Why Is Friends Still On?

It seems like a pretty simple question. Why is a show that ended almost a decade ago still playing on a channel no matter what time you turn on your television? The simple answer is that this show is incredible, but I don’t think that an opinion like that is a good enough answer. The reason I believe this show is still so predominant in everyday pop culture is primarily due to the themes it portrays. Everyone can identify with one or multiple characters in this series. One of the easiest ways for these identifications are through the relationships presented on the show:

Phoebe and Mike: Phoebe is perceived as an outcast in the group. Not to the point of her not fitting in with her friends, but she has always been the quirky, hippie, offbeat girl who sang in the coffeehouse about a Smelly Cat. However, the last season brought out a new side of Phoebe. She had rough childhood to say the least so to see her happily married off at the end of the series wasn’t only satisfying for the viewer, it demonstrated an important message. Phoebe’s happy ending shows the viewers that no matter what obstacles you face in life, if you keep a positive attitude and believe in someday, you can find your happy ending.

Chandler and Monica: Chandler and Monica are two best friends who fell in love. What isn’t inspiring about the notion that anyone, even someone you’ve only seen as a friend could turn out to be the one for you. They also have their share of struggles including the biggest one, the fact that they can’t conceive. News this detrimental can destroy a person, however the two of them overcome the obstacles and find their happily ever after and their family.

Ross and Rachel: Last but not least we have Ross and Rachel. A couple that proves that its possible to somehow date for 8 years without actually dating for 6 of those years. We saw Ross pine over Rachel and Rachel pine over Ross. We saw them date. We saw them take a break, which ended in a break up. We saw them countlessly attempt to get back together. We saw them have a baby. Even with all of their history, these two still find a way to end up happy together. This calls out to all the hopeless romantics or maybe those of us who just aren’t ready to let go of their significant other in an on-again-off-again relationship.

So there it is, my take on my favorite series. Even though I adore this series more than anything else to ever grace the small screen, this isn’t the reason I chose to write about it. The series itself isn’t my passion it’s the ideals it holds that inspire me. I’m not some obsessed dude trying to find a wife in the next twenty minutes and run off into the sunset. However, what’s so bad about escaping the stress of everyday life, that doesn’t always end the way you want it to, by entering the world of six friends with similar struggles and watching them conquer these hardships and come out on top. In my opinion, the world would be a better place if we all made a little time for our Friends.

Season Ten: The One Where It All Ends

They say all great things come to an end, and that’s exactly what happened on May 6, 2004 to our favorite Friends. This season gave the writers and creators 18 episodes to end the multiple pivotal story lines they spent 10 years of their lives creating. In my opinion, they could not have done a better job. We see Phoebe and Mike, newly engaged, plan their wedding. From an extravagant wedding plan, it winds up being a quiet wedding in the street due to a blizzard on their wedding day. It was quirky, simple, and beautiful. It was Phoebe.

Rachel and Joey attempt to date, but in the end they realize that they are better off just friends. Joey also has to say goodbye to his agent, who helped him get to where he currently was in his acting career, though it was a humorous demise, the episode saw Joey really accept the fact that he was growing up. Ross, who left Barbados dating Charlie did not date her long before her ex boyfriend swept her off her feet, leaving him in the dust. You know what that means, Ross and Rachel, single again?? But we’ll get to that. Monica and Chandler, after realizing they couldn’t have children, went through the adoption process and were finally chosen by a mother named Erica.

This brings us to the series finale, appropriately titled The Last One. I cannot do this episode justice in a blog, so I will not write it down, you need to watch this show for yourself, and if I spoil the ending, it will ruin everything…

So instead I want to end my coverage of all things Friends by discussing the common themes that make this show so prominent, in pop culture and society today, almost a decade after the show ended. (See Next Blog Post)


Season Eight and Nine: The Ones Where Rachel Has A Baby, And EVERYTHING CHANGES

So since the weeks are running down, I want to do a few big blog entries at the end so I had to combine these two seasons. As the title spoils, Rachel is the one who took the positive pregnancy test! The only question now is, who is the father. After everyone tries to convince her to tell them, the only hint she gives is that he was wearing a red sweater that he carelessly left behind the night they were together. Joey found this and showed it to Phoebe who knew that Tag owned that sweater! So she called Tag and had him meet him at Central Perk, however when he showed up, what he was wearing was shocking to them. He was wearing the RED SWEATER. Obviously he’s not the father. Frustrated at the mystery, Joey and Phoebe headed back to Monica’s and Ross was there. He exclaimed “My Sweater! I’ve been looking everywhere for that!”

