From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Friends title card
Courteney Cox Arquette
|Opening theme||Rembrandts - I'll Be There For You|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||236 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||approx. 22 minutes (per episode)|
|Original run||September 22, 1994 – May 6, 2004|
|Followed by||Joey (2004-2006)|
Friends is a popular American situation comedy about a group of six friends living in the Manhattan borough of New York City. It was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman and was originally broadcast from 1994 to 2004.
Friends gained tens of millions of fans all over the globe. The show won numerous awards during its run, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, and six consecutive People's Choice Awards for Favorite Television Comedy Series.
Friends was created in 1994 by David Crane and Marta Kauffman. Originally to be named Across the Hall, Friends was aimed at young adults who, during the early 1990s, were identified by their café culture, dating scene and modern independence.
Lisa Kudrow was also familiar with working on sitcoms having played Ursula Buffay on Mad About You (who was later revealed as Friends character Phoebe's sister), and having been fired during filming of the pilot of Frasier after being cast as Roz.
Courtney Cox was already an accomplished TV and film actress when she was cast, having appeared in the likes of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and had had several minor roles on sitcoms such as Seinfeld and Family Ties.
David Schwimmer was wanted by the writers of Friends for the part of Ross Geller from the very beginning; having auditioned for Crane and Kauffman in the past, he was said to have a "memorable voice" and was most known for his Broadway work.
Matt LeBlanc appeared as Vinnie Verducci, the boyfriend of Kelly Bundy in Married... with Children in the early 1990s (and starred in that sitcom's short-lived spin-off, Top of the Heap) as well as Vinnie & Bobby, but before that had mainly been focusing on advertising and modelling work when he was cast as Joey Tribbiani.
 Cast members
 Primary characters
 Secondary characters
- Further information: List of recurring characters in Friends, List of significant others of Friends, and List of guest stars on Friends
|Role||Relationship||Actor or actress|
|Jack Geller||Ross/Monica's father||Elliott Gould|
|Judy Geller||Ross/Monica's mother||Christina Pickles|
|Gunther||Coffee shop manager||James Michael Tyler|
|Janice||Chandler's hated on/off girlfriend||Maggie Wheeler|
|Dr. Richard Burke||formally Monica's boyfriend||Tom Selleck|
|Mike Hannigan||Phoebe's husband||Paul Rudd|
Behind the scenes, the show was known for its unusually cohesive and unified cast. The six main actors made deliberate and conscious efforts, from early on, to keep the show's ensemble format and to not allow any one of them to dominate. This included requesting that all actors on the show be nominated either for the same category of award ("Supporting Actor" until 2001, then "Lead Actor" from 2002 onwards) or not at all, and entering collective instead of individual salary negotiations. The actors became such close friends that one guest star, Tom Selleck, reported sometimes feeling left out. This was a criticism later echoed by British actress Helen Baxendale, who guest starred as Ross's second wife, Emily.
The character of Ursula (Phoebe's twin sister) first appeared in the sitcom Mad About You as a waitress. Kudrow played Ursula on both Mad About You and Friends. The show's creators did not originally intend for Phoebe to have a twin, but they added the character to explain why Kudrow was appearing on two different shows on the same network, at one time as a part of the same Thursday night line-up.
Friends featured many of its celebrity guest stars as secondary characters in the show. Most U.S. sitcoms use celebrities in cameo appearances to raise ratings during important sweeps weeks, but some celebrities appeared on Friends throughout each TV season. These stars included Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Danny DeVito, Donny Osmond , Brooke Shields, Julia Roberts, Sarah Ferguson and Isabella Rossellini. British business mogul Richard Branson made a guest appearance in a Season Four episode. One guest star who gained a recurring role was Tom Selleck as Monica’s older long-term boyfriend. The parents of the six were cast using celebrities: for example, Kathleen Turner played Chandler's drag-queen father, Elliott Gould played Ross and Monica's father, and Teri Garr played Phoebe's flakey birth mother.
 Season synopses
- For more details on this topic, see List of Friends episodes.
 Season One (1994-1995)
Phoebe, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Ross meet up in Central Perk shortly after Ross's wife Carol realizes she is a lesbian and divorces him. Monica and Ross are both living alone, Chandler and Joey live together and Phoebe lives with her grandmother. Monica's old high school friend, Rachel, enters Central Perk wearing a wedding dress, having just run away from her wedding to Barry Farber. She moves in with Monica, gets a job as a waitress at Central Perk but struggles to work for a living, having previously lived a rich life. Ross discovers his ex-wife is pregnant and she gives birth to a boy, named Ben, who is subsequently raised by Carol and her lesbian partner, Susan.
Joey and Chandler have many flings with different women. Chandler gets involved with a woman named Janice who repeatedly shows up in every season through the series.
Ross reveals he had a crush on Rachel in high school and he still has feelings for her. Throughout the season, he fails to make his feelings known to her and Chandler and Joey eventually persuade him to move on. On Rachel's birthday, Ross leaves for a paleontological trip to China. While he is gone, Chandler accidentally reveals to Rachel that Ross is in love with her. Rachel decides she would like to start a romantic relationship with Ross and goes to meet him at the airport when he returns from China, unaware that he is getting off the plane with another woman.
 Season Two (1995-1996)
Unaware that Rachel is in fact interested in him, Ross has started a relationship with an old friend, Julie, whom he met in China. Rachel does not take a liking to Julie because she is involved with Ross. While drunk, Rachel leaves a message on Ross' answering machine telling him she's over him. Ross hears the message and becomes confused over his own feelings. He and Rachel soon meet and kiss. Ross is unable to choose between Rachel and Julie and decides to make a pro and con list of both women. He decides he loves Rachel and breaks up with Julie. Unfortunately, Rachel discovers the list, becomes angry and rejects Ross. However, the friends eventually watch a video from Rachel and Monica's prom where it seems Rachel's prom date, Chip, has stood her up. The teenage Ross decides he will take her. While Ross is coming down the stairs in a tuxedo, Rachel runs off with Chip, who has arrived late. Ross looks shattered. Back in the present day, Rachel kisses Ross when she sees how sincere he is and they start dating.
