Today let’s talk about the TV show Friends. I’m going to split the series in half, the first half and the second half just so it doesn’t get too long and too tedious to read.
**NOTE** There will be spoilers in this post. If you haven’t seen Friends, and wish to do so without being spoiled I suggest you not read. Otherwise read away! 🙂
Friends is a sit-com that aired from 1994 until 2004, a whole ten years and it was a good run. It’s about six friends just starting out in the world, and how their friendship gets them through all the tough crap life throws at you.
Let’s start with our main cast, although I’m sure everyone knows who’s who, let’s just go over it.
Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green
Courteney Cox as Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay
Matt Le Blanc as Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer as Ross Geller
So season one we meet everyone, Monica, a chef and a bit of a high strung woman who likes everything done her way (I think it’s safe to say she is everyone’s least favourite character. Although I would love to hear from a Monica fan!) Then there’s her brother Ross, who is a palaeontologist, (someone who studies life forms) Now Ross is my second least favourite character, and as the seasons go on, he just doesn’t redeem himself, he just seems to get worse. His character becomes whinny and annoying, and he just can’t seem to get it right in his relationships, here’s to his three failed marriages!
Then there’s Joey, a smooth talking, Italian actor who is a little dimwitted, but he’s the shows comical relief (apart from Chandler) when things get tough, leave it to Joey to goof off. His character sounds a bit annoying, but he’s not that bad, and he has his sweet moments too, and he’d do anything for his friends (even break up with a girl for them.) Then Phoebe, the free spirited human who loves everything. She’s a message therapist, and a guitar player where she’s famous for her song “Smelly Cat”.
Rachel, at the beginning starts off as a princess, being rich, she comes into the show as not wanting to marry her rich boyfriend Barry, so she runs away at the wedding to try and make a new life for herself. She’s in love with fashion, it takes her a while to get into the scene, but she eventually gets there. She can be a little dimwitted like Joey, but she mask her ignorance better than Joey.
Then there is Chandler, my favourite character, (well he started out that way, until after about season five or six, then he just got sad and pathetic.) He’s cute, he’s funny, what else isn’t there to like? I find when I like something I don’t have a lot to say because it’s just so good haha! I’m not even sure what Chandler really does other than work in a firm of some sort, maybe an accountant or something, someone help me out here! Data management I believe it is, until he switches his whole career around and gets into advertising.
Now that we know the players, let’s talk about the plots.
Now the first five seasons have a different tone compared to last five seasons. The first half is the better half, in my opinion, the series started to drag for the second half. As characters got together it just didn’t feel the same.
The series starts off when Rachel joins the group, as Monica and Ross are siblings, Chandler went to college with Ross, Joey lives across the hall, and Phoebe used to live with Monica. Even though Rachel grew up with Monica and Ross she’s now returned, escaping from her wedding. Once she moves in with Monica, she starts to learn about becoming independent by getting her first job at the coffee shop they all hang out at.
Ross gets his first divorce because his wife, Carol, turns out to be a lesbian. This is probably one of the funniest plots in the series. At first you feel bad for Ross but as you move farther along in the series, you as a viewer just stop feeling bad for him. When he learns that he’s going to be a father, that’s a sweet moment.
After his divorce Ross and Rachel, well everyone knows about those two, I don’t think you even need to watch the show to know about those two and their dysfunctional relationship. It’s so on and off, and “on a break” that it kinda gets annoying. Before I started watching Friends I knew there was something that was going to happen. And it’s an up and down relationship that spans the entire series.
I also have to mention Ross adopts a monkey, Marcel, for a while too; I have no words for that. Is he trying to fill the void of not having anyone?
Chandler is dating Janice, and just oh my god. Literally. Her laugh, I have no idea how she gets it so annoying. But she’s the most annoying creature ever, and watching her just pisses you off… but it’s weird, she kinda grows on you. These two date on and off like crazy, until Janice has to break up with Chandler ha! I like that she keeps returning just out of the blue for an episode every once in a while.
Chandler is also offered a promotion, but doesn’t want to take it because he hates his job. His boss keeps throwing money at him until he caves (why couldn’t life be like that?)
