Friends TV Show Turns 20

By Samantha Pitkin on September 23, 2014

As most of you Friends fanatics might already know, the hit TV show Friends just turned 20 years old on September 22nd.

While most of us current college students had either just been born or were still a twinkle in our parents’ eyes when Friends first aired in 1994, it has stood the test of time and proved to be the one TV show that doesn’t have a generational restriction. Back when Friends first started, one of it’s main comedic competitors was Seinfeld. According to The Telegraph, Friends was “TV’s last great sitcom hit,” which leads me to believe that while it may not have won every battle in popularity each year, Friends ultimately won the war.

One aspect that made Friends so unbelievably successful, aside from how well it was written, was that the characters acted like people in the real world would act. This wasn’t a show that was “far out” or “unbelievable,” it portrayed situations, friendships, and life events that could happen in real life. One example in particular is the relationship between Ross and Rachel. For 10 years Ross and Rachel were in an on-again, off-again relationship, leading the audience through heartbreak, love, and loss.

Since Friends, several TV shows have attempted to copy this relationship dynamic, where two main characters struggle through their relationship but ultimately end up together. The relationship between Robin and Ted in How I Met Your Mother, JD and Elliot in Scrubs, and Leonard and Penny in The Big Bang Theory are just a few of the many shows that have employed this Ross and Rachel dynamic.

Another things that made Friends so different from other shows at the time was that it didn’t have just one or two main characters. Originally, the show was intended to have the main focus be on Ross, Rachel, Monica and Joey, but Phoebe and Chandler were written in as main characters because of the success of the pilot episode.

Friends has stood the test of time as one of the most beloved TV shows in history. It will continue to live on through reruns and, hopefully, even a reunion. Until then, sit back, relax, and don’t forget to “PIVOT!”

Hi! I am the newest editor for the University of Maryland Uloop chapter and a former Uloop contributor. When I'm not studying or writing I like to hike, kayak and travel! Feel free to contact me here if you have any questions or an interest in becoming a contributor for UMD!

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