Unpopular Opinion: "Friends" Isn't that Good, and we Should Stop Pretending it is

“Friends” fans, I’m sorry in advance. What you’re about to read may rip your favorite show into pieces, and if you’re upset, just know that my opinion is just my opinion. However: I’m not sorry.

Even if you haven’t seen the show “Friends”, you’ve heard of it. I mean come on, everyone knows what friends is (if not, you’re either a time traveler or maybe you just don’t care. Honestly, more power to you there). “Friends” aired from 1994 to 2004 – a whopping ten seasons and 136 episodes. And for what?

“Slow your roll, Melanie. Why can’t people just enjoy the things that they enjoy?” Of course, you’re absolutely right. I’m just one little writer behind her little laptop screen writing this article to say: I’ve seen “Friends,” and I just don’t understand why you’re all so invested in this series.

Perhaps it’s the 90s nostalgia, the up-and-down romance, the songs about the Smelly Cat – I just couldn’t tell you, it doesn’t do it for me.

cat looking into the camera while sitting in a DIY house Photo by Marthijn Brinks on Unsplash

“Friends” is the blueprint for every generic sitcom, and you can’t tell me I’m wrong either. We’ve got the classic single friend group in their mid-twenties, struggling with usually pretty tame issues every episodes and making a hundred dumb decisions along with it, but always making up in the end. Cute!

But I just don’t get the hype. In recent years, following the extremely overdone obsession of “The Office” (which I do think has its good moments, so don’t come for me on that one), came the die-hard “Friends” fans: we got graphic tees and a little “Friends” pop-up that everyone and their mother went to (a must, apparently, even in the middle of a pandemic).

Especially now in 2021, it’s just dated. And not even really in a retro-fun kind of way either. It’s just so bland. There is no diversity, literally if you asked me to point out Chandler on the street, I couldn’t pick him out. And I know it’s a sitcom, and to a lot of people, a comfort show, but it’s so unrealistic and there are definietly time where all of these “friends” kind of treat each other like garbage and then just move on next episode like nothing ever happened. If you’re not telling me that Ross completely interrupted Rachel’s life and potential, then maybe you need to rewatch.

Warner Bros. Television And as a person who loves fashion, I am constantly baffled by the fixation on Rachel and Monica’s fashion – it’s cute, sure, but I don’t get it (it’s honestly kind of basic). Would I wear it? Sure. But would I workshop “Friends” as 90s fashion icons? Unlikely.

What I think bothers me most about the show is that the plot centers a lot around romance – while there’s  emphasis on their careers, their personalities, etc. it’s about who they went on a date with or how many times Ross and Rachel are on a break versus actually together. And maybe it’s a product of the times, but me watching “Friends” is mostly just being wishing they all would invest in themselves (especially Rachel) as much as they do their romantic interests. Rachel’s job is so cool! Monica is a chef! Joey is an actor!

Maybe I’m just mad that Rachel gave up her dream job in Paris to be with Ross, because girl…why.

paris eiffel tower and city Photo by Andrea Maschio from Unsplash

And finally, it’s just not as funny as everyone says it is. Like it may be a “rom-com,” but the emphasis is more on the “rom” and the extremely corny jokes throughout. How many times can you make sex jokes with your friends (ha) before it gets old? Definitely not for ten seasons, I can tell you that much.

Obviously, this is just my opinion – “Friends” just doesn’t do it for me. But they’ve clearly done something right, as it’s one of the most-watched television shows of all time, and it’s still extremely popular even 17 years later. You got me there, statistics.

Sure, enjoy what you enjoy, but maybe take a deeper look into “Friends” – perhaps ask yourself, “why do I like this show? Is it actually funny, or is it good background noise when I’m answering emails at 1 a.m.?” Only you can know.