So Ross is the father of the baby! When Rachel tells him she’s pregnant he freaks out a little, but he eventually gets on board and let’s just say it is an extremely hilarious to watch the two of them throughout her pregnancy. If I haven’t convinced you to watch this show yet, take my word for it now, this season is hilarious! Ross asks Rachel to move in with him because he wants to be involved in the pregnancy. Though Ross and Rachel are having the baby, they do not resume their romantic relationship. Joey, however starts to develop feelings for Rachel.

He doesn’t act on them, but they are clearly evident. In the season finale, Rachel gives birth to a baby girl, whom she names Emma. At the hospital, Ross’s mother offers him an engagement ring because she wants him to marry Rachel. Ross does not intend to ask Rachel to marry him, but he takes the ring anyway and puts it in his jacket pocket. Meanwhile, after Emma is born, Joey looks for some tissue for an upset Rachel, picks up Ross’s jacket, and the ring falls to the floor. He kneels to pick it up and turns to Rachel, still on his knees and still holding the ring. Rachel thinks that she is proposing to him and she says yes…

That brings us to the ninth season. Rachel is embarrassed after figuring out that Joey wasn’t proposing while Ross isn’t the happiest with either of them for the situation, Joey proposing, and Rachel saying yes… However, this all gets swept under the rug and Rachel and Ross take Emma home!

This season introduces a new character named Charlie. In the interest of time, I’m going to outline the rest of this season up to the finale…

-Joey starts dating a paleontologist named Charlie (She’s the worst)

-Phoebe starts dating a guy named Mike Hannigan (He’s the best!)

-Chandler and Monica try to start a family, but are unsuccessful and have to visit a fertility specialist.

-Ross develops feelings for Charlie

-Joey still has feelings for Rachel

-Phoebe and Mike break up because he says he never wants to get married

-Phoebe starts to date David again

-Everyone takes a trip to Barbados for a paleontology conference to support Ross

In Barbados, Ross confesses his feelings for Charlie, who in turn breaks up with Joey to be with him. Joey then confesses his feelings for Rachel, and they kiss. Phoebe, who brought David on the trip, is surprised when Mike shows up and tells her he’s still in love with her. He then proposes to her and she says yes! So that means that everyone is together with new people, but season ten, the final season, changes everything, again!

Season Seven: The One Where Monica and Chandler Get Married

So the season starts directly after Chandler’s proposal. The rest of the season follows the gang as they prepare for Monica and Chandler’s wedding. There are bumps along the way, such as choosing who the best man/maid of honor will be, and other things, but we’ll get to the wedding at the end.

So Rachel begins dating a much younger man. His name is Tag, yeah TAG, and they date throughout the season. He starts working as her assistant and it turns into something more after about three episodes. Joey’s show Mac and CHEESE gets cancelled, and he ends up crawling back to the show runners of Days of Our Lives. So now he plays a character in a coma. Luckily, later on his character receives a brain transplant giving him the ability to act in the show by doing more than lying in a bed. Phoebe’s apartment gets fixed, but it is made into a one-bedroom. So she moves back into it alone and Rachel stays with Joey. That’s fine with Rachel though, she and Joey actually make perfect roommates!

So let’s skip ahead to the end. Like I said before, this entire season revolves around one event; Chandler and Monica’s wedding. The week before the wedding, Monica and Chandler travel to Vegas to see Chandler’s Dad’s drag show to invite him to the wedding, despite Chandler’s hesitation. He/She is honored and accepts the invite. After that everything is set and ready to go. There are a few minor complications, like with Joey. Joey got ordained as a minister online and was to perform the ceremony, however when his movie shoot ran late due to a drunk costar, he had to perform the ceremony in a bloody Civil War solider uniform. Another, not so minor, complication that occurs involves Phoebe. When Phoebe’s getting ready in Monica’s bathroom, she looks into the trash can and finds a pregnancy test! Chandler overhears that Monica could be pregnant and freaks out! He leaves a note and goes into hiding. Luckily, it wasn’t too hard to find him considering his hiding place was his office. He conquers his fears and goes to the wedding. After the ceremony he tells Monica he loves her and that he knows about the baby. She replies, “What baby? I’m not pregnant.” So who’s test was it? In the last five seconds of the episode, the camera moves away from the couple and zooms in on Monica’s maid of honor; Rachel…