Joey gets an acting job as Dr. Drake Ramoray on the soap Days of our Lives and earns enough money to move into his own apartment (leaving Chandler behind). Left on his own, Chandler gets a new roommate, Eddie, who is insane. When Joey states in an interview that he writes his own lines, the show's writers kill off his character by making him fall down an elevator shaft. With no income, Joey moves back into Chandler's apartment helping Chandler finally gets rid of the psychotic Eddie. Phoebe finds she has a half brother named Frank Jr. and they start building a relationship. Monica dates Richard Burke, an ophthalmologist and a friend of her parents who is twenty one years older than her, but they break up when Richard tells her he does not want to have children. When Chandler meets the woman he's been talking to online he sees that it is his ex, Janice, and they kiss.
 Season Three (1996-1997)
Rachel quits her job at Central Perk to find a job in fashion, when she does she ends up making coffee at the fashion label so she takes a job at Bloomingdales offered to her by stranger Mark. Ross becomes convinced her new co-worker wants to date her and becomes increasingly jealous. Tension between Ross and Rachel culminates on their anniversary and Rachel suggests they take a break. After hearing Rachel's co-worker Mark in the background during a phone call, Ross assumes she is seeing / interested in him. Depressed and under the influence of alcohol, he sleeps with another woman (the hot xerox girl). When Rachel indicates that she still wants Ross, he tries to resume their relationship without telling her about his fling but she finds out from Gunther and, after a long emotional night, they break up. Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, and Joey are stuck in Monica's room and hear the whole fight.
Monica has to work at a fifties diner where she has to wear a blonde wig and flame retardant breasts. Soon a customer named Pete asks her out, but she says no without realizing that he is a millionaire. Eventually, she agrees to go on a date with him. Monica avoids kissing him for a while because she doesn't feel attracted to him but after they kiss she instantly finds him attractive. Eventually Pete becomes obsessed with becoming the Ultimate Fighting Champion, but gets severely injured in every fight and says he won't stop fighting until he wins. Monica can't stand to see him keep hurting himself, so they break up.
Chandler breaks up with Janice and Joey buys a chick as a pet. Joey and Chandler soon begin to fight over the chick. Chandler decides to take it back but the shop won't take it so he goes to a shelter where he learns that they kill the animals that can't find homes. He takes the chick back home along with a duck. Joey's acting career continues to go badly. Phoebe finds a woman, also named Phoebe, who knew her parents. She invites the group to go with her to the beach. Rachel becomes upset when Ross starts dating Bonnie, who unexpectedly comes with them. Rachel is unhappy and persuades Bonnie to shave her head so Ross will be less attracted to her. Ross and Rachel argue about this and start to feel like they still love each other. Meanwhile it is revealed that the older Phoebe is Phoebe's birth mother. The season ends with Ross having to decide between Rachel and Bonnie.
 Season Four (1997-1998)
Ross decides to get back together with Rachel and breaks up with Bonnie. However, Rachel wants him to take full responsibility for "cheating" on her, whereas Ross insists that they were on a break. Unable to agree on whether or not Ross cheated, they break up again. After Phoebe learns the older Phoebe is her real mother, she tells her twin sister, Ursula, who knew all along. Phoebe agrees to be a surrogate mother for her half-brother Frank and his wife Alice. Luckily, after having fertility treatments and a nice talk with Frank and Alice's embryos in a petri dish she becomes pregnant . . . with triplets!
Joey begins dating Kathy but Chandler likes her too. Joey and Kathy break up after Kathy kisses Chandler. Joey is angry, but forgives Chandler when he sees that Chandler and Kathy love each other. Chandler suspects that Kathy is sleeping with a fellow cast member after watching one of her plays. He then proceeds to confront directly and accuse her. She is insulted and later she does sleep with him, so she and Chandler break up. Monica and Rachel switch apartments with Joey and Chandler after losing a bet. The girls hate their new apartment, so they try to convince Joey and Chandler to switch apartments in exchange for season passes to the Knicks. Instead, they agree to an all-or-nothing bet. The guys win, but while they're at the game, the girls switch the apartments back. They appease the guys by offering them an opportunity to watch Monica and Rachel kiss for one minute.
Ross dates a British woman, Emily, and they become engaged. The group travels to London for the wedding, except Phoebe, who is in her last trimester, and Rachel, who doesn't want to see Ross get married. At the wedding rehearsal dinner, Monica becomes depressed because she was referred to as 'Ross's mum', and the fact that she wasn't married. Chandler comforts her and they end up sleeping together. Rachel realizes she still loves Ross and goes to London to tell him. When she gets there, she sees him with Emily and decides it would not be right to ruin the wedding. The wedding goes ahead, but comes to an abrupt halt when Ross says "I, Ross, take thee, Rachel".
 Season Five (1998-1999)
Ross and Emily's wedding continues despite Ross's faux pas and they are married, but she disappears at the reception. The group goes back to New York where Emily calls Ross and tells him that she will only stay married if he promises he will never see Rachel again. Ross agrees, but Emily continues to make unreasonable demands, like making him move out of his apartment, since Rachel had been there. She also made him sell all of his stuff and get new stuff since Rachel had touched everything. Ross begins to see that she is asking too much and proceeds to have dinner with his friends including Rachel. When Emily finds out she is angry but Ross assures her that nothing is going on between them and that they are just friends. He says she has to trust him and asks if she can do that but Emily feels too threatened and says no, and they decide to get a divorce. Ross moves in with Joey and Chandler since he sold his apartment, but eventually moves into Ugly Naked Guy's apartment.
Phoebe gives birth to triplets: Frank Jr. Jr., Leslie, and Chandler (Phoebe originally chose to name the baby after Chandler thinking the baby was going to be a boy, but even after the baby turned out to be a girl Frank and Alice still kept the name as Chandler). She tries to keep one after becoming attached to them, but finds out that Frank and Alice are unwilling to give up a child.
