Friends was a long-running and widely acclaimed situation comedy about a group of six friends in New York City. It was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman and ran from 1994 to 2004.

The series focused on the lives of a group of six twenty-somethings (eventually thirty-somethings), consisting of three men and three women living in Greenwich Village. The show was one of the longest-running and most popular sitcoms in American television history, gaining millions of fans all over the world.

The program was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television for NBC in the US, and was first broadcasted on that network. It was followed by a host of other broadcast networks in numerous countries throughout the globe. In the US, the first episode was aired on September 22, 1994, and the last on May 6, 2004.

Friends won many awards during its run, including one Emmy Award (for Outstanding Comedy Series) and six straight People's Choice Awards for Favourite Television Comedy Series.

The show focused on the lives of a group of six friends: rich, spoiled "daddy's girl" Rachel Green, learning to make it on her own; neurotically clean chef Monica Geller; wise-cracking office drone Chandler Bing; simple minded actor Joey Tribbiani; nerdy paleontologist Ross Geller, who goes through three failed marriages; and quirky, optimistic masseuse and folk singer-songwriter Phoebe Buffay.

As the plot begins, Rachel has just left her fiancé Barry at the altar and moves in with her childhood best friend, Monica. The pair live across the hall from Chandler and Joey and hang out with Monica's brother, Ross – who recently divorced his lesbian wife. Then there is Phoebe - the "free spirit" of the bunch (and the quirkiest) and Monica's old roommate. The settings for the show include Monica's apartment, Chandler and Joey's apartment, Ross's apartment, Phoebe's apartment and the local coffee house, Central Perk (a flashback episode later reveals that the coffee house was originally a bar that was also frequented by Chandler, Monica, Phoebe and Ross before Joey and Rachel joined the group).

After moving to the city, Rachel got her first job as a waitress in the coffee house. She later became an assistant to a buyer and personal shopper at Bloomingdale's, and later a buyer for Ralph Lauren. Monica struggled for success the first several seasons, but eventually became head chef at a well-respected restaurant. Chandler worked his way up in data processing and eventually switched to a career in advertising (by the last few seasons) after a mid-life crisis. After on-and-off success as a soap opera actor, Joey's career eventually stabilized with a regular part on a soap opera from which he had been fired earlier in the series' run. Palaeontologist Ross eventually became a college professor.

Constant story lines throughout the series are the on/off romance between Ross and Rachel and, later in the series, the developing relationship between Chandler and Monica.

The show uses non-stop exaggerated, deadpan humor. Some jokes are related to sexual activity, politics and innuendo, sometimes non-sequiturs. The show also occasionally developed on serious angles such as relationship breakups. Situational humor, ironic humor, and irony were also frequently used.

The show has provided an opportunity for consistent work by actors who were more active in the past. Elliott Gould played Monica's and Ross' father. Marlo Thomas (the star of That Girl) played Rachel's mother.

The show's theme song, "I'll Be There For You" by The Rembrandts, became a major hit after a Tennessee disc jockey looped it into a full length track and played it on the radio. The band's record label required them to write additional material and re-record the track as a full-length song, which peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at #17.

The popularity of the show was such that, by the end of the series, the six main cast members were each paid US$ 1,000,000 per episode. Advertisements during the series finale, which attracted an audience of over 52 million viewers, cost $2,000,000 for a 30-second spot in the United States and CAD$190,000 in Canada.

Due to the tremendous popularity of the show during its initial run, rumours of a reunion special or movie persisted well after the final episode had aired, with some even stating a deal for a special had been reached. These rumours, however, have been continually denied by NBC and the six cast members. Courteney Cox, who plays Monica Geller in the show, has said she would like to do one more episode, but she also said she would not like to do a flashback episode. Jennifer Aniston, seen as the least likely to reprise her role among the main cast due to her movie career, hinted in 2006 at the possibility of a Thanksgiving special. However, Lisa Kudrow told Ryan Seacrest on E!'s coverage of the Emmy Awards red carpet that a reunion is simply rumors. As of August 2006, however, no reunion appears likely in the near future. However in July 2006 there was mention on a TV guide that all the cast members were willing to do a thanksgiving special, one for 2007 and one for 2009. They start filming end 2006 or early 2007.

Cox was originally approached for the role of Rachel, but convinced the producers that her personality was more suited for the character of Monica, which is the role producers first pitched to Jennifer Aniston, whom they had originally wanted to play Monica, but Aniston also felt she was better suited for Rachel.

