Friends (1994 – 2004): Most Famous 90s T.V. Sitcom and Why it is Still Popular.

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Why is Friends still famous? Well, let us take a trip back in time to the days of Friends, the mid- '90s T.V. sitcom show that we all loved. It is now over a year since we started taking the ride back in time and review the good old days of the 90s through to the 2000s and sometimes going way back to the 70s and 80s. We cannot fail to appreciate the huge contribution of the Friends T.V. sitcom that started showing in 1994.

This was one of my favorite shows back in the days. When I was home sick from school, I used to watch either Friends or The Odd Couple. Friends were the coolest show at the time for me. Friends, the American T.V. sitcom that changed the face of television forever, ran for 236 episodes from 1994 to 2004. When it premiered, the show was everywhere; the Friends theme song was everywhere at the time. I loved the theme song; listening to it now still gives me goosebumps and makes me feel nostalgic for the good old days.

I remember back then, when it was just premiered, Rachel's haircut became the most asked for hairstyle of the period. But Friend's popularity wasn't just limited to the time it aired; its legacy lives on today as on one of the most-watched shows on Netflix, with viewers around the world spending over 54 million hours, the equivalent of 62,000 years watching. And it isn't just among the nostalgic 30 or 40-year-olds; a whole new generation of young binge-watchers see themselves reflected in the characters and situations of friends.

Today I want to explore how friends changed T.V. comedy and sitcom model forever; while spoiling countless spin-offs and replicas and as looking to the reasons that Friends is still so popular amongst the generations born after it finished airing.

Let's dig in...

Here are some of the reasons why Friends is still the most popular show for all generations.

There are many reasons why friends are still being so watched. I'll go through each one in detail.

1. The thrill is in the details.

Friends is a remarkably detailed show. You can tell the people working on the production cared about the result, for example, the prop department. One great example is in season 3, episode 20, where Phoebe makes her own dollhouse out of shoeboxes after Monica forbids her giant oversized dog in her ornate dollhouse.

The details in this dollhouse, from the licorice room to the aroma room, tells the tale about how much people working on the show genuinely cared about what they were working on. But this care wasn't just shown in the wacky props produced; it was in every aspect of the episodes. Its elements like this from the set department elevated the show to a new level for a sitcom. Like changing the coffee and cup arrangement to make the coffee shop look real, also, changing the artwork at the back of Central Park, the whiteboard in Joey and Chandler's apartment with funny messages related to the theme of the episodes. And even the food on the shelves of Monica's apartment changing regularly.
The ironic thing about good production is if it's brilliant, you shouldn't notice at all. You shouldn't see the changing level of coffee beans or that someone has taken the time to build six versions of a shoebox dollhouse. This is because it's part of the story, and as a viewer, you are so enveloped by the story itself that you forget it's the care and attention of every member of the production team that keeps the story going and keeps you as a viewer involved.

2. Awesome Writing.

Writing is arguably the most critical aspect of any comedy. And friends have an intelligent well thought out writing. Part of this was due to the way the script will be written. Friends used an open table writers' room with over 20 scriptwriters. The script for every episode would be thrown to the table, with everyone offering input on every line. Every single line from start to finish was cross-reference to achieve maximum comedic value. Character traits were set up in early seasons and developed through to the final season. I'm not saying that every joke was an amazingly intelligently crafted gem; there were many tricks and fun that were over the top of stupid. But it is the dedication of the writers in maximizing every situation to produce the most comedic value possible that made the writing genuinely great.

Just look at this moment from behind the scenes:

3. The great Friends Characters.

The characters in Friends work so well because, in a lot of ways, they were all so different. Comedy thrives in moments of difference or contrast. Every one of the six main characters in Friends has other relationships with their families, different upbringings, different jobs, and different attitudes towards life. The only exception to this is Ross and Monica. Still, even their relationship with their family is drastically different with Ross the clear parental favorite as Gerald masked outlies in his work "The expansive force of comic,” comedy is grounded in incongruity, which describes a state of being out of harmony.
Applying this to friends and the difference between the characters, they're incongruous nature as a group of friends, makes them so fun to watch. The chemistry between the characters, however, was undoubtedly as David Schwimmer said in an interview with Vanity Fair, to find one magical actor who is suitable for the role is difficult but to find six and to have them have actual chemistry with each other is kind of a miracle.

