Friends was an American sitcom about a group of friends in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, New York City. It was originally broadcast from 1994 to 2004. It was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, and produced by Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane. The show has been broadcast in more than one hundred countries and still continues to attract good ratings for its episodes in syndication. The final episode of the show was watched by an estimated US audience of 51.1 million. From the 10 years run, the show had won 6 Emmys, including one for Outstanding Comedy Series. It also received a Golden Globe, 2 SAG Awards, and 56 other various awards with 152 nominations.
During the show's run, the cast all achieved household name celebrity status, and all pursued careers in the movies, with varied success. Aniston's movie career is predominantly populated with light romantic comedies including The Good Girl, Bruce Almighty, Along Came Polly, Rumor Has It and The Break Up. Cox made several lightweight films and achieved her greatest success with the Scream series, in which she costarred with her husband, David Arquette, who had made a guest appearance as Ursula's stalker in Friends. This was followed by the critically acclaimed TV series, Dirt, that portrayed her as a ruthless editor of a two-bit tabloid magazine. Kudrow fared best in low budget indie films, most notably The Opposite of Sex and Happy Ending, and also films like the comedy hit Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion and Analyze This. Most recently Kudrow played a main character alongside Hilary Swank in 2007's P.S. I Love You. Perry co-starred in the Canadian mafia comedy The Whole Nine Yards and its sequel The Whole Ten Yards along with Bruce Willis, who had also made guest appearances on the show. He also starred in the romantic comedy Fools Rush In. He also starred as the title character in the critically acclaimed The Ron Clark Story, and has since co-starred in TV drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and an episode of Scrubs titled "My Unicorn" as Murray. He has also played the leading role of the film Numb which, whilst released straight to DVD, has gained an appreciation and collection of high praise from critics. Matt LeBlanc took a leading role in Lost in Space and starred as the boyfriend of Alex (Lucy Liu) in Charlie's Angels. He also reprised his role as Joey Tribbiani in the show's spin off series, Joey. In 2001, Schwimmer co-starred as Capt. Herbert Sobel in the 2001 TV mini-series Band of Brothers In 2005, Schwimmer starred as the voice for the giraffe Melman in the movie Madagascar a role which he will reprise in 2008 for Madagascar 2. David Schwimmer directed ten episodes of Friends and two of Joey. His big directorial debut Run Fatboy Run was released on March 28, 2008.
Behind the scenes, the show was known for its unusually cohesive and unified cast. The six main actors made deliberate efforts, from early on, to keep the show's ensemble format and not allow one member to dominate; notably for a show of its length, the six principals each appeared in every episode of the run. This included requesting that all actors on the show be nominated either for the same category of award (Supporting Actor until 2001, then Lead Actor from 2002 onwards) or not at all, and entering collective instead of individual salary negotiations. The actors became such close friends that one guest star, Tom Selleck, reported sometimes feeling left out. The cast remained good friends after the show's run, most notably Cox and Aniston, with Aniston being godmother to Cox and David Arquette's daughter, Coco. In their official farewell commemorative Friends Til' The End, they each separately acknowledged in their interviews that the cast had become their family.
The second season features more serialized storylines; it begins when Rachel discovers that Ross is dating Julie (played by Lauren Tom), someone he knew from grad school. Julie returns for several episodes early in the season. Rachel's attempts to tell Ross she likes him mirror his own failed attempts in the first season, though the characters eventually begin a relationship that lasts into the following season. Joey, a struggling actor in the first season, gets a part in a fictionalized version of the soap opera Days of Our Lives but loses the part soon after when he angers the writers by saying in an interview that he writes many of his own lines. Tom Selleck begins a recurring guest role as Dr. Richard Burke. Richard, a friend of Monica and Ross' parents who is recently divorced and with grown children, is 21 years older than Monica but despite this they date for the second half of the season. In the season finale, they end the relationship when they realize that he does not want any more children and she does. The second season also served to deepen Chandler and Joey's friendship. This becomes especially apparent in the episodes in which Joey temporarily moves out and a creepy guy named Eddie (Adam Goldberg) moves in.
