September 22, 1994: The One Where It All Began. “Friends” aired their first episode that day and captured the lives of so many people. It is something that even younger generations watch and admire. It is labeled as a comedy and romance TV show, but to many people, it’s so much more.
Personally, I can rewatch “Friends” over and over. It never gets old. There are a ton of reasons why I love the show, but there is more to it than what it seems. Each character brought forth a life lesson that everyone can appreciate.
Lesson: It’s never too late to grow up.
In the first episode, Rachel Green storms into the coffee house looking for her old friend, Monica Geller. She left her husband at the altar and left behind all of her family and friends to pursue a different life. She was spoiled, rich and stuck-up child, but turned into a hard-working, driven woman. She started making her own life decisions and actually started to live.
Lesson: Never be embarrassed about who you are.
Monica was crazy about a lot of things, and organizing was one of them. When someone needed help, she was always there with her label marker, binders and ribbons to make whatever the issue was detailed and structured. She was never ashamed of who she was when it came to her OCD.
Lesson: We get to choose our family.
For a character who is so positive and exciting, Phoebe is definitely someone who was dealt a bad deck of cards. Between her mother’s suicide, her un-loving twin sister and the abandonment of her father, she taught us the most important life lesson of them all. Family doesn’t need to be blood-related and it sure doesn’t need to be perfect. All that matters is being surrounded by people who love and care.
Lesson: At any point in life, it is OK to start over.
At the age of 30, Chandler quit his job because he was no longer happy with his career path. He wanted something new and fresh. He stuck out the hard times of not having a steady income until he found his love for advertising. Life isn’t meant to be lived in misery and it’s never too late for life to begin.
Lesson: It’s OK to make mistakes when it comes to love.
After being married and divorced three times, I think Ross Geller is the expert at love and loss. Just because love doesn’t work out the first time, doesn’t mean it won’t happen with someone else. Ross showed the world that soulmates are real; everyone has a lobster.
Lesson: Never give up, despite what people think.
It is clear that Joey was never the perfect actor. Between Ichiban and the spilt milk commercial, it is safe to say that work never comes easy. Regardless of what his friends thought, Joey went to audition after audition in order to do what he loved.
The last episode of Friends when they give up their keys to Monica’s apartment. Gif made by Sophia DeVito.
If there is one thing to take away from this show, it is that true friends will always have your back. These characters may be fictional, but they provided their audience with a good laugh, cry, happiness and joy.
Jessica Heritage, a senior at SUNY Plattsburgh, makes “Friends” a part of her life. “I’ll always find an excuse to watch ‘Friends.’ I was so happy when Netflix added it.”
Thank you, James Burrows, the director, for 236 episodes that changes lives for the better.