4. The Real Relationships on Friends.

Friends isn't just about the laughs, though. It also has a lot of real heartfelt moments dealing with a range of serious issues. The show covers relationships in detail, and surrogacy, the process of adoption, marriage, divorce, love, and death. It is really when the laughter stops that Friends is shown to be something more significant than a lot of sitcoms before and after it.
At these moments, Friends isn't just a show making the audience laugh, but one that people are personally invested in that reflects the struggles and anxieties of their own lives.

5. The Legacy of Friends.

Friends changed the sitcom’s landscape by breaking for many typical formats. At the time, nearly all sitcoms revolved around two key areas; the family home and the workplace. Both followed the format in which certain usually older characters would be the mentors of the groups, with the younger characters producing a lot of the comedy.
In addition to this, other shows would have primary and secondary characters with the primary characters taking farm more screen time and audience attention. Friends broke from this tradition. It did not revolve around family, home, or workplace. Still, a makeshift clan that seemed familiar to young adults at the time who were forming their similar connections and equal ensemble cast like Friends was also unusual. In early drawing boards, Chandler and Phoebe were demoted to the second-tier character.

However, David Schwimmer insisted that the cast negotiates as a unit helping the actors jump from unequal salaries in their first season to an equal $100,000 per episode by the third season. Keeping with that team spirit, actors were paid the same and had a remarkably similar screen time. Overall ten seasons, Ross had the most amount of screen time, and Phoebe had the least, but the margins were thin.

Unlike many sitcoms of the area that showed parents as those dependable solid foundations, you could fall back on, the independent fighting characters of friends had parents who could be downright criminal. Judy Geller's continual dismissal of her daughter, Rachel's dad, tries to squash her new lifestyle, and Chandler's mum seduces his best friend. Essentially, friends play out the role reversal dream of offspring everywhere.

Friends can be seen to have created what is now known as the Hangout comedy. Happy endings, My boys, How I Met Your Mother, New Girl, and the Big Bang Theory all followed the path that friends had paved.

Friends is still so watched today that Netflix and HBO Max have been locked in negotiations over which platform it will be streamed on. After buying the streaming rights to Friends for 30 million dollars in 2015, Netflix reportedly paid an additional 80 to 100 million dollars in December of 2018 to keep friends on its services. I think that Friends is still in demand is a testament to its genre-defining legacy, a legacy born out of intelligent writing and a dedicated production team.
Let us look into the details of Friends' evolution from 2004 to 2006 and its brief revival, including the reunion series.

The background History of Friends.
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Now that you have the overview of the evolution of Friends and why it was our favorite show back in the mid-’90s to early 2000s let us look at the details on the development of the sitcom.

Friends is a ten Season American television sitcom produced by David Crane and Marta Kauffman that aired on N.B.C. from September 1994 to May of 2004. The show follows six friends in their 20s and 30s who live in Manhattan, New York City, and stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Kudrow Lisa, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer.

Bright production collaborated with Warner Bros. Television to create the series. Kevin S. Bright, Kauffman, and Crane were the original executive producers.

Between November and December 1993, Kauffman and Crane started work on Friends under the name Insomnia Café. They pitched the concept to Bright and together developed a seven-page show treatment to N.B.C. The series was eventually titled Friends after many script rewrites and updates, including title changes to Sic of One and Friends Like Us.

The film was shot at Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank, California. Friends appeared in the top ten of the final T.V. season ratings for all ten seasons, eventually reaching number one in its eighth season. The series finale premiered in May 2004 to approximately 52.5 million American viewers, making it the fifth most-watched series finale in T.V. history and was among the most-watched T.V. show of the 2000s. i

Friends earned critical acclaim during its run, and it went on to become one of the most influential T.V. shows back then. It was nominated for 62 Primetime Emmy Awards, with eight seasons winning the Outstanding Comedy Series Award in 2002. The show was ranked on T.V. Guide's list of the 50 Greatest T.V. shows of all time and 7th on Empire magazine's list of the 50 Greatest Television Shows.

