It’s a rare occurrence when a TV show is on air ten straight years. It’s even more rare when the cast stays the same and the viewers keep begging for more. Friends, directed by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, met this criteria, blowing audiences away since its debut on NBC in 1994.
Through ten seasons, six naive friends attempt to overcome all the curveballs that life has to offer. In the thick of Manhattan, Chandler Bing, Ross and Monica Geller, Rachel Green, Joey Tribbiani, and Phoebe Buffay go through the daily activities of life, while pursuing happiness, and prosperity.
Chandler, an essential part of the six, has lived in Manhattan all his life, but yet something is missing for him. Chandler doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, and spends the majority of the ten seasons navigating his way through, looking for his niche. While searching for his identity, he grows weary of his current profession, struggles with his romantic life, and avoids a difficult and uneasy family situation. Being an awkward and quirky individual, Chandler handles his troubles by using humor as his safeguard.
Ross, older brother of Monica, is on a mission for the majority of the series, in search for his true love. Ross has faced several failed marriages and can’t seem to find someone that’s right for him. He and Rachel try to form a successful relationship together time and time again, only ending in more failure and heartbreak. Ross finds himself in many sticky situations, often ending up as the butt of many of his friends’ jokes. Apart from his love life, Ross is a science geek who is intrigued by anything that has to do with dinosaurs.
Monica, having a rough childhood, has come into her own after finding her close knit group of friends. Growing up in the shadows of her brother Ross and being the “fat” kid in high school, Monica is insecure, but shows her true colors in different aspects of life. Focusing on her love of food from her childhood, Monica longs for a chance to be the head chef at any well-established restaurant that will accept her. She is also on the journey to start a family; all she needs is the right guy.
Rachel has grown up as the pretty, rich, white girl who loves to spend her Daddy’s money. After running out on her wedding, Rachel leaves her parents, and their wealth, behind. In the early stages of the show, Rachel looks for work, trying to make a name for herself, while figuring out what the real world is all about. Colliding head-on with Monica, the weird girl from high school, the two become great friends, each always bailing the other out of the trouble they constantly find themselves in.
Joey is a self proclaimed actor looking to make it big on Broadway. New to the Big Apple, Joey faces reality check after reality check, as he struggles to find few, if any, acting opportunities. Besides his acting career, Joey is always eating, watching football, or at the local coffee shop, the “Central Perk,” trying to pick up some ladies. Joey constantly finds himself in relationships that he knows aren’t going to last, and struggles with the fact that he isn’t lovable. Joey isn’t the smartest of the six and often provides comic relief with his idiocy.
Phoebe, having the toughest life of all, grows up lonely and poor. Early on in her life Phoebe’s mom passed, leaving Phoebe and her sister behind. The two didn’t get along very well, so they went their separate ways. Growing up on the street, Phoebe turned to mugging and other criminal activities to ensure her survival. Upon finding her new friends, Phoebe has abandoned her old ways. She becomes a masseuse, and a novice guitar player, providing entertainment for all. Phoebe, new to civilized life, is quite empty-headed when it comes to the norms of social life.
Friends is so beloved, because it’s easy for people to relate with it. The average citizen often encounters the turmoil seen in numerous episodes. The six facing the many struggles of everyday life provide for a comical yet serious sitcom. Teaching valuable life lessons and providing many laughs in a series of thirty minutes, Friends has transformed into an instant classic.