My expectations as a mid twenty entrant are heavily based in this sitcom. Since it aired in 1994, the year I was born, Friends pioneered the recipe for sitcoms today. Just a bunch of people hanging out, with not much to do, nowhere to go.
The show encapsulates the time as a twenty-something where your family are your friends. They are the stepping stone after leaving your parents to and before starting your own family. When the show began, there were concerns over Monica seeming too promiscuous in the pilot episode. Surveys provided by NBC concluded that the audience did not feel that sleeping with someone on the first date made her slutty. The show was also braced for backlash in the aftermath of the lesbian wedding in season 2. The phone lines set up to handle complaints barely rang.
Within the ten seasons of the show, we see each character at one point or another be unemployed and broke, relying on one another to get by. Though class or social status are not common talking points for the group, there are multiple occasions where income disparities and financial strains divide the friendship.
The common theme for any sitcom is the relationship between the characters. Friends demonstrates in each episode the consistent ebb and flow between each other and even the increasing intimacies when attraction is apparent. Monica and Chandler work together to overcome Chandler’s childhood trauma which had previously kept him at a distance from real relationships. Unlike Ross’ constant efforts to diminish Rachel’s achievement’s and throw tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. Yes, they were on a break, no, that doesn’t mean he should have slept with Kathy.
So when it comes to real life, I get that this sitcom is just for entertainment and not based on factual events. And that it is okay that I don’t spend every waking moment drinking coffee with my besties. As much as I think about my life as a sitcom, reality has a lot more bumps and short-comings and is damn unpleasant sometimes. Maybe I should turn off the TV in my head and be present instead.
Maybe after one more episode.