The Success of Friends

Friends first aired over 20 years ago and yet it is still loved and watched by many adults in their twenties and older, it’s a timeless TV show and that’s what makes it such a success. Viewers can relate to the series for many years to come.


Friends is timeless and this is what makes the show so successful. In the years to come, twenty-something year old’s will still be able to relate to the series because of how realistic the show was. From the constant change of careers whether its getting laid off or promoted, to going from relying on your parents to being completely on your own, Friends remains the show that captures this age group so perfectly.

Not only are the common problems of emerging adulthood that the characters go through relatable, but the jokes never get old. I personally have seen every episode over and over again and have yet to get sick of it. I find myself laughing at the jokes as if it’s the first time I’ve heard them. Friends is a sitcom and it obviously should be funny and make the viewer laugh, but the creators of the show go above and beyond to make the viewer burst out laughing. A technique that they used that definitely helped was recording the show in front of a live audience. By doing so they were able to see what jokes were funny and what jokes weren’t. It also enabled the cast of the show to work off the audience’s energy.

Another reason why the show was so successful was because the characters were so interesting. Each character has a unique personality that viewers fall in love with. There isn’t just one main character in the show that is mostly featured. All six characters are featured equally. In every episode there’s usually at least two story lines going on. The characters also portrayed characteristics that are desirable to viewers. For instance, Joey being attractive, Ross being smart and wealthy, Monica being strong, Phoebe being carefree, Chandler being funny, and Rachel being outgoing. On top of all this all the friends lived together or near each other and had nice apartments in Manhattan. All of these characteristics a viewer can relate to or desire to have.


Another big reason for the success of the show would be the ratings. Friends was on air for a total of 10 seasons. That is extremely successful for a TV show series! Friends first aired on September 22nd 1994 on NBC. The series aired all the way until May 6th 2004. Friends aired on a Thursday  at around 8 throughout the entire series. This played a huge role on making the show such a success. Thursday nights most 20-50 year-olds are at home and are able to tune in. If the show had aired on a different night that might have changed how many viewers it received.


Friends is ranked number 6 for most watched season finale. The final episode of friends aired on May 5th 2004 and had 52.5 million viewers. The reason why Friends was able to stay on the air for so long was due to the fact that it was receiving an average rating of 23 million viewers per episode. The cast members were making $750,000 per episode by season 6, and in the final 3 seasons each cast member made $1,000,000 per episode. Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow were officially the highest paid actresses ever.

Today reruns of Friends are played throughout the day on different networks. Nick@Nite airs reruns from 11-1. TBS airs reruns at various times throughout the day. Friends is also available to be streamed on Netflix and On Demand as well.

The cultural impact of the show also made it a huge success. Friends had many catch phrases such as “How you doin?” And Rachel’s hair became a very popular hairstyle in thhow-you-doine 90’s that was named “The Rachel”. After the September 11th attacks, the ratings for Friends increased by 17%. Viewers relied on Friends as a comic relief.

The character development of the show was key to keeping viewers watching. Each character on the show developed throughout the series. Rachel went from being reliant on her parents to being completely on her own and finding a job she loves. Monica became less controlling and was able to accept not being perfect. Phoebe continued to be a free spirit and always stick up for what she believes in. Joey never gave up on acting and followed his dream. Chandler left the job that he hated and started doing something that he loved. Ross learned from his mistakes and ended up growing a lot from them. Each character was able to grow and develop through the 10 seasons. It kept the viewers interested and made them fall in love with the characters even more.


Some of the awards that Friends received were; Golden Globe-Best Actress in a comedy series, Jennifer Aniston. Six People’s  Choice Awards for favorite television series. Seven Emmy Awards. Two Actor Screen Guild Awards. Several Teen Choice Awards, and many nominations.


Overall Friends is a timeless show that young adults in their twenties will always be able to relate to. The story lines will never get old, as well as the jokes. Friends can make the viewer laugh out loud even if they’ve already seen the episode a hundred times. The characters are unique and interesting which makes the show even more enjoyable. That’s what makes the show different from other sitcoms. Most sitcoms have one or two characters that the show mostly focuses on, but with Friends there are six different main characters. That gives the viewer more opportunities to relate to the main character more. The characters also have characteristics that may be desirable to the viewer. Another huge reason for the success of Friends is the ratings. With nearly 22 million viewers on average, it’s no wonder the show ran for 10 years. It’s also no surprise why re-runs of the show are on everyday on multiple networks. Not only that but each cast member was making $1,000,000 per episode by season 7. On top of that Friends has had a cultural impact with catch phrases, and hairstyles and has won numerous awards on top of that. All together Friends first aired over 20 years ago, but it continues to be a success today.





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