Season Six: The One Where Ross Gets Divorced… For the Third Time…

So after Ross and Rachel get married, Monica and Chandler decide they do not want to get married yet! When the gang gets back home to NYC, Chandler decides that he and Monica should move in together. She accepts and they begin preparing the move, however, someone is not completely on board with this, Rachel, Monica’s current roommate. Rachel finally gives in and moves in with Phoebe. Their moving in together is hectic, as is Monica and Chandler’s when first getting started. Chandler and Monica get through it, Rachel and Phoebe accidentally burn their apartment down. This forces Rachel to move in with Joey and Phoebe becomes a guest in the Bing/Gellar apartment. After everything settles out, Rachel decides to stay with Joey and Phoebe goes back to living alone.

Joey gets a starring role in a new TV series. The show is awful but as of this season he still has a job. Ross attempts to hide the fact that he and Rachel are still married for a long time because he doesn’t want to get a third divorce, but sooner or later she finds out and they get divorced after being denied an annulment. Later on, Ross begins his new job as a professor at NYU and begins dating a student, while Rachel begins dating the student’s father. Shockingly both of those relationships end.

As usual, the season finale is the BEST episode of the season. This one is especially good! Chandler plans to propose to Monica but to get her to be completely surprised he repeatedly drops hints that he is afraid of commitment and never wants to get married. Unfortunately this backfires when Richard, Monica’s ex boyfriend from season three comes back and says he’s still in love with her and wants to start a family. When Chandler finds out about this he gets home to find Joey who tells him Monica left and said for him to not call her. When Chandler gets in the apartment he finds Monica in the apartment surrounded by candles and down on one knee. He joins her on one knee and proposes. It is seriously the most adorable scene ever. Google this scene and watch it! Its incredible! So yeah, no cliffhanger, that’s how this season ends. If your disappointed you won’t be, next season’s finale is a doozy!!!

Season Five: The One That Starts in London and Ends in Vegas

We’ve reached the middle of the series. Halfway done, halfway to go. After Ross says Rachel, the wedding continues. However, even though they get married, Emily is mortified and flees out of the bathroom window at the reception. The first few episodes see Ross begging Emily to make the relationship work, but after she tells him the only way she will take him back is if he never sees Rachel again, it’s too much to ask and they break up for good. Which if you are counting, that means that Ross has now has two divorces under his belt.

I forgot to mention one MAJOR thing that happened in London before Ross says Rachel. Monica and Chandler hook up! This was completely out of the blue because the two of them had never been that close. Strangely enough they make an adorable couple and continue to date behind their friends’ backs throughout the first half of the season. Slowly everybody starts to find out, and finally they reveal it to the one that was going to be the toughest, Ross. Luckily Monica’s older brother responded happily to the news that his best friend and his sister are in love!

So lets backtrack a little bit. Shortly after the wedding, in the show’s 100th episode, Phoebe had her brother’s babies. Two girls and a boy; Leslie, Chandler, and Frank Jr. Jr., not Frank III… So anyway, after she has the babies, her life goes back to normal. She dates a cop for a while, but that doesn’t end well. Joey and Chandler have to adjust to their new roommate after Ross has to move in with them because he was kicked out of his apartment that he used to share with Emily.

The season ends with the gang going to Las Vegas to visit Joey, whom they thought was working on a movie there. He was actually working in a casino because the movie fell through. Phoebe and Joey are seen throughout the episode galavanting in the casino while Ross and Rachel attempt to find ways to embarrass one another, which results in them ending up wasted in a hotel room. Don’t worry nothing happened!! Anyway, it was Monica and Chandler’s one year anniversary and they decide to get married. Big deal! But, let’s be honest, does eloping in Vegas in television shows EVER end well? The answer for this show, and most TV shows, is no.

When Monica found her something borrowed, blue, old, and new, they head to the chapel. However, they don’t go through with the wedding. When they walk through the doors of the church to find Ross and Rachel celebrating, throwing rice and holding a bouquet of flowers. They should really pass a law in Vegas that doesn’t allow you to get married under the influence….

Season Three… WE WERE ON A BREAK!

