Friends Revisited

(Welcome to Nostalgia Bomb, a series where we take a look back on beloved childhood favorites and discern whether or not they’re actually any good. In this edition: grappling with Friends, the classic sitcom that is as comforting, and as frustrating, as home.)

I do not know where Friends takes place.

After living in New York for a little over a year (albeit in Brooklyn), and having spent several years prior visiting and familiarizing myself with the landscape, I have no idea where Friends, the culturally ubiquitous sitcom that aired for 10 years on NBC from 1994 to 2004, is set. Its frequent establishing shots suggest lower Manhattan, in the East and West Villages, but its actual references to New York landmarks are few and far between, and its attempt to create an artificial version of New York so blatantly casts aside any version of the city that it barely qualifies as an “idea of New York” the way that Woody Allen’s Manhattan or How I Met Your Mother do.

I’ve spent most of my life with Friends. Late nights sick or bored. Friends, with its unchanging landscape and immovable sense of time, its reliably growing or immaturing of its six leads, is insular, never engaging or touching a reality outside of itself, like the Bermuda Triangle of ‘90s sitcoms. And yet, for all of its lack of change, and its consistent hegemony and homogeneity, or because of it, it feels a bit like home.

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Aardman Animation - Morning Watch

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, learn about the specific clay that’s used in the stop-motion animation from Aardman Animation. Plus, watch the Friends movie trailer that had the internet freaking out recently, and see the theatrical trailer for Maze Runner: The Death Cure recreated in LEGO form. Read More »

Jay-Z Friends Remake - Morning Watch

(The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.)

In this edition, a clever video provides beat-by-beat instructions for how to make a proper blockbuster movie trailer, and a video essay explores the prominence of punching in movies and how to make it feel significant. Plus, Jay-Z‘s latest music video for his track “Moonlight” is actually a remake of the sitcom Friends but with black actors in all of the roles. Read More »

reese witherspoon jennifer aniston

The Green girls are back together once again.

Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston are set to reunite after appearing together as sisters in Friends to star in a TV series about the world of morning shows. It’ll be a return to the small screen for Aniston, who made her name and won an Emmy for her role in Friends, and another notch in Witherspoon’s new career as a prestige television actress after her Emmy-nominated turn in Big Little Lies.

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/Response: Your Favorite TV Episodes of All Time

the wire middle ground

(Welcome to /Response, the companion piece to our /Answers series and a space where /Film readers can chime in and offer their two cents on a particular question.)

Earlier this week, the /Film team wrote about their favorite TV episodes of all time. We then opened the floor to our readers: what is your favorite episode of television? And you let us know!

We have collected our favorite answers (edited for length and clarity) below. Next week’s question: what is your favorite movie gunfight? Send your (at least one paragraph, please) answer to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com!

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

home alone friends connection

Shared universes are all the rage these days, but did you know that both Friends and Home Alone were years ahead of the curve, meticulously building a single wacky comedy world that contains both the shenanigans of Kevin McCallister and the hijinks of Rachel Green and her buddies?

Eh. Not really. But as a new video points out, there is an amusing connection between the beloved 1990 film and the popular NBC sitcom that could convince a delirious mind otherwise.

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POTD: Kagan McLeod’s The Ghosts of Sitcoms Past

Kagan McLeod created this illustration featuring the mant actors and actresses from the past years of multi-camera sitcom history. How many of the 50 characters do you reccognize? Answer key on the National Post.

VOTD: TV Kisses

In honor of Valentine’s Day, TV Squad created a three minute supercut montage of both contemporary and classic television characters kissing. Hit the jump to watch the video.
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Friends: The Movie (Cross Your Heart)

Not sure how old I was, but I remember reading EW‘s “TV Preview,” drinking Barq’s on the couch, and I came across a new show called Friends. In that kid way, off one picture and a “skeptical” description, I knew it was going to be a hit. “Arm-chair executives,” we were labeled later. God, I hope this effing movie doesn’t happen.

A British tabloid reports that a big-screen version of Friends is indeed happening within “18 months,” due to the success of Sex and the City. Hey, 40-year-olds can still be friends in a genuine way, right? [koff] As long as everybody stays out of law school and blogs. The inside source provides a verbal mudslide of choice quotes, like this one…

‘What’s held back a Friends movie so far is that people were worried that Jennifer [Aniston] had simply become too famous to play Rachel again. …It really comes down to money, and I don’t think Jen has a problem with all of the Friends getting huge paydays for the movie.”

The Rembrandts await the call, as do a couple million people on exercise machines, and coffee shops. And the monkey (not that monkey)! Ladies and gentlemen, if this is the post-9/11 Big Chill, I hope somebody blows up the set.

Discuss: Friends, how many of us have them?