Around the year 1997, The One with Prom Video was named number 100 on T.V. Guide's list of the 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. Friends were ranked 24th on the Writers Guild of America's 101 Best Written T.V. Series of all time and 28th on T.V. Guide's 60 Best T.V. Series of All Time in 2013.

Friends' Plot and Storyline

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Rachel Green, a sheltered yet polite woman, flees her wedding day and her wealthy but unfulfilling life to reunite with a childhood friend, Monica Geller, a tightly wound but loving cook. Rachel works as a waitress at the West Village coffee shop Central Perk after moving into Monica's apartment above Central Perk and joining Monica's group of single friends in their mid-20s: previous roommate Phoebe Buffay, an eccentric, weird masseuse; neighbor Joey Tribbiani, a dim-witted but loyal struggling actor and womanizer; and Joey's roommate Chandler Bing, a sarcastic, self-deprecating I.T. manager.

Episodes show the friends' comic and romantic adventures, as well as professional problems, such as Joey auditioning for roles or Rachel looking for work in the fashion industry. Monica is in a serious relationship with Richard Burke, and Ross is in a severe relationship with Emily Waltham. The most often recurrent storyline is Ross and Rachel's broken relationship; throughout the show's ten seasons, they regularly date and break up.

Throughout the season, Ross marries Emily; briefly, Ross and Rachel have a child after a one-night stand, Chandler and Monica date and marry, and Phoebe marries Mike Hannigan. Other characters who appear often include Ross and Monica's parents, Jack and Judy Geller from Long Island; Ross' ex-wife Carol Willick, their son Ben Geller, and Carol's lesbian partner Susan Bunch; Central Perk barista Gunther; Chandler's highly annoying and obnoxious yet good-natured ex-girlfriend Janice Goralnik; and Phoebe's mean twin sister Ursula.

Friends Sitcom Cast and characters

Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green)

Monica Geller's childhood best friend and fashion enthusiast. Rachel moves in with Monica for the first time in season one since nearly marrying Barry Farber. Throughout the series, Rachel and Ross Geller have an on-again, off-again relationship. Rachel has relationships with other men in the series, including an Italian neighbor, Paolo, in season one; Joshua Bergin, a Bloomingdale's customer, in season four; Tag Jones, her assistant, in season seven; and Joey Tribbiani in season ten. Rachel's first job is as a waitress at Central Perk, but she becomes an assistant buyer at Bloomingdale's in season three and a buyer at Ralph Lauren in season five. In "The One Where Rachel Has a Baby, Part Two," at the end of season eight, Rachel and Ross have a daughter called Emma. In the series finale, Ross and Rachel profess their love for each other, and Rachel quits her job in Paris to be with him.

Courtney Cox (Monica Geller)
She was the group's mother hen and a chef noted for being a perfectionist, bossy, competitive, and obsessive-compulsive personality. Monica was an overweight girl as a child. Throughout the film, she works as a chef in different restaurants. Monica's first serious relationship is with Richard Burke, a longtime family acquaintance who is twenty-one years her senior. For a while, the two have a close relationship before Richard expresses his desire not to have children.

Monica and Chandler later begin dating after spending a night together in London in the season four finale, which leads to their marriage in season seven and the adoption of twins at the end of the series.

Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay).

Courtesy: Insider
A self-taught guitarist and masseuse. Phoebe grew up in upstate New York with her mother before she committed suicide, and Phoebe ended up on the streets. She composes and performs her unusual compositions, accompanied by herself on the guitar. Ursula, her identical twin, shares some of Phoebe's characteristics.

Throughout the show, Phoebe has three serious relationships: David, a scientist in season one, with whom she breaks up when he travels to Minsk on a research grant; Gary, a police officer whose badge she discovers in season five; and an on-again, off-again relationship with Mike Hannigan in seasons nine and ten. In season nine, Phoebe and Mike split up because he does not want to marry. When David returns from Minsk, the two reconcile, but she ultimately refuses him in favor of Mike when both of them propose to her. In season ten, Phoebe and Mike marry.

Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani)
A struggling actor and foodie who rose to prominence as Dr. Drake Ramoray on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. Joey has a slew of short-term girlfriends. Joey is innocent, loving, and well-intentioned despite his womanizing.

