Why was Friends so popular?

Why was the TV series "Friends" so popular before it ended? I tried watching some re-runs on TBS, but I seriously cannot get into it nor comprehend why it's so funny. I think Seinfeld is a MUCH more clever show, and some of the other older TV shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and The King of Queens were much better. Friends just seems to be full of people who are supposed to be relatively smart that, that act dumber than they really are, and only care about sex and whatnot. I just don't get it. Is it the attractive cast that made it so popular or what?
 

ronalditop

Hall of Fame
im with you, i dont get why it was so popular, i have watched a few episodes and it doesnt even make me smile. Its not funny, just plain dumb. Now Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond are funny shows.
 

10sfreak

Semi-Pro
I was/am a huge fan of "Friends", though I can't really tell you why...same as "Seinfeld", "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Frasier" - loved the shows, but can't really say what it is I liked about them....
Of course, having a hottie like Jennifer Aniston (and at one time, earlier in the show, Courtney Cox was hot) didn't hurt either...
 

NickC

Professional
Seinfeld was brilliant. Both of my sisters love Friends, and they've filled the TiVO box with reruns and more reruns. I've seen a few episodes, and still can't understand why they like it so much. It really isn't that funny.
 

Azzurri

Legend
Seinfeld had incredibly funny characters (even the bit players). It was not the same after Larry david left, but still great.

Friends? Here is my opinion; Friends was a very good show until Ross got together with Rachel. he then became and incredibly annoying character and the show was really queer. Something changed and I stopped watching after 4 years. The characters just became too unreal and annoying. You are probably watching most of the shows from after year 2...the show pretty much sucked.
 

jmverdugo

Hall of Fame
I am a big fan of both Friends and Seinfield. I can see reruns and still LMAO, not particular reason why. On another note, I find funny that people say some of the "old" series and mention Everybody Loves Raymond and King of Queen... I think of Cheers!
 

scotus

G.O.A.T.
Back then, NBC was clever to put together their strongest shows in one evening -- the "must-see TV" Thursday lineup.

People usually tuned into see Friends, Seinfeld, and ER straight through and never changed channels.
 

mozzer

Hall of Fame
Friends is one of my favourite programmes. I like it because there are a mix of characters with different personalitys yet they all incorporate humour!
 

fps

Legend
on a side note, i really really don't find seinfeld funny. i've tried several times to watch it, maybe i should start right at the beginning. i just don't get it.

friends is very easy to watch. the pacing of the storylines and the way they are interwoven is brilliant. often different friends are doing different things but it never feels like the show has been cut into bits to let that happen. so, storyboarding and pacing are outstanding, the cast is great, especially chandler and phoebe.
 

10sfreak

Semi-Pro
^^^I think you have to watch several episodes of Seinfeld in order to "get it". You have to get to know the characters a little bit, then you understand the humor in the situations they all get into.
 

fps

Legend
^^^I think you have to watch several episodes of Seinfeld in order to "get it". You have to get to know the characters a little bit, then you understand the humor in the situations they all get into.
cool. i think my friend had season 6 or 7, somewhere around there? are there that many? i'll watch a few tonight perhaps.
 

pabletion

Hall of Fame
Im a big Friends fan, specially when theres nothing else on, I love to watch the re runs; my gf bought the whole series box and I still like to watch. Its a matter of taste maybe, my older brother swears doesnt like it, but every now and then I hear him watching re runs and laughing... so...... dunno. What I liked about it? Its not about one or two characters, but seems like the show was really about all six of them, sharing stardom and everyone of them having their moments during the show. I loved it when Chandler and Joey were still roomates, the ones where they switch appartments? classic.

Now the Sein, thats Gold. I cant get enough of Seinfeld, thats the best show ever for me.
 

35ft6

Legend
It was good for the time, but I agree it's not an eternal classic like Seinfeld. Now there are tons of shows about people in their late 20, early 30's who hang out, behave like teenagers, insult each other, hook up, and act quirky, but Friends, far as I can remember, was the first, and at the time, it seemed different.

Also, except for Courtney Cox and the dude who played Joey, it was like an all star team of exceptional comic actors. You know what show really sucks? The Cosby Show. I tried watching a re-run and I was amazed at how dumb it was. And not funny at all. The audience laughed at everything. Worst top rated show ever.
 

kimbahpnam

Hall of Fame
It was good for the time, but I agree it's not an eternal classic like Seinfeld. Now there are tons of shows about people in their late 20, early 30's who hang out, behave like teenagers, insult each other, hook up, and act quirky, but Friends, far as I can remember, was the first, and at the time, it seemed different.