Chandler and Monica continue an intimate relationship in secret. They have this secret relationship for more than half of the season but each character eventually finds out about their relationship separately at different parts of the season. Joey figures it out first but agrees to keep it a secret, followed by Rachel when she hears Chandler and Monica talking very naughtily on the phone. Soon Phoebe finds out when she sees Monica and Chandler doing it up against the window from Ugly Naked Guy's apartment, which Ross is thinking of buying. Chandler and Monica don't know that Rachel and Phoebe know and the girls decide to mess with them. To Joey's dismay they play a series of tricks on Monica and Chandler, who find out and respond with some tricks of their own (which leads to Chandler and Phoebe having a competition to see who will cave first, and reveal the secret). Finally after Chandler caves and admits he can't take the game any farther because he is in love with Monica, Monica and Chandler reveal their secret affair to everyone but Ross. Later that night Ross sees Monica and Chandler kissing through his window (while talking to his boss from the museum. Ross had been suspended from his job earlier due to anger issues and they were finally considering having him come back but this new discovery didn't help matters) and is furious, but once he finds out they aren't just messing around he is ok with it. They all accept their relationship and the story moves on. Rachel starts a new job at Ralph Lauren.
Joey gets the lead in a movie, but travels to Las Vegas to find production has shut down. Everyone goes to Vegas to see him, but find out that he is working as a gladiator for the Caesar's Palace casino. On the plane ride over, Ross and Rachel play pranks on each other (Ross starts it to prove Rachel can be embarrassed) until it gets out of hand and Ross scribbles a goatee on Rachel's face (while she is asleep) with a permanent marker. Afterwards, Rachel finds out and becomes enraged. She and Ross then get drunk and run to the nearest chapel and get married. Monica and Chandler are there planning to get married too.
 Season Six (1999-2000)
When Chandler and Monica see Ross and Rachel at the chapel they decide not to get married. After finding out that they are now married, Ross and Rachel agree to get an annulment so Ross doesn't have a third divorce, but he decides it is still a failed marriage. He lies to Rachel, telling her he has had the marriage annulled when he actually has not. Rachel finds out and forces Ross to go ahead with the annulment, but they are ineligible for one and file for divorce. Ross gets a new job teaching palaeontology at New York University. He eventually dates Rachel's sister Jill and afterwards one of his students named Elizabeth.
Chandler and Monica don't get married but move in together, and Rachel moves in with Phoebe. Joey gets a female roommate, Janine, and they start dating. When Janine reveals she does not like Chandler and Monica, Joey breaks up with her. Out of a job and desperate for money, Joey gets a job at Central Perk and tries out other acting gigs until he lands a permanent (but short-lived) role as the main star of Mac and Cheese. A fire (started by Rachel's hair straightener) ruins Phoebe and Rachel's apartment. Rachel moves in with Chandler and Monica, and Phoebe moves in with Joey. They eventually swap, so Rachel lives with Joey instead. Bruce Willis makes a three episode cameo appearance as Elizabeth's father and Rachel's boyfriend. Reese Witherspoon also makes a two episode cameo appearance as Rachel's younger sister Jill, who dates Ross. Towards the end of the season, Chandler decides to propose to Monica, but wants it to be a surprise. He worries that she suspects something so he creates a plan to throw her off by pretending he is against marriage and everything to do with it. He makes a weird analogy about how relationships ought to be and pig sex. It seems to be working and Chandler is about to propose but things don't go smoothly as her ex-boyfriend Richard comes in and announces to Monica that he is still in love with her during the finale to almost ruin Chandler's plan. Richard offers her marriage and children and everything she's ever wanted. In a dramatic climax, Monica is torn between wanting Chandler and wanting a more mature relationship than he is seemingly willing to give her and doesn't know what to do. When Chandler finds out he is angry and distressed and tries to confront Richard who finally sees how in love with her Chandler is and backs down. Meanwhile Joey tells Monica about Chandler's plan. When Chandler arrives, however, Joey tells him that Monica didn't believe it was all a plan and was so upset that she left and told him not to call her. Chandler is heartbroken and goes into his apartment, only to find the lights out, candles everywhere, and Monica in the middle of the floor waiting to propose. In a tearful but romantic encounter, Chandler and Monica finally become engaged.
 Season Seven (2000-2001)
Monica and Chandler begin planning their wedding. Rachel gets a promotion in Ralph Lauren and hires an assistant, Tag, whom she begins dating. They later break up when Rachel turns 30.
Phoebe's apartment is repaired, but has been converted back into a one bedroom (Phoebe's grandmother had put up a wall to make it a two bedroom apartment) so Rachel continues to live with Joey.
Joey's new show Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E. is cancelled but he is able to return to Days of Our Lives when his character, Dr. Drake Ramoray, gets a new brain from a character named Jessica Lockheart whom he slept with throughout the episode, after she falls off a horse into an electric fence, his character then wakes from his coma.
The night before his wedding, Chandler gets scared and disappears. While he is gone, Phoebe and Rachel find a positive pregnancy test in Monica's bathroom, and Phoebe assumes Monica is pregnant. Rachel makes Phoebe promise to not tell anyone what they have found. Phoebe and Ross find Chandler at his office (while Rachel keeps Monica distracted) and persuade him to come back, but Chandler overhears Phoebe and Rachel talking about Monica's "pregnancy" and disappears again. He quickly returns on his own, however, and decides that a baby would not be so bad. Chandler and Monica get married, but when Chandler tells Monica he knows about the baby, she says she is not pregnant, and it was not her pregnancy test that they found. Meanwhile Phoebe tells Rachel how excited she is about Monica's pregnancy, Rachel slowly agrees looking very emotional. The camera then zooms in on her and she takes a deep breath. The audience is left with the question: "Could Rachel be pregnant?".
 Season Eight (2001-2002)
Rachel confirms she is pregnant but doesn't tell anyone who the father is. Unfortunately for her, Joey finds a sweater that the baby's father left at his apartment. Phoebe suspects that it is Tag's sweater but Ross finds it and says,"Hey, my sweater!", with the audience whooping in response. After Rachel tells Ross he is the father (and Ross learns the hard way that condoms are only 97% effective) they tell everyone that they secretly slept together about a month before Chandler and Monica's wedding. After Ross meets Mona at the wedding he goes out with her for a few months but they break up because of complications arising from his impending fatherhood of Rachel's child. As Rachel and Joey continue living together, Joey starts to develop feelings for her. Feeling that Ross is missing out on his fatherly duties, Joey reluctantly suggests that Rachel move in with Ross, and she does so. Joey later reveals his feelings to Rachel, who politely rejects him.
