American Comfort TV: Friends – The One with a Look Back

We all have a TV show or series that we love, a show that we turn to when we’re feeling lost or sick or tired or heartbroken. Somehow, these shows manage to support us through difficult times in our lives, and we never tire of them. For Kettle’s Madiya Altaf, there’s still beauty in a classic show.

We can’t focus an entire season on America without looking at the country’s longest running sitcom – Friends.

Where it began

Twenty-one years ago, a TV sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman graced our television screens and forever changed the way we live. Friends revolved around the lives of Rachel Green, Ross Geller, Monica Geller, Chandler Bing, Joey Tribbiani and Phoebe Buffay. All in their twenties, the show followed their lives in New York, from romantic and comedic to career-related escapades.

I jumped onto the Friends bandwagon quite late in life. It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I was asked by my friend if I watched the show. Even then, it was less of a question and more of a confirmation. As in, ‘you watch Friends right?’  When I answered ‘no,’ I saw the horror appear in her eyes, which quickly vanished to excitement as she made it her life goal to make me watch all ten seasons. After multiple text messages (none threatening, of course) and constant nagging, I finally caved in and watched the first episode o

f Friends. And then, I was hooked. I watched it whilst having breakfast, in between my study breaks and during literally any free time I had.

A form of escapism

The first episode then became the first season and, before I knew, it ten seasons had flown by and so had my GCSEs. We all remember how horrible GCSEs were and there was a huge pressure placed on students who didn’t do well. Teachers constantly reminded us that our grades would determine whether we would get in to college because, if we didn’t get into college, we couldn’t go to university. Whether it was during classes or assemblies we were constantly reminded of that same thing. Watching Friends became a form of escapism for me.

And, after all these years

Comedy Central, who won the replay rights of the series in 201, play multiple episodes of the sitcom every day. And I watch them. But what makes Friends so current today, to the point where I still want to binge watch them after all these years?

The main aspect of what makes Friends so popular, and what did it for me, is how relatable and likeable the characters are. We all have our favourite characters and they often become the reason why we watch a certain show. No matter how bad the plot is, or how much suffering the writers put our favourite characters through, we will always be there for them until the end of the episode.

Those unforgettable six

Throughout the ten seasons we saw a development with all the characters. Rachel was at first portrayed as a spoilt daddy’s girl, and then transformed to an independent successful business women.

Chandler was sarcastic, goofy and immature but then found a job he loved and was good at, married Monica and became a responsible father.

Joey started off as a player and a starting actor but, through his crush on Rachel, started treating women differently. 

Ross began as someone very whiny, thinking that everyone and everything hated him. He was very self-centred and then he finally realised what he was missing all this time, ending up with Rachel.

Monica began by not having stuff figured out and was battling with OCD. after being fired several times, she got a job as a head chef at a famous restaurant.

Phoebe was ditsy, childlike and weird and these qualities remained with her all through the seasons, although she certainly matured.

Fundamentally, all TV characters have a quirk or trait that we can relate to, making us love them all the more.


And now, for your entertainment, here are my five all-time favourite moments:

1. When Ross says the wrong name at his wedding to Emily

2. The Apartment Bet

3. ‘Pivot!’

4.Phoebe’s Smelly Cat Song

5.  ‘We were on a break!’

Let us know your favourite scene from Friends in the comments below! 


Kettle mag, America season