Friends is the type of TV show that can make you laugh out loud multiple times during an episode. Friends is also the type of TV show that can make you get emotionally involved in certain episodes. (Typically the season finale shows).
The creators of the show; David Krane and Martha Kauffman, based the show off during a time in everyone’s life where your friends are your family. The time that they are referring to is mid-twenties to thirties. Their target audience is ages 24-54, but anyone that has close friends can relate to the series. The way the creators gets the audience involved are by the development of the characters on the show, the laughter heard from the live audience, the culture during the time, and intertextuality.
The creators came up with idea’s developed in the program based off how the actors played their characters and interacted with each other. For instance, Monica and Chandler’s relationship was already in the talks with the writers by season 3. During the episode where Monica helps Chandler try and loose a few pounds, the writers noticed how well the characters messed together. They then decided to later pair the two up by the end of season 4. It can be risky to pair two characters together but by the time Monica and Chandler were a couple, the show had lots of success, and many episodes under their belt to be able to pull it off.
The show was filmed in front of a live audience of 300 people. The only time it wasn’t filmed in front of a live audience was during cliff hangers. Filming each episode took about 5 hours to film. Filming the episodes with a live audience was the creators way of seeing if the material worked and was funny. While watching the show you can hear the audience’s laughter. I think by hearing laughter from the audience it can provoke laughter from the viewer. It’s almost cue for the viewer to laugh as well. The laughter is real and there isn’t a laugh track used unless its during a cliff hanger scene, then the creators may use a laugh track. The laughter seems real because when there is a really funny scene, the laughter will last a lot longer than a scene not as funny.
Friends relates to the culture of its time by sticking to props, clothing, hair styles, etc. that were modern during the time it was filmed. Friends also relates to the culture of it’s time by sticking to plots that make sense to the character’s and their age. The characters are around the age where they all have careers and some of them are getting married. It makes sense for the characters to get married and settle down toward the last few seasons of the show. A few of the characters even have kids which also makes sense for their age.
Some of the intertextuality that is used can really help the viewers relate to the characters more and makes the show even more enjoyable for those who pick up on the intertextuality. With Friends being a sitcom, intertextuality can be used to create jokes as well. An example of intertexuality used is in the episode where Rachel moves in with Phoebe and buys furniture from Pottery Barn. Phoebe hates Pottery Barn and is very against owning items from the company. Pottery Barn is a real furniture store and if you know of the store and the style of furniture that they sell it helps better understand the story. However it’s not necessary to know about Pottery Barn to get the story.
An emotional appeal that is present during season 6 is the season finale episode where Chandler proposes to Monica (or when Monica proposes to Chandler). This episode is one of my favorites because during the episode it is a complete roller coaster of emotions. During the episode it keeps the viewers wondering whether Monica is going to get back together with Richard or stay with Chandler even though she thinks he doesn’t ever want to get married. The creators did a great job throwing the viewers off in that episode. The first time I ever watched it I was on the edge of my seat rooting for Chandler to finally pull off the proposal. Just when the viewer thinks Monica packed everything and left, Chandler opens the door to the entire apartment filled with candles and Monica on one knee. Chandler and Monica both start crying, which is another emotional appeal. This is mainly because Friends is a sitcom and you don’t typically see the characters crying, so when they are crying it’s serious and very emotional. There is no laughter during this scene at all and the only noise that is heard from the audience is at the end when there is clapping and cheering. Personally the emotions that I felt while watching the episode were anger, sadness, and happiness. I was angry at Richard for trying to get Monica back. I was also slightly angry with Monica for even listing to Richard. I was sad for Chandler after Joey had told him that Monica left. And finally I was happy when Chandler opened the door to find Monica inside.
Overall Friends has that feel-good effect that can make the viewer laugh out loud numerous times during the 30 minute span of an episode. Just in those 30 minutes the show can make the viewer forget what is going on in their lives and have a good laugh. The emotional appeal is strong, especially during season finale episodes and cliff hangers. I think the biggest reason the viewers get so involved is because the characters and story line are both believable and are something that they can relate to. The characters seem like real people, not just actors. The creators did a great job coming up with story lines that both, made sense and worked with the characters. Because of that, the audience is able to get involved with the show.