After a passionate kiss with Ross, Rachel goes into labor, and while in the hospital, Ross's mother approaches him with a ring to give to Rachel. Ross keeps the ring in his coat pocket, even though he does not want to propose to Rachel. Rachel remains in labor for about 21 hours and shares her room with five different women (including Janice) that all have their babies before her. Rachel gives birth to their daughter, Emma. Joey finds the engagement ring after it falls out of Ross' coat. He bends down to pick it up. Rachel, seeing Joey on one knee with an engagement ring, thinks that he is proposing to her, and says "okay". Monica and Chandler decide to have a baby.
 Season Nine (2002-2003)
Rachel finds out that Joey was not proposing to her, but neither was Ross. After Ross doesn't pass on a message to Rachel from a potential date, the two realise that having a child and living together while not actually being together is too complicated, therefore Rachel decides to move back in with Joey and takes Emma with her. Chandler's job requires him to be in Tulsa, OK. Monica decides not to come after she is offered a dream job in New York. He puts up with this for a while, but he begins to consider quitting when he finds he has to work in Tulsa over Christmas. When a female associate comes on to him over Christmas in Tulsa, he quits and starts a new job in advertising. After trying all season to get pregnant to no avail, fertility tests prove that Chandler and Monica cannot conceive a baby, so they decide to adopt. Phoebe starts dating Mike Hannigan (Paul Rudd) after being set up on a double date by Joey (who originally lied to Phoebe about knowing someone called 'Mike', so he goes to Central Perk and yells 'Mike', he then successfully persuades Mike Hannigan to go on the date). They move in together, but when he tells Phoebe he does not want to get married, they break up. Rachel begins to develop feelings for Joey.
The group goes to Barbados. Phoebe takes her new boyfriend David (Hank Azaria), whom she first met in Season One and has been in love with off and on throughout the show, and Joey takes his girlfriend Charlie. Chandler accidentally gives David some bad advice and David decides to propose to Phoebe. Monica finds out, and calls Mike to tell him to get back together with Phoebe. Mike comes to Barbados and proposes to Phoebe. She turns him down, but - knowing their relationship has a future - agrees to take him back, leaving David. Joey and Charlie break up. Joey learns Rachel likes him, but refuses her advances because he feels he would be betraying Ross. However, when Joey sees Charlie and Ross kissing he changes his mind and kisses Rachel.
 Season Ten (2003-2004)
Joey and Rachel's relationship only lasts three episodes: having been platonic for so long, they feel uncomfortable taking their relationship further. Charlie goes back to an old boyfriend. Mike and Phoebe get married in a street on a cold, snowy day. Chandler and Monica apply to adopt the baby of a pregnant young woman named Erica and decide to move out of their apartment to a house in the suburbs of New York. Erica gives birth to twins, a boy and a girl, who are named Jack (after Monica's dad) and Erica (after their mother). Chandler and Monica agree that having two may be a good thing; Chandler had mentioned in an earlier season that he wanted twins. Rachel accepts a job in Paris. The group holds a going-away party for her and she says goodbye to each of them in turn, except Ross. He is upset about this until Rachel tells him it was too hard to say goodbye to him. They then sleep together.
In the final episode, Ross realizes he still loves Rachel and, after she leaves for Paris, goes after her, driven by Phoebe on a ride with many obstacles before he can get to Rachel. Meanwhile, Joey bought Chandler a new chick and duck since the other two had died (Joey doesn't know this; the gang told him they were moved to a special farm) but they get stuck in the foosball table (bought in an earlier season after their proper table broke; unable to decide upon a new one, they bought a foosball table instead). They know they have to break it open but neither of them have the heart to do it. Finally, Monica destroys it and the chick and duck are recovered. They decide to keep the birds at Joey's. Ross finds Rachel and tells her he is in love with her and begs her not to go; however, she is overwhelmed by this new information on top of everything else and leaves. Ross was sure she would stay and is crushed. When he gets back to his apartment, he finds a message from Rachel on his answering machine, telling him she does still love him and is trying to get off the plane but not allowed to leave. Ross listens intently as Rachel tries to explain to the flight attendant that she needs to get off the plane but the message ends before he can tell whether or not she got off. Ross frantically runs to the answering machine pressing buttons and screaming "Did she get off the plane?" Suddenly a voice from behind Ross says "I got off the plane" and he turns to see Rachel at the door of his apartment. They kiss and assure each other that this is the real thing and they want to be together.
The episode ends with Chandler and Monica moving out of their apartment with their new twins, Mike and Phoebe deciding to have kids and Ross and Rachel becoming a family with Emma. As they look around their apartment one last time, Chandler and Monica realize they need to leave their key on the desk. One by one, each friend follows with his or her own key to the apartment. Rachel then suggests that they all go for one last cup of coffee before Monica and Chandler move and Chandler responds with the last word of the show: "Where?"
After the show ended, Joey moved to Los Angeles in the spin-off show, "Joey". It's ironic that Joey was the one to move since he was always the most upset by the thought of the group growing apart. The chick and the duck were then transferred to Monica and Chandler's new residence ( commented by Chandler and Monica).
 Running gags
Friends had many running gags throughout the span of the show. Some of the most famous include:
- "The One With/Where..."
- Almost every episode title starts with these three words, hence the common abbreviation TOW in many episode guides. This is a reference to the fact that most U.S. sitcoms do not display the title of their episodes, leaving fans to discuss only the main plot points or significant events when referring to specific episodes. The only exceptions to this rule are the episodes "The One Without the Ski Trip", "The One that Could Have Been, Part 1", "The One that Could Have Been, Part 2" "The One Hundredth", "The Last One", "The Pilot" (also commonly known as "The First One" or "The One Where It All Began") and some begin "The One After..." like The One After Vegas, "The One The Morning After", "The One After Ross Says Rachel" and "The One In Vegas". Subtitles on Friends DVDs refer to "The Pilot" as "The One Where it all Began", thus allowing it to conform to the TOW trend.
- Fat Monica
- Monica, now slim, was obese as a child. She and the other characters often refer to her "fat past" and several flashbacks throughout the series allow the audience to see how she looked then.