Also, except for Courtney Cox and the dude who played Joey, it was like an all star team of exceptional comic actors. You know what show really sucks? The Cosby Show. I tried watching a re-run and I was amazed at how dumb it was. And not funny at all. The audience laughed at everything. Worst top rated show ever.
joey (matt leblanc) was the funniest
 

ambro

Professional
Not my favorite show ever (not even top 10), but I think it's pretty good. Joey and Chandler were hilarious, I couldn't stand Ross. Two hot chicks plus a decently funny Phoebe, and the show is pretty solid. Not great, but solid.
 
I thought Seinfeld was entertaining back in the 90s...
But now I can't stand the show... Same for Friends....
Everyone Loves Raymond is infinitely more annoying...
Especially the parents...
 

davey

Rookie
Friends was popular because people are morons and like stupid stuff. How do you explain the popularity and subsequent sequels of of the Fast and the Furious? Transformer movies? Jay Leno? Britney Spears music? American Idol?
 
It was good for the time, but I agree it's not an eternal classic like Seinfeld. Now there are tons of shows about people in their late 20, early 30's who hang out, behave like teenagers, insult each other, hook up, and act quirky, but Friends, far as I can remember, was the first, and at the time, it seemed different.
Yes, thats the reason.
 

LanEvo

Hall of Fame
the show was funny, tho for "Everybody Loves Raymond" i never enjoyed all the episode there were a few ok ones, but i never rally enjoyed those
 

kimbahpnam

Hall of Fame
friends copied so much from seinfeld...that's why it was good. they did put their own twist to it and marketed to a younger audience which helped. really most of all, like seinfeld, they had good chemistry

some of the writers were the same as well
 
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The funny parts of Everybody Loves Raymond are:

1. His parents being in the past. I have parents that are like Rays parents except that they dont have plastic over their furniture. Even my parents think they're funny.

2. The mother who can cook anything and the wife that sucks at cooking and hate each other and the mother is ignorant of peoples feelings when she tries to "help".

3. Raymond ignorant in the marriage when it comes to responsibility and always screws up the romantic moments by acting awkward.

4. And of course how his brother always gets bad luck and is jealous of Ray.
 

hankash

Rookie
Friends was popular because people are morons and like stupid stuff. How do you explain the popularity and subsequent sequels of of the Fast and the Furious? Transformer movies? Jay Leno? Britney Spears music? American Idol?
haha speaking of Transformers sequels, I went to watch it with my brother (he used to read the comics and watched the first), and it must have been one of the first movies I have ever seen. We were walking out of the theater, and these guys behind us were saying how great it was.

On Friends, never liked it, never watched it. Would rather watch the French Prince of Bel-Air or Seinfeld.
 
Everyone Loves Raymond is infinitely more annoying...
Especially the parents...
that's the point of the show! Part of the situation that makes the comedy (hence a sitcom) is the fact that Raymond's parents live across from them and make their lives hell. The parents being annoying/jerks is one of the running gags.
 
Friends was popular because people are morons and like stupid stuff. How do you explain the popularity and subsequent sequels of of the Fast and the Furious? Transformer movies? Jay Leno? Britney Spears music? American Idol?
Well put, almost my exact opinion on Friends. I found the humour on Friends very unsophisticated and almost "stooge-ish" at times. Chracters like Phobe and Joey were seemingly inserted by the writers to insult the viewers considerng both play into the roles of the group idiot who get's into a whole cluster**** of trouble to set up some horrible physical comedy. If you want to see sophisticated comedy, watch Frasier.
 

SFrazeur

Legend
I do not get it either. It's one of those shows I figured wouldn't last a season or so. Other notable 1 season only predictions of mine include "Touched by an Angel," "3rd Rock From the Sun," and "Survivor" and reality programs in general.

-SF
 
that's the point of the show! Part of the situation that makes the comedy (hence a sitcom) is the fact that Raymond's parents live across from them and make their lives hell. The parents being annoying/jerks is one of the running gags.
It's just this kind of comedy that makes me want to blow up everyone in the damn show....
Ray Romano was awesome as the voice of Manfred the Moody Mammoth in the Ice Age films.
 

kimbahpnam

Hall of Fame
Well put, almost my exact opinion on Friends. I found the humour on Friends very unsophisticated and almost "stooge-ish" at times. Chracters like Phobe and Joey were seemingly inserted by the writers to insult the viewers considerng both play into the roles of the group idiot who get's into a whole cluster**** of trouble to set up some horrible physical comedy. If you want to see sophisticated comedy, watch Frasier.
frasier and niles were a great duo
 
D

Deleted member 25923

Guest
Seinfeld is great. I was too young to notice in its heyday though. It is hilarious after you understand each character.

