Newest Review: ... the show im a huge fan, I have the complete boxset and I cannot count the times iv watched the episodes. Friends is a show where you can w... more
And it'll be there for you too
Member Name: caseybrady1992
Advantages: Hilarious, cheerful and so easy to watch!
Disadvantages: Glitches; poor acting, directing etc. at times
Whenever I'm feeling low, or have had a hard day with studies or work, there's no better medicine than a spoonful of 'Friends'. Do excuse the metaphor (and while i'm at it, excuse the cheesy headline too!), but it has always worked for me. 'Friends' is a US sitcom set in New York, telling of the lives of 6 friends: Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica (Courtney Cox Arquette), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Joey (Matt Le Blanc), Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Monica's brother, Ross (David Schwimmer).
The show was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, and first aired on September 22nd 1994, running for almost ten years (the show spanning for 10 series, consisting of a massive 236 episodes). Each episode is around 22 minutes in length. 'Friends' is regarded as one of the most successful TV shows ever to be produced. Although not technically the best programme in the world, the magic and charm of the show rewarded it with millions of viewers and a plethora of awards. This programme is timeless, and is still being watched over and over and over again...
== The Plot ==
The pilot episode opens with the introduction of the main characters, who are seated in a coffee house called Central Perk, which becomes one of the main settings of the show. As five of the six main characters are seated in the coffee house (Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross), Rachel enters in disarray, dressed in wedding dress, having left her bloke at the altar. Monica, Rachel's old school friend, welcomes her, and introduces her to her friends, and also to her older brother Ross, who, like Monica, hasn't seen Rachel in years. Monica brings Rachel back to her apartment, and whilst Rachel is on the phone to her father, she suggests to him that she will stay at Monica's for a while, without consulting her beforehand. Rachel stays longer than planned, as her friendship with Monica is renewed, and bonds are created with the four others too. Soon, her stay becomes permanent, whilst the others help Rachel find her way in New York City and get a job, as she currently lives off her 'Daddy's' wealth.
Ross, who was deeply in love with Rachel back in High School, remembers why, and begins to fall for her again. Whilst Rachel is finding her way, Ross is trying to bring himself to ask her out. The storylines provide a foundation for the series, as there are storylines for each episode too, often completely irrelevant to these underlying ones. As the first series moves onto the next, new storylines evolve, right until the final episode.
The aim of the show is to make you lot laugh at and love 'Friends'. The way in which they do it comes from a variety of humour - banter (see Chandler), double entendres, satire, slapstick, parody...you name it, 'Friends' probably has it.
== The Characters ==
I feel it is important to briefly introduce the main characters' characters...
Rachel (played by Jennifer Aniston)
One of the most developed characters over the show. She begins as a spoilt, rich character that lives of her Father's wealth, before being guided to change. Although she changes a lot, a part of her original character always remains, but as she climbs the ladder in the fashion business (discovering her dream a few series in), her moral values adapt too, rendering her a much more mature character by the end final episode.
As an actress, Aniston has become by far the most successful of the cast, starring in many films since Friends began, such as 'Picture Perfect' and 'The Break-Up'.
Monica (played by Courtney Cox Arquette)
Monica is characterised by her obsessive-compulsive nature - she loves to clean, and needs everything exactly how she wants it. She is confident, highly competitive, and holds some minor masculine qualities too. She is often teased about her childhood obesity, and rather coincidentally becomes a successful chef in the series.
Courtney Cox Arquette was the most famous of the six when the series began, having starred in films such as 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective' and 'Family Ties'. In between series five and six of 'Friends', Courtney married David Arquette after meeting him during the filming of 'Scream', giving her the added surname 'Arquette'.
Phoebe (played by Lisa Kudrow)
There is no better word for Phoebe than eccentric. She has a colourful history, having moved onto the streets after her mother killed herself. Now, however, despite being rather peculiar, she is a masseuse and a musician (she plays acoustic guitar in Central Perk - not very well).
Lisa Kudrow previously worked as an office manager before being casted as Phoebe, and has appeared occasionally in films since Friends ended, such as 'P.S. I Love You'.
Joey (Matt Le Blanc)
Joey is a struggling actor in the series, although he plays Dr Drake Ramoray in 'Days of Our Lives' for a while and also stars in some films. He is a 'womaniser', sleeping with women and never calling them again, and he also loves food (sandwiches being his preferred choice). Chandler often uses Joey, who can act quite dim-witted at times, as subject for his banter, despite Joey being the 'cooler' of the two. He is regarded as the least developed of all characters on the show, thus, he starred in the not-so-successful spin-off, 'Joey'.