- Monica's personality quirks
- In some of the episodes, Monica is shown as being obsessive about cleanliness. (However, one episode shows her to have a secret closet in her apartment that is full of junk, and which she will not allow Chandler to "mess up".) She also enjoys playing the part of the hostess at social gatherings, and loves to be in charge of organizing things, such as parties. Monica is also known to be aggressively competitive. In "The One In Barbados", Monica reminds Chandler that he agreed to support her in sickness and health, and that being competitive was her illness. Chandler queries, "What about the obsessive cleaning?" and Monica replies, "That's just good sense."
- "We were on a break!"
- In several episodes, Ross and Rachel clash about the way their first period of romantic involvement ended; in the last of a series of misunderstandings and quarrels, Rachel suggested "taking a break from us." Though Rachel rapidly regretted her words, Ross, in a bout of misery-induced drunkenness, had already slept with another woman, but stubbornly insisted he had done nothing wrong because he and Rachel were "on a break". "We were on a break!" thus became a catchphrase for any desperately legalistic excuse that nobody but the person using it believes.
- The Chick and the Duck
- In Season Three, Joey decides to take a chick (which later grew up and became a rooster) as a pet for him and Chandler. Soon afterwards, Chandler adopts a duck which is due to be slaughtered. Their names are simply The Chick and The Duck (in the episode when they get the chick and the duck Chandler refers to the chick as Little Yasmine, after Yasmine Bleeth from Baywatch which he was watching at the time, when Joey arrives home to find Chandler did not return the chick to the store, but they never call it that in future episodes). The girls often express dislike of the pets, and even decide to bet on whether they can make Chandler and Joey get rid of them. However, this simply causes them to lose their apartment instead. In the final episode, a new chick and duck (Chick Jr. and Duck Jr.) are introduced as a gift to Chandler from Joey. It is revealed that Joey was told the original chick and the duck were taken to a "special farm" to spare his feelings. When Rachel is asked to keep an eye on the new chick and duck, her response reveals that they actually died. How and when they died is not revealed, although it is sometime after Season Seven, which is when they are last seen.
- "Gay" Chandler
- All cast members have their sexual orientation questioned at various points during the series, however Chandler's are the most referenced. When Chandler asks what makes him seem gay, the only answer the others can think of is that he has a "quality". Phoebe admits in one episode that the first time she met Chandler she thought he was gay, as is included in the song designed and played at Monica and Chandler's wedding. Some of the lines went:
- "The first time I met Chandler, I thought he was gay, Now here I am, Singing on his wedding day!"
- In another episode, it is revealed that Chandler once kissed a man in a bar in Atlantic City. In his defense, Chandler states: "It was dark, and he was a very pretty guy." However, while in London for Ross's wedding to second wife Emily, Chandler and Monica end up in bed together after a drunk man mistakes Monica for Ross's mother. While this effectively ends their friendship, it is the start of arguably the most stable and loving relationship of the series. Chandler and Monica finally wed in Season 7, with Chandler overcoming his cold feet to say "I do". Though their marriage is clearly happy, this does not mark the end of the "gay" jokes, with Monica often remarking on Chandler's gay qualities such as owning two copies of the Annie soundtrack, or Chandler getting pedicures.
- Gunther likes Rachel / hates Ross
- When Gunther appears in an episode, it usually involves his very obvious crush on Rachel, who remains (usually) oblivious to his feelings throughout the show until the series finale. For this reason he also hates Ross and takes pleasure in Ross' downfalls, especially when they involve his relationship with Rachel. As with Rachel, Ross seems oblivious to Gunther's opinion of him.
- Ross' tendency to marry and later divorce
- Ross is married three times during the course of the show; each of these marriages ends in divorce. In one episode, he makes a promise to himself that there'll be no divorces that year. The friends then remind him that his divorce hasn't come through yet. He then changes his resolution to, "Just the one divorce in '99!" Joey also states, "Whenever I hear 'divorce' I immediately go to Ross." Ross and Phoebe also chat in one episode about Ross' would-be superhero name, and come up with 'The Divorce Force' and 'Ross The Divorcer.' Chandler jokes to Ross at one point that "If you're not careful, you won't get married at all this year!" Ross once said that he and Rachel should get married when Rachel is pregnant with Emma, and Rachel replied "What, because thats your answer for everything?"
- Phoebe's music
- Phoebe is often a musician at Central Perk and is known for her rather unusual, original songs, especially "Smelly Cat", and has busked thrice in the history of the show, once when she was replaced at Central Perk and outside Monica's restaurant, and also in a New York subway.
- Chandler's hard-to-get-rid-of girlfriend Janice's catchphrase "Oh...my...God!" is used as her introductory line in her guest appearances. Her lines also include, 'Chandler BING!' and hitting Chandler, at which he almost definitely winces. She is known for her annoying, piercing idiosyncratic laugh, that "makes Chandler's balls jump back up inside his body".
- Chandler's humour
- Chandler often makes sarcastic, snide remarks, typically in response to the actions of his friends. A psychoanalyst tells him that he probably "started using humour as a defense mechanism when [his] parents divorced". Chandler occasionally uses these exact words to justify his behavior.
- Chandler is also known for saying phrases in the form of "Could noun(s) be any more adjective?" His friends often imitate him using this phrase. For example, in the episode "The One Where No One's Ready", Joey dresses up in all the clothes that Chandler owns, and remarks, "Look at me, I'm Chandler, could I be wearing any more clothes?" This phrasing is known to have been a significant influence upon popular culture (see below).
- "How you doin'?"
- This is Joey's pick-up line. It has an identical effect on the majority of women he uses it on: they giggle uncontrollably and instantly warm to him. It is known to have only failed on one woman, when Joey tried it in Season Six on his then room-mate Janine Lecroix (Elle Macpherson) When Rachel has a crush on assistant Tag Jones, she sees him flirting with other colleagues. She then employs Joey to take him out and introduce him to other women. However, when he comes in the next day, and uses Joey's "How you doing?" on the nearest girl, Rachel is not impressed.
