Friends – and “Friends” — will be there for you

Story by Jackie Cohen

Photo by Abby Smith

Would you like gum? Miranda Melling answered, “Gum would be perfection.”

That’s an old Chandler Bing line from TV’s “Friends,” of course. Chapman students weren’t even teenagers yet when “Friends” went off the air in 2004. But they’ve come to love the show in re-runs. And now — even better many say, “Friends” has come to Netflix, where the shows are in sequential order. Which means you will hear even more “Friends” lines repeated on campus.

“There are moments when lines from Friends just fit,” said Miranda Melling, a senior health science major. “For example, whenever I see a cute couple, I say that he’s her lobster.”

While some students claimed to have grown up watching “Friends”, others started watching the show more recently after it was released on Netflix.

“’Friends’ was my parents’ favorite show, so they would play it a lot while growing up. Back then, I didn’t have a preference for TV shows, so I would watch it with them, and now I don’t have time to watch as much as I wish I could,” said Dana Vengrow, a freshman psychology and public relations and advertising major.

Yazmeen Mitchell, a freshman English literature major, tried watching “Friends” because her friends had recommended it to her.

“It doesn't appeal to me. The characters annoy me and I don’t understand the concept,” Mitchell said.

Although some people like Mitchell disliked the show, many students, including freshman integrated education major Kami Nomura, have joined the bandwagon. Nomura started watching it because her parents used to watch it and many of their friends recommended it to her.

“It’s a feel-good show,” Nomura said. “It brightens my day, so I watch it in the mornings or between classes. It always makes me laugh.”

Besides the easy humor, Nomura enjoys the message that “Friends” gives about friendship and that no matter how crazy a situation is, you will always have your friends with you.

“It’s easy to watch. You don’t need to pay too much attention when you watch it and it is about normal people living normal lives, which makes it very relatable,” said Nick Anderson, a freshman business administration major.

Anderson went through a phase when he watched “Friends” everyday, but barely watches it about once a month now.

“Friends” has become a universal television show that people of all ages enjoy.

“First and foremost, it's a well-made show that is genuinely funny,” said Ross Brown, a television professor at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. “Then there are many other reasons – a very attractive cast, universal themes about the transition to adulthood, the search for the right mate and the right career.”

Twenty years after the pilot was released, people of all ages are watching or rewatching “Friends” and finding it to relate to their lives.

“If it's relevant today it’s probably because it wasn't trying to be so much of its time as of every time,” said Bob Shayne, a television professor at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. “When people leave their birth families, they tend to form substitute families, at least according to TV sitcoms, and that's what the show did. So there's no reason for that to go out of date.”

Anderson added that the characters’ personalities are very easily found in people within his friends group. He said that there is always the “funny guy like Chandler trying to crack jokes.”

Besides the relatability of the characters, students have connected to some of the themes discussed in the show.

“As a senior about to be launched into the real world, I relate to the first episode when Rachel first moves in and Monica says, ‘Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it,’” Melling said.

Melling watches the show on a daily basis and finds a special connection because she is often told that she is similar to Phoebe.


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