The show has remained in the top ten TV shows each season for the last 10 years. It is definitely evident that God has blessed this show. However, in true Bible-thumping fashion, my reaction has usually been to stare at my wife as if she’s a stark, ravin' lunatic.

TV series (1994-2004)
Review
by Chris Utley

This page was created on May 21, 2004
This page was last updated on June 5, 2005


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CREDITS

Cast
Jennifer Aniston
... Rachel Green
Courteney Cox
... Monica Geller Bing
Lisa Kudrow
... Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan/Ursula Buffay
Matt LeBlanc
... Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry
... Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer
... Ross Geller
James Michael Tyler
... Gunther

Original Music by Michael Skloff, Neil Tennant (background music), with additional music by Peter Kellert, Geoff Levin, Chris Lowe, Ian Christian Nickus and Richard Wolf (custom songs and underscore)

Cinematographers
Richard Hissong
Ken Lamkin
Nick McLean
Mikel Neiers

Edited by Todd Felker , David Helfand, Stephen Prime, Jay Scherberth and Andy Zall

Casting Directors: Mary V. Buck, Ellie Kanner, Leslie Litt and Anthony Sepulveda

Production Designer: Adam Short

Art Directors: John Shaffner and Joe Stewart

Set Decorator: Greg J. Grande

Costume Designer: Debra McGuire

CD
Friends Again
Various Artists - Soundtrack - Television

1. Introduction
2. Every Word Means No - Smash Mouth
3. Delicious - Semisonic
4. Trouble Boys [Friends Sound Byte] - Loreta
5. I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing - Robbie Williams
6. Summer [Friends Sound Byte] - Lisa Loeb
7. What Reason - Deckard
8. Angel and the Jerk [Friends Sound Byte] - Billie Joe Armstrong
9. Question Everything - 8stops7
10. Smelly Cat Medley [Friends Sound Byte] - Phoebe Buffay
11. View from the Other Side - Duncan Sheik
12. Beats the Hell Out of Me [Friends Sound Byte] - The Waltons
13. Friends 'Til the End (I'll Be There for You) [Friends Sound Byte] - Thor-El Harrison
BOOK
Friends: The One About the #1 Sitcom
by Lauren Johnson, James Michael Tyler

Filled with fun facts, sidebars, photos, and hilarious trivia, this Friends scrapbook covers everything from Ross's marriages to Joey's love affair with sandwiches, from Rachel's nose job to her pregnancy, from Monica and Ross dancing "the routine" to Phoebe singing "Smelly Cat." It revisits the ups and downs and unforgettable moments. And it even answers the question that has baffled so many for so long: What is Chandler's job, anyway?

POSTER 
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AVAILABILITY ON VIDEO AND DVD

The Complete First Seven Seasons

The Series Finale (Limited Edition) (2004)

The Complete First Season (1994)
The Complete Second Season (1995)
The Complete Third Season (1996)
The Complete Fourth Season (1997)
The Complete Fifth Season (1998)
The Complete Sixth Season (1999)
The Complete Seventh Season (2000)
SYNOPSIS
Click to enlargeBURBANK, Calif. -- May 11, 2004 -- Friends of the long-running hits series "Friends" turned out to say goodbye by the millions -- more than 65 million in fact -- helping NBC match its highest-rated non-Olympic week among adults 18-49 in four-and-a-half years (since the week of Oct. 18-24, 1999), according to in-home viewing figures for the week of May 3-9 from Nielsen Media Research.

NBC Research estimates that 65.9 million viewers watched all or some of Thursday's phenomenal "Friends" series finale. Among both adults 18-49 and total-viewer average, the "Friends" farewell is the highest-rated entertainment program on television since the final episode of "Seinfeld" six years ago.

In total viewers, "Friends" takes its place in the record book as the fourth most-watched series finale in the history of television, trailing only "M*A*S*H" (106.0 million), "Cheers" (80.4 million) and "Seinfeld" (76.3 million).

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer star in this Emmy-winning comedy about six close-knit young friends living in New York City.

Beginning its tenth season as the leadoff series on NBC’s enormously popular “Must See TV” Thursday-night lineup, “Friends” continues to garner critical acclaim and ratings success. The show reigns as the number-one comedy on television among adults 18-49 for five years in a row.

Since its debut season (1994-95), “Friends” has received 55 Emmy Award nominations, including six for Outstanding Comedy Series, which the show won this year. The cast won a Screen Actors Guild Award in 1996 for Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Series and has been nominated four times (1996, 1997, 1998, 2002) for a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy. “Friends” won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite New Comedy Series in its first season, and has since won three more times as Favorite Comedy Series including 2002.

The series focuses on the friendship of three men and three women who frequently gather at each other’s apartments and share sofa space at Greenwich Village’s “Central Perk” coffeehouse. Monica (Cox Arquette) is a chef with an obsession for neatness and order in her life. She is also married to Chandler (Perry), a dry wit who is never at a loss for words. Across the hall are Chandler’s longtime roommate Joey (LeBlanc), a womanizing actor currently on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” and Rachel (Aniston), Monica’s best friend from high school.

Across the alley from Monica and Chandler is Monica’s hapless brother Ross (Schwimmer), a paleontology professor who has been divorced three times, including once from Rachel. Although Rachel is no longer romantically involved with Ross, they share the responsibility of raising their newborn daughter, Emma. Rounding out the circle of friends is Monica’s ex-roommate, Phoebe Buffay (Kudrow), an offbeat, eternally optimistic folk singer and massage therapist.