Phoebe meets David; also know as the Scientist guy. (I can’t believe that was season one, I thought that was later!) They hit it off really well, but things have to die down because David was offered a job in Minsk, Russia, which he takes.
Also I can’t forget to mention that Phoebe has a twin sister, Ursula, which Joey dates, but that bothers Phoebe because she doesn’t get along with her sister. I swear Ursula is based off the character in the Little Mermaid. There are a lot of parallels, for instance she’s evil, and likes dark things, and she also likes to wear black.
Joey is well Joey. He sees an assortment of women, never slowing down. He gets acting gigs here and there, one of them including Al Pacino’s butt (although that one didn’t go through because he tried to act it out too much.)
The first season ends with Ross going to China for work. Chandler lets it slip that Ross is in love with Rachel. Not sure what to do with that information Rachel decides to go for it, meeting him at the airport when he lands… Ross is not alone.
Ross and Julie are a “thing”, and Rachel does not get along with her. Mr. Heckles, an interesting character dies and Monica and Rachel end up inheriting all of his things. Chandler sees Mr. Heckles life and sees himself in the future. Afraid of dying alone, who does he call… Janice. They don’t stay together, but it isn’t until Joey sets him up with the girl he’s dating, friend, who turns out to be, yep you guessed it, Janice. This starts their dating again.
Monica’s career starts off great, she gets promoted to head-lunch chef, and then fired for accepting a gift from the new meat supplier. Now jobless, she has interview after interview with weird people.
Now Rachel has finally gotten “over” Ross, and in fact she tells him so, while drunk, on a date with another man. Ross hears her message, tells her it’s too late because he’s with Julie, but does that really stop him? Uhm no, that is what starts the whole Rachel/Ross crap.
Joey gets the part in a soap opera; he plays Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives. This ends in him getting a new apartment from the show. This leaves Chandler without a roommate, so he gets a new one, Eddie. Joey is jealous, but won’t say anything so the two argue until the truth comes out. Eddie is crazy, and won’t leave. It takes a lot of convincing to get him to leave, so Joey can move back in.
Joey ends up saying he writes his own lines in the show, which makes the writer’s mad, causing them to kill his character off, leaving Joey jobless.
Phoebe, ready to meet her father, ends up running over his dog and finding out that his father has lived there for four years. Instead she meets her half brother, Frank Junior.
Monica starts to date her optometrist, Richard, who has been a family friend since Monica can remember. He’s twice her age, and is afraid to tell her parents. (Who wouldn’t be? Those are your parents’ friends)
But Chandler and Joey are jealous, and slightly amazed by Richard 1. He can grow a moustache (but that’s what Tom Selleck is known for ha) and 2. He’s just an all around fun guy. But Richard soon finds out that they see him more as a father figure rather than one of the guys.
Monica and Richard’s relationship pauses when she finds out he doesn’t want to have kids again. (I don’t blame the guy; he’s probably close to his 60s)
Now broken up, Monica is inconsolable. Trying to forget him, she can’t, so they try to be just friends. But it just doesn’t work because there are way too many feelings involved. As much as there is a huge age gap between the two, I liked them together. They worked, for me anyway; please tell me I’m not the only one?
It isn’t long after that Monica starts to date Pete, a billionaire. Well he wants to date her but she doesn’t feel the connection, not until they kiss. That’s when they start officially dating.
Scaring Janice by talking about commitment way too much, Chandler ends up chasing her away… for once. But they yet again become on and off, again.
Rachel decides it’s time to quit her job at the coffee shop. She meets a guy named Mark who get’s her a job interview at Bloomingdale’s, one of her all time favourite stores. Mark makes Ross uncomfortable because no guy can be around Rachel, because Ross is dumb and very insecure. This leads to a fight, and leads to the famous “we were on a break” where Ross hooked up with a girl at a party the night of their fight. Rachel won’t take him back.
Phoebe’s brother, Frank Jr. returns to tell her that he’s getting married, to his home economics teacher who is way older than him. He’s 18, while she’s in her mid-forties. Phoebe tries to get them to break up, but nothing can break these two apart, which may sound sweet, but it’s really not.
