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TV Show Review: Friends (1994-2004)

It has been years since I have wanted to start watching Friends. My mum is a massive fan of the show, and I have watched the odd episode or two when it was on Comedy Central and loved them. So, when the entire show came onto Netflix earlier this year, I simply knew that I had to watch it. This was only heightened by the fact that all of my friends were also watching it, and that FriendsFest is starting this week in Glasgow.

This show was one of the biggest shows in the 1990s, and this has had a massive impact on sitcoms and TV afterwards. However, when this show finally dropped on Netflix, this allowed a younger audience to start watching the show. This should have been great, but the show got a lot of negativity from a younger audience. This was down to the sexism and slight homophobia the show displayed in its jokes. This was the humour that was used and accepted in the 90s though, and if this was a show shot and shown in 2018, it would not be accepted nowadays.

Friends (1994-2004)
Source: Warner Bros. Entertainment

If you have been living under a rock and have never heard of Friends, it is a 90s sitcom that focuses on six people and their friendship. Through different relationships, change of jobs and constant moving of houses, their situations change but their friendship stays constant throughout. The show lasted for ten seasons, between 1994 and 2004 and each episode was roughly 22 minutes long.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of sitcoms in general. Yes I may watch the odd drama or fantasy show, such as Supernatural or Sherlock, but overall most of my TV show time comes down to sitcoms. This could be from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, How I Met Your Mother or That 70s Show, but I just love a really good sitcom. I love how quickly the show goes by, considering they are usually half the time or a regular drama show, and the tone of the shows are lighter and easier to get through on one sitting.
It is safe to say that I loved this show. Overall, it took me roughly two months to watch over 200 episodes. These episodes were great fun, and varied from light “filler” episodes to important story-building episodes. This is a great balance as a lot of times, these shows are not watched in order and people can turn on to a channel like Comedy Central and just watch whatever episode is being shown at the time.
Friends (1994-2004)
Source: Warner Bro. Entertainment
Some of my favourite episodes are not only the filler episodes, but also come from the final two seasons of the show. These are “The One with the Lottery” and “The One with Ross’ Tan”. Side note, I absolutely love the naming system of Friends to have every episode be “The One with…” as it makes it easy to find a particular episode, as well as being a fun way to name each episode.
In terms of the six main characters, I love every single one of them. I know a lot of people have problems with Ross in particular, but I found him to be funny and to have a sad past. Yes, he has done some bad stuff like his second wedding or lying to Rachel about important manners, but every character in this show has done some bad stuff. This makes them flawed, yet also realistic. Comedy also relies on tragedies to happen, and this is executed well throughout all of the characters.
If I had to pick a favourite character out of everyone, I would probably pick Joey. Matt LeBlanc is the absolute perfect cast for Joey (as is everyone else for their roles) and his development throughout the show is great to watch. I love seeing him do well in his acting career, but also the hilariousness of when it all goes wrong. He is also a little bit dumb, yet is the most loyal and honest friend out of them all.
Friends (1994-2004)
Source: Warner Bros. Entertainment
There are also some great re-occuring characters when it comes to this show. Janice may be an annoying character, but it is always great to see the antics that come with her character and the moment we hear her say “oh my god” is always at the wrong time, which makes it even more hilarious. Mike doesn’t come in until the ninth season, but he is a fantastic addition to the group of friends and I love Paul Rudd anyway, so to see him in this show is great.
In fact, the list of celebrities that appear on this show is worth watching for alone. That moment when you can say “Wait is that this person?!” is so fun to experience for a first-time viewer. I won’t give away too many names so you can have that experience as well, but some big names that make it in some episodes include Brad Pitt (who was dating Jennifer Aniston at the time) and Jeff Goldblum.
Of course, there are going to be some flaws when it comes to a ten-season show like this. There are several plot points that drag on and aren’t fun to watch (in particular Monica’s relationship with Richard and Joey’s relationship with Kathy), but there were particular episodes that felt unnecessary. These are the ones with the flashbacks. After about season five, this would seem to happen at least once a season, and they just felt like forced episodes to go over everything we already knew. Yes, they were nice and sentimental but they felt like they were placed in just to fill up an episode. I was marathoning these episodes, so to see repeat stuff that I had seen two days previous (this wouldn’t be the case for people watching live, but that doesn’t affect me) just seemed pointless overall.
Friends (1994-2004)
Source: Warner Bros. Entertainment
This is one of the greatest shows to be created, and possibly the most iconic sitcom. Following the previous trends of sitcoms, such as the triple camera and laugh tracks, this feels like a proper sitcom. This formula is still used to this day by shows such as The Big Bang Theory, the biggest sitcom that is currently running. This formula works and whilst I feel laugh tracks are starting to die out, and single camera shows and rising up such as The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the way Friends is show feels like a natural sitcom.
This is a show I am going to watch over and over again. Whether I choose to sit down and watch the entire show at a slower pace, or if I just want to watch my personal favourite episodes throughout the ten seasons, I will definitely be going back to it. I love this show so much, and I encourage anyone who has not seen to show to watch it in its entirety, and fall in love with the characters the way that I did.
Have you watched Friends yet? Was it the entire show, or just certain episodes that aired randomly? Did you like it as much as I did? Leave a comment down below and I will make sure to read them and get back to you, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the comments I got last week! Also, if you are a fan of Friends like I am, come back on Monday where I will have blog post on my experience of going to FriendsFest in Glasgow this weekend!
Until next time, that was some film for thought.

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