7 Reasons We're All Still Rewatching 'Friends' 15 Years After Its Finale
Why the ’90s sitcom is one of the most streamed shows today
You can always tell apart a casual F.R.I.E.N.D.S viewer from a lifelong fan of the show based on the way they react to phrases like "Princess Consuela Banana Hammock," "She's your lobster," "I got off the plane," and, of course, the most quotable quote of them all, "We were on a break."
The most ardent fans of them all will likely, and very happily, spout out the context behind each of them (and possibly also cite the episode name and season they're from, if they're extra enthusiastic) as if each right answer will garner them bonus points on a pop culture comprehensive exam.
In other words, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fans are some of the most intense, devoted, and sentimental TV viewers you'll find anywhere in the world, and the fact their love for the show still burns as brightly as it did since it aired in 1994 is the stuff of legends.
In fact, the show's popularity has proven itself again and again that online streaming service Netflix picked up the show, a move which proved to be a win-win for everyone; the choice attracted thousands of new streamers (some of whom would have never explored Netflix if it weren't for the lure of seeing their favorite gang of six again), and of course, international audiences were more than happy about having a platform conveniently give them access to all 236 episodes of their beloved show.
It's been 15 years since television bid its final farewell to Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Ross after 10 seasons, but why is it that fans still fawn over reruns, organize F.R.I.E.N.D.S.-themed marathons, and crack up every time a reference to the show is made after all this time?
As a team with members who fit this profile to a tee, we think we can answer that:
Fans will tell you over and over about the relatability they feel from the show. So many of their life experiences have been mirrored back to them—whether it be going through a messy break up, struggling to live on one's own for the first time, the travails of job hunting, or just doing nothing and hanging out with your best buds on a rainy weekend—that it almost feels like a show about the viewers themselves.
Never mind that Rachel and Ross ended up together without the help of Tinder, or that smartphones weren't a thing in their era, or that wanting to spend with friends actually required physically being together and not aimlessly chatting on a messenger app all day.
Despite the obvious developments that have happened between the show's first episode to 2019, practically all of the characters' major milestones and life-changing moments remain relevant today, albeit are experienced differently.
Fans love the fact that the feelings from Ross saying the wrong name at the altar, Monica and Chandler having children, or Phoebe finally finding stability and love in Mike among many other things have all withstood the test of time.
Here's something else fans will admit: the characters aren't entirely fictional to them, but feel like actual people they might know.
That's because all six of them have entirely unique personalities that were so well-developed over the course of the show's decade-long run and went through distinct life journeys featuring very high highs, and extremely low lows that added to their "realness."
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fanatics will be able to describe each character with gusto and project how or why they might behave in a situation given their characteristics. Try it with a fan (you're bound to have one in your circle of friends) and you won't be disappointed.
The show was named as such because at its core were the many relationships that gave meaning and depth to, well, everything that happened in the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. universe.
Phoebe trying to seduce Chandler wouldn't have been as side-splittingly hilarious if they weren't such good friends, Joey helping care for Rachel and Emma wouldn't have been as meaningful if they didn't have a friends-turned-lovers storyline going for them, and Ross finally getting his happily ever after with Rachel wouldn't have been as fulfilling without their multiple relationship U-turns and detours over the years.
Ranging from the platonic to the romantic, this sitcom was chockfull of loving, caring, and genuine relationships that we all wish extended from the reel to real world, a.k.a. our world. (At least for Monica and Rachel, it did, as Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox went on to become real-life BFFs).
We can't talk about F.R.I.E.N.D.S. without mentioning the gold standard of comedic timing the show's writers and actors set for the genre.
Even with repeated views of an episode, it's impossible not to laugh out loud at the jokes you've learned to anticipate (Chandler, we're looking at you) and the silliness bound to ensue when a gag is in full swing (Joey eating Rachel's botched key lime-Shepherd's pie combo, anyone?). The writing was unparalleled, and the delivery of every punchline was always flawless.
It's what makes the show so quotable too and so many of their best moments easy to replay in our collective sitcom consciousness.
In comparison to shows about 20-somethings' lives in this day and age, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. was relatively clean and wholesome fun and managed to tackle subjects like sex, homosexuality, extra-marital affairs, and the overall world of dating and relationships without bombarding its audience with raunchiness and risque dialogue and scenes.
It's a style you won't often find in television or movies today, and what makes the show an awesome testament of the time it was conceived in.
This is up for debate, but according to some super fans, the fact that F.R.I.E.N.D.S. concluded with the cast transitioning from young adulthood, to well, serious, undeniable adulthood was the best way to present its finale.
It allowed the audience to continue to grow with this group long after Monica and Rachel's apartment welcomed its new tenants and perhaps, even when Ben and Emma and Jack and Erica had all gone off to school.
Because the show allowed its viewers to grow with its characters and course through life with them while getting to know them over a fulfilling 10-year run, it was easy to imagine what things might have been like for them in the new chapters of their lives.
In the end, nothing could change the fact that F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and its ever loyal fanbase would always be there for each other, even when the rain starts to pour, even when it hasn't been your day, your week, your month
or even your year.
Photos from @nbc