From ArticleWorld

Friends was a hugely successful American situation comedy, which ran for close to ten years. The show, which first aired in 1994, featured a group of 6 friends living in an apartment block in New York. Combining an eclectic mix of strong characters and story lines ranging from the deadly serious to the outright bizarre, Friends became the hallmark for successful modern situation comedies.

The Friends

The characters are a motley crew of personalities, each having a very specific trait, which in turn is emphasized often to eccentric proportions. Joey Tribbiani (Matt Le Blanc) is a stereotypical Latin lothario with a struggling acting career and more heart than sense. Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) is an average office worker plagued with self-doubt, who is often forced to fend off constant questioning of his sexuality. Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) is the spoilt ‘Daddy’s girl’ finding her way in the world. Phoebe Buffet (Lisa Kudrow) is a straight talking child of the earth, who earns a living as a masseuse and folk singer on the side. Monica Gellar is a chef with a compulsion for cleanliness; brother Ross is the slightly nerdy paleontologist with a nasty habit for divorcing. This rich blend of characters, although seemingly worlds apart manage to form a strong bond creating one of the most successful formulas in American television history.

Locations and Guest Stars

The world of the Friends throughout the 236 episodes is restricted to a few primary locations, Joey and Chandlers flat, Monica and Rachel’s flat and their favorite communal meeting point at the Central Perk café. Throughout the program’s run new places and characters were introduced but these fundamentals of cast, characters and locations remain the same. Celebrity guest spots became a highly popular way to generate interest and add new dimensions to the production. A-list Celebrities became a regular fixture with famous faces like Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis and even royalty in the shape Sarah Ferguson (‘Fergie’), all appearing on the show. Some celebrities took on more regular parts, Tom Selleck appeared throughout the show as Monica’s love interest, whilst supermodels Tyra Banks and Elle McPherson also enjoyed extended appearances as a love interest for Ross and flat mate to Joey respectively.


By the end of the shows run in May 2004, Friends had lost none of the momentum generated in the preceding years. By the time it wrapped at the culmination of the tenth series, the stars were reaping the rewards of the television shows gargantuan success, receiving an unprecedented pay packet of $1 million each for a single episode. The shows finale was hotly anticipated moment in television history. With record audience figures expected, advertisers clambered for the opportunity to get a slot but at $2 million for a 30-second space, they were made to pay for the privilege. The final episode was viewed by 52.5 million people in the US alone, which proved to be slightly anti-climactic. This made it only the second highest rating show of the year, behind the Superbowl, in fact it didn’t even manage to eclipse the previous highest rated friends episode (‘The one after the Superbowl’) which had an audience of 52.9 million. M*A*S*H remains the program with the highest finale audience figures with 106 million tuning in, followed by cheers and Seinfeld which had 80.4 and 76.3 million respectively.