Joey often employs the catchphrase "How you doin'?" in his efforts to win over the majority of the women he encounters. Joey shared a room for years with his best friend Chandler and later with Rachel. In season eight, he falls in love with Rachel, but Rachel gently informs Joey that she does not share his feelings.

In season ten, they briefly date, but after realizing that it would not work due to their friendship and Rachel's difficult relationship with Ross, they return to being friends. He is the only surviving single member of the party at the end of the season, and he becomes the main protagonist of the sequel series Joey.

Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing)
A big, multinational corporation's executive in charge of statistical analysis and data reconfiguration. Chandler despises his work, even though it pays well. During season one, he threatens to resign but is persuaded to return by a new office and a pay rise.
In season nine, he leaves this job due to a relocation to Tulsa. Later that season, he gets a job as a junior copywriter at an advertising agency. Chandler comes from an unusual family, as the son of an erotic novelist mother and a lesbian, cross-dressing Las Vegas star father.

Chandler is well-known for his cynical sense of humor and a string of poor luck in relationships. Chandler marries Monica in season seven, and the couple has twins at the end of the show. Chandler dated Janice Hohenstein in season one and broke up with her several times before meeting Monica.

David Schwimmer (Ross Geller)

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Monica Geller's older brother is a paleontologist who worked at the Museum of Natural History before becoming a tenured professor of paleontology at New York University. Throughout the season, Ross has an on-again, off-again relationship with Rachel.

Throughout the season, he has three failed marriages: Carol Willick, a lesbian who also happens to be the mother of his son, Ben Geller; Emily Waltham, who divorces him after he mistakenly says Rachel's name instead of hers during their wedding vows; and Rachel, whom he marries drunkenly in Las Vegas. Within the story, his divorces become a running gag.

By the end of season eight, he and Rachel have a daughter, Emma, after a one-night stand. In the series finale, they finally admit that they are still in love with each other.

More about the Cast and Characters in Friends and their salaries.

Gunther, a barista at Central Perk, is played by James Michael Tyler in every season of the show, but he is only ever credited as a guest star. All through the series, Gunther has a largely hidden deep affection for Rachel. He eventually becomes the manager of the coffee shop. Gunther is revealed to speak Dutch besides speaking English and to be a former opera star.

Cast members have received 22,500 dollars per episode in their initial contracts for the first season. During the second season, the cast members' salaries ranged from 20,000 to around $40,000 per episode. Notwithstanding Warner Bros' preference for individual contracts, the cast agreed to enter collective bargaining before salary negotiations for the third season.

Here is the breakdown of their salaries in the proceeding seasons:

Season Three - $75,000 (per episode)

Season Four - $85,000

Season Five - $100,000

Season Six - $125,000

Season Seven - $750,000

Season 8, 9, and 10 - $1,000,000 per episode, making them the highest-paid T.V. actresses of all time.

Following negotiations, the cast also earned syndication royalties starting in 2000. At the time, only stars with an ownership interest in a production such as Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Cosby were eligible for a share of the show's lucrative back-end income.

David Crane, the show's producer, wanted all six actors to be equally popular, and the show was hailed as the first real ensemble show. The cast members worked hard to maintain the ensemble style to avoid having one member dominate; entered themselves in the same acting category for the award, choosing joint pay negotiations, and asked to appear together on magazine cover images in the first season.

Off-screen, the cast members were best friends, so much that returning guest star Tom Selleck said he felt left out at times. The cast, mainly Cox and Aniston, remained close after the series ended, with Aniston serving as godmother to Cox and David Arquette's daughter, Coco. In interviews for the official farewell commemorative book Friends 'Till the end, each persona admitted that the cast had become their family.

Friends Sitcom Seasons.

Here is a list of the ten seasons of Friends and their year of production.

