In honor of the show’s Netflix revival, we take a look at what makes Friends the best sitcom of all time and whether or not it holds up in 2017. Is it still funny after all these years? Does it still work as a whole series? Was it really one of the best shows on television during its run? Here’s everything you need to know about Friends—the best TV sitcom of all time. Is ‘Friends’ the Best Television Sitcom of All Time?
Table of Contents
Well, first and foremost, there are four characters. I think that’s what a lot of people really loved about it. They didn’t have to pick sides, said Marta Kauffman, who co-created Friends with David Crane. There were always sort of four different characters to identify with in one way or another. Each character brought something different to the group dynamic: Rachel was brash, Monica was responsible, Phoebe had a mischievous streak and Joey was…well…Joey.
In 1994, Marta Kauffman and David Crane found a way to seamlessly intertwine humor with what we often call real life. It was something that hadn’t been done before. But, more importantly, their writing technique is what earned them five consecutive Emmys in its first season alone: interweaving each of their stories into one main storyline and giving each character a complete story arch without losing anyone along the way. There have been many sitcoms since Friends came on air and most have failed because they couldn’t manage to create some sort of chemistry among characters.
It’s official, Friends will now be known as one of (if not THE) best sitcoms in history. There are few shows that have lasted for ten years, and even fewer that have had such an impact on pop culture. So what did it take to become such a legendary show? We have Marta Kauffman and David Crane to thank for its creation.
The Guest Stars
In addition to its main cast, Friends attracted notable celebrity guest stars. While appearing as Chandler Bing’s (Matthew Perry) nemesis and love interest Janine in The One with The Blackout (Season 2), Courteney Cox met her husband, David Arquette, who appeared later in The One with Barry and Mindy’s Wedding (Season 4). In season seven, David Schwimmer directed an episode (The One Where Rachel Tells…) that saw Tom Selleck make a cameo appearance as Dr. Richard Burke. Both Cox and Schwimmer reprised their roles during season ten following their departures from regular cast membership.
Friends has a spin-off, it was called Joey and ran for two seasons. There was also a short-lived spin-off from Joey, entitled Joey. None of these shows were as successful as Friends. The American version of The Office and Parks and Recreation are often compared to Friends because all four shows revolve around an ensemble cast working in some capacity at an office setting. Several other popular sitcoms including How I Met Your Mother, New Girl, Two Broke Girls, Community, Happy Endings and Girls were inspired by Friends. Compared to these series which are still running strong today (and will be airing new episodes), Friends has more than held its own over time.
Why did they cancel Friends?
The sitcom about six friends living in New York City was a huge success in its first season, but fell in ratings dramatically after that. The creators were able to regain some of their audience with a second and third season by shaking up their ensemble cast and making Rachel, Ross and Phoebe roommates. Though Friends enjoyed a relatively high renewal rate for network television, NBC decided not to renew it for an 11th season. In reality, Friends ended because it simply became too expensive to produce – thanks to paying its stars (and buying them new apartments every few seasons). Despite being one of TV’s most successful comedies, it wasn’t enough money for NBC to justify continuing with an increasingly unpopular show – especially when they could start fresh on cheaper projects next fall.
Did Friends end well?
The sitcom Friends ended in 2004 and still has fans debating whether it was a good ending. There are many reasons to criticize an ending, but one thing a TV series finale needs is to give viewers closure and let them know what happens next in their favorite characters’ lives. The show should have spent more time on that instead of on giving back stories for minor characters. More questions should have been answered than opened up—there were simply too many loose ends after the final episode. On top of that, Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) had their twins, so that meant Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) had to be pregnant again as well, even though she didn’t want any more children!
Why did Netflix cut scenes from Friends?
In case you don’t remember, Netflix released a new set of episodes for all ten seasons of Friends on January 1. That included 90-minute versions for Seasons One through Six and extended episodes for Seasons Seven through Ten. However, some fans noticed some missing scenes from classic episodes. One Reddit user even posted images to prove it. The changes included removing a Shh at one point during The One with Phoebe’s Uterus and cutting Chandler reading aloud a bad excuse note in The One Where Everybody Finds Out.
What episode does Chandler quit?
Many fans believe that Friends was at its very best in season 1, but they also forget that a key character almost left in an episode called The One with Phoebe’s Ex-Partner. In it, Phoebe has a new boyfriend who is a cop and she gets into trouble with him because he doesn’t like her past relationship with a marijuana dealer. Chandler decides to quit his job so he can have time to find another one as well as spend more time with Monica and Rachel. If Chandler had really left when they asked him to in that episode, would Friends still be a great show? Could it possibly have been better than it already was? Would we even want to watch another season if Chandler wasn’t part of it? Who knows!