So this season is EXTREMELY pivotal for the series. The series really hit its stride at this point and ratings sky rocketed when comparing this season opener to last season’s already impressive opening episode. As always I’ll start with our favorite duo. The third season starts out with Ross and Rachel dating. Though Ross and Rachel have an off-and-on relationship throughout the series, we get to see them truly “dating” during the last season and the beginning of this one. After that, they never really go back to a “boyfriend/girlfriend” relationship until WAY down the line. But anyway, we see Rachel finally quit her job at the coffee shop and pursue a career in the fashion industry. She begins to work at Bloomingdale’s where she meets Mark, an attractive man who works with her in her department. Ross gets extremely jealous of him and after multiple fights regarding the issue, Rachel calls for a “break”. Ross, coping with the pain, ends up getting drunk and having a one-night stand with a girl from his copy place.

Clearly, after all of that, Rachel and Ross’s break turned into a break-up. They got back together the episode after Ross’s one-night stand but once Rachel learned about the act, she was disgusted and told him they were done. Yeah, so it got AWKWARD to say the least. Eventually things got less weird and their friendships with one another resume back to normal. Well until this season’s finale, but we’ll get there.

So what’s going on with everyone else? Monica begins a relationship with Pete Becker, a millionaire who developed a crush on her while she was waitressing/cooking at a diner. At first, she only sees him as a friend, but eventually, the two begin to date. However, Pete confides in her that he wants to become the Ultimate Fighting Champion. After seeing him get beat up badly in two matches, she tells him he has to stop fighting or their relationship was over. He kept fighting, she ended it. Chandler broke up with Janice after Joey saw her kissing her ex-husband. Joey continued to get small acting roles and we see huim go through multiple casual and comical relationships. Phoebe, who hadn’t had a family member on the show except her twin sister, met her brother Frank Jr. last season and sees him a few times throughout this season. She also goes to the beach and meets a woman who turns out to be her real mother in the season finale! The parents she knew adopted her!

Speaking of the season finale, Phoebe meets her birth mom and Ross brings a new girl to the party. This is awkward for Rachel, that is until someone lets it slip to Ross that she’s developing feelings for him again. Now Ross is in a similiar predicament that he was two seasons ago, who will he choose? The girl he’s dating or Rachel? Hmmm I wonder…


Woo Hoo! Season 2!

So since I gave you all the down low on Season One last week, I figured I’d keep the ball rolling and do the other seasons and just analyze them along the way. First things first, we last left Rachel in the airport awaiting Ross’s return to tell him she feels the same way he feels about her. Make that FELT about her. He’s getting off the plain with Julie, (by the way we hate Julie). Julie and Ross went to grad school together for paleontology and hit in off on their trip to China. Ross and her date for a while, but then later on in the season he figures out that Rachel is into him, via a drunk message she left him on another date claiming that she was “over him”. He replied, “When were you under me?”

Let’s pause for a second. I absolutely LOVE the writers of this show. We started out with two people who most fans wanted to get together after they shared their first kiss 3 episodes into the series. However, the writers cleverly manipulated the the characters, throwing obstacles such as Rachel’s ex husband, Italian guys, Julie, a cat, lists, and so many other things in the way of them getting together so when they finally do in “The One With the Prom Video”, it literally makes your heart jump out of your chest. See Lola’s Blog for details on the “Prom Video” episode.

So for Ross and Rachel, the rest of the season is them dating. Of course the two of them dating and they’re “firsts” as a couple are hilarious so if I haven’t convinced you already to check out the show, it’s awesome! As for everyone else, they aren’t just sitting back and watching the two “lobsters” fall in love. They had their own stuff to deal with. Monica began dating Richard, played by Tom Selleck, a friend of her parents who was 21 years older than her. They had an extremely serious relationship, however in the season finale, they decided to part ways because she wanted kids and he was done with that chapter of his life. Joey and Chandler’s friendship, or bromance, grew tremendously in this season. Joey got a job as Dr. Drake Ramoray on the popular soap Days of Our Lives, but after a fight with the writers of the soap, his character fell down an elevator shaft, because that happens all of the time in hospitals. Chandler starts falling for a girl he met online and when he finally decides to meet her at Central Perk, it turns out it’s Janice, and they get back together. Who’s left? Oh yeah, Phoebe. Phoebe doesn’t have such a prominent role in this season, but she does meet her half-brother Frank Jr. which will set her up for BIG things in the future, literally.

Well that’s about it for season two. This season was critically acclaimed as one of the best seasons of TV, ever. It ranks #31 on TV Guide’s Greatest Seasons of All Time list. It was overall the perfect set up for the rest of the series. It expanded all of the characters in depth and opened up a plethora of story lines, which were all picked up for the show’s remaining 8 seasons.

