Twenty years. That’s how long it’s been since the first episode of “Friends” aired. On Sept. 22, 1994, the blockbuster television show made its debut on NBC, and this past Monday was the official 20th anniversary for the show. It was a show that captivated audiences around the globe and became an instant phenomenon.
“Friends” is my favorite show of all time, comedy or drama. Anytime it is on television, I’m more likely than not to leave it on that channel. With that being said, I was on the cusp of 2 years old when the show premiered 20 years ago. I wish I had been able to follow the show from its premiere all the way through its run, but that obviously did not happen. I really got into it right before the final season, having become familiar with it, as I got older. At that time, the DVD sets were just beginning to come out, so I didn’t have time to watch the entire series before the final season. Nonetheless, I watched the final season from beginning to end as it aired. I know that does sounds like a terrible time to begin watching a show, but it was actually what made me so enthralled with the series. It was the best decision I have made pertaining to TV.
The remaining seasons came out on DVD after the final episode of the series concluded. I quickly snatched them up and watched the entire series and by the time I was done, the final season had made its way to DVD as well. I re-watched it to conclude my binge watching and from then on I was hooked. I have never looked back. Well, I have looked back as I will probably watch it until the end of the time. However, I have only watched the series finale twice. I have yet to make it through the finale since then because, well, I get a little emotional.
One of the most important things a television show can do is connect with the audience. For me, this show was extremely relatable. I like to think I connect with each character on some level. I’m the same level obsessive-compulsive, competitive as Monica, and I have the high maintenance intuition of Rachel. Like Phoebe, I can be kooky as hell, not to mention I sing “Smelly Cat” really well. I’m as awkward as Chandler, love food as much as Joey and will probably marry three times like Ross.
I almost blame this show for the abundance of coffee I drank as a young kid. Central Perk, the centerpiece for a lot of the show’s great moments, felt real to me. Drinking coffee felt like a way of life I was missing out on, so I joined. It wasn’t for me, turns out. I need a real-life Central Perk in my world. I wouldn’t drink any coffee, but I would sure go for a good scone. Someone get on that.
The show’s insanely catchy theme song, “I’ll Be There for You,” still gets stuck in my head to this day. I’ve also been known to dance around my living room when the song comes on, but that’s a different story. It’s ironic that the show title theme was “I’ll Be There for You” because in times when I needed a laugh, it was there for me.
For 10 years, six people made television audiences laugh, cry and sometimes scream. The series attracted over 20 million viewers each season it aired, which is unheard of for a series nowadays. It’s still popular today and can probably be seen at almost any hour in syndication somewhere.
“Friends” was more than a show for me. It was something more special. Granted, people who watched the show from beginning till end probably appreciate it much more than me. I’m just glad that I was introduced to it because if it were not for that show, I would not appreciate and follow television like I do today. Thank you to the cast of “Friends” who have been there in the worst times, the best times and anytime in between.