Why did Joey spin off fail?
It’s hard to judge a new series without it having a chance to run its course, but Joey was most likely doomed from the start due to all sorts of unfortunate circumstances. The writers, producers and actors were all involved in another show that was still doing well—and they were under contract with NBC and Warner Bros. Studios as a result—meaning they weren’t free to devote their full attention and creative energies to Joey. Plus, Joey wasn’t even intended as a full-time sitcom before Friends was put on indefinite hiatus by NBC; it was slated as just another one-hour dramedy among many in development at Warner Bros.
Was Monica pregnant during the last episode of Friends?
True. The question was left unanswered during Friends’ ten seasons on air, but in 2013—nearly a decade after the show went off-air—Monica’s storyline was resolved when author Kevin Sullivan published his book Friends: The Official Guide to Central Perk. During one scene that took place in 2005, an off-screen narration revealed, Three years earlier, she and Chandler had welcomed their first child. Their son. Their little boy. That little boy ended up being Jack Geller, who was mentioned frequently throughout Friends’ entire run as Monica and Chandler’s adopted son.
When did Rachel eat alone?
The pilot episode begins in Rachel’s apartment, but she sits down to eat lunch on her own. In season 1 episode 16 The One with the Boobies (air date February 9, 1995), while it’s implied that Chandler and Ross talk at their desks while looking at porn in their offices, it’s unlikely they talked about more than work during that time. Even if they did chat for five minutes, wouldn’t it be more likely that Chandler would choose to eat by himself, since he was probably around his desk for longer than Ross? Also, in season 4 episode 14 The One with Phoebe’s Husband, Phoebe says she can see Monica through her office window because their offices are next door to each other.
When did Phoebe dance to Chandler?
For me, Friends (the NBC sitcom, not general friendships) will always be about Chandler Bing. I don’t know if there’s another character in sitcom history so adept at witty banter and one-liners as him. Plus, any comedic situation is instantly improved by a Chandlerism (sorry). As you’ll find out below, we have nine fantastic moments that are specifically memorable to me. Now grab your Joey and get ready for some humorous anecdotes.
Why are some Friends episodes longer?
The producers of Friends experimented with a few different formats during its 10-season run. Some episodes were as short as 22 minutes, while others were as long as 28 minutes (including ads). There’s no right or wrong answer to why some are longer than others, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to explain it. The theory goes like this: Episodes are added to either end when they feel they need more time to flesh out certain story lines. In other words, if something big is going to happen later in an episode, it’s not uncommon for producers to add additional scenes before and after so they have space in which they can set up (and tie up) loose ends.
The 10 most notable moments from Friends
Friends was one of the most successful sitcoms ever to air on television. It’s also known as one of the most quotable series in the history of American television. With 10 seasons, there were plenty of memorable moments, whether hilarious or heartbreaking, that made Friends the show that it was. Here are ten of the most notable moments from Friends and why they are so important to its legacy as one of the best sitcoms ever created. The 10 most notable moments from Friends
When it first aired in 1994, no one knew what to expect. But by 2003, it was one of NBC’s highest-rated shows. As a result, viewers watched as Ross and Rachel went through their breakups and makeups (many times over), Chandler and Monica got married, Phoebe gave birth to triplets, Joey won money on a game show and later became a star on his own spinoff show. And that’s just scratching the surface! Check out our list of ten memorable moments from Friends below
Rachel finds out about Ross’s ex-wife
In one of TV’s most talked-about scenes, Ross makes a desperate phone call to Rachel, tearfully revealing that he had a brief fling with his high school ex-wife, during which she became pregnant. (And then she decided to keep their child.) Naturally, Rachel freaks out—but eventually she comes around and realizes that if Ross could hide such a big secret for so long, he must really love her.
Phoebe Buffay arrives at Central Perk
When Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) arrives at Central Perk, Ross (David Schwimmer) is there and asks her out on a date. In response, she just comes out and tells him she’s pregnant with his child. She later decides to have an abortion but then changes her mind. Is ‘Friends’ the Best Television Sitcom of All Time?
Monica Geller moves in with Chandler Bing
For six seasons, Chandler and Monica were arguably Friends’ most stable couple, but that changed in season seven. That episode (The One With The Prom Video) starts off with Ross bringing home a video of Monica’s junior prom. While watching it, Monica sees Chandler dance with another girl—and she realizes that he has always had feelings for her friend Phoebe Buffay.