Behind the scenes, the show was known for its unusually cohesive and unified cast. The six main actors made deliberate and conscious efforts, from early on, to keep the show's ensemble format and to not allow any one of them to dominate. This included requesting that all actors on the show be nominated either for the same category of award (mostly "Supporting Actor") or not at all, and entering collective instead of individual salary negotiations (Kudrow said, "The six of us are far stronger than just one person"). The actors became such close friends that one guest star, Tom Selleck, reported sometimes feeling left out.

The character of Ursula (Phoebe's twin sister) first appeared in the sitcom Mad About You as a waitress. Kudrow played Ursula on both Mad About You and Friends. The shows creators did not originally intend for Phoebe to have a twin, but they added the character to explain why Kudrow was appearing on two different shows on the same network, at one time as a part of the same Thursday night line-up.

Friends had many running gags throughout the span of the show. Some of the most famous include:

The One... (episode titles)
Almost every episode name starts with these two words. This is in reference to the fact that most sitcoms do not display the title of their episodes, so fans must discuss the main plot points with each other when referring to specific episodes. The two exceptions to this rule are the episodes entitled 'The Last One' and 'The One Hundredth'. The first episode with the title 'Pilot' is also known as 'The First One'.

Fat Monica
Monica, now slim and attractive, was obese as a child. She and the other characters would often refer to her "fat past" and several flashbacks throughout the series allowed us to see just how she looked then. Often, when they showed episodes like this, the scene that would play at the end during the credits would be Fat Monica dancing to uptempo music.
Monica's personality quirks
In some of the episodes, Monica is shown as a clean freak as well as person who loves to be in charge of organizing things such as parties. She is also known to be overly competitive and a bit aggressive. She also always has to be the hostess.
Chick and the duck
In season three Joey decided to take a chick (later grew up and became a rooster) as a pet for him and Chandler. Chandler got the duck in the days that followed as it was going to be slaughtered. The girls often disagreed with this and they even decided to bet and make Chandler and Joey get rid of their pets in case they win. However this simply caused them to lose their apartment instead. No one ever knows what happens to the chick and the duck. The show simply stopped filming them and stopped showing them in episodes, but in a later episode it is discovered that Chandler took them away to a 'farm' but we can infer that they were put down. This is said to spare Joey's feelings. In the last episode of Friends, Joey buys Chandler and Monica a new chick and duck as a going away present.
Gunther likes Rachel
When Gunther appeared in an episode, it usually involved his anything-but-secret crush on Rachel, who remains oblivious to his feelings throughout the show until the series finale.
Ross' tendency to divorce
Ross is married a total of three times throughout the course of the show, and each of these marriages end in divorce.
Phoebe's music
Phoebe was often a busking musician at Central Perk and was known for her rather unusual, original songs, especially "Smelly Cat".
Chandler's hard-to-get-rid-of girlfriend, Janice's catchphrase "Oh...My...God!" is used as her introductory line in her guest appearances. She is also known for her annoying, idiosyncratic laugh.
Chandler's humor
Chandler would often drop sarcastic, snide remarks, typically in response to the actions of his friends (especally Joey). A psychoanalyst tells him that he probably "started using humor as a defense mechanism when his parents broke up." Chandler uses the exact words to justify himself occasionally.
He is also known for saying phrases matching the form of "Could objects be any more description?" In addition to many other jokes in the show, this phrase in particular is known to have been a significant influence upon popular culture.
"How You Doin'?"
This is Joey's pick-up line. It has an identical effect on the majority of women he uses it on; they giggle uncontrollably and instantly warm to him.
We were on a break!
When Rachel and Ross broke-up temporarily, and Ross slept with the Xerox girl Chloe, there was a constant argument between the two about their subsequent breakup being of good cause. This was a common running gag in the series.
Ugly Naked Guy
'Ugly Naked Guy' as the gang called him, lived in an apartment opposite Monica's. The group would often see him doing outragoues things, whilst naked of course, but the audience never actually see him. After several seasons of this gag, Ross manages to make an agreement with Ugly Naked Guy to move into his apartment. From then on Ross lived oppsite Monica's apartment.
"I Know!" (Stressing both words)
Monica's little catchphrase.
Phoebe's mysterious history
There are many references to Phoebe's life on the street, run-ins with cops, and being in prison. Towards the end of the series, when Rachel is moving to Paris, Phoebe mentions how she will "be able to travel internationally again" when the Statute of Limitations runs out.

