The TV series Friends was recently reviewed in The New York Times as “enormously easy to watch”. This characteristic does not make the show unique, nor can it account for its popularity today, more than 15 years since its final episode.
The reason why a lot is overlooked regarding the show has more to do with the viewers’ transposition to a time when there were no smartphones or social platforms, and more time, apparently, to “waste” with friends.
The show revolves around a simple core. In the opinion of both critics and fans, Friends is about friendship. A friendship that is constantly reset by the screenwriter and made to last regardless of circumstances and difficulties. This is the “secret” for capturing an audience in search of rewarding viewing.
We long for a friendship which moves people’s hearts, regardless of the distance from which we observe this friendship.
Friendship, inside and outside the family, is in itself capable of being an element of stability and certainty—perhaps, at times, the only element of stability and certainty—and is a promise that inspires us all. The more we advance in an age of loneliness, urban isolation and conversations turned into online chats, the more we are attracted to the parallel, almost fantastic, world in which friends do not forget you, stay by your side, or come back to you in spite of any circumstances or personal differences. From this seed comes the hope that we will find people who will always be by our side, help us to overcome obstacles more easily, and help us regain our smile and our peace on dull or depressing days.
We long for a friendship which moves people’s hearts, regardless of the distance from which we observe this friendship. No matter how we build our life, we remain sensitive to one of its most delicate experiences, encompassing the need for emotional correspondence, emotional support, and company—friendship. We want a friendship that takes all the blows, is affected by them, but keeps on going.
We are constantly looking for hope to empower us to believe and carry on. Irrespective of how realistic, relativistic or cynical we have become, deep down, we secretly hold in our hearts what for some remains only a fantasy: the long-lasting friendship we keep feeling nostalgic for.
Norel Iacob is Editor in Chief of ST Network and Semnele timpului.