Comedy will be as always it has been, a wonderful and a most welcome change to ones daily routine. At a time where comedy has evolved from books, theatre, and stand up shows to movies and sitcom, to me one in particular will stand out and will always be dear to my heart. Many would wonder or sometimes maybe none! As to what I am trying to get to.
Let me tell you where all this is coming from.
It has been a decade, since I was introduced to delightful world of sitcoms. Do not get me wrong, I have indeed watched many an Episode of sitcoms shown on local national television, but never have I even once gone out of the way to follow a sitcom through to the end and do it justice. What is this sitcom that I am going on about? Would any one of you have the faintest idea? It is to me the greatest sitcom ever to be done as of date in its genre, it’s been over a decade since it went off the air, and it’s highly unlikely that you would meet an individual who has not watched at least one episode of it in their life time. 8 out of 10 readers by now have the right answer, yes and you are right, it is none other than the show that gave us sheer joy and laughter,”Friends”.
Is this a review? No it isn’t. This is my tribute to the greatest sitcom done in our times.
David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox & Lisa Kudrow, are a team of actors/actresses that have irreplaceable talent. A perfect mold and an uncanny selection by the producers and the casting team and of course the respective networks involved. Is it possible to have Ross, Chandler, Joey, Rachel, Monica & Phoebe revealed any differently? I would presume none of us would want anything about the show to have been done otherwise. Everything about the show screams out perfection.10 seasons they ran 238 episodes and never for once did it feel that the show needed to end. Although “FRIENDS” evolved on many story lines, it always had flow, it was different than those shows that you could miss an episode and still continue watching (please bear in mind we are discussing comedy). For the minority of those who have not watched a single episode (REALLY?) and seem to be glancing through this let me bring you into the lives of these 6 individuals.
The scene is set in Manhattan’ NYC. We are introduced to 5 initial cast members. Monica (Courteney Cox), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Ross (David Schwimmer), Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc)at the local coffee house Central Perk. This is where they all meet after a day’s work or this is merely where they prefer to spend most of the time chatting if they are not at Monica’s. Ross has just found out that his wife Susan is a lesbian and they were obviously getting a divorce. To spice things up Susan just happens to be pregnant. Whilst everyone is trying to console Ross and reassure that things will fall into place and his life will be fine, in walks Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) in her bridal. Rachel has just left Barry at the altar, jumped out of the bathroom window and run away from her own wedding; she is in such haste that she does not bother to change! Rachel and Monica best friends from high school have lost touch over the years and drifted apart. Monica being the only friend in the vicinity; Rachel comes to her for aid. The 6 friends meet for the 1st time at central perk in the midst of the weirdest circumstances. Ross who had a secret crush on Rachel since high school never had the courage to confess his feelings to her; maybe this would be an opportunity! Did I also mention that Ross and Monica are siblings? Well they are. (The entire Ross-Rachel relationship takes 10 seasons to unfold!). So from there on, it’s all about how the 6 friends go forth in life as a small family. I would love to give you more information on the synopsis but this would mean pages and pages of typing for me! So let me make it as brief as possible. Ross falls in love with Rachel, Rachel does not know about all of this. Everyone else is aware of how Ross feels however keeps it away from her, Rachel breaks his heart a million times and before one fine day Ross finally moves on. Surprisingly Rachel decides she loves Ross at the very same time. There is always a third person who keeps coming between these great stories of love…Pffffttttt! In the meantime Ross marries Emily and says the wrong name at the altar.(who does that?) Ross gets a second divorce. In a drunken Night in Vegas Ross marries Rachel. That doesn’t work out either. They have a baby together but they still can’t seem to hold a marriage together .Rachel hooks up with Joey, which is a bit disturbing to hardcore fans! However that as usual is short lived. Monica hooks up with Chandler, yet she is unable to have babies and they adopt. Phoebe after so many relationships finally agrees to marry “crap bag” .That’s 10 seasons in one the tiniest nutshells ever to be found. I have intentionally left out some of the juicy details, but as far as spoilers go, I think I have it all in here.
Is this a sitcom for all ages? Yes it is.
I see friendship, commitment, perseverance, disappointment, loss, laughter and love all discussed throughout its life Span. There will be days where you will crack your sides laughing at Joey speaking French or when Chandler is stuck in an ATM vestibule or when Ross is fine. There will be days where you will just break down into tears in front when Ross and Monica lose their grandmother or when Phoebe has to give up her triplets or when Rachel hooks up with an Italian guy breaking Ross’s heart. Whatever it may be, each day, they will grow closer to you and they will become a part of you that would inspire you to do things better in your own life, or may even teach you a lesson or two about the things we take for granted. Also to certain few it will just be one of those sitcoms that are just a great way to unwind after a long day at work.
David Crane and Marta Kauffman are 2 names that you cannot overlook if the subject matter is “FRIENDS”. The creators of one of the greatest American sitcoms in the last decade! Crane and Kauffman should be really proud of the achievement they have made with their brain child. It was them that brought central perk to life and gave us this beauty – “Friends”. To talk about their talent is undermining its great production; I would simply want to say THANK YOU!
YOU ALL INSPIRED ME!
Why doesn’t it ever get old?
This is one of those questions that over the years, that I am still unable to answer and justify. I may have watched the same episode over and over again but every time I watch it, every time I would end up having a hearty laugh or in some cases a heartfelt tear. What is the magical essence that “FRIENDS” has that most comedy sitcoms fail to bring to the screen today? Is it the character developments with time, the emotional penetration the writers make in the audience, is it brilliantly executed themes or is the marvel of the 6 great Hollywood stars that bring the show to life? There is no way that I am able to zone in on one particular aspect for the success of the masterpiece if the yester-decade. Therefore the most just answer in this case would be the astute team behind it all. (The numerous directors, producers, crew and the cast.)Each individual brings with them a part of themselves and enriches the sitcom and I am most certain on the eve of the finale in season 10, everyone ever involved in its long run would have felt that a part of them will always be with “FRIENDS” and that’s where they would want it to be until the end of days.
In conclusion, I wish to say thank you, to all of those who gave all of us the opportunity to walk into that coffee house on that eve , September 22nd 1994 and for leaving and imprint in our hearts – you have been and you always will be to me the greatest sitcom of all times.
ONCE AGAIN TO THE CAST AND CREW – THANK YOU, YOU GUYS SHOWED THE REST HOW IT REALLY IS DONE!
Created By: Marta Kaufmann and David Crane
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow & Matt Le Blanc
Runtime: September 22 1994 – May 6 2004 (10 Seasons)