one, gets caught by both of them at Central Perk.
I had to learn the hard way that the embarrassment of failing to pick never fades.
Friends provided cultural references for my non Jewish friends, even if they were sometimes misled. Some to this day ask what the armadillo has to do with Chanukah.
Friends is the programme you never get bored with. No matter how many times you claim to have watched all 236 episodes, there is always someone else’s favourite you don’t remember.
It can turn a hungover Sunday from hell to the perfect day on the sofa. And it is wholly responsible for selling me the idea that living with your childhood pals would be fun. It took 20 years to realise that this was a seriously misguided idea.
Unlike the characters, I‘m no longer friends with anyone I’ve shared a flat with.
The fact I’ve fallen out with all of them means I’d be insane not to take a step back and look in the mirror.
Maybe it was my Jewish princess, Rachel-like tendencies that rubbed my former flatmates up the wrong way. Or was it my Phoebe-like ditziness?
Or maybe it was my Monica-like neuroses, which made it impossible to live the dream with people who smoked in the house all day, and used my cut glass heirlooms for ash trays. I’m sure Phoebe never did anything like that.
Actually I think what Friends has taught me most, is that in order to love the constant dry wit of the Chandlers, or to tolerate the academic snobbery of the Rosses, or the spoilt brattishness of the Rachels, you need to be able to go home at the end of the day to a place where the Joeys can’t just wander in and open your fridge.
ICAN WATCH Friends repeatedly, and I don’t seem to get bored with it. Over and over again, the same episodes, laughing at the same jokes and reciting the same lines along with the TV. What is it that I love so much? What makes it so addictive?
I think it’s the characters; as clichéd as it may sound, they really do start feeling like our own friends. They’re so well rounded, they’re not cardboard cut-outs — they’re fully formed, with all the flaws of normal human beings. They’re also written in a way that makes them very recognisable, you learn to pre-empt their individual reactions to things. They interact in a way that is very endearing, which means you get hooked — you feel you’ve got to know them all.
It’s amazing that 20 years after the show first aired, it doesn’t feel old fashioned when you watch it. Of course, there are some elements that don’t feel as familiar — the most notable example being the use of phones and social media, or lack thereof. How different things may have turned out, had Rachel been able to FaceTime Ross before his wedding in London, instead of jumping on a plane!
If you have the sense of humour Friends is pitched to, there’s no reason you shouldn’t find it funny, whatever your age. It is so well written, acted, and directed, it has aged and will continue to age extremely well. Love for the show spans three generations in my family, and my mum and I will never tire of communicating through quotes and references.
I think the most recent show to parallel Friends is How I Met Your Mother. Both revolve around a close group of friends, and seem to attract similar audiences.
Friends will always be my favourite, though, there’s no other show quite like it, it’s completely unique in its hilarity, so easy to watch and I can’t see that I’ll ever tire of it.
It took years to grasp that Friends was not a great role model
Friendsfest is at Clissold Park, London N16, September 15-24