THE DUCK AND CHICK! Joey ends up getting a chick and buying one for Chandler as a pet. I love this whole plot with the rooster and the duck. It was just hilarious to watch Chandler and Joey act like parents towards them; it was the cutest thing! It’s never explained what ever happened to them; they just kinda disappeared after season seven. I miss that! (It’s later explained in season 10 that Chandler sent them to a farm)
Monica gets the “we need to talk” from Pete, which usually leads to a break up, but Rachel thinks he’s going to propose. How wrong could any of them be from the truth? All he wanted was to tell Monica he wants to be an ultimate fighting champion. Monica goes along with it, at first, but soon realizes she can’t go on with it anymore, and they break up.
At the end of season three Phoebe finds out who her real mother is, and that the woman who raised her, and committed suicide was her mother’s friend. That plotline never made sense to me; they never really ran with it because Phoebe always said that her mother committed suicide. Her real mom sticks around for a few episodes then is gone. I just thought it was a dumb plot that never really did anything to the story.
Chandler offers to be Monica’s boyfriend if worse comes to worst after Monica cries over her failed relationships. He spends a whole weekend trying to prove he is boyfriend material (this kinda hints towards what will later happen.)
Ross and Rachel, do we even want to go there? She still loves him, so she writes him a letter that he must read and agree to before they get back together. Well he falls asleep reading it and lies saying he did. They share a night together until the truth comes out that he didn’t read it. And they break up again.
Phoebe gets fired for being with a client, who ends up being married. Phoebe is so free spirited that whenever she looses a job, it’s nothing to her. This leads to her and Monica going into business with each other. They start their own catering company, until Monica is offered a head chef position and she must choose.
Joey starts to date this girl named Kathy, but Chandler seems to fall slowly in love with her. Chandler and Kathy end up kissing while Joey is out on a date with another girl. When Joey and Kathy break up, he tells her he thought there was another guy. Chandler tells the truth, this causes a riff between the two. Chandler has to sit in a box to make it up to Joey, but when Joey sees how much the two of them mean to each other, all is forgiven.
Phoebe’s brother asks a huge favour of her; they ask her to have their child. Frank Jr. and Alice can’t have kids, but they desperately want them, so they ask Phoebe to be a surrogate. She has a hard time with this because she’ll have to give up the baby once it’s born. Her real mother makes a comeback when Phoebe asks her for advice, her mother tells her not to because it’ll be too hard, but she ignores that and says she’ll do it. She only has one shot at this because Frank Jr. and Alice only have the money to do it once. That’s a lot of pressure. But she does well; she gets pregnant… with triplets.
After a competitive game of guys verses girls, Monica bets the apartment, and looses. There fore Monica and Rachel have to move into Chandler and Joey’s place.
Chandler and Kathy break up rather abruptly. Chandler accuses her of sleeping with her co-star, and they aren’t. Kathy doesn’t like that he thinks that so they break up. Chandler takes it really hard. That’s when he runs into Janice again. She won’t let him get away again so he lies saying he has to move to Yemen for work, which she believes.
Emily comes into the picture, oh Emily. Rachel’s boss’s niece is in the city for a few days, and it’s Rachel’s job to take her out. But Rachel really wants to go on her date so she passes Emily off to Ross, where they hit it off. Ross really starts to like her, and is afraid he will loose her when she goes back to England, so he flies to England to tell her his true feelings. Only she’s still in the States saying she chooses him.
Hating that Emily is always gone, Ross wants to ask her to move in with him, but asks her to marry him instead, but she says yes, how sweet.
Rachel is invited to the wedding, but thinks she shouldn’t go because of unresolved feelings for Ross. Last minute she decides she’s going to go to England and tell Ross how she feels, essentially ruining the wedding… but don’t worry Ross has got that covered.
Monica and Rachel try betting again for their apartment back, but things aren’t working. So while the guys are out, they switch all their stuff back. The guys get mad, but the deal- Monica and Rachel will kiss for one full minute, and that ends it all.
During the rehearsals for Ross and Emily’s wedding Monica feels bad, so Chandler tries to comfort her, this ends in them sleeping together, and altogether leads in the beginning of Monica and Chandler. (Boo!)