- No one knows Chandler's job
- Though it is established throughout the first eight seasons that Chandler's job involves "statistical analysis" and "data re-configuration," none of the rest of the cast can ever remember exactly what his job title or function is. Chandler is continually frustrated that the people closest to him can't even remember what he does for a living; when he talks about his job to his friends, their typical reply is a surprised, "You know how to do that?" He eventually leaves this never-named job for a position at an advertising company.
- This lack of knowledge actually changes the show's major setting in Season 4. In "The One With The Embryos", after Chandler and Joey successfully guess everything Rachel has just bought at the grocery store, Monica and Rachel challenge them to a competition to determine who knows who better. Ross designs the competition and referees it as a quiz-show-style game. Monica's competitiveness gets the better of her, however, and a series of escalating wagers between the teams ends with this bet: If Monica and Rachel win, Chandler and Joey will have to get rid of their pet birds -- but if the guys win, they get the girls' apartment. The final question, which stumps Monica and Rachel and forces them to forfeit their apartment, is of course: "What is Chandler Bing's job?"
- Cliched conversations
- The group occasionally act out certain situations using cliched dialogue normally attributed to a different situation. For example, in The One with the Breast Milk, Monica confesses to Rachel that she'd been shopping with Julie, it is played as if she was her partner confessing to an affair. Monica uses lines like "We only did it once, It didn't mean anything to me", "I was thinking of you the whole time" and "one thing led to another and, before I knew it, we were...".
- Phoebe's dead mother
- Phoebe often uses her mother's suicide as a sympathy vote. In one episode, upon forgetting to invite Rachel's mother to her baby shower, Phoebe's defence is that her mother killed herself, so she often forgets other peoples' mothers. In another episode where Ross cannot believe that Phoebe has never had saltwater taffy, Phoebe says that "my mother was too busy planning her suicide to provide saltwater treats!"
- In some episodes, Phoebe uses the excuse of her dead mother to get what she wants. For example, in one episode a man leaves his cell phone on the table, causing Rachel and Phoebe to argue over who gets it. During the argument Phoebe says, "Yeah, well my mother killed herself!" She then goes on to say, "Oh, have I used that already today? Oh, I'm sorry."
Joey's unsuccessful acting career
- Joey, throughout the entire series has always been an actor, aside from other part-time jobs. Joey was always unsuccessful. No matter how much he wanted something, he barely ever got it. When he finally lands a role as Dr. Drake Ramory, he mistakenly says something in an interview that makes the writers of the show kill him off. He eventually gets the role of Dr. Drake Ramory back, though as a dead character named Jessica. Joey's only other major role was in a World War I epic.
 Cultural impact
Friends has made a notable contribution to some areas of popular culture - in particular, language and fashion. The use of "so" to mean "very" or "really" was not invented by any Friends writer, but it is arguable that the extensive use of the phrase in the series encouraged its use in everyday life. Also commonly said by the characters, particularly Monica, was the loud "I know!" The series has also been noted for its impact on everyday fashion and hairstyles. Jennifer Aniston's hairstyle was nicknamed "The Rachel" and copied around the world. Joey Tribbiani's catchphrase "How you doin'?" has become a popular part of American slang, often used as a pick-up line or when greeting friends. The show also popularized the idea of the laminated list of celebrities that a person's sexual partner will permit them to sleep with.
The phrase "Ross and Rachel" is used to describe an on/off relationship with a 'history', or in a situation like "Are you on a real break, or a Ross and Rachel break?" This is played as a joke in Scrubs: the janitor describes J.D.'s relationship with Elliot as "not exactly Ross and Rachel". After a pause, they are revealed to be two other employees in the hospital, "Dr. Ross and Rachel from book-keeping".
In the TV show "What I Like About You", the character Lauren talks about how there will be pictures of famous couples at all the tables at Val's wedding reception, such as Cleopatra & Marc Antony, Romeo & Juliet, and Ross & Rachel at the head table.
 Product placement
- A Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Ouverture stereo with BeoLab 2500 speakers at its side can be seen in the right-hand background in the girls' apartment.
- A Series 2 TiVo appears under the VCR in the girls' apartment in later seasons.
- In Joey's apartment, 2 blue MiniPod speakers are clearly shown next to the TV.
- In some of the earlier episodes, the guys are playing a Nintendo 64 in their apartment. In later seasons, this changes to a Sony PlayStation — the product name is spoken explicitly by a character in four episodes: "The One With Phoebe's Uterus", "The One Where Rachel Smokes", "The One Where Ross Got High", and "The One with Monica's Thunder".
- Phoebe lies to Rachel that her name is Ikea when she is playing a Swedish masseuse (Rachel could only see her feet because she was lying on a massage table). Also, in season 1, Chandler claims to get his "ya-ya's" from Ikea.
- Rachel works for Bloomingdale's and Ralph Lauren throughout the course of the series, in addition to being courted by Louis Vuitton and Gucci for employment. Fashion is also mentioned by Rachel in The One With Ross's Thing where she tells Monica she would look great in a Donna Karan wedding dress. Rachel also points out in The One Where They All Turn Thirty that she hopes before she gets pregnant that Prada will start making maternity clothes.
- Chandler can be seen using a Macintosh PowerBook Duo in early episodes, although he uses it to play Doom.
- In several episodes, 'Big Brown Bags' are often seen, these have Bloomingdales printed down the side.
- In episodes running up to and including The Last One the characters are seen packing belongings into boxes. The boxes are always placed with their printed logo 'Box & Ship' facing towards the camera. Considering the show's New York setting it's ironic that Box & Ship are a Hollywood based company .
- Porsche automobiles appear in some episodes of Season Six, Seven and Ten. In Season Six, Joey pretends he owns a silver 996 when he finds the keys in Central Perk (The One with Joey's Porsche). In Season Seven, Monica's is given her father's black 911 Carrera Targa when he soils her childhood items (The One Where Rosita Dies) . This appears in later episodes such as The One with Chandler's Dad and The One with the Cake.
- Boddingtons beer is mentioned by Ross and Joey after the characters return from their trip to London in Seasons Four and Five. The brand is described as "great," and Joey rushes off to a British pub near the World Trade Center to find some. Foster's, Beck's, Red Stripe, Heineken, Sol, Stella Artois and Carlsberg beers can also be seen clearly through the seasons.
