Fans of the sitcom continue to watch “Friends” over the years, speaking to the power of its relatability.
Last weekend, I went to a wedding. During the vows the bride said, “you’re my best friend, you’re my lobster.” The audience awwed and few tears were shed as the reference sank in.
Where does it come from? This phrase was first uttered in the last season of “Friends” by Phoebe when talking about Rachel and Ross. She claims that lobsters find a mate and then stick with them for the rest of their life. So, when Rachel gets off the plane to Paris to find Ross waiting for her, they embrace and Phoebe giggles, “He’s her lobster.”
Using this reference at a wedding in 2019 shows the enduring power of the popular television sitcom, “Friends,” which is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the premiere. It is still so popular that there was a three-night showing of some of the most popular “Friends” episodes for the silver anniversary of the show, which generated over $2.9 million.
Netflix paid $80 million to keep the popular show on their streaming platform for one more year before Warner Brothers pulls it to put it on their own streaming service because so many fans stream it.
Why is it that “Friends” still has ardent supporters who are willing to spend money on the show 25 years later? What is it about the show that is so enduring?
“Friends” exploded onto the scene in 1994 and has been a major pop culture phenomenon ever since. It popularized the “Rachel” haircut as well as terms such as the “friend zone” and the famous line, “we were on a break.”
The basic premise of the show is about the adventures of six friends who live in New York City above a coffee shop. Their romantic partners and jobs come and go, but the main drama and camaraderie focuses around the relationships between these six people.
It is still so popular because it is so relatable. The different characters each have something that people can connect with. They also tackle hard challenges in a way that people identify with. They overcome struggles like the questions of, “What am I supposed to do for the rest of my life? Does divorce define me? Why is turning thirty so difficult?”
Also, the six friends are their own kind of family, which rings true in today’s found-family culture. They are always there for each other, which is something everybody wants and can relate to.
Not to say the show doesn’t have its issues. In this decade, it has been criticized for fat shaming Monica, including gay slurs, portraying a New York City filled with only white people and the toxic nature of Ross and Rachel’s relationship. It seems people are willing to forgive the faults for the show’s good qualities, which is the relatability of the main characters.
As “Friends” ends its silver anniversary and is pulled off of Netflix in favor of yet another streaming service, it still has devoted fans who will always be there for it.