Season three took on a significantly greater serialized format. Rachel begins working at Bloomingdales and Ross becomes jealous of her coworker, Mark. Ross and Rachel break up after Ross sleeps with the hot girl from the copy shop, Chloe. His insistence that he and Rachel were "on a break" becomes a running gag through the remaining seasons. The two show significant animosity towards each other through the second half of the season, though the cliffhanger ending suggests the two reconcile. Interestingly, the first episode after they break up does not focus on the two of them, but on Chandler, who's having a very hard time dealing with the situation, as it reminds him of his parents' divorce. Phoebe, established as having no family except for an identical twin sister, becomes acquainted with her half-brother (played by Giovani Ribisi) and in the finale discovers her birth mother she never knew she had (played by Teri Garr). Joey develops a crush on Kate, his acting partner in a new play. (played by Dina Meyer) At first, she doesn't harbor feelings for him, even after sleeping together. However, after her boyfriend/director dumps her following a scathing review of the play, she turns to Joey for support. The relationship doesn't last long, as she is given an opportunity on a soap opera in Los Angeles. Monica begins a relationship with Pete Becker, a millionaire who has a crush on her. (played by Jon Favreau) At first, she only sees him as a friend, but eventually, the two begin to date. Preparing for what she thinks is a marriage proposal, Pete confides in her that he wants to become the Ultimate Fighting Champion. After seeing him get beat up badly in two matches, she tells him he has to give it up. Since he won't, she breaks up with him.
During the fourth season, actress Lisa Kudrow became pregnant. This was written into the show by having Phoebe become a surrogate mother to the children of her brother and his wife (played by Debra Jo Rupp). Ross and Rachel briefly reconcile in the premiere but soon break up again. During the middle of the season, Monica and Rachel are forced to switch apartments with Joey and Chandler after losing a bet on how well the four know each other. They bribe Joey and Chandler to switch back with Knicks season tickets and a one-minute kiss between themselves. Mid-season, having moved on, Ross begins dating an English woman called Emily (played by Helen Baxendale) and the finale, featuring the wedding of the characters, was filmed on location in London. Chandler and Monica sleep together when, after a wedding guest mistakes Monica for Ross' mother, Monica seeks comfort in the arms of a friend. Rachel, depressed by the impending wedding enough to chase away a potential boyfriend in Joshua, attends the wedding at the last minute, intending to tell Ross that she still loves him, but decides not to. Things are thrown into chaos when Ross replaces Emily's name with Rachel's while saying his vows.
The fifth season follows Monica and Chandler keeping their new relationship a secret from their friends, while Ross' marriage to Emily ends before it even started, following their wedding (Baxendale's pregnancy prevented her from appearing on-screen in all but two episodes). Phoebe starts a relationship with Gary (Michael Rapaport), a police officer she meets after finding his badge. Although leery of moving in with Gary, she eventually relents. The relationship ends with a bang, literally, when Gary shoots a bird outside of their apartment. Monica and Chandler's relationship becomes public and on a trip to Las Vegas, they decide to get married. On a cliffhanger, Ross and Rachel drunkenly stumble out of the wedding chapel. The series received Emmy nominations in 1999 for Outstanding Comedy Series.
