Show: Warner Brothers’ F.R.I.E.N.D.S
Featured Characters: Chandler Bing, Joey Tribbiani, Monica Geller, Phoebe Buffay, Rachel Green, and Ross Geller
It is literally in the title—F.R.I.E.N.D.S You would know what the series is about even if you haven’t seen all 236 episodes and the 2021 reunion. Point being, of course Chandler, Joey, Monica, Phoebe, Rachel and Ross would get a Relationship Deep Dive article. And of course, I’d wish to do everything in my power to condense all 10 seasons worth of TV into one post, but the reality is, it’s impossible. Although I’m sure there’s a person out there who could manage this, I’m not that person. I tried. Seriously I did. That said, while I can’t sit here and write about all my favorite moments (tears), I can tell you why this group is fantastic.
Strangely, the episode most vividly engraved in my memory is the final one. And I’m sure this is shocking to those who know how much I adore Monica and Chandler, but their wedding is a close second. The first time I watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S live was actually during the final episode—as a 12-year-old with no real experience of the world, I felt something unexpected on the 6th of May in the year 2004. No, I’m not friends with a lot of the people I knew in Middle School. No, I wasn’t thinking of them. But what I knew in that moment that there’d come in a time in my life where things would change as drastically as they did in that final episode. And what I also learned, perhaps the greatest lesson of all, was that changes would be easy with good friends by my side.
There was always a beautiful sense of hope in “The Last One”. A promise that solidified the fact that true friendships will never change—no matter the circumstances or no matter how long it has been. It’s never easy to get used to a routine only to have it change, but life is all about the moments that drastically alter our lives. And in that moment, their lives would be changed forever. They were each moving on to something new—something that’d require more of their free time. It’s a bit heartbreaking that things can’t stay the same forever, but we’re equipped to evolve, right?
However, F.R.I.E.N.D.S as a series always made it clear that home is not a place, it’s the people. Central Perk would be but a mere cafe if they didn’t all find solace with each other there. Their apartments would simply be a place of residence. Holidays wouldn’t be as special. Home is the people, and from the very beginning, they were always each others.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S did an exemplary job of exhibiting how the best of friends truly are—at their craziest, messiest, and most real selves. And growing up, I was certain of one thing, when I find the friends I can be completely myself with, I’ve achieved one of life’s greatest goals. The best of friends fight for each other and forgive each other. Chandler, Monica, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, and Ross have seen each other at their ugliest, but they’ve never let that alter the love they have for one another. The best of friends call each other out on their sh!it, and the reality is, if our family and friends didn’t point out our flaws, we’d be walking around with egos larger than the moon.
People are easily their best selves when they’re with the people they love—the people who make it easy to be both vulnerable and completely ridiculous with. And when it comes to the central perk six, they’ve shaped each other into the best versions of themselves, which ultimately always showcased the fact that belief in someone is an incredibly powerful thing. They’ve allowed one another be exactly who they are. They’ve mocked each other, confided in one another, and through steadfast loyalty, always stood by each other.
When it comes to this group, they’re all so ridiculously different from one another, sometimes it’s amazing that they’re even friends. But perhaps that’s why the series is so phenomenal and why people have such a hard time letting go of it. Perhaps that’s why it’s so hopeful. We don’t need to have 7,504 similarities with our best friends—unless maybe you’re Joey and Chandler. As different as they were, their similarities were endless—who else would be willing to co-parent a chick and a goose?! No one. And even with all of Phoebe’s unique quirks the group didn’t always understand, she was always a part of their team. If Monica hadn’t forgiven Rachel, she wouldn’t be the very best version of herself that she is today. She wouldn’t have her dream job.
A little faith goes a long way, and at the end of the day, this group always believed in one another. Whether it was something as serious as a career move or something as ridiculous as how many Oreos can Joey stuff into his mouth, they never lost faith in one another even while they rolled their eyes in the process. And that’s probably why it’s been so easy to adore them. They’ve illuminated the reality behind the closest friends, which is when we know people will love us no matter what, we’re more open with them. It has showed that when our walls are down, sometimes we’re susceptible to making mistakes. We reveal parts of ourselves only our families have seen, and while some people may run away, the true friends stick behind us while rooting for the person they know we can be. And no matter what happens, they know they’ve always got a home with us.
Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross have literally all lived together at one point, switching roommates left and right, but that’s always been so incredible for us viewers. It’s exhibited the detail that because the love between them is so authentic, no one would ever be left behind or alone.
The one thing we all learn as we grow older is that life isn’t as we expected. They’ve each faced their own crisis in life, but at the end of the day, they’ve come home to each other. At the end of the day they’ve stood strong because someone was there to remind them of the fact that everything’s going to be okay.
It becomes clear by the very end that no matter where life led them, home can be found in each other’s presence and the memories that were created—even if they don’t live a foot away from each other anymore. Apartments come and go, jobs come and go, good cheesecake comes and goes, but friends are forever. Sometimes, all we need is coffee with our best friends to make a crappy day a little better.
They said they’d always be there for us and this year, that proved to be true, which in and of itself is every bit as hopeful as their friendship has always been.
Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.
She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for MovieWeb and Looper.