The series was created by the Emmy Award-winning writing team of Marta Kauffman & David Crane. Emmy and CableACE Award-winning producer Kevin S. Bright is executive producer with Kauffman and Crane. Scott Silveri, Shana Goldberg-Meehan, Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen also serve as executive producers. “Friends” is a Bright/Kauffman/Crane Production in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Review by CHRIS UTLEY
Film Reviewer

Chris received his BA in Theatre from Grambling State University in Louisiana. He is an IT Techie by day and armchair film critic/analyst/lover by night. Upon coming to the Lord in 1994 and learning the Word, Chris began to notice Biblical principles and attributes displayed in Hollywood movies and began to apply them to his own life. It's his passion and mission to show the world (Christians and non-Christians) how to apply these principles to their own lives as well.

Click to enlargeA Tribute to Friends (1994--2004)
A Hollywood Jesus Commentary by Chris Utley
(A special thanks to the lovely and vivacious Ilayna Utley for her assistance and vast knowledge of all things Friends. She is the Rachel to my Ross, the Monica to my Chandler, the Joey to my Phoebe [I’m the free-spirited one!]. Thank you, babe, for always being there for me!)

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D.O.A
It's like you're always stuck in second gear
When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year
But ...

I'll be there for you
When the rain starts to pour
I'll be there for you
Like I've been there before
I'll be there for you
'cause you're there for me too.

Click to enlargeOnce upon a time in the fall of 1994, a TV show premiered on NBC. It told the story of 6 twenty-something New Yorkers as they navigated their way through life. It became a runaway smash hit that soared to the top of the Nielsen ratings. Ten years later, these “Friends” have become America's Friends. America has laughed with them, cried with them, celebrated love, marriage and birth with them. And . . . they’ve learned quirky songs about smelly cats.

Click to enlargeOn Thursday May 6th 2004, these “Friends” rode off into the television sunset as the final episode aired. Now, mind you, I've been known to sneak a peek at a couple of episodes from time to time, but Friends was never my thing. I was never one of those who would stop everything I was doing to make sure I never missed an episode. My wife, on the other hand, is a Friends fanatic. On a typical Thursday night in my house, while I have hijacked the living room TV and surround sound for the pleasure of playing X-Box and watching WWE Smackdown, it is commonplace to hear shrieks of laughter coming from the bedroom as my wife gets her weekly fix of Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Monica and Chandler. Ditto for the reruns that air daily.

Click to enlargeThe show has remained in the top ten TV shows each season for the last 10 years. It is definitely evident that God has blessed this show. However, in true Bible-thumping fashion, my reaction has usually been to stare at my wife as if she’s a stark, ravin' lunatic. In my macho, Christ-driven mind, I couldn’t understand why she thought that show was such a big deal . . . until one Sunday (4/25/04).

We ended up in a conversation about our own friends . . . and the friends we desire to have in our lives. As I was sharing my heart, the words of Ecclesiastes 4:8-12 popped in my head:

“There was a man all alone;
he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
"For whom am I toiling," he asked,
"and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?"
This too is meaningless-
a miserable business!

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Suddenly, it all began to make sense: the appeal of the show, the familiar characters, and -- most importantly -- why God allowed the show to have a 10-year run. As we go through the toil and trouble of life, in addition to a relationship with God, we also need relationships with others. Simply put . . . we need friends.

Click to enlarge
We need a Ross in our lives.
Ross is the friend who shows us that even if the world says “nice guys finish last,” it is still worth it to continue being the good guy, and, in the end, you will get your just reward.
Click to enlarge
We need a Rachel in our lives.
Rachel is the friend who shows us that people really can change, grow, and mature to become great people.
Click to enlarge
We need a Joey in our lives.
Joey is the friend who reminds us to keep our childlike wonder of the world in order to guard against becoming stuffy and cynical grown-ups.
Click to enlarge
We need a Phoebe in our lives.
Phoebe reminds us that it is okay to be a spontaneous free spirit.
Click to enlarge
We need a Monica in our lives.
Monica is the friend who helps us and reminds us to keep order and structure in our lives.
Click to enlarge
We need a Chandler in our lives.
Chandler is the friend who can always put the comedic spin on the direst situation.

These six individuals gathered together to form their own fellowship, their own community, their own form of koinonia (Acts 4:32). And audiences around the country -- and the world -- have tuned in week-in and week-out to follow this fellowship. Those Nielsen ratings point to more than sharp writing and crisp direction. They point to the chemistry and connection that those six actors and actresses have between them while they’re performing each episode. The chemistry and connection that they share is one that we desire for our own lives. When we watch, we see ourselves. We see these fictitious “Friends” and we long in our hearts for real-life friends who will be there for us when the rain pours in our lives. Then we long to be there for them as well when they manage to get stuck in second gear, when they’re having a crappy day. . . or month . . . or year.

My wife had friends like these during her 4 years of study at Biola University. She proudly refers to this group of real-life friends as “The Freshman Six.” When the rain poured, when the gears of college life got stuck, they were there for each other. When I see the six of them together, I become envious. I never had a “Freshman Six.” To this day, I am still praying that God would indeed bless me with my own real-life "Friends." In spite of my ribbings and criticisms, I understand why she loves this show and why she will miss it.

Of course . . . it’s not about the quantity of our friends, but, rather the quality of our friends. As Proverbs 18: 24 states, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Guest stars have come and gone over the last 10 years, but the 6 have remained the same: one in heart and spirit . . . much like David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-4, 1 Samuel 20). Their brother/sister-hood shall live forever in the TV Hall of Fame. To these six TV “Friends,” who have become some of America's best Friends, I salute you. Thank you for being there for America!

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