Rachel slips into the wedding, and instead of saying Emily’s name during the ceremony he says Rachel’s, which puts everything to a halt.
That aside, the two still get married, but Emily never wants to see Ross again. Hoping that she’ll show up for their honeymoon, Ross stays. Rachel tells him to go anyway and that leads to Ross asking Rachel to come, and of course Emily sees the two of them (nice move Ross.) Ross stays behind while Rachel takes a trip to Athens.
Once everyone is back in New York, Phoebe’s water breaks, and three beautiful babies are born, two girls and a boy.
Ross spends a lot of the fifth season trying to win over Emily. Finally Emily puts her foot down and says that he can’t see Rachel anymore, which he agrees to. Yet Emily still doesn’t trust Ross, and they need trust in order for their marriage to work…
This leads to Ross being kicked out of his and Emily’s apartment. So he moves in with Joey and Chandler. This isn’t the best living situation, but they make it work, trying to get Ross to move out, then feeling bad about it. Ross starts to get really weird (okay he already was a little weird), but he starts to have some serious anger management issues.
Joey finds out about Chandler and Monica, but they swear him to secrecy. Joey isn’t happy about this because he’s no good at keeping secrets. Plus all the lying is making him look bad, as he has to explain all the discoveries that could give away Chandler and Monica’s relationship.
It isn’t long until Rachel finds out about Chandler and Monica by accidently picking up the phone while the two of them are in the middle of a conversation. Now she’s dying to tell someone. She tries to tell Joey, but he won’t listen.
It’s around Thanksgiving when Chandler let’s slip that he loves her, while she’s doing this:
And right after this happens, so classic:
Ross is bummed out to find that Emily is engaged to be married again, he ends up with Janice. At first it works out, but later Janice can’t stand Ross’ whining (who can?!? Ugh)
Phoebe’s grandmother dies, and her father Frank Sr. attend the memorial. She tries to reconnect with him, but things just get awkward.
Rachel gives Joey a new look for one of his auditions, which ends in him wearing a man purse. Unfortunately Joey gets very attached to the bag and he ruins the audition.
Ross finally gets a new apartment, Ugly Naked Guys’ apartment. While looking at it, Rachel and Phoebe spot Chandler and Monica doing it through the window.
Now everyone knows, except Ross that is until he looks out the window too. He’s not happy about it at first:
but gets used to it pretty quickly when he thinks about it as his best friend and his sister together.
Phoebe starts to date a cop. One day while finding a cop badge on the ground she pretends to be a cop, until she flashes the badge at the owner. Frightened, she runs away, only to be tracked down to be asked on a date.
Rachel is moving on in her career life. She get’s an interview with Ralph Lauren, and has three batched up interviews, but still manages to get the job! Once she starts, she realizes that all the big decisions get made while on smoke breaks. So Rachel decides to start smoking, but that doesn’t work, so she tries to get them to quit but that doesn’t work either.
In a ride-along with Gary (Phoebe’s cop boyfriend) thinking a backfire is a gunshot, Joey dives to protect Ross. Chandler get’s upset, until he learns the truth, Joey was really saving his sandwich.
While at Ross’s apartment, Rachel overhears a message from Emily who wonders if their break-up was a mistake. Accidently deleting the message Rachel waits to tell Ross.
Gary and Phoebe move in together, although Phoebe doesn’t really want to. One morning he shoots a bird that was chirping and that ends it all for her, so they break up. That guy was totally insane anyways.
Joey gets a lead in an independent film. Together him and Chandler road trip to Vegas to the set. Chandler let’s slip that this isn’t going to be Joey’s big break, which makes Joey mad and gets Chandler kicked out of the car.
Monica surprises Chandler with tickets to Las Vegas so they can visit Joey, and Chandler can apologize to him. This begins the crazy weekend in Vegas, where Monica gets lucky at a craps table, Joey has to tell the truth about his job, but he finds his hand twin, Phoebe is followed by an old lady on the machines, Ross and Rachel get super wasted and do what stupid people in Vegas do, get married, while Chandler and Monica almost get married.
I’m going to leave it here for now. Next week will be the second, and in my opinion the downward slop of the show.