What bugged me was Elaine's hair though. Strange.
 

Rickson

G.O.A.T.
It seemed odd that not 1 friend had a NY accent. I do know a lot of New Yorkers who don't actually have a NY accent, but 0 for 6 is pushing it.
 

albino smurf

Professional
I like how all of those shows people can be complete frickin idiots with no jobs or skills yet they live fat lives in NYC. Seems realistic enough...
 

SempreSami

Hall of Fame
Well put, almost my exact opinion on Friends. I found the humour on Friends very unsophisticated and almost "stooge-ish" at times. Chracters like Phobe and Joey were seemingly inserted by the writers to insult the viewers considerng both play into the roles of the group idiot who get's into a whole cluster**** of trouble to set up some horrible physical comedy. If you want to see sophisticated comedy, watch Frasier.
Frasier was just so well written, definitely my favourite American sitcom.
 

icedevil0289

G.O.A.T.
It was good for the time, but I agree it's not an eternal classic like Seinfeld. Now there are tons of shows about people in their late 20, early 30's who hang out, behave like teenagers, insult each other, hook up, and act quirky, but Friends, far as I can remember, was the first, and at the time, it seemed different.

Also, except for Courtney Cox and the dude who played Joey, it was like an all star team of exceptional comic actors. You know what show really sucks? The Cosby Show. I tried watching a re-run and I was amazed at how dumb it was. And not funny at all. The audience laughed at everything. Worst top rated show ever.
are you kidding, I love the Cosby Show. I think it's a hilarious show, but hey to each his/her own. I could never really get into Seinfeld.
 

35ft6

Legend
What bugged me was Elaine's hair though. Strange.
You know what bugged me? Kramer. Hated that character. To me, he's to Seinfeld what Lisa Simpson is to The Simpsons -- any storyline revolving around Lisa and Kramer kind of sucks for me.

George Costanza, though... the best sitcom character in history? It's either him or Homer Simpson. Every 3 or 4 years I rediscover Seinfeld, start watching it obsessively.
 
friends copied so much from seinfeld...that's why it was good. they did put their own twist to it and marketed to a younger audience which helped. really most of all, like seinfeld, they had good chemistry

some of the writers were the same as well
Brillstein put really, really skilled wirters on Friends. That was the good part. And they knew Seinfeld was for 30+ yr old men, mostly. They wanted something similar for the lucrative female 18-34 demographic. Ever pay attention to the ads during Friends? Softlips, feminine products, deodorant. As a bonus, they got a LOT of make viewership because girls watched religiously every Thursday night. This show COULD not fail. Great writers and a golden time slot.

It seemed odd that not 1 friend had a NY accent. I do know a lot of New Yorkers who don't actually have a NY accent, but 0 for 6 is pushing it.
Well, I have not watched a lot of Friends episodes, but I felt the Matt LeBlanc character had a little NY accent. Bridge and Tunnel accent, really. Many Manhattanites do not have a thick accent. I am guessing they can explain some of the no-NY accent thing away with the transplant phenomenon. Were most of the characters supposedly raised in the Tri-State area?

Also, they tried to cover the Jewish, Italian and the WASP population. I felt the Puerto Rican, Irish, African American were nonexistent in the City of NY. One trip to Central Perk tells you that it's really all white people in Manhattan. And very few gays.

That show will love forever.;-)
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
friends copied so much from seinfeld
They sure did. Larry David rightfully resented how they did that. They stole from Seinfeld and also were so inferior. They had no ear for what was funny about Seifneld. Larry David made a movie, "Sour Grapes" and in it he spoofs a show like "Friends". The show leads off with 6 people dancing around a maypole, making a human pyramid, the way cheerleaders do, all the while a song goes on about how tight they are. A great spoof of "Friends" and one that's spot on. A "Seinfeld" with no edge, just manufactured sentimentality to fill the cracks instead of clever observations. IMHO, anyway.
 

