As a new series of writing I will be writing what I have baptised Appreciation Posts. These will be what some people might call nerdy, geeky or just simply obsessed. Others might call it as I do; appreciation. What they have in common is their love for an item within the world of popular culture. This is also the reason why I have chosen to write this series in English – because most of it will be from International (English speaking mostly) spheres and it will be easier accepted across borders, and more people can appreciate the appreciation.
Do you remember the year 1994? Or perhaps 2004 a bit better? In my case I was 7 years old in 1994 and 17 years in 2004, a decade in which many funny things took place in Manhattan when you followed the six quirky FRIENDS Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Joey and Chandler. I remember the early years, although I say early years, I only got hooked on the series in the late 90s as I was a bit young to begin with so all the jokes about being on a break were lost to me in the beginning. But as the years went on and my eyes were opened to the series I found my own way to catch up on everything FRIENDS.
Some of the earliest memories I have about the show is every Wednesday night when the latest episode would air on TV here in Denmark and I would watch it with my mother. We both waited eagerly from week to week, but as we saw more and more I became a bit more eager than her. I remember being ready to tape each new episode so I could watch it over and over again and I even grew so impatient that I turned to foreign TV stations to watch newer episodes because they were quicker to air them than here in Denmark.
But what is it about this group of friends that is so appealing and makes us want to return to their lives over and over again? It’s difficult to come with a complete answer to that because depending on who you ask everyone will have each their own opinion. To me it is the timelessness of the show that is appealing. You can return to the show whenever you feel like because there are not many big time stamps on the show that labels it directly to being a all 90s show. Of course there’s the fashion that evolves throughout each season but that’s part of the charm about it. It’s fun to see how people went crazy for the ‘Rachel’ haircut or the particular dress that someone wore in that particular episode, or an object that was used in another episode.
Then of course there is the humour about the show. Every episode has its ‘thing’ that it makes fun of and we will always laugh at whatever stupid thing Joey says, or snooze to Ross’s boring comments about dinosaurs, or laugh at Chandler’s closing joke, or giggle to a comment from Phoebe, or sympathize with Rachel as she finds her place in the real world or relate to Monica as she starts to clean the entire building from top to bottom. It doesn’t matter what kind of person YOU are, there will eventually be something about one of the friends that you can somehow relate to. Over the years you will most likely find something in each and every one of them, which makes the show that much better because the characters grow that more realistic.
Monica is the overreacting control freak with a desperate need to have a baby someday down the line. She is part of the glue that holds the group together because of her ability to play host to all sorts of events. Even when she is locked out and everything burns she can turn a piece of non-cleared new chocolate into something edible, at the very least. She grows from a neat-freak to a mother and her transformation is complete.
Rachel is the baby of the group who needs to find her place in the world. We follow her take her first baby steps as cuts all her credit cards and stops being dependent on daddy’s money. She uses her femininity to find a new boyfriend almost all the time and be able to bounce back from the ‘breaks’ despite other people’s opinions. She grows from being daddy’s spoiled rich girl to a strong self-sufficient mother with a powerful opinion and a big heart.
Phoebe is the gentle one, but also the one who no one wants to mess with. She has her tough background to rely on and her nativity to get her trough the world. Her generosity allows her to help her brother with a difficult situation and she manages not to scare of most men when she mentions it. When she finally finds her right man, the strangest situations led them down the snow covered aisle and we see Phoebe mature to the nurturing woman she really is.
Ross is another part of the glue to the group as he forms relationships in one way or another with each and everyone. He tries to lecture people with his knowledge and though he faces much of a wall-stopper in that area he carries on till eventually someone will listen. Despite three divorces he still manages to get women to ‘come here to him’, and sometimes also make them stay. With two children he was always the caretaker of the group and he took that responsibility rather serious, maybe too serious sometimes.
Joey is the guy in the group that will always make you smile. It is not always intentionally but he can always bring out the best in people. With a heart of gold we have seen him struggle with sleep issues to falling in love – perhaps the biggest deal to him, and over all just accept his friends the way they are. He always has some extra love for you, no matter ‘how you doing’. Despite 10 years, and constant pleas with God in hopes of not growing older, he has matured in his very own way.
Chandler brings the comedy to the group. With his desire to always have the last comment we can always count on him to lighten a dark day. Even when he makes mistakes he does his very best to come out on top so people will still like him. Struggling with a kind of personality problem we have seen him leave the WENUS and move on the more serious way of making people like new designs on Skids. He is perhaps the one person that has grown the most, from Mister Funny Man to a responsible father.
No matter which of the characters you like the best – because we will always have our favorites – there is something for us all. We can laugh with them and we can cry with them. And hopefully we will continue to be able to do so for many more years to come.
If you feel up for the challenge and consider yourself a true FRIENDS fanatic, I have found some test around the web that allows you to confirm this belief. I have tested some of these myself and was rather surprised by some of the results. The first one is perhaps the toughest one, it’s the FRIENDS SAT test and some of the questions are actually tough to decipher. The second one I found was still a bit difficult but I surprised myself and the boyfriend by getting them all right. It’s the Episode Title from a Single Screenshot. It should be interesting to see whether you’re just as big a fanatic as I proved to be.