“Friends” Will Be There For You


Ross Geller, Rachel Green, Monica Geller, Chandler Bing, Pheobe Buffay and Joey Tribbiani, pictured above (left to right), are the main characters on “Friends,” a popular American sitcom. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Taylor Mascetta, Contributing Writer

It was a revelation that horrified many college students — Netflix will remove the ever-popular sitcom “Friends” from its platform in 2020. The show will find a new home at Warner Media’s upcoming streaming service “HBO Max,” which premieres next spring.

Unfortunately, most college students are not willing to purchase another streaming service; the price is hefty. The generation went into mourning, and losing the show felt like losing a friend.

Since its debut in 1994, “Friends” has shaped generations. Viewers shared the couch with Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Joey, Monica and Phoebe for 10 hilarious seasons.

From the constant “will they, won’t they” nature of Ross and Rachel’s relationship, Chandler’s sarcastic quips to Phoebe’s endless optimism, fans fell in love with the group.

Although the show concluded in 2004, “Friends” has engraved itself into pop culture. She show celebrated the 25th anniversary of its premiere on September 22, and its popularity shows no sign of slowing.

“Friends” remains a pop culture phenomenon for multiple reasons, one being its fair share of controversy. It was a very different time in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. To some, watching the show in 2019 illuminates quips that hint of homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia and white washing.

Others see the jokes as a product of an era that was less cognizant of these offenses. The debate that remains in public discussion is healthy. However,  it shows how much our culture evolved since the previous century. Aside from the debate, “Friends” is just really, really funny.

To a college student dealing with an endless stream of homework, meetings and anxiety, “Friends” provides an escape to a lighter, happier oasis. Watching Marcel the monkey wreack havoc or tuning into the ever-popular Thanksgiving episodes will put a smile on anyone’s face.

The biggest reason, however, why “Friends”remains so prominent in society is because it is endlessly relatable.
Many students finish college, graduate, get their degree and are thrown into the real world. Suddenly, they are faced with a terrifying proposition: “what now?”

The time following graduation is very difficult, and, like the theme song says, “your job’s a joke, you’re broke and your love life’s DOA (dead on arrival).” This often brings a feeling of loneliness and confusion. However, “Friends” serves as a post-college survival guide.

All of the characters are bearing some sort of emotional weight. Rachel went from a life of luxury to a tedious job as a waitress, and Joey toiled as an actor for years. Chandler holds scars from his parents’ divorce while Phoebe still struggles with the loss of her mother at a young age.

However, everyone has each other’s back, and the theme of optimism is prevalent throughout the show’s progression. The characters’ struggles tell the audience that they are not alone, and that is a comforting thought.

The show is a support system that millions of viewers rely on everyday. The journeys the characters go on assure the audience that everything will be okay. Take, for example, Rachel, who started the show with absolutely no idea how the real world worked.

As “Friends” progressed, Rachel endured years of hard work and stayed confident throughout multiple setbacks. This all led to her success in the world of fashion and an offer from her dream job in Paris. Her story is reassuring to any viewer going through rough patches in their career. It’s a sign everything they are doing is worth it.

As stated before, “Friends” is a timeless tale of optimism. In a world plagued by negativity, pessimism and unrealistic expectations, people just want to feel appreciated. “Friends”provides us with that.

Despite her tragic past, Phoebe provides an endless amount of optimism and happiness to the gang, especially when Ross needs reminding that he will always be Rachel’s lobster. A student dealing with an ungodly amount of pressure and social expectations can look to characters like Phoebe and know that everything is always going to be alright.

The show does not lie about your future after college; getting a job, a spouse and an idea of where you want your life to go is extremely difficult. However, as Monica says in the very first episode, “Welcome to the real world, it sucks! You’re gonna love it.”

The real world may be a scary place, but a good group of friends and a positive outlook will always ensure success. Despite its upcoming departure from Netflix, “Friends” and its lessons will always “be there for you” for years to come.