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Friends and Us: The Amusement, Tears, and Reality

I have always been fascinated with the lives of the characters in Friends; they may merely be a part of a sitcom, but they have certainly depicted a group of friends’ lives with biting reality. I strongly believe that this sitcom should once again be aired—not merely as reruns, but as a continuing show with new episodes with the same cast. The show should be aired again because we all need a show which makes as feel good by the end of the day, a show that will make us look into things with an optimistic perspective. Several years ago, this sitcom finally stopped rolling the tape and aired its final episode.

This sitcom has it has brought viewers all over the world happiness, tears, and excitement—not because it was about some rich people who claim to be friends (when in fact they back-stab each other) who are enjoying life and wasting money—but because it is about a group of friends who are situated in the real world, with real jobs, with real problems, and with real hearts. The sitcom Friends which was aired from 1994 to 2004; one of the most successful situation comedies in television that became a television phenomenon for a century.

It is about Monica, Ross, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, and Rachel—a group of friends whose lives, romances, and dreams are tightly interwoven (Television Haven). There are often times when our lives are plagued with devastating experiences, with sad moments, and rather discomforting truths. Sometimes it would be tempting to curl up in a ball in one corner and wish everything away—when in reality, such things cannot be merely wished away. People need other people to be with them during such times—these people are what we call friends.

It is not unknown to us that friends are people whom we can depend on; they are people who believe in ourselves when we can find no reason to believe. They are people who can make us laugh, make us feel like we belong, and people who can make life and its idiosyncrasies bearable. This particular fact of life is present in the sitcom Friends; the characters of the show are able to portray the kind of friends people should be, and they depict that no matter how tough times may be for a certain individual, there are always people who will care for him or her.

Like in the episodes of Friends, though the characters may experience problems and miscommunication, they are still willing to help each other in the best way that they can. Of course, since Friends is a depiction of real life, the episodes often contain real life problems that people may face, such as work problems and relationship problems—but the thing is, Friends has a way of showing that despite all of these problems, people can always find someone whom they can lean on.

This is the kind of world view people need to have—that everyone needs a helping hand and that everyone needs to learn how to lend a hand. Apart from the fact that the show depicts the ups and downs of real friendship, today’s audience are in desperate need of a laugh. Most of the shows on air in television are utterly depressing, and most of the time, full of rabid competition. We are bombarded with detective shows with people dying, getting hurt or whatnot, and of reality shows where people wheedle their way through to the top prize by cheating, lying, or perhaps stepping on other people.

While such shows are, indeed, quite interesting, and provide people with cunning skills, it might benefit people more if they find more reasons to laugh rather than reasons to be thoroughly convinced that the world is not a good place. Since Friends depicted real life with a dose of laughter, people will be able to find more reasons to look at the world with much better perspectives. Also, Friends is a sitcom which has the right amount of romance and drama—because of this, people are not only provided with laughter, they are also provided with real life situations.

It cannot be denied that the genuineness of the depicted circumstances in the show aid it in its popularity amongst people—a lot of individuals want to be able to relate to what they are watching. Sure, we want to see extraordinary things every now and then, but the majority of us feel for those television shows which make us feel like we belong, rather than mere speculators to the event. Not everyone can relate to science-fiction or detective shows, after all. Besides, what we all need is a show which can make us feel like we belong to their world, and that we are not alienated to the kinds of experiences they have.

The sitcom Friends can make us, the audience, feel that we are the characters’ friends, in a sense. The characters are diverse, and most of them have their own set of beliefs and idiosyncrasies like everyone else. Of course, despite the fact that they have different perspectives in life, they still are able to hang around each other, support each other, and care for each other. This kind of situation teaches us tolerance—that no matter how different we may be from the person sitting next to us or to any other person for that matter, we can always find a common ground and work from that towards understanding each other.

There is a certain warmth to this kind of treatment that Friends portrays in every episode; it does not matter the next person is obsessive-compulsive about neatness like Monica, nerdy like Ross, sarcastic like Chandler, self-absorbed like Joey, a naive optimist like Phoebe, or a little flaky like Rachel—every person has something within that can make them a good, reliable friend, and that despite of his or her attitudes or idiosyncrasies, there is a need for acceptance and tolerance (Television Haven).

Apart from everything that is said regarding the sitcom Friends, another important thing about it is that it can adapt to the kind of social setting we have today. The sitcom is not one of those conservative sitcoms where scriptwriters and directors try to mask reality and the real issues that people face in society. We face a lot of social issues nowadays, such as homosexuality, same-sex marriage and so on. Friends has always been an open-minded sitcom—and in fact, it even had an episode wherein Phoebe agreed to become a surrogate mother for her half-brother when he and his wife could not conceive (Television Haven).

Not to mention that during those times, becoming a surrogate mother was highly debated social issue. Nonetheless, the show was able to air that episode successfully—and I am quite sure that regardless of whatever social issue they may try to tackle in new episodes, the cast and the crew will be able to work on it with flair and outstanding performances. Since the cast has been able to gain more experience since the last episode of Friends, it is not unlikely that they have developed better skills and better understanding of how their roles in Friends will play a vital part in the lives of the audience who will be viewing them.

To be honest, I perceive Friends not merely as a sitcom which people can watch from television when they have nothing else to do. It is a sitcom wherein people can place themselves in the actors’ shoes and ask themselves if they are willing to be as valuable friends as these people are. Some people will say that it is just a show, and that we do not need it to make its way back onto television—but in reality, what we need is something like this. We need a show where we, as adults, can actually learn things, like acceptance, tolerance, real friendship, and open-mindedness.

Gone are the days when life lessons were merely included in children’s shows. There are so many ways to make adults learn life lessons—and including life lessons in our daily dosage of television is the best way to do it. Friends should be aired once again, not as reruns, but with new episodes, and let it pave the way, not only for laughter, but also for life lessons that we continuously need to be reminded of regardless of how old we get. Work Cited Television Haven. Friends. 2003. Web. 25 May 2010.

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