The One Where it Leaves Netflix

A Look Back on One of the Most Popular Sitcoms of the Past Two Decades

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Warner Bros

From left to right: Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey, and Phoebe.

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The shot opens with a view of the New York City skyline. Cut to the outside of a coffee shop, “The Central Perk” labels the window. Six friends lounge on an iconic orange couch inside, talking and laughing. 

Gen X’ers and familiar fans will recognize this sitcom as the show portraying “good times, and sharing about life” said Friends fanatic David Flodman. “It’s a family without being related.”

It’s a family without being related”

— David Flodman

Friends, an NBC sitcom released in 1994, is being pulled off the streaming service Netflix at the end of 2019. NBC’s new streaming service “Peacock” will provide shows such as Friends, The Office, and Parks and Recreation instead. Friends is the oldest of the comedies previously listed and is a favorite of young and old. 

Each Friends episode begins with a mini storyline that introduces the conflict of the show and then launches into the iconic theme song. The introduction usually ends with a “zinger” that leaves viewers chuckling as the catchy theme song plays. 

The theme song is catchy, and easy to sing along to. However, the most notable part of the introduction is how succinct the song matches up to the clips being shown. Each notable beat is perfectly timed with the shot on screen, which is impressive. For example, there are four claps in the beginning of the song after the first phrase. During each of these claps, the shot on the screen changes.

The characters are also introduced in the theme song. Courtney Cox is the first introduced. She plays Monica Geller, who is the clean freak of the group. She is the younger sister of Ross Geller, who is played by David Schwimmer. Throughout the seasons, Ross has an on and off relationship with his high school crush, Rachel Green, who is Monica’s best friend. Rachel is played by Jennifer Anniston, who is currently a well known Jergens commercial actor, and a film actress. Rachel and Monica’s other girl friend is the “ditzy” Phoebe Buffay, who is played by Lisa Kudrow. The other two members of the gang are best friends Chandler Bing and Joey Tribbiani, played by Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc. 

Together the group of six encounter the realistic twists and turns of life while adding deadpanned lines for a humorous view. From getting fired to finding a new job, apartment hunting, marriage, to putting an uncooked Thanksgiving turkey over one of their heads, Friends has covered any situation life throws at them. Despite the situation, they always end up at their favorite coffee house at the end of the day. 

The comedy in the show is what truly brings it together. Each character has their own unique sense of humor, so viewers are not listening to the same kind of jokes in each episode. Chandler is well known for his quote “I’m not great at advice. But can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?”. His humor counters Joey and Phoebes. While Joey is known for not being the brains of the group, his lack of comprehension and passion for being an actor make up for any missing brain cells. He is always a beat or two late on understanding a situation, and his over exaggerated facial expressions give away his comprehension. 

“Joey because he makes you laugh, and he’s so funny. You know, he’s goofy, and not that smart but he’s kind and gentle and does funny things,” said Flodman. 

The plot of the show is well thought out. It is generic, and not overly amazing. They do a good job of adding cliffhangers at the end of seasons, making it easily binge-worthy. 

However, Friends is also viewed as a controversial show. There are several homophobic comments, such as Chandler constantly being made fun of for being “gay” or liking more feminine things. One of the most controversial episodes, however, is “The One with the Male Nanny” (Season 9 Episode 6). In the episode, Ross is hesitant to hire a nanny for his new baby because he is a guy. He eventually fires him because he is too “uncomfortable” having a man care for his child. While this may have been a common belief at the time of release, it is unacceptable in today’s times. If someone was fired because of their gender, they would get an extreme amount of backlash.

Despite this, the show continues to thrive, years after its final episode aired. Friends is loved by all, and it is clear to see why. The comedy, characters and plot reach the heart of the viewers, making its departure from Netflix a sad goodbye.