In the sixth season premiere Ross and Rachel's marriage is established to be a drunken mistake and, although Ross is reluctant to do so, the two get a divorce (Ross's third) after failing to get an annulment. Monica and Chandler decide just to move into her apartment together and Rachel moves in with Phoebe. Joey, still a struggling actor, gets a female roommate and a part on a cable television series called "Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E", where he stars alongside a robot. Ross gets a job lecturing at New York University and starts dating his college student, Elizabeth (played by Alexandra Holden). Bruce Willis makes a three-episode cameo as her father. Phoebe and Rachel's apartment catches on fire, causing Rachel to move in with Joey and Phoebe with Chandler and Monica. In the final episodes, Chandler decides to propose to Monica. Trying to make it a surprise, he starts acting like his old commitment-phobic self, telling her he opposes marriage. For a brief moment Monica considers going to back to Richard, who confesses to her that he still loves her and is willing to have children with her. Monica gets wind of Chandler's idea, and attempts to propose to him but breaks down in tears and cannot finish. Chandler then asks her to marry him and the show is ended with celebration with many of the friends who were standing outside the door. The series was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series at Emmy Award 2000.
Season seven largely concerns various wedding-related antics by Monica and Chandler. Joey's television series is cancelled but he is offered his old job back on Days of Our Lives. Phoebe's apartment is fixed but due to the way the apartment has been rebuilt, Rachel stays with Joey. The two-part season finale follows Monica and Chandler's wedding, with guest stars that include Kathleen Turner as Chandler's transvestite father. The closing moments of the season reveal that Rachel is pregnant.'''
The eighth season's first episodes follow a "Who's the father?" format, with the father revealed to be Ross in episode two and Rachel telling him in episode three. Joey begins to develop romantic feelings for roommate Rachel and when Joey's feelings are revealed things become awkward for the two. Eventually their friendship returns to its status quo but in the finale, following Rachel's giving birth to a daughter, whom she and Ross call Emma, she accepts an accidental proposal of marriage from Joey when he bends down to retrieve a ring which has fallen from Ross' jacket.. The season was regarded as a return to form for the series; its ratings increased as viewers tuned in for comfort following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2002, the first in that category for the series.
The ninth season follows Ross and Rachel living together with baby Emma after she and Joey clear up the misdirected proposal. She soon moves back in with Joey after a fight with Ross. Monica and Chandler, inspired by Ross and Rachel, decide to conceive a child of their own. They seek medical advice after several episodes of trying for a baby, and discover that both of them are physically unable to conceive. Paul Rudd appears in the recurring role of Mike Hannigan, a new boyfriend for Phoebe. Hank Azaria returns as David "the scientist guy", a character originated in the first season, and Phoebe must choose between the two in a touching finale, deciding to choose Mike. The finale is set in Barbados, where the group goes to hear Ross give a keynote speech at a Paleontologist conference. Aisha Tyler appears as the series' first recurring black character. [A black character was added to address the criticism the show had received for lack of diversity.] Tyler plays Charlie, Joey's intelligent girlfriend. Even though Joey's attracted to her, she finds herself eventually becoming attracted to Ross, who is more her intellectual equal. After Charlie dumps Joey, Joey and Rachel's feelings for each other return. They agree to clear it with Ross first, until Joey catches Ross kissing Charlie. The finale ended with Joey and Rachel kissing.
The tenth season closes up several storylines; Joey and Rachel try to contend with Ross' feelings about them being together. However, consummating the relationship becomes disastrous, and they decide to remain friends. Charlie decides to return to Benjamin Hobart (Greg Kinnear), her old flame, and from whom Ross was trying to obtain a research grant. Monica and Chandler decide to adopt a child, and meet Erica, a birth mother from Ohio (played by Anna Faris). Erica gives birth to twins in the series finale. Phoebe and Mike get married towards the end of the season and Rachel takes a job based in Paris. Ross declares his love for her and they resume their relationship (not making any mistakes this time) in the season finale, while Monica and Chandler move out of their apartment into the suburbs. Joey is upset that everything is changing. Rachel still gets on the plane even with Ross' confessions, but later appears at his apartment door admitting she loves him too. In the series finale, at the end, a tearful Rachel says 'Shall we go get some coffee?' to which Chandler responds, Sure. Where? (the last words spoken on the show).
