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‘I’ll be there for you’

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. made us laugh and cry, and compelled us to watch and rewatch every single episode. Here’s a heartfelt tribute on its 25th anniversary.

ANUSKA PAL | Kolkata |

If you’ve been addicted to the iconic F.R.I.E.N.D.S. theme song ever since you watched their first episode, you are one among millions of fans of the most iconic sitcom television series to have ever been made.

Released in 1994, the show was on air for a decade and is one of the top 10 widely watched global television shows in the world.

It has been 25 years since the show’s creators, David Crane and Marta Kauffman, introduced to us to the six friends, with unique personalities and background stories.

In fact, the show is highly watched and equally loved today as it was when the series was playing in the 90s. The show is highly relatable to youngsters around the world because of the modernity with which they portrayed friendships, arguments, high and low moments and milestones in the lives of our favourite characters.

The six friends — Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Joey — are in their 20s when the show begins and in their 30s when it nears its 10th and final season. Living in Manhattan, New York, they become family for each other (in fact, some of them officially do).

So, for those who are living under a rock and haven’t yet watched the hit sitcom, let’s introduce each of the friends to you. Ross Geller is played by David Schwimmer, who is considered the smartest and most educated of the group, and is a renowned palaeontologist.

Then there’s Ross’s sister, Monica Geller, portrayed wonderfully by actress Courteney Cox. Monica is a chef and has (very relatable) OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, about cleanliness, which compels her to sometimes go crazy about organising things.

There’s Chandler Bing, who is played by the remarkably funny actor Matthew Perry. He holds a corporate job and is known for having a very good sense of humour and gets notoriously sarcastic when placed in uncomfortable social situations.

The next character is Joey Tribbiani, an Italian-American struggling actor, played incredibly convincingly by the adorable Matt LeBlanc. Joey is a very sweet, childish, yet dim-witted, personality and is seen to be extremely protective of his friends. He is a food-lover who, on several occasions, screams, “Joey doesn’t share food,” when people try to get their hands on his share. Rachel Green is played by the beautiful Jennifer Aniston, for whom the sitcom was a breakthrough and earned her fame and fortune in the mainstream Hollywood industry. Rachel is the last to enter the pack of the six friends when she, as a runaway bride, refuses to go back to her old life and marry a man she doesn’t love. Rachel goes from being a typical spoilt, rich, daddy’s girl, to doing a job for the first time in her life as a waitress.

Through the seasons, she explores a career as a fashion designer. Last but not the least is Phoebe Buffay, played perfectly by Lisa Kudrow. Phoebe immediately attracts everybody with her unique personality and her unabashed weirdness. She is a massage therapist who also plays a guitar at Central Perk, the coffee shop where all the friends hang out.

The story, through 10 equally good, hilarious seasons, revolves around the lives and relationships of these six friends, who deal with several hurdles in their lives, while sticking up for each other, and share everything with each other on the iconic orange couch at the Central Perk cafe and their apartments upstairs. The cafe has almost become a cult favourite in New York, and sees tourists from all over the world thronging to get a picture clicked on the famous couch.

Each character in the series has a special characteristic or a unique selling point which makes us adore them, and one prominent flaw which make us connect to them on a very personal, human level. Ross’s intelligence is unparalleled, but he is a possessive, and sometimes cranky, boyfriend; Joey is incredibly sweet, childlike and caring, but incredibly dim-witted; Chandler’s sense of humour and use of sarcasm are unparalleled, but in his personal life he is under-confident, especially when confronted by uncomfortable situations; Monica is almost like a caring mother figure throughout the series, but her OCD compels her to be forceful and dominating at times; Rachel is exceptionally charming and attractive, but is a push-over; Phoebe’s weirdness is one of the funniest aspects of the show, but she is incredibly “flaky,” to take a word from the show, or liable to act in an eccentric and unpredictable manner. These qualities make us love F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and also make us feel like they are our friends.

Since its inception, the show has reached unprecedented levels of success and is still as famous as it used to be in the 1990s. It introduced television to a new era of sitcom making, and had several influences on the global film industry as well, with a storyline so unpredictable, heart-warming and, most importantly, modern and relatable.

The iconic dialogues and phrases from the series, like “We were on a break, Joey doesn’t share food, Oh my god, Pivot!” are still used as references often, and contribute to making the show unforgettable now and in the future.

On the 25th anniversary of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa paid tribute to the popular sitcom by portraying a performance with lights synchronised to the tune of the theme song. Even Google paid a tribute to the show by placing a cartoon beside the names of the characters when searched, which defined their iconic roles.

It is a must-watch for every single person, regardless of their age, as it has episodes for everyone. When you’re happy, watching the show will make you laugh and make you happier; when you’re sad, watching it will cheer you up. There are very few shows that have episodes for every mood, situation and aspect of life. F.R.I.E.N.D.S.undoubtedly tops that list!

Coordinator, Class XII, Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School