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"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.
It's like you're always stuck in second gear
Oh, when it hasn't been your day
Your week, your month, or even your year..."
— the opening verse to "I'll Be There for You" by The Rembrandts

Friends is an insanely popular Roommate Com created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman that ran for ten seasons (1994–2004) on NBC, centering around a circle of twentysomething (and by the end, thirtysomething) Manhattan singles: siblings Monica (Courteney Cox) and Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), Monica's childhood friend (and Ross's longtime crush) Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), Ross's college roommate Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), Chandler's current roommate Joey Tribbiani (Matt Le Blanc), and Monica's former roommate Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow).

Light-hearted in tone, most of the show's jokes involved some problem or misunderstanding involving sex, work, money, family or personal quirks, though it did occasionally dip a toe into deeper waters involving parenting, the death of a loved one, or something about Chandler looking gay. The show's most iconic location was the "Central Perk" coffee shop (a joke on New York's Central Park), though most of it took place in two studio-built apartments, and it was filmed in California.

While each episode is mostly self-contained, Friends was among the first prime-time comedies with an evolving status quo, something of a stepping stone to the Half-Arc Season that started becoming popular around the time that the show debuted. Most of the cast went through several jobs, all went through plenty of love interests, and four became parents. The show was also open about (if not dedicated to) continuity, recalling and building off of events from prior episodes.

The show is also unique among long-runners of its kind in that it had zero changes amongst the main cast despite the show's longevity and having a core sextet. No main character/actor left the show, nor were any added, and even with 236 episodes and the cast regularly working in film on the side, every actor appeared in every episode. It did, however, feature dozens of guest stars, including big names like the short-run Bruce Willis and one-off Charlton Heston, as well as more prominent guests like Tom Selleck (who famously was somewhat hurt by how close the series regulars were and how that shut out outsiders like him).

Alongside Seinfeld and Sex and the City, Friends reshaped and was utterly iconic to American romcoms/sitcoms in The '90s, breaking ground in various ways. The show was more open about sex, including gay relationships (though never among the main cast), than was usual when it first aired. It was also almost the only show of its prominence ever to demand pay equity between the male and female stars. The principal cast demanded that the three female leads get the same pay as the three male leads, the result being that Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow were for several years the most highly paid women in Hollywood. On a similar note, the show was treated as a real ensemble; because there was no true "lead" character, the cast was always billed alphabetically,note  and the cast and crew collectively agreed that for any awards submission, the actors would go into the same "Lead" or "Supporting" category to avoid elevating one member over the others.

The show famously has an Idiosyncratic Episode Naming scheme in which every episode but "The Pilot" and "The Last One" starts with "The One …" (usually "The One With…" or "The One Where..."), pre-empting what viewers would likely call them. Even the pilot was eventually later called "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate", "The One Where It All Began", and "The First One".

Friends also spawned a short-lived spin-off, Joey, based on the namesake character. A reunion special, Friends: The Reunion, aired May 27, 2021 on HBO Max. Friends! The Musical Parody has played Off-Broadway since its premiere on November 2, 2017.

The Ones with the Tropes:

"But I'll be there for yoooou!
(When the rain starts to pour...)
I'll be there for yoooou!
(Like I've been there before...)
I'll be there for yoooou!
('Cause you're there for me too!)


Rachel's English Trifle

The Trope Namer. What's not to like? Custard good, jam good, meat good!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

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Main / ItTastesLikeFeet

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