  • Season 1 (1994–95)
  • Season 2 (1995–96)
  • Season 3 (1996–97)
  • Season 4 (1997–98)
  • Season 5 (1998–99)
  • Season 6 (1999–2000)
  • Season 7 (2000–01)
  • Season 8 (2001–02)
  • Season 9 (2002–03)
  • Season 10 (2003–04)
  • Friends: The Reunion (When they got back together)

Friends Season 1
The first season introduces the six main characters who live in New York City: Rachel Green, a waitress; Monica Geller, a talented chef; Ross Geller, a paleontologist; Phoebe Buffay, a free-spirited masseuse; Joey Tribbiani, a struggling actor; and Ross's college friend, Chandler Bing, whose detailed occupation at a company is unknown. Rachel arrives at Central Perk in her wedding gown, having left her fiancé, an orthodontist, at the altar.

She moves into the apartment of her high school friend Monica and starts working as a waitress at Central Perk. Ross, who has had a crush on Rachel since high school, often tries to express his feelings for her. Many roadblocks stand in his path, including his insecurities, Rachel's romance with an Italian neighbor named Paolo, and the fact that he expects a child with his lesbian ex-wife, Carol. She gives birth to Ben later in the season.

Joey never has a stable girlfriend and is always sleeping with different women. Phoebe is quirky and eccentric, owing to her mother's suicide when she was a child and her time on the streets. Regardless, the gang adores her. Chandler breaks up with Janice (Maggie Wheeler), only to find himself reconnecting with her in the season. At the end of the season, when Ross is at a paleontology dig in China, Chandler inadvertently reveals that Ross loves Rachel, who then discovers that she loves him as well. Rachel is waiting at the airport for Ross, returning from China, at the end of the season.

Friends Season 2
Rachel meets Ross at the airport to learn that he has returned with Julie (Lauren Tom), a graduate school acquaintance. Rachel's initial attempts to tell Ross she loves him echo his unsuccessful attempts in the first season. When Rachel finds Ross's list of the disadvantages of dating her after he breaks up with Julie for her, tensions between them rise.
They finally start dating after Rachel discovers an old home video from her and Monica's prom night and learns Ross will step in for her prom date, who nearly dumped her. Monica is promoted to head chef at the Iridium restaurant, only to be fired for violating company policy by accepting gifts from a supplier. She is forced to take an embarrassing job as a waitress at a 1950s-style diner to make ends meet. In addition, she starts dating Richard Burke (Tom Selleck), a newly divorced family friend 21 years her senior.

They finally split up because Monica realizes Richard, who is already a parent, does not want any more children. Joey plays neurosurgeon Dr. Drake Ramoray in a fictitious version of Days of Our Lives. He vacates his and Chandler's apartment, prompting Chandler to find a new roommate in the form of Eddie (Adam Goldberg). Eddie, on the other hand, is irritating and slightly insane. Joey's character is killed off after he claims in a soap opera magazine interview that he writes several of his lines, insulting the show's creator. Joey moves back in with Chandler, throwing Eddie out because he can no longer afford his luxurious new apartment. Chandler converses with an anonymous woman in an online chat room in the season finale. When they agree to meet in person, the woman's name is revealed to be Janice.

Friends Season 3
Season 3 adopts a far more serialized style. Chandler and Janice date for a few episodes before Joey catches Janice kissing her soon-to-be ex-husband. Chandler encourages Janice to return to her husband to not ruin her home, but she then becomes distraught about the breakup for several episodes. Rachel leaves Central Perk to work at Bloomingdale's, an upscale department store chain.

Ross quickly becomes envious of her coworker Mark and irritated by Rachel's long work hours. She is fed up with his relentless jealousy and insecurity and agrees they need to take a (relationship) break. Ross, hurt and slightly drunk, instantly sleeps with Chloe, "the hot girl from the Xerox spot," prompting Rachel to end their relationship.

Despite initially believing she has no family other than her twin sister Ursula (Lisa Kudrow), Phoebe discovers she has a half-brother, Frank Jr. (Giovanni Ribisi), and her birth mother, Phoebe Abbott (Teri Garr), throughout the season. Joey falls in love with his acting partner Kate (Dina Meyer) but is envious of her relationship with the play's producer.

They start a brief relationship, which ends when she accepts an acting job in Los Angeles. Monica falls in love with millionaire Pete Becker (Jon Favreau), despite her initial dislike. She, on the other hand, breaks up with Pete after he is critically injured while attempting to become the Ultimate Fighting Champion and refuses to give up.

