‘Friends’ still captivates viewers 25 years later

Sarah Parduhn, Entertainment Editor

With 10 seasons of 236 episodes, the series that took over the 90s celebrated its 25th anniversary on Sept. 22. The American sit-com “Friends” first aired Sept. 22, 1994, and continued airing until the series finale on May 6, 2004. The show has won over 70 awards ranging from the Golden Globes to the Emmys; the final episode of the series alone attracted more than 52 million viewers.

The beloved show was a mature comedy about a group of six friends finding their way through their late twenties and early thirties. Although the show originally ran on NBC, it now can be found on Netflix until the end of the year when it will be taken off the streaming service because WarnerMedia, an American multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate, bought the show from Netflix for $100 million for its own streaming service.

“I can’t believe it’s leaving Netflix! It makes me sad because the show relieves my stress, and I have it on 24/7,” said Lauren Carlson, junior, who added she has watched every episode at least 10 times and can quote certain moments from episodes.

However sad fans may be about the show leaving Netflix, other fans are using the 25th anniversary as a time for celebration and reflection by looking back at how this show affected them.

Anastasia Valassis, a teacher at MHS, was an avid viewer of the show when it originally aired, watching episodes as they came out weekly.

She said the reason she loves the show so much is because of the characters.

“There is a lot of different archetypes, and they take it to the extreme, which makes it funny,” Valassis said.

One of the most iconic parts about the show is the six unique senses of humor from each character. There is Joey, who although not very smart, is loving; Phoebe, the quirky, oddball guitar player; Chandler, the one with the sarcastic tone and boring job; Ross with his multiple divorces and dinosaur love; Monica with her OCD and cooking; and Rachel with her fashion sense and rich-girl vibes.

Valassis still watches the show today with her family at home, and since the episodes are on Netflix, younger generations are now becoming huge fans. Valassis and her family find themselves quoting the show at home.

“We use ‘Joey doesn’t share food’ all the time,” Valassis said. “My brother-in-law says, ‘I’m not even sorry’ when he’s eating.”

Jori Oztunguc, senior, who watches the show every once in a while because of its relaxing vibe, said her favorite character to watch and laugh at (or with) is Joey, too.

“His humor is just random and doesn’t always make sense but is always funny,” Oztunguc said.

As a tribute to the show being out a quarter of a century, local movie theatres, as well as those across the country, played twelve fan-favorite episodes from the show, which was announced by Warner Bros. and Fathom Events in August. The screenings were spread across three different nights: Monday, Sept. 23; Saturday, Sept. 28; and Wednesday, Oct. 2.

Carlson said if she had known about the episodes being played in theatres, she definitely would have gone.

“I am obsessed with the show. It is my favorite ‘go-to’ show to watch with my friends,” Carlson said.

Also, in honor of the 25th anniversary, Meghan Trainor, pop-singer and a self-professed hardcore “Friends” fan, recorded the iconic theme song, “I’ll be There for You” originally sung by the Rembrandts and known for its spirited hand claps in between each line.

According to Rolling Stone, a pop-culture magazine, Warner Brothers approached Trainor to cover the theme song, and she in turn tried to make the song sound exactly like the original.

The quarter-century anniversary has shown that “Friends” has become the show that many can relate to from older generations who watched it when it first aired to the next generation binging the show on Netflix.

Carlson said, “It always puts a smile on my face.”