Oh Brother… do I hate “Friends”


Alex Clough, Sports Editor

Netflix has finally announced that the beloved TV show ‘Friends’ will be leaving the platform in 2020. A massive overhaul of many shows and movies leaving the streaming service as more companies such as Disney and Time Warner are starting their own platforms.  

  But this article isn’t about the threats to which Netflix are under, no, no, this article is about the television cultural icon known as Friends. If you like friends, then you won’t like this article, or maybe you will, but it has to be said, and I’m by no means the first. 

  Since we are talking about a popular television show, let’s talk about another, better, but not so popular show, How I Met Your Mother. In the seventh season, Barney Stinson is having troubles with his lover Nora when she admits to not liking Ewoks, the furry friends of the rebellion in Star War’s Return of the Jedi. He concludes that she must be over 30, being too old to love them as a kid. 

  I wrote that not to transition to some representation of how it applies to Friends, I like that scene. Since I did that, I’ll also admit I haven’t watched friends, I’ve tried watching Friends, but I haven’t watched Friends. 

  What I have watched are four television shows that put Friends to shame and expose it of its flaws. Those shows are Seinfeld, The Office, Parks and Recreation and the show already mentioned as How I Met Your Mother.  

  Let’s focus on those flaws, though, first being the characters in a character-driven show. The difficulty with a character-driven show is making them interesting, but not annoying. Seinfeld had a character-driven show, as does Curb Your Enthusiasm, but the comedy is catchy but also sophisticated. Friends, on the other hand, has a few interesting characters, all annoying, with a slight and faint comedic force. 

  The second flaw are the laugh tracks, they are just awful and completely alter the dialogue. How I Met Your Mother and Seinfeld have them, but they didn’t rely on their usage. Meaning the jokes weren’t meant for a punchline that would incorporate the laugh track like Friends. 

  Another flaw is the dated humor that Friends relied on when it was airing. If you were to go back and watch, there was a great deal of racist, homophobic, and fat shaming included in the episodes. Now I understand that the ’90s were a different time period then 2019, the point is that a great show has to date well. 

  Look, if you want to see for yourself and you haven’t seen any of the shows I mentioned, watch two or three of them before watching Friends. This leads to my final case for why Friends is overrated… timing. Friends was the first of its kind, or the most popular of its kind at the time it was airing. I watched all four before trying to sit down and watch Friends. It didn’t go well.