Rachel is envious when Phoebe arranges a date for Ross with her friend Bonnie (Christine Taylor). She attempts to ruin the relationship by forcing Bonnie to shave her head bald and finally reveals to Ross that she loves him. Ross must choose between Rachel and Bonnie as the season comes to a close.

Friends Season 4
Ross and Rachel briefly reconcile in the season 4 premiere after Ross breaks up with Bonnie and pretends to read a long letter Rachel wrote for him. Ross, on the other hand, insists that the two were on a break while he slept with Chloe, so they break up again.

Chandler has a crush on Kathy (Paget Brewster), who Joey dates. Kathy and Chandler later kiss, causing conflict between Chandler and Joey. Chandler is only forgiven and allowed to date Kathy after he spends Thanksgiving in a box as punishment. Chandler's relationship with Kathy comes to an end when he learns she cheated on him due to an argument.

Phoebe loses her job as a masseuse after having an affair with one of her clients, and she joins Monica, who has turned into a caterer for hire. They soon start a catering business together, but Monica is offered the role of head chef after negatively reviewing a restaurant, Allesandro's. Despite initially feeling threatened by her coworkers' wrath, Monica finally asserts her supremacy in the kitchen. Phoebe takes on the role of surrogate mother for her brother and his wife, Alice (Debra Jo Rupp).

After losing a bet during a quiz game, Monica and Rachel are forced to swap apartments with Joey and Chandler, but they manage to switch back by bribing them with Knicks season tickets and a one-minute kiss (off-screen). Rachel is demoted to personal shopping after her manager dies, and she meets and then dates a customer called Joshua (Tate Donovan). Ross starts dating Emily (Helen Baxendale), an Englishwoman, and they soon become engaged.

Rachel is unable to cope and proposes to Joshua that they marry, which he refuses. Except for Phoebe and Rachel, the party travels to London for Ross and Emily's wedding in the season finale. Rachel runs to London to avoid Ross and Emily's wedding but changes her mind when she sees them happy together, realizing she is still in love with Ross. Ross mentions Rachel's name at the altar when saying his vows, surprising his bride and the guests.

Friends Season 5
Ross and Emily wed, but Emily flees the wedding, enraged and embarrassed. Rachel quickly confesses her feelings for Ross, then realizes how stupid this is and encourages him to focus on his marriage to Emily.

She develops feelings for her next-door neighbor Danny, and the date for a short time before discovering he is too attached to his sister. Monica and Chandler make every effort to keep their new relationship a secret from their families. In the 100th episode of the show, Phoebe gives birth to triplets. She has two boys, Frank Jr. Jr. and Leslie, and two girls, Chandler and Leslie.

After weeks of attempting to reach her, Emily decides to reconcile with Ross and relocate to New York to cease all contact with Rachel. Ross accepts but then goes to a dinner with all of his peers, including Rachel. Emily calls Ross, learns Rachel is there, admits she does not trust him and divorces him.

Ross vents his anger at work, which leads to his indefinite suspension from the museum, and he moves in with Chandler and Joey before finally finding a new apartment across the street from them. Rachel accepts a new role at Ralph Lauren.

Phoebe starts a relationship with Gary (Michael Rapaport), a police officer, after stealing his badge and passing it off as her own. Monica and Chandler make their relationship public, much to the surprise and delight of their mates. They decide to marry while on a trip to Las Vegas but change their minds after seeing Ross and Rachel stumble out of the wedding chapel drunkenly.

Friends Season 6
Ross and Rachel's marriage is revealed to be a drunken mistake in the season 6 opener, which neither remembers until the other friends bring it up. Ross tells Rachel that he will get them an annulment but then does nothing because he cannot bear the thought of having three failed marriages. When Rachel learns they are still dating, a repeal is unlikely due to their past, so they must divorce.

Monica and Chandler decide to live together after ignoring several signals they should marry, prompting Rachel to move in with Phoebe. Janine is Joey's new roommate (Elle Macpherson). They grow feelings for each other and dated for a short time before Janine criticizes Monica and Chandler, effectively ending the relationship. Joey struggles to pay his bills after Janine leaves, so he gets a job at Central Perk. He soon lands a spot on a cable T.V. show named Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E., in which he co-stars with a crime-fighting robot.