Matt Le Blanc starred in minor roles before being cast as Joey in friends, and has starred in a few movies since, such as 'Charlie's Angels'.
Chandler (Matthew Perry)
Chandler is everyone's favourite (not literally), being the cynic of the group and by far the wittiest (reflecting the character of Matthew Perry himself). He was Ross' best friend in college and they have stayed friends since then. He is nervous and shy around women.
Matthew Perry only starred in a few unsuccessful shows before Friends, and since, has only starred in a few films such as 'Three to Tango' and single-episode roles, such as an in 'Scrubs'.
Ross (David Schwimmer)
Ross is the intellect of the group; he has a Ph.D., and is a palaeontologist. He is Monica's older brother and Chandler's best friend, and is introduced to show as recently divorced from a pregnant lesbian.
David Schwimmer is one of the more successful of the cast, like Jennifer Aniston, starring in films such as 'Madagascar', shows such as the renowned 'Band of Brothers', and he also directs (having directed 'Run Fat Boy Run').
== Opinion of the show ==
I love friends. It's hilarious, easy to watch, and charming. I have watched the episodes too many times to remember and I won't stop there. The show has fantastic replay value, as there are too many episodes for you to get bored (236 in total). The humour appeals to many, even to Brits, who have a somewhat different sense of humour to the Americans. The show has been popular worldwide, in fact. Like I mentioned in the introduction, it has a charming quality that is endearing. It cheers you up when you're down, and if you're already up, well it'll just life you further.
I've given you the impression that this show is perfect so far I feel. Well, I hate to admit it, but it isn't. I feel that the show's magic began to wane in the fifth series, and although it picked up in places, it was gradually diminishing as the series progressed. Not only did storylines begin to become more farfetched (some were rather farfetched in the first place, but bearably so...), but the comic value began to decrease too. First few times of watching, I still laughed at the later episodes, but the comedy was nowhere near as effective, particularly from the seventh series onwards.
What also became more noticeable was the direction and acting quality. It was as if the producers, writers and directors became lazy. Writers and directors were different for each episode, and it was noticeable. Episodes were becoming quite hit and miss. Consequently, as the direction quality diminished, those of the actors that couldn't act so well were beginning to be highlighted; namely, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, and to some extent, Matthew Perry. There are moments as well as significant periods in the timeline of Friends where poor acting shone through, and most of these moments came towards the latter stages of the timeline. Episodes were becoming less polished and 'Friends' just wasn't the same. Also, if you're not one for canned laughter, the later episodes really aren't for you!
However, some form of charm was still present. Over 50 million tuned in for the final episode, and it delivered in style. The programme never became awful, and for over 50% of the time, it was fantastic. Glitches did present themselves at times, such as inconsistencies between shots (in one episode, Aniston wore a necklace, but on the next shot in the same scene, the necklace miraculously disappeared) and camera faults (a microphone appears coming from the ceiling in one scene), but they were occasional, and only through watching the episodes so much have I become so pedantic about it (although some were very noticeable first time around).
'Friends' is always very on the surface. It is far from an artistic programme, but it doesn't matter. It is a remedy, a pick-me-up. You're meant to stick it on and enjoy it, and I am sure that many of you would (or do so already). In the long run, who cares if it's imperfect in terms of production, acting, directing etc.? Just have a few ruddy laughs at it and leave it at that.
== Everything else ==
'Friends' is shown on both Channel 4 and E4 (and +1) in the UK over four times a day, usually with two consecutive episodes being shown at a time. It is also available on DVD, either in series, or as a complete box set. There have been many versions of the box set released, and a new 15-year anniversary one was released last year. On these you will find extras and what not.
Also worth mentioning is the theme music. 'The Remembrandts' perform 'I'll Be There For You', written by Michael Skloff. In Blender magazine, it was branded as the 15th 'worst song ever'. Personally, I don't know what they're talking about. I presume they're basing that on the lyrics (which are very cheesy), as the music itself is quite good! The vocal harmonies get me singing along quite often, and I'm sure many of you will have clapped along with the fill after the first phrase!
Rumours of a reunion episode and a film (after the success after the first Sex and the City movie) were thrown out there, but they have all been denied. The female actresses in the cast have all mentioned that they'd love to do a reunion episode, but for the moment, this is all you're getting. But hey, what are you complaining about? You've got 236 uplifting, hilarious episodes that you'll want to watch more times than your bedroom ceiling.
== The Verdict ==
Let's drop the technicalities and look at this show as what it is. It was immensely popular when first released, and it is still loved by the millions to this very day. I really recommend that you give this show a try if you haven't already - 86%.