Friends is an American sitcom television series, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004, lasting ten seasons. With an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, the show revolves around six friends in their 20s and 30s who live in Manhattan, New York City. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television. The original executive producers were Kevin S. Bright, Kauffman, and Crane.
Kauffman and Crane began developing Friends under the title Insomnia Cafe between November and December 1993. They presented the idea to Bright, and together they pitched a seven-page treatment of the show to NBC. After several script rewrites and changes, including title changes to Six of One and Friends Like Us, the series was finally named Friends.
Filming took place at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. All ten seasons of Friends ranked within the top ten of the final television season ratings; it ultimately reached the number-one spot in its eighth season. The series finale aired on May 6, 2004, and was watched by around 52.5 million American viewers, making it the fifth most-watched series finale in television history, and the most-watched television episode of the 2000s.
Friends received acclaim throughout its run, becoming one of the most popular television shows of all time. The series was nominated for 62 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning the Outstanding Comedy Series award in 2002 for its eighth season. The show ranked no. 21 on TV Guides 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, and no. 7 on Empire magazine's The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. In 1997, the episode "The One with the Prom Video" was ranked 100 on TV Guides 100 Greatest Episodes of All-Time. In 2013, Friends ranked no. 24 on the Writers Guild of America's 101 Best Written TV Series of All Time, and no. 28 on TV Guides 60 Best TV Series of All Time.
Rachel Green, a sheltered but friendly woman, flees her wedding day and wealthy yet unfulfilling life, and finds childhood friend Monica Geller, a tightly-wound but caring chef. After Rachel becomes a waitress at West Village coffee house Central Perk, she and Monica become roommates at Monica's apartment located above Central Perk, and Rachel joins Monica's group of single people in their mid-20s: Previous roommate Phoebe Buffay, an eccentric, innocent masseuse; neighbor Joey Tribbiani, a dim-witted yet loyal struggling actor and womanizer; Joey's roommate Chandler Bing, a sarcastic, self-deprecating IT manager; and her older brother and Chandler's college roommate Ross Geller, a sweet-natured but insecure paleontologist.
Episodes depict the friends' comedic and romantic adventures and career issues, such as Joey auditioning for roles or Rachel seeking jobs in the fashion industry. The six characters each have many dates and serious relationships, such as Monica with Richard Burke, and Ross with Emily Waltham. Ross and Rachel's intermittent relationship is the most often-recurring storyline; during the ten seasons of the show, they repeatedly date and break up. Ross briefly marries Emily, Ross and Rachel have a child together after a one-night stand, Chandler and Monica date and marry each other, and Phoebe marries Mike Hannigan. Other frequently recurring characters include Ross and Monica's parents Jack and Judy Geller from Long Island; Ross's ex-wife Carol Willick, their son Ben Geller, and Carol's lesbian partner Susan Bunch; Central Perk barista Gunther; Chandler's ex-girlfriend Janice Goralnik; and Phoebe's twin sister Ursula.
fashion enthusiast and Monica Geller's best friend from childhood. Rachel first moves in with Monica in season one after nearly marrying Barry Farber. Rachel and Ross Geller are later involved in an on-again, off-again relationship throughout the series. Rachel dates other men during the series, such as an Italian neighbor, Paolo, in season one; Joshua Bergin, a client from Bloomingdale's, in season four; Tag Jones, her assistant, in season seven; and Joey Tribbiani in season ten. Rachel's first job is as a waitress at the coffee house Central Perk, but she later becomes an assistant buyer at Bloomingdale's in season three, and a buyer at Ralph Lauren in season five. Rachel and Ross have a daughter named Emma in "The One Where Rachel Has a Baby, Part Two" at the end of season eight. In the final episode of the series, Ross and Rachel confess their love for each other, and Rachel gives up a job in Paris to be with him.
mother hen of the group and a chef, known for her perfectionist, bossy, competitive, and obsessive-compulsive nature. Monica was overweight as a child. She works as a chef in various restaurants throughout the show. Monica's first serious relationship is with a long-time family friend Richard Burke, who is twenty-one years her senior. The two maintain a strong relationship for some time until Richard expresses that he does not want to have children. Monica and Chandler later start a relationship after spending a night with each other in London in the season four finale, leading to their marriage in season seven and adoption of twins at the end of the series.
self-taught musician. As a child, Phoebe lived in upstate New York with her mother, until she committed suicide and Phoebe took to the streets. She writes and sings her own strange songs, accompanying herself on the guitar. She has an identical twin named Ursula, who shares Phoebe's traits. Phoebe has three serious relationships over the show's run: David, a scientist, in season one, whom she breaks up with when he moves to Minsk on a research grant; Gary, a police officer whose badge she finds, in season five; and an on-and-off relationship with Mike Hannigan in seasons nine and ten. In season nine, Phoebe and Mike break up due to his desire not to marry. David returns from Minsk, leading to the two getting back together, but she eventually rejects him for Mike when both of them propose to her. Phoebe and Mike marry in season ten.
food lover who becomes famous for his role on soap opera Days of Our Lives as Dr. Drake Ramoray. Joey has many short-term girlfriends. Despite his womanizing, Joey is innocent, caring, and well-intentioned. Joey often uses the catchphrase pick-up line "How you doin'?" in his attempts to win over most of the women he meets. Joey rooms with his best friend Chandler for years, and later with Rachel. He falls in love with Rachel in season eight, but Rachel politely tells Joey that she does not share his feelings. They eventually date briefly in season ten, but after realizing it will not work due to their friendship and Rachel's complicated relationship with Ross, they return to being friends.
executive in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration for a large, multinational corporation. Chandler hates this job, although it pays well. He attempts to quit during season one but is lured back with a new office and a pay raise. He eventually quits this job in season nine due to a transfer to Tulsa. He becomes a junior copywriter at an advertising agency later that season. Chandler has a peculiar family history being the son of an erotic novelist mother and a gay, cross-dressing Las Vegas star father. Chandler is known for his sarcastic sense of humor and bad luck in relationships. Chandler marries Monica in season seven, and they adopt twins at the end of the series. Before his relationship with Monica, Chandler dated Janice Hosenstein in season one and subsequently broke up with her many times.
- David Schwimmer as Ross Geller:
- James Michael Tyler appears as Gunther, a barista at Central Perk in every season of the show, but is only ever credited as a guest star. Gunther has a, mostly, secret profound love for Rachel, throughout the entire series. He at one point, becomes the manager of the coffee house. It is revealed that Gunther speaks Dutch in addition to English, as well as being a former soap opera actor.
Series creator David Crane wanted all six actors to be equally prominent, and the series was lauded as being "the first true 'ensemble' show." The cast members made efforts to keep the ensemble format and not allow one member to dominate; they entered themselves in the same acting categories for awards, opted for collective salary negotiations, and asked to appear together on magazine cover photos in the first season. The cast members also became best friends off-screen, so much so that recurring guest star Tom Selleck reported that he sometimes felt left out.
The cast remained good friends after the series run, most notably Cox and Aniston, with Aniston being godmother to Cox and David Arquette's daughter, Coco. In the official farewell commemorative book Friends 'Til the End, each separately acknowledged in interviews that the cast had become their family.