Friends was created in 1993 by David Crane and Marta Kauffman as a follow-up to their cable series Dream On. Friends was aimed at young adults who, during the early 1990s, were identified by their café culture, dating scene and modern independence.
Originally to be named Across the Hall, Six of One, Once Upon a Time in the West Village, Insomnia Café, or Friends Like Us, Friends was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television, for NBC in the U.S., and was first broadcast on that network. Friends debuted on September 22, 1994. The show was a huge success throughout its ten-year run and was a staple of the NBC Thursday night line-up. Kauffman and Crane note only one moment they would take back - the use of the line "I'm wearing two belts," in two different episodes and seasons. The final episode aired on May 6, 2004. The finale was one of the most-watched series finales in television history, behind only M*A*S*H, Cheers, and Seinfeld. The fountain used in the opening title sequence can be found at the Warner Bros. Ranch at 411 N. Hollywood Way, in Burbank, California, about a half mile north of the main studio lot. The fountain was also used prominently in the finale of the Charlton Heston classic, The Omega Man, and in the film version of the Broadway musical 1776. The opening scene was shot at about 4:00 a.m. while it was particularly cold for a Burbank morning.
After the series finale in 2004, the spin-off show Joey was created. Many fans criticized NBC's decision to give the character his own show, and ratings decreased significantly between the first and second season. Forty-six episodes were filmed, but only 38 episodes aired in the U.S. The show was canceled on May 15, 2006. The entire series has been released and is available for purchase in a DVD Boxset. The first episode drew 18.6 million viewers compared to the four million who tuned in to the final broadcast episode.
Friends has made a notable contribution to some areas of popular culture - in particular fashion. The series has been noted for its impact on everyday fashion and hairstyles. Aniston's hairstyle was nicknamed "The Rachel" and copied around the world.
Joey Tribbiani's catchphrase "How you doin'?" has become a popular part of Western English slang, often used as a pick-up line or when greeting friends. The show also popularized the idea of the "laminated list", a list of celebrities that a person's partner will permit them to sleep with if they were to ever meet them. In "The One with Frank Jr." the characters exchange "lists" verbally, while Ross creates a physical list and laminates it, making his choices permanent. The concept of the laminated list has been adopted by the Hollywood Stock Exchange website.
The phrase "Ross and Rachel" has appeared as a joke in Scrubs: the janitor describes J.D.'s relationship with Elliot as "not exactly Ross and Rachel." Friends has been referenced again in the Scrubs episode, "My Cold Shower"; Carla describes J.D and Elliot's relationship as being, "On and off more than Ross and Rachel, from Friends." On the 100th episode of the television show One Tree Hill (Lucas' and Lindsay's wedding), a character references Ross saying the wrong name at the altar when he was marrying Emily. In one episode of the British show Skins, a Russian girl learns English from Friends, and uses many of the catchphrases (such as "How you doin'" and "We were on a break") as a recurring joke. In The Nanny Margaret Sheffield protests by saying "but I'll never know if Ross and Rachel will be together again!" In the 30 Rock episode "Jack-Tor", Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) says he is watching Friends to learn about comedy. He asks "What happens with Ross and Rachel?" but then asks not to be told, he then tells Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) that's she's "such a Monica".
The Central Perk coffee house, one of the principal settings of the series, has inspired various imitations worldwide (the coffee house is based on Cholmondeley's, a coffee shop and lounge in Usen Castle at Brandeis University, the alma mater of the show's creators), including the now-defunct "Phoenix Perk" in Dublin (named for the park in the city) and the "Riverdale Perk" in Toronto. In 2006 Iranian businessman Mojtaba Asadian started a "Central Perk" franchise, registering the name in 32 countries. The decor of his coffee houses is inspired by that in Friends. James Michael Tyler, who plays Gunther, the Central Perk waiter in love with Rachel, attended the grand opening of the flagship Dubai café and is the spokesman for the company.
