Friends (graphically rendered as F • R • I • E • N • D • S) is an American sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman and produced with the collaboration of Warner Bros. Television, broadcast on the American television network NBC from 22 September 1994 to May 6, 2004; were made in all ten seasons.
In Italy it was broadcast on Rai 3 from 23 June 1997 to 29 July of the same year.
This wild series is about a group of friends living in New York (Manhattan) formed by the girls Rachel Green, Monica Geller and Phoebe Buffay, and by the boys Ross Geller, Chandler Bing and Joey Tribbiani.
236 episodes with a global success, over 100 billion views overall across all platforms and growing: the 22 million viewers of the first episode almost tripled, 61 between the US and the UK for the last.
Kauffmann, Crane and Bright (co-producer) thus wrote in the first concrete version of the concept of Friends, a seven-page document to be sent to the networks, which illustrated the characters, the setting and some of the adventures they had imagined: “The series speaks of the search for love, commitment and security. And of the fear of love, commitment and security. At the center is friendship, because when you are young and single in the city your friends are your family “.
It all starts from the moment Rachel abandons her husband on the altar. On that same day she meets an old friend of hers from high school, Monica, with whom she goes to live, joining the group composed of the Italian-American actor Joey, the accountant Chandler, the masseuse and musician Phoebe and the paleontologist Ross.
The sextet of young people, three boys and three girls, all in their late twenties, surfs in endless chats on the key themes of existence: sex, love and career.
The main meeting places are three: two apartments near the West Village of New York and a nice cafe called “Central Perk”. The series is shot in a Warner studio in Burbank (Los Angeles): rehearsals from Monday to Thursday, Friday recording of a 20-minute episode in front of a live audience.
The latest installment of the series was seen by approximately 52.5 million people, making it the fourth most watched final series in television history and the most watched episode of the decade.
The popularity of the series has prompted famous actors such as Julia Roberts, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Isabella Rossellini, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, Charlton Heston, Bruce Willis, Susan Sarandon and many others to participate.
For David Crane and Marta Kauffman, the reason for the success may perhaps be identified in the contagious team spirit that immediately linked the protagonists of the series, while for the fans it consists of the unrepeatable season of which Friends speaks. A period of life during which the still opaque contours of existence are married with exasperated sensitivity. A free zone in which, as the American press-book of the series recalls, one goes in search of security and solidity while retaining a sacred terror for the word responsibility.
The cast of Friends, perhaps the most cult TV series of all time, met for the first time on May 27, 2021 after 17 years after leaving the scene. A special event-episode, for which the original set was specially recreated in the Warner studios, bringing together all the protagonists and producers, including guest stars.
And it is immediately Central Perk between dusted off gags and sincere smiles. Because “we are still a family today”, Ross explains: “After the initial shock of being in the same room again, we started joking with each other as usual”.
Above all, it survives of timeless comedy, capable of influencing the costumes as well as telling them: according to linguistics, the dialogues of Friends have significantly changed the American spoken, especially among those who at the turn of 2000 were around 30 years old. The series is a mine of gags and cult quotes: the famous “friend-zone”, now known all over the world, is only a theory of Joey. Today the Friends page on Instagram has over 11 million followers.