Ross is hired as a professor at New York University. Despite university policy, he dates Elizabeth (Alexandra Holden), a classmate. Paul (Bruce Willis), Elizabeth's father, disapproves of Ross but falls for Rachel, and the two begin dating. Both relationships are short-lived: Elizabeth is too young for Ross, and Paul, who was previously reserved, opens up emotionally and becomes too much for Rachel to handle. When Phoebe and Rachel's apartment burns down, Rachel moves in with Joey, and Phoebe remains with Chandler and Monica, but they later switch places.

Monica places her name on a reservation list at a museum with a two-year wait for weddings as a joke. Chandler panics when he intercepts a phone call from the museum about a cancellation; however, Chandler has been planning to propose while pretending he might never want to marry. While dining at a fancy restaurant, Chandler's planned proposal is subverted by Monica's ex-boyfriend Richard Burke, who unexpectedly shows up.

Richard later tells Monica he wants to marry her and have children. Monica becomes upset at Chandler, believing his ruse about not wanting to marry. Chandler believes Monica has left him until he comes home to find their apartment decorated with candles and her waiting to propose to him. When she becomes too emotional to continue, Chandler offers, and she accepts.

Friends Season 7
The seventh season focuses on Monica and Chandler as they prepare for their wedding despite a slew of complications. Joey's T.V. show, Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E., is canceled, but he is offered his old position on Days of Our Lives; the show is retconned with the announcement that Dr. Drake Ramoray has been in a four-year coma and is resurrected with a brain transplant from another character.

Rachel now lives at Joey's since Phoebe's restored apartment has just one big bedroom instead of the original two. Rachel is promoted at Ralph Lauren and hires a young assistant, Tag Jones (Eddie Cahill), on the spur of the moment, overpassing a more eligible woman.

Tag discovers her feelings for him at Thanksgiving dinner, and they begin dating while keeping their relationship a secret from coworkers. Rachel ends their relationship on her 30th birthday, realizing Tag is too young and inexperienced, particularly if she wants to pursue her marriage schedule. Chandler panics and flees hours before Monica and Chandler's wedding reception, just as Phoebe and Rachel discover a positive pregnancy test in Monica and Chandler's bathroom.

They believe Monica is expecting a child. Ross and Phoebe track down Chandler and persuade him to stay for the ceremony, but he flees again when he overhears Phoebe and Rachel discussing the pregnancy test. He returns quickly, accepting the notion of fatherhood. After the ceremony, Monica denies being pregnant; however, everyone is unaware that the positive pregnancy test is Rachel's.

Friends Season 8
Season 8 starts at the wedding reception of Monica and Chandler. Rachel's pregnancy is discovered by Phoebe and Monica, who persuades her to take another test to confirm it. Phoebe initially says the test is negative, which significantly disappoints Rachel, but then discovers it is positive, claiming Rachel now knows how she feels about having a baby.

The season revolves around Rachel's pregnancy, and Ross is finally revealed to be the father. Rachel and Ross agree to be co-parents without resuming their romantic relationship; Ross starts dating Monica's coworker from Allesandro's, Mona (Bonnie Somerville). Joey brings Rachel out to calm her motherhood worries and discovers he has romantic feelings for her.

Though suppressing his emotions, he invites Rachel to stay at Ross's apartment so that he can be a part of the pregnancy. The arrangement is too much for Mona, and she ends her relationship with Ross. Joey expresses his feelings for Rachel to Ross. Ross is initially enraged but later gives his approval. Joey tells Rachel that he loves her, but she realizes that she does not, and the two remain friends. Ross's mother gives him a family heirloom ring and invites him to propose to Rachel when she goes into labor.

Ross pauses before slipping the ring into his jacket, which he later leaves in Rachel's bed. Monica and Chandler decide to have a baby while still in the hospital after Monica makes a joke about having children. Rachel gives birth to baby Emma after a long labor in which several other expectant mothers, including Janice, are taken to the delivery room. She is devastated and terrified after Janice says that Ross will not always be there for her and the boy.