The name of every Friends episode, with the exceptions of the very first and last episodes (titled 'Pilot' and 'The Last One' respectively), starts with 'The One...', e.g. 'The One with Ross's Inappropriate Song', though the Pilot is sometimes called 'The One where Monica gets a Roommate', or 'The One Where It All Began'. In continuing with this tradition, a boxed set containing all ten seasons on DVD was called "The One With All Ten Seasons". This tradition is based on the way people, when unable to remember the actual title of an episode of a TV show, will describe it as "it's the one with..." and then state the main storyline of the episode.
Over the show's 10-year run, it mainly won Emmy Awards over other awards, such as Golden Globes and SAG Awards. It won 6 Emmys out of 63 nominations. Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow are the only members of the cast who won Emmys.
Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, or occasionally early June, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
|Season||Timeslot (EDT)||Season Premiere||Season Finale||TV Season||Rank|| Viewers|
|1|| Thursday 8:30 P.M. (September 22, 1994 - February 23, 1995)|
Thursday 9:30 P.M.(February 23, 1995 - May 18, 1995)
|September 22, 1994||May 18, 1995||1994-1995||#8||24.3|
|2|| Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 21, 1995 - January 18, 1996)|
Sunday 10:13 P.M. (January 28, 1996)
Thursday 8:00 P.M. (February 1, 1996 - May 16, 1996)
|September 21, 1995||May 16, 1996||1995-1996||#3||29.4|
|3||Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 19, 1996 - May 17, 2001)||September 19, 1996||May 15, 1997||1996-1997||#4||25.0|
|4||September 25, 1997||May 7, 1998||1997-1998||#4||24.1|
|5||September 24, 1998||May 20, 1999||1998-1999||#2||23.5|
|6||September 23, 1999||May 18, 2000||1999-2000||#5||20.7|
|7||October 12, 2000||May 17, 2001||2000-2001||#5||20.2|
|8|| Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 27, 2001 - October 4, 2001)|
Thursday 8:50 P.M. (October 11, 2001)
Thursday 8:00 P.M. (October 18, 2001 - May 16, 2002)
|September 27, 2001||May 16, 2002||2001-2002||#1||24.5|
|9||Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 26, 2002 - May 15, 2003)||September 26, 2002||May 15, 2003||2002-2003||#2||21.6|
|10|| Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 25, 2003 - April 29, 2004)|
Thursday 9:00 P.M. (May 6, 2004)
|September 25, 2003||May 6, 2004||2003-2004||#3||22.8|
The sixth season, aired in 2001, fell into a contentious year for TV ratings in Australia. Previously, ratings had been calculated by Nielsen Media Research, but OzTAM took over. OzTAM showed slight differences in ratings for most shows broadcast on Nine Network, and saw a significant drop in total viewers across all networks. OzTAM had Friends averaging 1,816,000 viewers nationally, and ranked it as the 3rd most watched program of the year. Nielsen Media Research Australia, however, had Friends averaging 2,340,000 viewers per episode, and ranked it as the most watched program.
The eight season, aired in 2003, saw erratic scheduling of Friends on the Nine Network, and as a result saw a major drop in viewers. It ranked as the 10th most watched regular program that year, averaging 1,629,000 viewers. As a result of the Athens Olympics, Friends saw a decrease in its ratings. It was put on hiatus twice, for periods of four and seven months long respectively. The tenth season averaged 1,716,000 viewers per episode, and was ranked as the 6th most watched program of the year. It was also ranked as the third most watched scripted program. The finale averaged 2,273,000 viewers, though it was not the highest rated episode of Friends ever.