Friends has, in some areas, made a notable contribution to popular culture - language and fashion in particular. The use of "so" to mean "very" or "really" was not invented by any Friends writer, but it is quite arguable that the extensive use of the phrase in the series encouraged its use in everyday life. Also commonly said by the characters, particularly Monica, was the loud "I know!" The series has also been noted for its impact on everyday-fashion and hair-styles. Jennifer Aniston, in particular, had her hair-style copied by many. Along with this, Joey Tribbiani's catchphrase, "How you doin'?" has become a popular part of American slang, often used as a pick-up line or when greeting friends. The show also inspired the cultural meme of the laminated list.

The phrase "Ross and Rachel" is used to describe an on/off relationship with a 'history', or in a situation like "Are you on a real break, or a Ross and Rachel break?" This is played on as a joke in Scrubs: The Janitor describes J.D.'s relationship with Elliot as "not exactly Ross and Rachel", which turns out to refer to two other employees in the hospital.

Although it seems that most of the action of the series took place in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, New York City, the series was filmed in California. The exterior shot of the Friends' apartment building is located at Grove and Bedford streets in the Village. No scenes featuring cast members were filmed in New York; even the show's opening is shot around a fountain in California. Occasionally, NBC would air "Super-sized" episodes of their most popular sitcoms, including Friends. These episodes would run 40 minutes including commercials (or just around 30 minutes without). In syndication, a majority of the "Super-sized" episodes were cut down to fit a 30-minute time slot, except for the rare case where there was both too much plot info essential to the episode or series, and there were enough deleted scenes to make a two-episode story arc. For almost the entire first season, there wasn't a street outside of Central Perk, just a painted backdrop. They made the window a little blurry and put many plants in front of the window to hide it. For all the cliffhangers they had to remove the audience then continue filming so that nobody knew what was going to happen.

Critics generally loved the show throughout its run. Calling the show "Must-see TV of the 1990s" and critics naming it one of the best comedy tv shows ever made. The show won critical praise for its 8th season by winning the prestigious Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy Award. Many people and critics praised the show for the episodes after the September 11 attacks as, according to David Schwimmer, it made people feel "comfortable" because they weren't being constantly reminded of the attacks.

The 66-minute series finale was named by Entertainment Tonight as the biggest US TV moment of the year 2004, and was the second highest rated show in 2004 beaten only by the Super Bowl. However, it did not surpass the ratings received by series finales for M*A*S*H (106m), Cheers (80.4m) or Seinfeld (76.3m), nor was it the most watched episode of Friends —that accolade remains with the season two episode "The One After the Superbowl", which aired on January 28, 1996 and drew 52.9m viewers. During the 2001–2002 season, Friends was the highest rated show in the United States.

Emmy Awards

* 2003 - Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series - Christina Applegate
* 2002 - Outstanding Comedy Series
* 2002 - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series - Jennifer Aniston
* 2000 - Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series - Bruce Willis
* 1998 - Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series - Lisa Kudrow
* 1996 - Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series - Michael Lembeck (for "The One After the Superbowl")

Golden Globe Awards

* 2003 - Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy - Jennifer Aniston

People's Choice Awards

* 2004 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
* 2004 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
* 2003 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
* 2003 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
* 2002 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
* 2002 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
* 2001 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
* 2001 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
* 2000 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
* 2000 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
* 1999 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
* 1995 - Favorite New Television Comedy

Screen Actors Guild Awards

* 2000 - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series - Lisa Kudrow
* 1996 - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

* Throughout the entire series, the apartment building shown (the one in which Monica and Joey's apartments are located) does not match the apartments' structures at all. A clear example of this is the fact that Monica's apartment has an external balcony and a large window, two things that are clearly not present in the apartment building shown every time a scene in their apartments started.

* In the first six episodes of Season 1, Chandler and Joey's apartment number was 4, and Monica and Rachel's was 5. Shortly after production began, it was decided that the apartment building where much of the show takes place was too big to have upper apartments with numbers as low as 4 and 5, so the numbers were changed to 19 and 20, respectively.

* In Season 3, "The One With the Flashback" Rachel and Chandler clearly act as if they've never met when they meet each other at the bar (later turned into the coffee house) - this is set three years before the beginning of the show. Later on in episodes such as "The One With All the Thanksgivings" and "The One Where the Stripper Cries" it shows that Rachel and Chandler were introduced to each other during their high school/college days, and they even kissed at a college party. It is also important to mention that Monica introduces Chandler to Rachel in the pilot episode, so Chandler has "met" Rachel three different times.

