[[caption-width-right:300:Not pictured: The [[OpeningCreditsCastParty fountain]].[[note]]Clockwise from the left: [[TeamMom Monica]], [[DeadpanSnarker Chandler]], [[LovableAlphaBitch Rachel]], [[HollywoodNerd Ross]], [[TheDitz Joey]], [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Phoebe]].[[/note]]]]

->''"So no one told you life was gonna be this way (clap-clap-clap-clap)\\
Your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D.O.A. ..."''

A RoommateCom that ran on Creator/{{NBC}} from 1994 to 2004, centering on a glamorous circle of twentysomething Manhattan singles.

Though admittedly formulaic[[note]]The Pilot bears ''many'' resemblances to the ''Series/{{Cheers}}'' pilot[[/note]], '''''Friends''''' featured a top-notch cast and, at least in the early seasons, some legitimately outstanding writing. The Ross-and-Rachel relationship easily ranks as the most drawn-out, convoluted WillTheyOrWontThey plot in sitcom history. Interestingly, they became a couple early on, only to break up on account of Ross' cheating.[[note]][[RunningGag They were]] [[InsistentTerminology on a break!]][[/note]] Despite this, the characters managed to reconcile and even [[RelationshipRevolvingDoor conceive a child]] without officially getting 'back together.'

While it never garnered the critical acclaim of competing shows like ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' or even ''Series/{{Frasier}}'', [[CriticalDissonance it was a]] ''[[CriticalDissonance giant]]'' [[CriticalDissonance success in its day]] (the stars graced the covers of a dozen entertainment and gossip magazines every week), and accordingly one of the [[ItsPopularNowItSucks more polarizing shows of recent memory]]. "''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' or ''Friends''?" became a kind of shibboleth used to determine one's television street cred.

''Friends'' is famous for its IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming that referenced how the episodes would be most likely to be referred to when discussed among casual fans. All episode titles follow the format "The One With..." or "The One Where...". The two exceptions are "The Pilot" (which, even then, has been {{RetCon}}ned with the name "The One Where Monica Gets A Roommate") and "[[GrandFinale The Last One]]" [[note]]To be fair, this is probably how casual fans would have referred to it anyway.[[/note]]

Over its 10-year run, the show featured literally ''dozens'' of big-name guest stars who just happened to walk into that little cafe, or turn up to say hello to an old friend - Creator/SeanPenn, Creator/BradPitt, Creator/JuliaRoberts, Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme, Creator/GeorgeClooney, Creator/AlecBaldwin, Creator/BillyCrystal, Creator/RobinWilliams, Creator/HughLaurie, Creator/ReeseWitherspoon, Creator/JeffGoldblum, Creator/CharlieSheen, Creator/BruceWillis, [[Series/AbsolutelyFabulous Jennifer]] [[Series/FrenchAndSaunders Saunders]], Creator/BenStiller, Creator/GaryOldman, Creator/KathleenTurner, Creator/JonFavreau and Creator/JonLovitz to name just a few. They even got ''Creator/CharltonHeston'', ''Richard Branson'' and ''[[UsefulNotes/TheBritishRoyalFamily Fergie]]''!

The main cast of ''Friends'' grew to be real-life TrueCompanions; TomSelleck commented in an interview that he often felt 'left out' during the filming of his appearance (A not-uncommon sentiment among guests on a hit series, but nonetheless). The cast as a whole demanded equal salaries, leading to the show holding the world record for "best-paid women actors in a TV show" for many years. And they insisted that, should they be nominated for awards (which they were), they all be in the same category: you couldn't nominate Matt Le Blanc (Joey) as "Supporting Actor" and David Schwimmer (Ross) as "Lead Actor"; ''both'' of them had to be Lead or Supporting.

To this day, ''Friends'' is still ranked with ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' as perhaps the most defining TV shows of TheNineties. It also spawned a (short lived) spinoff series, ''Series/{{Joey}}''.

* Friends/TropesAToE
* Friends/TropesFToJ
* Friends/TropesKToO
* Friends/TropesPToS
* Friends/TropesTToZ