Friends: Nostalgia is the New “In”

A whole new generation discovers the 1990’s classic sitcom, Friends.

Throughout its ten year-run, Friends consistently ranked as one of the top most popular television shows.

Throughout its ten year-run, “Friends” consistently ranked as one of the top most popular television shows.

Hillary Navarro-Fonseca, Staff Writer

The timeless television show Friends premiered on September 22, 1994 and ran until May 6, 2004. This included ten seasons of the funny and relevant American sitcom. The show continues to appeal to today’s audiences through cable and streaming services thanks to more than just a nostalgia-fueled fan base. It’s also thanks to a new generation of Gen Z binge-watchers who identify with the show’s characters and storylines even though Friends launched before some of them were born.

Friends is about a group of six twenty-year-olds who live together in New York City. They all have different personalities, go through ups and downs together, and learn a lot from each other.

Friends emphasizes the value of friendship in one’s life. The show is full of circumstances that teach us how to be good friends or good buddies. For example, Chandler was often making everyone laugh with his sarcasm, which helped to lighten the mood. Once he informed Rachel that he didn’t know about advice, but he could offer a snarky remark to make her laugh.

Given how dated the show feels by today’s standards, its continued popularity is remarkable. Yet Friends harkens back to a simpler period—before apps, social media, and cellphones controlled our attention, time, and friendships. That may be enough for new audiences to overlook the show’s shortcomings.

The show is so comforting to watch because so many of us are stumbling throughout life without a plan. In the first season of Friends, Monica asks Phoebe, “Do you have a plan?” Phoebe confesses that she doesn’t have one.

Friends can teach you a lot of life lessons–specifically the importance of taking advantage of opportunities.

Monica’s lifelong dream was to have children of her own. When she started dating the much-older Richard (Tom Selleck), Monica realized that they were not going to reach a compromise concerning having children. She decided to break things off since that was a deal-breaker for her. In little time, Richard realized that he was willing to have kids with Monica if it meant they could be together. But it was too late because Monica had moved onto Chandler (Matthew Perry).

Friends’ fans tuned in to watch the ups and downs of Rachel and Ross’ relationship. This relationship goes back to the characters’ teenage years. Ross always had a crush on Rachel throughout high school, but Rachel never viewed Ross in a romantic way; she just thought of him as her friend Monica’s annoying older brother. 

After not seeing each other for years, they cross paths at the airport where Ross gains back his feelings towards Rachel, but Ross ends up marrying his college girlfriend, Carole. Ross and Carole end up divorced. In fact, Ross ends up divorced another two times. 

At the altar with his second wife, Ross accidentally says Rachel’s name instead of his bride’s name during the vows, which ends the wedding and the marriage right then and there. Will Ross and Rachel ever happily reunite and live as a married couple?

So many of the main cast–Monica, Rachel, and Ross in particular–had the person they loved right in front of them. However, it was only once that person left that they realized that they needed one another.

Friends teaches viewers the fundamentals of having people in your life that truly want the best for you. The theme song chorus and its title “I’ll be there for you” is appropriate for the strong bonds these friends share. These friends form a second family in a new city. These friends are your trusted allies at the end of a long day dealing with society’s expectations. 

Friends appeals to new and old audiences alike through teaching the lesson of holding onto true friends once found and not giving up on them.