* In "The One With Phoebe's Dad" Phoebe states that her father left her and her mother and sister before she was born, but in "The One With Joey's Bag" Phoebe's dad, Frank, tells how he was a terrible father and sang a lullaby, "Sleepy Girl", that he wrote himself to her and Ursula ("Sleepy Girl" is sung to the same tune as "Smelly Cat"). That would imply that he left after Phoebe and Ursula were born.

* In the episode "The One With the Kips" Monica says that she and Chandler had their first fight. This is ignoring the two previous fights Monica and Chandler had in the episodes "The One With the Triplets" and "The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS".

Throughout the series the birthdays and ages of the characters are never clearly stated, with several contradictions:

* Rachel's age in the show is probably the most inconsistent in the show. When she started the show, she was 23. However by series 3, she was 28 as Chandler states, 'Yes it would be much worse to be 28 and still working here (referring to the coffee house). In Series 4 she says she is 28 (in the episode "The One with the Fake Party," she tells Ross to enjoy what time he has left with Emily, and that he is wasting his time "...stuck in a hallway with a 28-year-old cheerleader with a fat lip.") Her sudden jump of 5 years within 3yrs suddenly slows down between Series 4 and 7 as she does not reach 29 until the end of Series 5, when the gang throw her a surprise party. Her 30th birthday is not celebrated until mid Series 7 in 'The One Where They All Turn 30.' At this point of the show, her age is correct as it is 7 years since the start and so it adds up. It is her inconsistent age at the start which is the main error.

* In The One with Frank Jr, in Series 3, Frank Jr asks Phoebe when her birthday is. She replies 'February 16th.' However in Series 9 in 'The One with Phoebe's birthday dinner', Phoebe's birthday is clearly being held at the end of October as Phoebe tells the gang that she couldn't make a reservation for her actual birthday, so she booked it for Thursday which is Halloween- clearly an inconsistency.

* When Joey is writing out the hospital-form for Ross's broken hand in Season 9, he says that his birthday is October 18th, but in previous episodes he once told Gunther, "Mine is December...?" and once that it is in May. Also in the episode, "The One With George Stephanopolous," he says his birthday was eight months ago. The episode aired in October, this would have made his birthday in February.

A few trivia games have been released over the years, as well as a trivia book. The trivia book spans Seasons one through eight. There have been two versions of a board game released, one being a cardboard box version with fewer questions and the other a die cast collector editon with more questions. Recently, a "Scene It" version of Friends was released with actual show clips, trivia questions and other puzzles on screen. The trivia includes questions from all ten seasons. A new PS2, PC and Xbox game called "Friends: The One with All the Trivia" was released simultaneously with the Season 10 DVD box set. It includes the voices of characters Janice, Gunther and Jack & Judy Geller as hosts.

* In an episode of King of the Hill, when Connie tries to get away from her family, she goes to her room and turns on the TV; you can hear the Friends theme song in the background when she turns on the TV. In another episode of King of the Hill, when Bobby is at the mall he looks at all the videos on display, and one of the TV's is displaying Rachel and Monica talking at the coffee house. In another episode, Bobby has a figurine of Chandler, but decides to give him away because he thinks after sex education, he'll be too busy having sex to play with toys.

* In an episode of Futurama, Lrr and his wife are watching Friends. We know this because while watching he says, "This is by far the most absurd of Earth's shows. Why doesn't Ross, the largest friend, not simply eat the other five?" To which his wife replies, "Perhaps, they're saving that for sweeps.". Shortly afterwards, Lrr decides to stop watching, saying "This is a Joey-heavy episode anyway."

* In a later episode of Roseanne, the family is sitting around the living room watching The Facts of Life, bored and not talking to each other, prompting Dan Conner to remark "Just think, this was the Friends of the early '90s."

* In an episode of Half & Half, Mona remarks "Friends don't do friends, except on Friends"

* In one episode of Ellen, which was launched in mid-season the previous year to Friends, the title character tells somebody that she owns a bookstore with a coffee shop. The response "Very cool, very Friends" prompts her to complain, "Yeah, but we were here first!"

* In The Simpsons episode "Bart vs. Lisa vs. The Third Grade," Bart watches the Japanese version of Friends, and later, Bart turns some of his classmates into the Japanese Friends in his mind when he gets bored during a test. In another episode, Homer, searching for a job, attempts to become Rachel's Irish cousin Seamus, with the line, "So yer all doin' each other are ya? Well who's gonna put out for old Seamus," only to be disappointed to learn that Friends has now been cancelled.

