Dubai Diaries: Why 'Friends' will always be special
Here’s to friendship, and to that talented bunch of actors who have so often brought a smile to our faces and lifted our spirits.
How reflective of real life is the friendship between Chandler, Phoebe, Ross, Monica, Joey and Rachel? This is a question I’ve often pondered, over years of watching re-runs of my favourite sitcom, Friends.
When the program first went on the air in the ‘90s, I was a college-going teen in India who had no access to cable TV in my comfortable but basic student hostel; a vintage single television set beamed into the ground-floor ‘common room’ a grand total of two local Indian channels. Then, in an issue of Smash Hits I purchased while on a short vacation to my parents in Dubai, I noticed a Friends feature, and decided almost instantly that I wanted a ‘Rachel’ haircut.
I began watching the series years after it first released, and loved it from the very first episode where a drenched and bridal gown-clad Rachel blunders into Central Perk, seeking refuge with her old friend Monica who “wasn’t invited to the wedding.” That line struck a chord with me for some reason. Often we have friends who we haven’t seen for years, perhaps we haven’t invited them to special occasions in our lives, but they remain friends nevertheless.
It is a special bond that can never be fully explained. And according to me the acid test of friendship is when you may not be there for the good times, but you will always be there for the bad, you’ll be a shoulder to cry on, a confidant, even if it is from a thousand miles away through a Zoom call.
The special friendship of Chandler, Phoebe, Ross, Monica, Joey and Rachel also made me reflect on how we all have friends who may have different outlooks on life, different perspectives, traits — yet a bond (again inexplicably) develops and endures.
None of the other ‘friends’ share Monica’s obsession with cleaning (which I can personally relate to). Phoebe’s quirks and bohemian attitude towards life contrast sharply with a stickler for routine and convention, like, say, Ross. Chandler, with his witticisms and hilariously mocking ways, is, well, Chandler (and I don’t think a more perfect television character has ever been created).
Joey has an overtly flirtatious streak, a glimmer of which is visible perhaps only in Phoebe. Rachel is upbeat, funny, charming and my personal favourite. And while their individual personalities may be in stark contrast, their love and respect for each other transcends everything else.
So while some of us may never in real life have the idyllic setting of living with friends in an awesome apartment like Monica’s or hang out daily for hours in a coffee shop talking about everything under the sun, we can still relate to the funny, poignant, sweet and memorable times the motley crew of Friends characters have been through for 10 seasons.
So here’s to friendship, and to that talented bunch of actors — Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry — who have so often brought a smile to our faces and lifted our spirits. Enjoy watching Friends: The Reunion, that releases on May 27!