- In several episodes throughout the series, Chandler can be seen drinking Yoo-hoo.
- In The One with the Free Porn, Joey becomes obsessed with the huge Toblerone chocolate bars that Ross and Emily bring back from the airport.
- In The One with the Free Porn, Phoebe attempts to sell knives in an effort to make money for Frank and Alice to support their triplets. When Chandler asks Phoebe what the second part of her money-making plan is, she replies "My Saturn Dealership".
- In later seasons, Matix clothing and DVS Shoe Company stickers appear on Joey and Chandler's (Rachel's) refrigerator.
- In several episodes throughout the series, in Joey & Chandler's apartment, a bottle of Jägermeister (a German liqeur) can be seen on their fridge.
- When Rachel is living with Phoebe, she buys an apothecary table (as does Ross) from Pottery Barn, in The One with the Apothecary Table. Ross also buys Pottery Barn sheets and Rachel goes so overboard that Ross accuses her of making her and Phoebe's apartment look like a page from the Pottery Barn catalog. Phoebe also buys a lamp from there.
- The friends are seen reading a lot of magazines. In Style can be seen a fair amount. Rachel also reads Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Architectural Digest, and Fit Pregnancy. Monica reads Mental Floss.
- Throughout the third series of the show a box of the dietary supplement Met-Rx can be clearly seen on top of Joey and Chandler's refrigerator.
- Archie Comics is mentioned in The One That Could Have Been where Chandler is trying to make it as a writer and he gets a story published for Archie Comics based on something that had happened between him and Joey in recent events.
- In The One Where Everybody Finds Out there are two Furbys sitting on Joey and Chandler's microwave.
- In several episodes, a box of the cereal Cap'n Crunch may be seen on top of a fridge (including Monica and Rachel's fridge and Joey and Chandler's fridge).
 Show background
Originally Friends Like Us and Insomnia Cafe, Friends was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television, for NBC in the U.S., and was the first broadcast on that network. It debuted on NBC on September 22, 1994, which was also one of its must-see comedies throughout the show's run. For most of the run, the series was also a Thursday night staple, competing with several other shows, including Survivor, which dropped slightly in the ratings in 2001. It was followed by daily syndication, cable network TBS, among many other networks in numerous countries throughout the world. The final episode aired on May 6, 2004, which was its most watched series finale ever, behind M*A*S*H, Cheers andSeinfeld. The finale also aired in front of Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, Will & Grace and The King of Queens.
 US ratings
The 66-minute series finale was named by Entertainment Tonight as the biggest TV moment of the year 2004, and was the second highest rated show in 2004, beaten only by the Super Bowl. However, it did not surpass the ratings received by series finales for M*A*S*H (106m), Cheers (80.4m) or Seinfeld (76.3m), nor was it the most watched episode of Friends—that accolade remains with the Season Two episode "The One After the Superbowl", which aired on January 28, 1996 and drew 52.9 m viewers. During the 2001–2002 season, Friends was the highest rated show in the United States.
 Irish ratings
In The Republic of Ireland the show achieved exceptionally higher ratings than the UK at points. These include:
- New episodes being purchased and run on RTÉ Two before the UK saw them.
- Seasons finishing earlier than UK.
- Being the first channel to run the four days before the UK saw it.
The show continues to run daily on RTÉ Two Ireland.
 UK ratings
Friends was first aired on Channel 4, but was soon taken over by Sky One while the latter was still a minor player in the television market. Friends quickly established a cult status in the UK. The series achieved a more mainstream audience through repeat showings on Channel 4. By the time episodes were filmed in London in Season Four (The One With Ross's Wedding), the show had become a must-see programme in teenage circles, and a staple in British culture.
By Season Five, Friends was still only bringing in mixed ratings. While still achieving good ratings in satellite and cable showings, terrestrial showings declined, receiving only around 1.5 million viewers.
Until 2000, Sky One aired Friends for its first run and Channel 4 provided the first terrestrial screenings several months later. In 2000, Channel 4 set up the satellite and cable channel E4, and set about purchasing non-terrestrial rights to programming. It targeted programs that were already shown on Channel 4 to provide coherence between the two platforms, therefore rights to first runs of programs such as ER and Friends were aggressively sought and obtained. E4 launched with this line-up in place and brought episodes of Friends to a new audience, with endless repeats integrated with first runs.
The show's terrestrial popularity grew in line with the launch of E4, and in the ninth season it frequently received 3 to 4 million viewers. By its final season, despite achieving similar figures (until the penultimate episode), it climbed the channel's rankings from top 20 (9th season) to top 5 (10th season) each week. The show's finale performed to its high expectations, receiving 9.64 million viewers. This was the highest figure for the series, one of the highest rated ever (excluding movies and special events) for Channel 4, and the channel's most watched programme of 2004.
 Australian ratings
Since its debut on the Seven Network in 1996, Friends has been the number 1 show five times, in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. In its first year on the Nine Network (1997), Friends ranked as the second most watched program, behind the drama Blue Heelers. In the show's final two years, 2003 and 2004, Friends ranked as the third most watched scripted TV show, behind CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Kath & Kim. The final episode, broadcast on the Nine Network, received 2.27 million viewers. As was the case in the United States, this was not the highest rated episode of Friends. Several times in 1998, Friends received over 2.5 million viewers. Friends still holds the record for the highest rated scripted episode of television of the 21st century, with the honor going to the 2001 season finale. Arena (a Foxtel channel) airs Friends repeats daily.
 Awards and nominations
- 2003 - Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series - Christina Applegate
- 2002 - Outstanding Comedy Series (nominated 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2003)
- 2002 - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series - Jennifer Aniston
- 2000 - Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series - Bruce Willis
- 1998 - Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series - Lisa Kudrow
- 1996 - Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series - Michael Lembeck (for "The One After the Superbowl")
- 2003 - Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy - Jennifer Aniston
- Best TV-Series - Comedy/Musical - (nominated 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003)
People's Choice Awards
- 2004 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
- 2004 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
- 2003 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
- 2003 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
- 2002 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
- 2002 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
- 2001 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
- 2001 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
- 2000 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
- 2000 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
- 1999 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
- 1995 - Favorite New Television Comedy
- 2000 - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series - Lisa Kudrow
- 1996 - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (nominated 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
Sex and the City
|Emmy Award - Outstanding Comedy Series
Everybody Loves Raymond
 Errors and inconsistencies
Friends, being a long running series, has had its fair share of mistakes. Mostly these are to do with continuity between episodes. The more obvious errors that effect the majority of Friends episodes involve erratic inconsistencies in the friends birthdays and ages. There are also notable problems with the layout of the apartments.
