5 reasons we still find comfort in Friends all these years later

Friends is a series that resonates with many viewers who consider it the perfect comfort binge.
The Final Days Of "Friends"
The Final Days Of "Friends" / David Hume Kennerly/GettyImages

This will make me sound old, and well, to some, I am, but newer generations give the sitcom Friends a lot of grief. The OG viewers of the series and many fans accumulated through the years consider this series their comfort binge. The familiar characters and the laughter and tears, every bit of it, bring many that sense of comfort only truly great shows can give.

Friends chronicled the lives of six characters, Chandler (Matthew Perry), Monica (Courteney Cox), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Ross (David Schwimmer), and Joey (Matt LeBlanc), who are in their 20s and 30s living in Manhattan. You'd be hard-pressed to find a person who hasn't watched at least one episode of Friends. And many, even without watching the series to completion, get most of the pop culture references from the series as they have at least one friend who is obsessed with the series. Friends did a fantastic job of focusing on all six characters, creating "the first true 'ensemble' show."

People have many reasons why this series is important to them but the fact that Chandler, Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, and Joey feel like a part of their family rings true for many. The series was brilliantly written, expertly performed, and featured characters who were relatable and felt familiar from their first introduction.

Why is Friends considered a comfort series?

1. Every viewer can relate to at least one character

In the pilot episode, each of the main characters is introduced, revealing much about their personalities. Right off the bat, viewers can see themselves in at least one of the characters or see pieces of themselves in each character. This episode sets the tone for the remainder of the series, which revolves around all six people and their love lives, careers, and friendships.

2. The comedic timing is everything

The cast of Friends felt like a group who had been together forever, even when first introduced. The comedic timing of the actors was excellently executed, making for numerous laugh-out-loud as well as highly quotable moments. Most super fans can quote the jokes verbatim or begin laughing out loud before the joke commences.

3. Friends is a comedy but often dealt with serious, real world experiences

Throughout the series, relevant topics were addressed without being pushy. One example is infertility and parenting. There were many instances where these issues were addressed and handled very differently but worked for the couple or individual. The series didn't shy away from giving the women very active sex lives without shaming them for it. Friends also proved that men and women can genuinely be good friends.

4. The series was filmed during a much simpler time

Once again, I sound very old, but Friends did take place in simpler times. The first episode aired in 1994, and the series would conclude in 2004, way before the smartphone became people's primary focus. Friends invokes a feeling of nostalgia, giving a glimpse of life during the late 90s, and is set during a time that wasn't so dependent on technology. There is just something comforting about watching a group of friends gather at the coffee shop, Monica's Thanksgiving dinners, and more without being distracted by mobile devices.

5. Friends makes people feel accepted, flaws and all

Throughout the series, the group often encounters difficulties which can result in negative feelings and actions. This is nothing unexpected with a group from very different backgrounds and upbringings with drastically different personalities. But the way they handle these issues is, well, how adults should handle things: confront the issues and deal with them. Another thing shown in the series is in order to have friendships like these, differences have to be overlooked and one must accept people for who they are, flaws, differences of opinions, and all. This is another thing that gives viewers comfort.

The entire Friends series can be streamed with a subscription to Max.

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