So there I am, part (albeit a blink-and-you’ll-miss-me part) of TV history.
Back then we loved it because it was the first sitcom aimed right at our generation which addressed what mattered most to us – relationships, carving out careers, settling down.
The haircuts might be dated, but the jokes are making a whole new generation of fans laugh.
Two decades after the much-loved sitcom first hit our screens, Michelle Davies – who appeared as an extra in one episode – examines why it’s as popular as ever The original seven-page pitch for Friends described the show as a comedy about ‘six people in their 20s who hang out at this coffee house’. But, as we now know, Friends turned out to be one of the most successful sitcoms ever produced, adored by a generation of young people who saw themselves in the six main characters as they negotiated the tricky path of adulthood.
A study by University of Toronto linguistics professor Sali Tagliamonte and Chris Roberts suggests that the characters’ repeated use of the word ‘so’ – as in ‘so awesome’, ‘so lame’, ‘so hot’ – could be responsible for the prefix creeping into mainstream vernacular.
Next time your teenager says, ‘I’m so not doing that’, you know exactly who to blame.
At that point, Friends was the biggest TV show in the world.And that still resonates for today’s teens and 20-somethings.‘The key thing about Friends is that it’s about people working out how they are going to live their lives – what kind of relationship are they going to have, what kind of job, the difficulties of settling down,’ says Brett Mills, senior lecturer in film and television studies at the University of East Anglia (who currently has a student doing a Ph D on the representation of sexuality in Friends).‘You’re engaged in all those questions about escaping from your family, becoming an adult and working out what you want to be.’ I watch Friends religiously every day after school, either to cheer me up, calm me down or just if I need a good laugh along with the characters I’ve loved since I was 11.Yet many elements were pure fairy tale: Monica and Rachel wore designer clothes, had impossibly glossy hair, model-thin figures, and lived in a vast loft apartment in Greenwich Village (rent-controlled, but even so).Yet we loved that fantasy – who wouldn’t want to hang out with our best friends all day and live across the corridor from a pair of funny guys?