Apparently they didn’t tell me life was going to be this way, I didn’t know my job would be a joke, that I’d be broke or that my love life was DOA. No, this isn’t me finally cracking up and using the internet to voice my concerns, it unfortunately is a blog post professing my love for 5 people that have always been there for me over the last decade and a half: Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe.
Who are they you ask? (Firstly, you best hope you have an excuse not to know who they are) Secondly, they all were the main characters who collectively were part of the sitcom that defined the whole of the 1990’s (and early 00’s), Friends. The sitcom ran during what many considered to be the golden era of modern sitcoms, from 1994 to 2004. Spanning 10 years, 236 episodes and a viewership that spanned every corner of the globe, Friends was a televisual sensation.
In the UK, it gave Channel 4 the credibility it had been aching for when it secured the terrestrial rights for the show and cementing the television show in its schedules as a fixture that could fill in any slot availiable. Despite finishing its run of 10 seasons in 2004, the show continued to attract a more than healthy audience when it became a rerun staple on Channel 4’s sister station E4.
Friends on E4 was something that you didn’t have to religiously watch, you could dip in 3 times a day to the same double bill of episodes, 6 times a day if you decided to watch the repeats on E4+1 as well!
But the show became part of the channel’s identity. Without a doubt, E4 would not be a successful digital spin-off for Channel 4 without the reruns of Friends.
It saddened me to finally hear the news that the channel would not be renewing its contract to show the repeats earlier this year, as I can say that I could never use the excuse of ‘there’s nothing on the telly’ whenever I stumbled upon an episode here or there.
The mornings during my 6th form years where I would constantly annoy my mother by forcing her to watch Friends instead of GMTV, the afternoons on a Saturday when there was not much to do or even the Friday evenings when it became unmissable television to find out what the quintet had gotten up all were good times for me. Even now I can turn on an episode and despite knowing every detail of what’s going, can still laugh at what the group have been getting up to.
I can also say it’s introduced me to the wider sphere of American comedies as well. I remember hating Frasier, detesting Everybody Loves Raymond and unable to stand a whole lot of other American shows when Friends was originally on. But now, I can actually say I love these shows as much as I love Friends.
All is not lost though for viewers wanting their daily fix of Friends, despite E4 saying the show was leaving our screens, there was little to cry over. As Comedy Central announced that it had exclusively picked up the rights for the show.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have exactly 4 hours of friends episodes to watch on E4 before they disappear from national television forever, so grab that stick of Ichiban, make sure the Barcalounger is primed and make sure there’s enough food out for Joey, I’ve got some Friends to catch up with.