Ross moves in with Joey Tribbiani
Ross moves in with his (former) best friend, Joey Tribbiani. Ross and Rachel go on a break when Ross has an affair with another woman, making Rachel think he will never be able to commit to their relationship. Chandler starts dating Monica. After Joey moves out of his apartment for a short time, Ross rents it out to Phoebe and briefly dates her sister Ursula as part of a plot to make Phoebe jealous.
A Thanksgiving dinner turns into a disaster
After a disastrous Thanksgiving dinner, Monica (Courteney Cox) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) decide to get revenge by doing a little pranking of their own. They secretly sneak some alcohol into Ross’s (David Schwimmer) turkey. Unfortunately, Joey’s (Matt LeBlanc) new roommate is allergic to booze, causing him to pass out in front of everyone.
Chandler finds out about Monica and Richard having sex
With Phoebe’s help, Monica and Chandler try to keep their relationship a secret. However, when it comes time for them to kiss in front of everyone at Joey’s movie premier they suddenly get very self-conscious and refrain from kissing one another on stage. Afterward, Chandler finds out that Richard has been telling everyone about his girlfriend and they start arguing with each other while Ross tries to mediate. Is ‘Friends’ the Best Television Sitcom of All Time?
Emily finds out about Joey’s feelings for her
Emily, Ross’s ex-girlfriend, returns to his and Rachel’s apartment while they are having a party. After meeting Joey, she decides to talk with him privately. While talking with him in Central Perk, she tells him how sorry she is about what happened between them. She then says that although he never made a move on her because of Ross, she can now sense that he likes her and wants to know if there is anything he can do to change her mind. The 10 most notable moments from Friends
Ross finds out Rachel kissed another guy
Ross, who has been seeing Rachel for a couple of months, is distraught when he finds out she kissed another guy. Ross and Rachel decide to try long distance until Rachel breaks up with him by phone. (season 1)
I’ll be there for you plays at the funeral of Ross’s mother
One of many, many callbacks in Friends to characters’ deaths. (Ross’s dad died in The One Where Heckles Dies; Rachel’s mom in The One With Unagi.) At Ross’s mother Carol’s funeral, Monica and Phoebe sing an a cappella version of I’ll Be There For You, — which had previously been heard on a tape they made Ross when his monkey Marcel died. This song has since become known as one of David Schwimmer’s greatest acting feats.
Is Friends the Greatest Show of All Time?
Friends was one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, with an average viewership of 30 million Americans. It’s so popular that it’s still airing on network television in reruns, almost 15 years after it first premiered! So is Friends the greatest show of all time? Let’s take a look at the reasons why this multi-award winning sitcom resonated with audiences around the world, and how it has influenced not only other sitcoms, but also our culture as a whole.
The characters have grown up with us
Whether you were a young adult in 1994 or just a wee baby, there’s no doubt that Friends has had an impact on your life. For ten years, our Wednesday nights were dominated by stories about Monica and Rachel’s friendship woes; Ross and Rachel’s constant hookups and breakups; Phoebe and Chandler.
The pilot episode
Pilot is a flashback episode in which twenty-six-year-old Rachel is shown to meet Monica Geller, Joey Tribbiani, Ross Geller, and Phoebe Buffay for the first time. They have just moved into a new apartment building, where Joey has found them a larger one because his previous roommate flaked out on him. Is ‘Friends’ the Best Television Sitcom of All Time?
No laugh track
As a television writer and producer, you may want to tell yourself that having a laugh track is essential to getting your show sold or produced. You know, It’s not TV unless there’s a laugh track! But hold on… It turns out that some of today’s most successful comedies – Seinfeld, The Office, Community – don’t have laugh tracks.
The writer’s tight knit friendship
There are few shows as iconic, or as successful, as Friends. Spanning across ten whole seasons in just about every form possible, it dominated primetime for years and has been re-run over and over again since its finale aired. But how does a show that only runs for ten episodes go on to run for a decade? For us, at least one reason is down to how accurate it feels. The 10 most notable moments from Friends
Episodes tell stories
It’s easy to forget that each episode of Friends serves a specific function in telling a larger story. There are lesser-known episodes (like The One with Rachel’s Inadvertent Kiss and The One with Russ) which play critical roles in advancing overall plot lines.
The final episode
For many, there will never be a show as universally loved and celebrated as Friends. This was a show that brought together people from all walks of life to sit in front of their TVs every week. It had an incredibly talented cast, consistently great writing and was even nominated for an Emmy Award! The writers did an amazing job when deciding how to end such a successful series and fans won’t ever forget it. Is ‘Friends’ the Best Television Sitcom of All Time?