The ring falls from Ross's jacket to the floor as Joey consoles Rachel. Joey kneels to pick it up, and Rachel, believing he is proposing, impulsively says yes. Meanwhile, Ross plans to ask Rachel if she wants to rekindle their romance.

Friends Season 9
After Joey and Rachel clear up the proposal misunderstanding, Season 9 starts with Ross and Rachel cohabiting with their daughter Emma. Monica and Chandler face challenges when trying to conceive a child: Chandler unknowingly agrees to a job move to Tulsa while Monica is offered a position as head chef at a new restaurant, Java, resulting in Chandler commuting.

Chandler quits after spending Christmas apart from Monica to try a new career in advertising, beginning as an unpaid intern at an ad agency and eventually being employed as a junior copywriter. Finally, Monica and Chandler learn that they are biologically unfit for pregnancy and, after exploring several choices, decide to adopt.

For most of the season, Phoebe dates Mike Hannigan (Paul Rudd) before Mike declares that he never wants to marry again. Phoebe is dating her ex-boyfriend from season one, David (Hank Azaria), who intends to propose to her, but Mike does so first. Phoebe refuses both ideas but returns to Mike, wanting only reassurance that they have a future together.

Rachel returns to Ralph Lauren early, convinced that her coworker Gavin (Dermot Mulroney) is attempting to steal her job while on maternity leave. At her birthday party, she learns that Gavin has feelings for her. Because of her past with Ross, they kiss but do not seek a relationship. Meanwhile, after witnessing the kiss, Ross retaliates by dating other women. Rachel and Emma move in with Joey after discovering that their living arrangement with Ross is too strange.

Rachel develops feelings for him, only to be disappointed when he begins dating Charlie (Aisha Tyler), a new paleontology professor Ross admires. The party flies to Barbados for Ross's keynote speech at a conference in the finale. Joey and Charlie break up upon realizing they have nothing in common. Joey then learns about Rachel's feelings for him but says they cannot pursue this because of Ross. However, upon seeing Ross and Charlie kiss each other, he goes to Rachel's hotel room, and the finale ends with them kissing.

Friends Season 10
The tenth season concludes with several long-running plot lines. Joey and Rachel struggle to deal with Ross's feelings about their relationship, and after a series of failed attempts to consummate their relationship, they decide they should stay friends. Charlie ends her relationship with Ross to rekindle her relationship with her ex-boyfriend.

Joey officiates Phoebe and Mike's wedding outside the Central Perk coffee shop in the middle of the season after a snowstorm paralyzes the area, preventing them and their guests from getting to the wedding spot. Monica and Chandler are chosen to adopt a baby by a pregnant woman named Erica (Anna Faris). Following this, Monica and Chandler plan to relocate to the suburbs to raise their family, which saddens everyone, particularly Joey, who is dealing with many changes in his life. Erica gives birth to fraternal twins in the series finale, much to Monica and Chandler's surprise.

Rachel is fired from Ralph Lauren after her employer discovers she is applying for a position at Gucci. She runs into Mark, a former Bloomingdale's coworker, who offers her a new job at Louis Vuitton in Paris. Ross attempts to bribe Mr. Zelner to rehire Rachel, thinking she wants to stay before he learns she wants to go to Paris. When Rachel says a tearful personal goodbye to everyone except Ross at her farewell party, hurt and frustrated Ross confronts her, and they end up sleeping together.
Rachel walks away, and Ross, remembering how much he adores Rachel, pursues her to the airport. When he reaches Rachel, she informs him that she must go to Paris. Rachel calls Ross's home phone and leaves a voice message, apologizing for the way things ended. While speaking, she knows she still loves him and decides to get off the plane at the last minute. The series ends with all the friends, plus Monica and Chandler's new babies, leaving the empty apartment together for a final cup of coffee at Central Perk. The show ends first with a shot of everyone's keys to Monica and Chandler's apartment left on the countertop and then pans to an image of the apartment's purple door.

Final Thoughts

Friends were and remain my all-time favorite sitcom. I wish the six casts could come together and work on something similar. I watched it so much that it felt like I had reconnected with them. They felt like family.

What do you remember about the Friends Sitcom? Would you wish for its reboot?
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