The Friends Syndrome: Why is F.R.I.E.N.D.S still a hit 24 years later?


Whether it was a friend’s recommendation, a teacher’s reference to it, or simply sheer curiosity from social media’s memes about it; we all at one point felt curious to watch the first episode of Friends to know what the fuss was about.

The 24-year-old show was never off the table; you can find a family where both parents and children are hardcore fans. However, the show made a strong comeback in 2015 when it was first aired on Netflix. And just like it was a hit 24 years ago, millennials still find it an escape for many reasons.

1) The need to have the same friendship in reality

We all need to feel like we belong somewhere, or to someone. So seeing six characters belonging to one divine value which is friendship and putting it above their own desires and intentions was overwhelming. Like when Joey broke up with Janine for Chandler and Monica, or when Ross bought Pheobe a bike when he knew she never had one, these little selfless acts are what we crave most these days.

It’s always nice and heartwarming to see that kind of pure and unconditional friendship, even if it’s only through your small screen.

2) It’s relatable on so many levels

While watching the very first episodes you definitely caught yourself thinking “that’s so me!” relating to one of the characters, or to one of your friends. And that’s what made us glued to the show, finding bits and pieces of ourselves and our friends through Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe.

3) Nostalgic for the days when everything was simpler 

Remember when it took Ross an entire night to receive Rachel’s message that she needs closure? If Friends was shot these days then a simple whatsapp text would’ve ended one of the loveliest scenes ever; when Rachel jumped over Ross to take the phone then confessed her love to him.

We miss how beautifully simple stuff used to be, we want to stay all day long beside the phone wondering if someone calls, not being easily notified by it.

4) Escape from reality’s harshness

The moment the theme song starts you start feeling like you’re home already. “I’ll be there for you” wasn’t a myth, each and every character was indeed there for us at our highest and lowest. Whether it’s Chandler’s sarcasm, Ross’s facial reactions, Joey’s “how you doin”, Pheobe’s spontaneity, Monica’s “I KNOW!” or Rachel’s comebacks they all managed to pull you from your everyday life to a life where you can actually find your, well, friends.

5) It’s real, but also not too real

Friends didn’t lie to us about real life. It sucked. But we loved it. We saw Pheobe not having even a pla, Rachel giving up her father’s fortune in search of herself, Ross making up three failed marriages, Chandler struggling to find his true passion, Monica getting up again after each failed job experience, and Joey not giving up on his career as an actor despite the odds. Although in reality it doesn’t always end the way we want to, but it’s good to find out that you’re not the only one struggling.

The perfect combination of a successful sitcom is a slightly exaggerated version of everyday life that reflects a little part of yourself back to you. And that’s the thing about Friends; it’s real, but also because it’s not too real. No matter what, it always remains lighthearted and funny; even the darkest of major life events are punctuated with a laugh.

At the end of the day, I hope we all find our true magic beans, because they are all what life’s about.

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