- Network: NBC
- Series Premiere Date: Sep 22, 1994
- Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc
- Summary: "With a Little Help From My Friends" is a song written by the Beatles (and expertly covered by Joe Cocker) and it could easily be the subtitle for the thirty minute comedy, "Friends". In 1994, the idea was created for "Friends": a show about six friends in New York as they navigate their way"With a Little Help From My Friends" is a song written by the Beatles (and expertly covered by Joe Cocker) and it could easily be the subtitle for the thirty minute comedy, "Friends". In 1994, the idea was created for "Friends": a show about six friends in New York as they navigate their way through life and learn to grow up as they approach the third decade of their life. All, with the help from each other to get them through the obstacles that life naturally has for us. Monica is the excessively neat and organized "older sister" of the group, who works as a chef while yearning to find her ideal love. Ross, Monica's older brother, is a paleontologist with a lifelong crush on Rachel. He is a laid-back man with low self esteem and a recent divorcee. Rachel is the pretty, bubbly girl who spent most of her life as a spoiled rich princess. Now she must learn to face the real world. Chandler is Ross' college buddy and the guy who will crack jokes at a moment's notice. Phoebe is a lovable eccentric masseuse who easily could have fit in with Haight Ashbury in the 1960s. And Joey, the friend who has an inverse relationship between his good looks and his intelligence. He dreams of becoming an actor. These six individuals make up the cast of Friends. In May 2004, Friends officially ended it's phenomenal 10 year run. The show's time slot was taken over by a spin-off called Joey.… Expand
- Genre(s): Comedy
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At its best, Friends operates like a first-rate Broadway farce, complete with slamming doors, twisty plots, and intricately strung together jokes. And even when it's not at its best, the crack acting and piquant punchlines give Friends a momentum and charm that win you over even if you're not laughing.
The best new sitcom of the fall...It's a very strong cast. [22 Sept 1994, p.1D]
What helps Friends is that the show's creators have come up with a highly likable group of actors who are talented and charming, if not rip-roaringly funny. [21 Sept 1994, p.C2]
Concept is OK, but the humor's less sophisticated than expected from the exec producers of HBO's comedy series "Dream On," and the dialogue is not exactly snappy. Ross: "I honestly don't know if I'm hungry or horny!" Chandler: "Stay out of my freezer."
Tonight's new NBC sitcom from the producers of HBO's "Dream On" hands us still one more batch of self-consciously quirky, single, more-or-less charming twentysomething characters and lets them hang for a half-hour reading faux Woody Allen lines. [22 Sept 1994, p.36]
Wildly uneven. [22 Sept 1994]
Friends comes across like a 30-minute commercial for Dockers or Ikea or light beer, except it's smuttier. One character says he dreamed he had a telephone for a penis and when it rang, "it turns out it's my mother." And this is in the first five minutes...Another ghastly creation from professional panderers Marta Kauffman and David Crane, the witless duo who do "Dream On" for HBO, Friends is more a scripted talk show than a sitcom. You keep waiting for Sally Jessy or some other cluck to interrupt the jabbering. The show is so bad that Sally Jessy would actually come as a relief. [22 Sept 1994, p.D1]
Sep 1, 2017Friends was unique amongst sit coms for spreading its focus over six different characters rather than focusing on two more than the others.Friends was unique amongst sit coms for spreading its focus over six different characters rather than focusing on two more than the others. The show also brought elements of soap opera more directly into the sit com format with cliff hanger endings and season long storylines built around romantic relationships. The show was also the first major mainstream sit com built around the lives of twenty somethings and the concerns of their generation.
The first four seasons saw the show as a cutting edge sit com combining wit and punch line with character development. By then the characters had become beloved figures and the last six seasons saw each of them exaggerate their established traits for comic effect and perpetuate predictable "will they or won't they" relationships. The season finale was watched by over fifty million Americans, putting it behind only Cheers, Seinfeld and M*A*S*H in terms of most watched season
I think the first two seasons of Friends are the best American comedy made in my viewing life time. The writing and acting are as sharp as anything around but the show makes the characters seem real and forces you to care for them. Those two seasons capture all that is great about the American sit com model and set Friends up for another eight seasons of gentle decline critically and massive success commercially.
Friends was probably the first adult American comedy that I was exposed to. At the time it seemed like comedy was easy with Frasier, The Simpsons, Spin City and British shows Red Dwarf, Black Adder and Men Behaving Badly leaving me clutching my stomach. Those were not the only shows I was watching and of course what was happening was the moulding of my mind for my future TV critic work. In those few years I was exposed to practically every variation of every kind of joke that a sit com could make.Â
Later in life it has made me a harsh critic of jokes that I have seen and heard before. That harshness was very much in evidence as Friends began its decline from best comedy I had ever seen to silly exaggerated version of itself. My best friend George and I spent many a conversation discussing why the show was no longer what it had once been. For me the movement away from reality toward exaggeration was the primary reason and that remains my guiding philosophy on discussing any kind of scripted television show.