While Cable TV channel Arena (a Foxtel and Optus channel) aired Friends repeats daily, channel Nine did not air Friends repeats like it did with another popular US sitcom, Frasier. In November 2007, it was announced that Network Ten had bought the rights to the show (although Nine retains some last season episodes which are replayed late-night, thus making it aired simultaneously by two separate networks), and that it would air it seven nights a week from December 2 screening at 7:00p.m., replacing Futurama repeats. It was also a part of the 2007/2008 summer schedule, meaning that the show has aired on all of Australia's "Big Three" television networks. In February 2008, Friends was moved to the 6pm Monday-Friday timeslot, and replaced long-running 6 p.m. repeats of The Simpsons in Network Ten's regular schedule. Due to sexual content and low level coarse language, many episodes were edited to fit the G ratings, and the first two episodes of the fifth season were cut altogether due to Monica and Chandler's relationship acts. On July 28, 2008, Network Ten moved episodes of Friends to 7pm weeknights, allowing for the episodes to remain unedited. On September 1, 2008 Network Ten stopped airing episodes of Friends in order for the network to air its new reality dating show, Taken Out. As of September 15, 2008 Channel 10 will resume airing Friends at the 7:00 PM timeslot, due to a large number of complaints at the official channel 10 forums.
In New Zealand, Friends first debuted on TV2 during the middle of 1995. The show typically screened around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday nights but some seasons were screened on Sunday nights. Repeats were screened at 7:00 p.m. during December and January between 1996 and 1998 when Shortland Street went off the air for the Summer break. TV2 began screening repeats at 6:30 p.m. from 2000 onwards, running constant repeats of all previous seasons. Currently, the show has gone off the air and is now replaced by repeats of Joey, with the channel calling it Friends: The Joey Years. The show finished on 15/4/08, however, Friends repeats are now on Sunday, at 6:30 pm. Starting August 25, 2008 Friends is back in its weeknight 6.30pm timeslot on TV2, continuing the storyline from the Sunday screenings.
|Year||Season||Ranking||Number of Viewers|
The Irish channel RTÉ Two was the first channel in Europe to air both the premiere and finale episodes of Friends. The show achieved exceptionally high ratings throughout the initial run, and continues to run twice weekly on RTÉ Two, and weekdays on Channel 6.
|DVD name||Region 1 release date||Region 2 Release Date||Region 3 release date|
|The Complete 1st Season||April 30, 2002||?|| Volume 1: November 23, 2000|
Volume 2: December 16, 2000
|The Complete 2nd Season||September 3, 2002||?|| Volume 1: January 26, 2001|
Volume 2: September 28, 2001
|The Complete 3rd Season||April 1, 2003||?|| Volume 1: September 7, 2001|
Volume 2: October 5, 2001
|The Complete 4th Season||July 15, 2003||?|| Volume 1: November 2, 2002|
Volume 2: November 23, 2002
|The Complete 5th Season||November 4, 2003||?|| Volume 1: February 8, 2002|
Volume 2: March 8, 2002
|The Complete 6th Season||January 27, 2004||?|| Volume 1: June 7, 2002|
Volume 2: July 5, 2002
|The Complete 7th Season||April 6, 2004||?|| Volume 1: February 7, 2003|
Volume 2: March 7, 2003
|The Complete 8th Season||November 9, 2004||?|| Volume 1: February 6, 2004|
Volume 2: March 5, 2004
|The Complete 9th Season||March 8, 2005||?|| Volume 1: February 4, 2005|
Volume 2: March 4, 2005
|The Complete 10th Season||November 15, 2005||?|
The region 1 DVDs featured "never before seen footage" inserted into each episode.
All ten seasons were re-released in region 2 on October 25, 2004. For region 1, when Season Ten was released on November 15, 2005, the WB made a limited edition box called "The One With All Ten Seasons" to fit all individual ten seasons in. The collection was cased in wood with black covering and a plastic door with all of the Friends pictured on it. One year later, the WB released The Complete Series, cased in a red box with an exclusive booklet about the show, cast, and original pilot pitch. Instead of individually boxing and organizing the shows by season, this collection organized the 40 discs into volumes sorted by how many episodes to a disc, and they were split up by a disc holder for each cast member. This version was released in the UK on November 12, 2007.