ourselves in those situations and showing those character traits in real life. Also, because of its genre it can be watched anytime to have a good laugh and feel content about life in general! It has the most amazing cast with such perfect timing and after a point you feel like you're one of their own. The re-watchability of this series is unmatched like one can watch it over and over again and still find the jokes equally hilarious each time! So, i would ask anyone who hasnt watched it yet should give it a chance and go fall in love with this series!”
– Navya Malik, a 1 st year at DU
“I love the show because each time I watch it, I get hope, that someday I'll have a friend group like that (I am not a loner by the way). It's just the best sitcom EVER, you can literally watch it in any mood, there are different episodes I watch in different moods. When I used to order pizza and have it alone in my PG room, I used to watch that episode where the whole gang feasts on Joey special pizzas. And when I miss my "special someone" I watch the episode where Chandler proposes to Monica. (Only end up missing them more.)”
– Harsh Paliwal, a Political Science major at Kirori Mal College
“In one word, I would like to explain friends as ‘therapy’. It is the perferct show to watch in every situation, whether you are happy or sad or tired. I used to save the show’s episodes like people save money because it would have hurt real bad if I finished all the episodes. I wish the show could go forever.”
– Saloni Bansal, a fresher in Hansraj College
“Friends is not just a show for me, it’s that space I can always come back to after a crappy day. Unlike most, I didn’t grow up watching it, but being associated with it has just made me feel better somehow, not just in terms of its brilliant characters and storyline but also in the hope of a beautiful life and people that I want for my own self.”
– Annanya Chaturvedi, a sophomore from Lady Shri Ram College
“I have many friends who watched it and recommended it to me but I never did because of all
the memes that called it overrated and all but one day I started watching it just for the sake of it because I had nothing else to do. I liked it very much and since then I have watched the whole
show multiple times. It is a great stress buster. Sometimes I just randomly start watching episodes I like. It felt sad the first time it ended as it felt like I was losing touch with people who you have personally known from so long. So, I keep watching it again and again because it’s one hell of a show!”
– Shivansh Shukla, a History (Hons) from Hindu College
And to those who don’t like the show, just like the gentleman on the Reunion *Hits my hands together in that gesture that-I-don’t-know-how-to-describe* Just kidding guys, everyone is entitled to their own opinions (this isn’t China or, it is, thinking about it) and I perfectly understand the flaws that you point out and I agree, there are flaws in it – perhaps Ross-Rachel dalliance was a bit too long. But I am not gonna talk about it today – for today I am celebrating F.R.I.E.N.D.S and what it stood for: Happiness. Perhaps I can talk about it in another article. Until then Ciao
P.s. And the people who loved the show, I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did
Featured Image Credits: Metro
Harish Neela Lingam