Could Friends be a more realistic depiction of twentyfoursomething life? From the second Monica ushered Rachel into the world of poverty, dead-end jobs, and quarter-life crises, the series became a beacon for flailing twentyfoursomething everywhere. And 20 years after its 1994 debut, it still holds up. New Girl or Girls, for example, which cover the same demographic, deliver great jokes and are fantastic shows, but they’re not a patch on Friends, which hits on aspects of mid-20s life that have universal appeal.
Take Rachel’s fall from privileged daddy’s girl to Central Perk waitress. The job was terrible and she didn’t have the option of bailing to “focus on blogging”. Comparatively, Chandler, Monica, and Ross, had jobs which paid well enough to sustain not only their modest lifestyles, but made up for their less-than-financially stable roommates – which became a point of contention in the season-two episode, The One With Five Steaks and an Eggplant.
However, instead of an overly dramatic blowout (see Marnie and Hannah’s fight in the first season of Girls), the group quarreled briefly – like most humans would – then reunited as soon as Monica got fired at the episode’s end, when she found herself in the same lower income bracket that Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe had been trying to enlighten everyone about.
In fact, the constant job changeover in Friends embodies the career quest of many people in their mid-to-late 20s. Throughout the series, only Joey’s acting career remained consistent (which rings true for anyone pursuing work in the arts), while the remaining five saw ups (Rachel tackles the fashion industry), downs (Chandler gets laid off and ends up in Kansas), and career changes. Even Ross – who was older and had a PhD – left the museum to teach.
As now FRIENDS has completed 24 years today. Feeling old? So are we!
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