In 2004 as the show ended I got the idea to write an episode guide which would chart and help explain the show's movement from great to not so great. I had always loved the episode guides which came with magazines like British Science Fiction mag SFX. Seeing someone else's analysis on an episode by episode basis fascinated me whether I agreed or disagreed with their assessment. I began to review Friends in my spare time and wrote a review after each one. This is when I developed my score out of 100 and "The Good" and "The Bad" structure. I had always imagined the reviews would end up in a physical format as an actual guide. However once it was complete and I showed my friends it was 2007 and it seemed obvious that the internet would be the form where it would live if it went anywhere. By then Lost was in full swing and soon I decided to begin reviewing other shows and try to do this on a more permanent basis.
After a couple of years being The TV Critic I realised that my reviews had been too harsh on Friends. Watching mediocre comedies week after week my scores out of 100 began to settle down into a predictable range. The less good episodes of Friends would have received much higher scores from me if they had aired in 2010 rather than on rewatch when they did. It's important to keep this in mind when looking at the later season scores and perhaps some of the earlier ones too. I'm pretty happy with seasons one and two though where the 70s, 80s and 90s I dished out remain thoroughly deserved. My reviews are also a lot shorter, again owing to the fact that in my mind they would be printed all together. I didn't go to lengths to explain my criteria for what made things good or bad television either as I have strived to do since starting the website.
Friends popularised sit coms about young people and soon a myriad of others appeared. The romantic cliff hanger had of course been present in other sit coms (prominently Cheers) but it became a staple after Friends as did sit coms with multiple lead characters. Spinoff Joey had two seasons and ended in 2006.
Perhaps the biggest legacy in the short term was what didn't happen after Friends. There has yet to be another comedy hit on quite the same scale. While CBS' Two and a Half Men has been a very consistent and highly rated hit in the years following it doesn't have the same cultural or international appeal. The end of Friends saw sit coms go in a different direction. in the last F.R.I.E.N.D.S is my best tv series , when i am sad i sit and watch a episode of friends and that makes me happy… Expand
Dec 13, 2014This is my favourite TV show and best sit-com I've ever watched. Nowadays, when I watch The Big Bang Theory I catch myself on thinking "wasThis is my favourite TV show and best sit-com I've ever watched. Nowadays, when I watch The Big Bang Theory I catch myself on thinking "was that supposed to be funny?". But Friends actually were funny, each one of them (especially Chandler of course). I'm laughing, chuckling, every time I'm watching this show and it doesn't matter that I literally know it by heart.… Expand
Feb 7, 2011This show is my all time favourite of ... well all time.
Priceless and genius. Is one of the few shows where I don't care what episode orThis show is my all time favourite of ... well all time.
Priceless and genius. Is one of the few shows where I don't care what episode or season I watch. I can just close my eye's and pick a disk from my collection and watch it. The show is painfully funny and each character has a joke "style" that matches their personality perfectly.… Expand
Jul 26, 2016In my opinion, Friends is the best sitcom by far. I have the complete series box set, and despite that I watched all the episodes likeIn my opinion, Friends is the best sitcom by far. I have the complete series box set, and despite that I watched all the episodes like thousands of times (well, not literally, but several times), for me always is a good idea re-watch all the seasons again. The storyline it's really good (there are some seasons that it’s awesome and others that it’s not so good, but in average, it’s a really good storyline), with good jokes and big moments. I will never forget Chandler, Monica, Joey, Rachel, Phoebe and Ross. All of them did a great job, because for me, this is the only sitcom that you really care about the characters.
When I see the end of the last season, for me it’s like a sad goodbye, because always I want to know more about them.… Expand
Jun 8, 2014Nothing on TV compares to this anymore. Although Friends starts slow (takes a while to establish the personalities of each character) it getsNothing on TV compares to this anymore. Although Friends starts slow (takes a while to establish the personalities of each character) it gets better and better as the series progress. There is a dip in series 7, where the jokes and writing(as well as acting) is quite poor and a few very uneven episodes, but I think series 8, 9 and 10 pick up again. Recommend strongly 10/10 overall (again despite the dip in season 6&7).… Expand
Feb 26, 2013This is probably the best show ever made.
It is amazing, it teaches you tons of good things and makes you laugh a lot at the same time. ItThis is probably the best show ever made.
It is amazing, it teaches you tons of good things and makes you laugh a lot at the same time. It has an amazing cast and stories!
Definitely the best ever. Since 1994 it never became boring!… Expand
Aug 9, 2017I really like the series, I have seen many of his seasons and above all I really like the cast, they are quite gracious and very professional,I really like the series, I have seen many of his seasons and above all I really like the cast, they are quite gracious and very professional, serious i love the serie… Expand