fps

Legend
They sure did. Larry David rightfully resented how they did that. They stole from Seinfeld and also were so inferior. They had no ear for what was funny about Seifneld. Larry David made a movie, "Sour Grapes" and in it he spoofs a show like "Friends". The show leads off with 6 people dancing around a maypole, making a human pyramid, the way cheerleaders do, all the while a song goes on about how tight they are. A great spoof of "Friends" and one that's spot on. A "Seinfeld" with no edge, just manufactured sentimentality to fill the cracks instead of clever observations. IMHO, anyway.
i tried again and i still don't get seinfeld. every show's sentimentality is "manufactured", you could be cynical about every single thing on tv. but friends can be really heartwarming, and that is to do with the perspective with which you view it. any popular tv show in the US can be viewed as an unstoppable machine, a juggernaut of writers producers and directors thrashing out season after season to make money.

in the UK the best sitcoms tend to be a lot shorter, involve a smaller team, and as a result often appear more lovingly crafted, especially compared with the episodes of a US comedy that come AFTER those that the originators of the show really WANTED to make. you know what i mean- there are episodes of frasier, scrubs, etc in the early seasons that have the kind of care and detail in them that scream "i have been bubbling in the heads of my creators on and off for months, maybe YEARS!" then that gets lost sight of as the industry of comedy takes over. in the UK writers leave it where it is when it feels "done", and move on to something else.

friends got better very quickly, and was aspirational and easy to identify with. i think the cast is great, except monica. and chandler in the later years changed totally, getting dragged down by monica. but that was after the juggernaut was set off.
 

JoshDragon

Hall of Fame
It was good for the time, but I agree it's not an eternal classic like Seinfeld. Now there are tons of shows about people in their late 20, early 30's who hang out, behave like teenagers, insult each other, hook up, and act quirky, but Friends, far as I can remember, was the first, and at the time, it seemed different.

Also, except for Courtney Cox and the dude who played Joey, it was like an all star team of exceptional comic actors. You know what show really sucks? The Cosby Show. I tried watching a re-run and I was amazed at how dumb it was. And not funny at all. The audience laughed at everything. Worst top rated show ever.
No, Full house must have been way worse than the Cosby Show. Nostalgia critic did a review on it. If he reviews it, you know it's bad. http://www.thatguywiththeglasses.co...iththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/7511-fullhouse
 

Deuce

Banned
Friends was popular because people are morons and like stupid stuff. How do you explain the popularity and subsequent sequels of of the Fast and the Furious? Transformer movies? Jay Leno? Britney Spears music? American Idol?
^ Bingo.

Friends was popular because intelligence was virtually non-existent in the show.
The populace are made up primarily of dumb people who enjoy dumb shows where they don't have to think.
Thinking is the enemy.
 

10sfreak

Semi-Pro
^ Bingo.

Friends was popular because intelligence was virtually non-existent in the show.
The populace are made up primarily of dumb people who enjoy dumb shows where they don't have to think.
Thinking is the enemy.
As someone who was/is a Friends fan, I tend to agree with this. My time in front of the TV watching Friends was for laughs/relaxation - I didn't tune in to the show for intellectual stimulation. In fact, when it comes to sitcoms, isn't that really the main purpose - to make us laugh?
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
As someone who was/is a Friends fan, I tend to agree with this. My time in front of the TV watching Friends was for laughs/relaxation - I didn't tune in to the show for intellectual stimulation. In fact, when it comes to sitcoms, isn't that really the main purpose - to make us laugh?
That's what was good about the Seinfeld tenets of "no hugging and no learning". I don't like a preachy sitcom. Sitcoms shouldn't try to be something they're not. And the touchy-feely faux sentimentality doesn't work well on something as artificial as a sitcom, with its celebrity guests and laugh track.

I'm usually just relaxing when the tv is on as well. But "Friends" would open with that scene of them dancing in the fountain and playing with umbrellas, and there was no way I could enjoy whatever was to follow. That kitschy scene was just too much of a buzzkill.
 

fps

Legend
That's what was good about the Seinfeld tenets of "no hugging and no learning". I don't like a preachy sitcom. Sitcoms shouldn't try to be something they're not. And the touchy-feely faux sentimentality doesn't work well on something as artificial as a sitcom, with its celebrity guests and laugh track.

I'm usually just relaxing when the tv is on as well. But "Friends" would open with that scene of them dancing in the fountain and playing with umbrellas, and there was no way I could enjoy whatever was to follow. That kitschy scene was just too much of a buzzkill.
well ok, but a lot of people enjoyed the escapism.

the "this show isn't intelligent, anyone who watches it must be stupid" argument falls down because at the end of a hard day at work, not everyone wants to dive headlong into a documentary.
 
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