1 9 9 4 – 2 0 0 4 (USA)
236 x 30 minute episodes
Friends debuted on 22 September 1994 featuring a most unremarkable scenario – a group of six bright young twenty-something friends living in the same apartment building in New York.
The six friends included assistant chef Monica Geller (Courteney Cox), a young woman trying to find “Mr Right”, and a sort of den mother to the others, including her museum worker brother Ross (David Schwimmer), whose wife had left him. Monica’s room-mates were Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) and flakey Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow).
Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) and would-be actor Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) shared another apartment in the same building.
When they weren’t hanging out in their apartments, the friends usually congregated at the Central Perk coffeehouse in Greenwich Village, where they discussed dates and dating, work and working, and one another.
Also appearing on occasion were Christina Pickles and Elliott Gould as Ross and Monica’s parents; Tom Selleck as Monica’s much older boyfriend, Richard; Jane Sibbett as Carol, Ross’s lesbian ex-wife; and Jessica Hecht as Susan, Carol’s rather grim companion.
Episodes revolved around jobs, dating, parenthood, marriage, divorce, and just getting along in New York City.
The first year on the air, Friends placed eighth in the Nielsen ratings. Several of the show’s major cast members subsequently became film stars, in addition to appearing in this hit TV series.
The show was originally titled Insomnia Cafe. It was then renamed to Friends Like Us, and then Six of One before sticking with the title we all know and love.
Dr Richard Burke