On the Brink Of a Life Without ‘Friends’

In commercial societies such as ours, we’re constantly being bombarded with new trends, ideas and subcultures. Something new hits the scene almost every day, and whether it will fizzle or explode is almost entirely unpredictable. Be it something that causes a generally negative sentiment (think Paris Hilton or Martha Stewart), or more of a positively held idea (‘The Passion of the Christ’ craze), most things are usually soon forgotten.
But when you find something that holds society’s interest for some unknown reason, something with a solid lasting power, you know you’ve come across the truly remarkable. And for the last decade, that has been the popular television program ‘Friends.’
Since 1994, America has been able to look into the charmed lives of Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe, Ross and Monica every Thursday night, and on May 6, the spotlights will be dimmed for the last time in one of the most highly anticipated series finales in the history of television.
‘Friends’ was an unexpected goldmine since the time it hit the airwaves in the fall of 1994. Since then, it has received 55 Emmy nominations and numerous Golden Globe, People’s Choice and Screen Actors’ Guild nominations, as well as become a household name for the population between ages 18 to 49.
This leads us to ask ourselves, why are we so fascinated by a group of people who are living regular lives in the city? Certainly, many UCI students have been impacted by the show.
‘I definitely think ‘Friends’ has impacted society, not necessarily in changing the way people think or anything, but just as such a major form of entertainment,’ said first-year biological sciences major Tiffany Wat. ‘Sitcoms have always been popular but Friends is different, I suppose because so many people can relate to it. Each character fits a certain stereotype and has some quirk that most people watching can see in themselves or others.’
The popularity of the characters can indeed be identified in the last decade’s pop culture. Ever heard of the ‘Rachel hairstyle’? Ever been approached at a bar with the line, ‘How you doin’?’ But some students feel that people were drawn to the show for another reason, to seek something that was missing in their own lives.
‘Though I don’t think it had a serious impact [on society], [‘Friends’] gives off an idea of what true friendship is. A lot of people watch that show and want the same kind of closeness,’ said second-year social ecology major Susie Lee.
Through the years, the characters on the show experienced weddings, funerals, births, reunions and yes