 Birthdays and ages
Rachel says her birthday is May 5 during the fourth season, and in the seventh season her birthday is supposed to be ten days before Monica and Chandler's wedding on May 15; however, her birthday is shown about half a season before the wedding; in the ninth season episode The One With Phoebe's Rats, her birthday appears to be in the winter. Also, in an episode where Rachel gets pulled over by the police, she tells him that she is an aquarius, which should mean that her birthday is between January 20th and February 20th.
Ross says in The One with Joey's New Girlfriend that his birthday is in December, yet in The One Where Emma Cries he tells Joey that it is October 18; in The One with George Stephanopoulos, Chandler and Joey bring Ross tickets as a "birthday present" and Ross replies, "Funny, my birthday was seven months ago." He then realizes that the date is October 20, implying that his birthday is in fact in March; this could mean that he was previously lying about his birthday being in October, yet Chandler and Joey still believed him.
Throughout the series the ages of the characters become muddy. Monica and Rachel were in the same year at high school and college leading to the assumption that they must be of similar age. In the first season episode The One with the Ick Factor, set in early 1995, Monica tells her date Ethan that she is 26. Rachel turns 30 in the Seventh season episode The One Where They All Turn Thirty set in early 2001. This would make her approximately two years younger than Monica in the first season. In the second season episode The One Where Joey Moves Out he states he is 28 years old, however, on the first episode of the seventh season The One with Monica's Thunder Rachel states he's 31.
We know that Rachel is the youngest out of them all as in "The One Where They All Turn Thirty" everyone has had their thirtieth birthday already and they are celebrating Rachel's. Also from that episode we learn that Joey is older than Chandler. As he is her older brother, Ross is obviously older than Monica. Because of being in school together, Monica and Rachel are similar ages and so are Ross and Chandler. As Phoebe realizes that she was actually thirty-one when she thought it was her thirtieth birthday, she is probably the eldest out of all of them. The age order probably goes Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Monica, Rachel. It's unclear exactly where Ross goes, but it is known he is at the least 4th oldest (right above Monica) in the age order. However, Ross and Chandler went to college together as it was shown in earlier episodes, so they must be close to the same age.
In the first six episodes of the first season, Chandler and Joey's apartment number was 4, and Monica and Rachel's was 5. Shortly after production began, it was decided that the apartment building where much of the show takes place was too big to have upper apartments with numbers as low as 4 and 5, so the numbers were changed to 19 and 20, respectively, and the view outside Monica's window changes. The view changed with the amount of money the show was allotted by the network. When the network heads started to gain more confidence in the show (after a few episodes had aired and even more in the second season), the background was able to be changed to one with a backlight, curtains were added to the windows, more knickknacks, etc.
In the beginning of season 5, when Chandler and Monica are trying to hide their relationship from everyone, Monica sneaks over to Chandler and Joey's apartment in the middle of the night. Joey hears Monica and wakes up. Chandler and Monica tell him it's later in the day than it is so Joey goes into the bathroom to clean up. Chandler then opens the bathroom door to show Monica that Joey is asleep. Joey is seen sitting on the toilet which is right in front of the door. The toilet isn't there in any episode other than this one.
In one episode when Ross is trying to move a new couch up the stairs to his new apartment he tells Rachel that there is not an elevator in the building. However in another season he says that he heard one of the buildings older residents had passed away; he said he heard it from someone in the elevator.
A wide range of Friends merchandise has been produced by various companies. One of the most recent additions is a Friends version of the DVD game "Scene It?", which features clips from the show, trivia questions from all seasons, and other on-screen puzzles. A PS2, PC and Xbox game, Friends: The One with All the Trivia, has also been released; it includes the voices of characters Janice, Gunther and Jack and Judy Geller as hosts.
In 1995, WEA Records released the Friends Original TV Soundtrack, featuring music used in or inspired by the show. In between some of the songs, there was spoken dialogue from scenes from the show's first season. In 1999, a second soundtrack album entitled Friends Again was released.
All ten seasons of Friends have been released on DVD in various countries. Some of the DVDs also have special features, including:
- Cast & Crew (biographical text blurbs).
- Audio commentaries by the creators. (Warning: these commentaries contain future episode spoilers!)
- Gag reels
- Interactive games (i.e., "Let's Play Bamboozled!)
- Special production notes (i.e., set design, special location shoots, flashback episodes development)
After the series finale in 2004, the spinoff show Joey was created. 46 episodes were filmed however only 38 episodes aired. The show featured Matt Leblanc reprising his role on Friends. The show was cancelled on May 15, 2006.
Another spinoff series was rumored to be made after Friends ended. This series was supposed to have focused on the lives of the three men of the show. However the rumours quickly died down when Joey was officially confirmed to be in production.
 NBC broadcast history
All times listed are North American Eastern Standard Time.
- September 1994-September 1995 - Thursday 8:30pm
- September 1995-May 2004 - Thursday 8:00pm
 Worldwide broadcast
 Notes and references
- ^ Balancing friends and family. Retrieved on September 17, 2006.
- ^ Throughout the series, 27 episode titles reference Rachel, 23 reference Ross, 15 reference Joey, 10 reference Chandler, 10 reference Phoebe, and 8 reference Monica.
- ^ "Top TV sitcom so transforms use of English" University of Toronto, January 7, 2004. URL accessed May 16, 2006
 External links
- Official Friends site
- Official Friends Store at NBCUniversalStore.com
- Friends at Tv-Series-Guide.com
- Friends at TV.com
- Friends at the Internet Movie Database
- Negative 1994 NBC research report about the pilot
- Friends at the Open Directory Project (suggest site)
- Bring Back Friends Petition
|Cast: Jennifer Aniston • Courteney Cox • Lisa Kudrow • Matt LeBlanc • Matthew Perry • David Schwimmer