* Also in the Simpsons, a Treehouse of Horror features them buying an automated talking house, and one of the customizable voices is that of Matthew Perry: "Yeah, could I be any more of a house?"

* In one episode of South Park, Shelly (Stan's sister), while babysitting Cartman, is shown watching Friends; you can hear the theme song in the background. In another episode of South Park, Eric Cartman loses his "Funny Fuse," and Mr. Mackey, the school counselor, tells him not to worry because he can be a writer for Friends.

* Episode 93 of Animaniacs parodied of Friends called "Acquaintances", right down to the theme song (We Won't Ever Leave). Some of the Friends cast reprised their role in the short.

* In one episode of Married... with Children, Kelly walked into the room while Al was watching Friends, asking why he is watching, knowing that he doesn't like Friends (he declared in a previous episode 'Don't have friends, sure as hell don't wanna watch them!). Al replied saying that if you mute the volume and watch with binoculars, you can see that Jennifer Aniston is not wearing a bra.

* In one episode of Family Guy where the movie Poltergeist is parodied, Stewie Griffin talks to the TV, obviously talking about the season finale of Friends and the situation between Ross and Rachel. He also talks about the Friends spinoff Joey. In another episode of Family Guy, "Death" arrives late to Quagmire's fake funeral, claiming he was at NBC sitting in on talks about the cancellation of Joey.

* Second-season promotions for the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia parody the Friends fountain dance, with members of the cast assaulting one another.

* In the UK Saturday morning children's program, SMTV, the hosts filmed sketches of a sitcom called Chums, which is a parody of the show. The opening credits show the hosts playing in the fountain, which is also the opening of Friends.

* In one episode of The Nanny, Maggie, after being caught smoking by her father and Fran, turns down a cigarette from her boyfriend, saying that she wants to "Live long enough to see if Ross and Rachel get together".

* In an episode of Scrubs, the Janitor says to J.D. (talking about him and Elliot), "It's not like you're Ross and Rachel." JD doesn't understand whom he is talking about, and the janitor points to another doctor, who is talking to a nurse. "You know, Dr. Ross and Rachel from book-keeping."

* In the Will & Grace episode "No Sex 'n' The City", Jack McFarland and Karen Walker lament the fact that Friends was ending that season, as were Frasier and Sex and the City. Karen laments: "Oh, Jackie, what will I do without my "Frasier" and my "Friends""?

* An episode of Duel Masters is entitled "The One Where Shobu Duels Hakuoh," which is a supposed parody on the Friends episode titles.

* The first two episodes of season two of Arrested Development are entitled "The One Where Michael Leaves" and "The One Where They Build a House." These episodes, which aired in fall 2004, are parodies of the Friends episodes titles.

* On the ABC show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which aired against Friends (on NBC), the comedians made recurring sour remarks about the show, since Friends was more popular.

* On an episode of Miami 7, while the British group, S Club 7, was trying to prove they were american, group member Paul says to the rest "Ok guys, you all have seen Friends, group hug!" which is funny to note that the show was somewhat a sitcom and the group was also formed by guys and girls, except that these were seven, not six.

* In an episode of Hope and Faith, while Faith is talking about burning down the studio she used to work at, she says, "Well, let's just say there isn't going to be another season of Friends."

* In the Saturday Night Live episode where Snoop Dogg hosted and Avril Lavigne was the musical guest, Snoop Dogg did a skit where he was upset about the end of Friends. In the promo for said episode, which did air during the Friends finale, he said, "Next thing you know, I'm gonna be on Friends!" to which Jimmy Fallon replies, "Bad news, Snoop Dogg..."

* In an episode of What I Like About You Holly Mentions all 6 characters when asking her ex boyfriend (who is now her friend) "You know what I love about Monica, Joey, Chandler, Rachel, Phoebe and Ross?" her "friend" then replies "That they're...friends".

* In an episode of Cybill Cybill is shocked and worried when her usually dour and cynical teenage daughter Zoey starts watching Friends and singing the theme tune.

* In one of the episodes of 3rd Rock From The Sun, Harry sings the first line of the theme song and the others clap in unison.

* In the second episode of the fourth season of NCIS, the character of Agent McGee uses to much whitener on his teeth. His colleague, Agent DiNozzo, immediately equates this to Ross' identical mistake in the Friends episode The One With Ross's Teeth.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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