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 goofy palaeontologist brother Ross (David Schwimmer), whose pregnant wife had left him when she decided she was a lesbian.
Monica’s roommates were Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) – her best friend since high school – and flakey waiflike folk singer Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow).
Corporate number-cruncher and resident clown 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, Judy and Jack; 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.
Chandler and Monica were married on 17 May 2001 with Joey presiding over the marriage ceremony. They later adopted twins Jack and Erica. In 2004 they announced they were moving to Westchester, and the final episode showed them preparing to leave Manhattan.
Ross married British sourpuss Emily (Helen Baxendale), in England in May 1998 but their wedding brought calamity when Ross inadvertently blurted out Rachel’s name during the ceremony, souring the newlyweds’ relationship. They later divorced.
Ross and Rachel married during a reckless weekend in Las Vegas at the end of the 1998-1999 season, but a few weeks into the next season decided it had been a drunken mistake and got a divorce.
After a one-night stand with Ross, Rachel discovered that she was pregnant. On 16 May 2002, she gave birth to a daughter who she and Ross name Emma. The final episode had Rachel giving up a job offer in Paris to stay in New York with Ross to raise Emma, although they decided not to remarry.
Phoebe agreed to become a surrogate mother for her half-brother Frank (Giovanni Ribisi) and his wife, and in October 1998 bore them triplets. She wanted to keep one – just one – but they declined. After dating numerous men, Phoebe eventually married cute piano player Mike Hannigan on 12 February 2004.
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.
Chandler Muriel Bing
Rachel Karen Green
Joseph (Joey) Francis Tribbiani
Dr Richard Burke
Emily Waltham Geller