Having Fun In… Season One

For everyone who hasn’t seen the first season, or only seen a couple of episodes, I want to start off by running though the major events from the pilot to the season finale! So like I started to say last week, the pilot episode begins with Monica,  Phoebe, Joey, and Chandler drinking coffee and discussing Monica’s dating life. Then we see Ross, Monica’s brother enter very sad and declaring to the group that his marriage was over. Why? He and his wife have one similarity that sort of forces them to end their marriage. They both like women. Well this is awkward…

Anyway, so as if this conversation couldn’t get any stranger, in storms Rachel, Monica’s best friend from high school, and Ross’s first big crush, but more on that later. So Rachel comes in looking for Monica, her old bff who she didn’t even invite to the wedding. Aside from that awkward detail, Monica invites Rachel up to her apartment to clean up. While in Monica’s apartment, Rachel informs her father that she is not marrying Barry, her ex-fiance and she will be staying with Monica since he is “cutting her off”. This becomes the set up for the show. Rachel and Monica live in an apartment. Chandler and Joey live across the hall from them, and Phoebe and Ross have their own places that they pretty much only shower and sleep in considering 90% of the episodes are filmed in Monica and Rachel’s and Joey and Chandler’s apartments.

A few episodes pass and we see Ross find his own place after moving out of his apartment with Carol, his soon to be ex-wife, who by the way is carrying his baby. Rachel begins her first job ever at Central Perk, and we get to see her comically attempt to make a living with no prior work experience serving coffee to strangers, and of course her friends. Phoebe, the offbeat member of the group known for her hippie-type phrases and folk-type “music”, works throughout the first season as a masseuse. She has a serious relationship with a man named David, but it is cut short after his job forces him to relocate to Minsk for career-making research. Joey is seen as a womanizing unsuccessful actor who is trying to claw his way to stardom, usually unsuccessfully, although he almost got to play Al Pacino’s butt. Yeah, you read that correctly. Monica is a chef just starting out but we see her career plummet and rise as the series progresses. Chandler’s main storyline throughout the first season involves Janice, his irritatingly loud girlfriend who he spends an entire episode trying to break up with. But don’t you worry, she’ll be baaacccckkkkk……

Phew! FINALLY, we have Ross and Rachel. Ross is infatuated with Rachel however things keep getting in the way, whether it’s Rachel’s ex husband trying to win her back, an Italian guy named Paolo, and a bunch of other stuff. Anyway, he loves her she’s in the dark. Well after he leaves for a trip to China for work, Chandler lets it slip that he loves Rachel… WHAT? Rachel freaks out, in a good way. She realizes she has feelings for him as well and decides to pick him up at the airport and confess her feelings for him. The season ends with her at the airport with a smile as big as the flowers she’s holding and Ross coming off the plane with his new girlfriend Julie… Yeah, it just got interesting!!!!!

The One Where It All Began

One of my favorite things about Friends is the method the creators used to name all of the episodes. Instead of following other shows’ footsteps and taking a quote from an episode or a song title to name them, Friends uses a method of naming that is unique, but completely relatable. When describing an episode or movie to a friend or acquaintance, you usually say something like, “Have you seen the one where…”. This is how Friends developed their episode titles. For example, the pilot of the series is more commonly known as “The One Where It All Began”.

Aside from the episode’s title, the pilot to Friends was probably one of the best first episodes of a series I have ever seen. Instead of wasting a pilot to introduce the characters individually, the episode starts in Central Perk, the coffee shop where practically the whole series takes place, and sees all of the characters in their element, talking casually amongst each other about Monica’s date. You see the individual traits of the characters form throughout the episode. Monica begins to demonstrate her OCD-like needs for cleanliness, Ross’s marriage falls apart and we see the beginning of his independent life, and Chandler begins to establish his “funny man” image. However, this episode primarily begins shaping Jennifer Aniston’s iconic character, Rachel.

Though this series is called Friends, let’s be honest, it’s the Rachel show. Rachel runs into Central Perk where the gang is having coffee as a runaway bride, literally she still has her wedding dress on, and from that point on, the center of the show, and every fan’s mind, is Rachel. She by far develops the most out of the six and she is primarily in every central storyline as the episodes progress. We see her go from an unhappy runaway bride, to a waitress, to a successful employee of multiple fashion industries. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back it up to the very beginning of the series. So….