Review: Friends - Season 1

The One Where I Finally Got the Appeal

by Kurnia Cahya Putra

Friends (1994) Season: 1
Created by David Crane and Matha Kauffman
Starring Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc,
Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, and Lisa Kudrow

OK, it's been a really long time since I've blogged and tonight I just feel like it. I'm still on my holiday now. The weather outside my window is not very... pretty. It's raining, and there's wind coming in. A lot of wind. Well, I love that, actually. I've always been a big fan of rain and this holiday has a lot of them. And when I mean a lot, it's every day. So I'm a pretty happy camper.

I didn't do much. I'm trying to be as productive as possible. I've sent my manuscript to a publisher, I'm working on a new one and I'm not gonna kid you, it is so frickin' hard to do. Anyway, I got hooked on this incredible show! It's... drum-roll, please... FRIENDS! Yeah, I know. Where were you thousands of years ago, right? I'm sorry, I just never got my hands on it and I thought it's just some kind of a standard, not-very-must-see sitcom. But boy, was I wrong? I finally got the first season from my very best friend and I finished it in like... a week or so. Not to mention I was very busy at that time, so it was pretty fast.

Well, if you've been living under a rock, I'm gonna tell you a little bit about it. In short, Friends is a TV show about the lives, loves, and laughs of six young friends living in Manhattan (yeah, it's the premise that is written on IMDb). It's very fun, witty, and it is one of the sitcoms that actually makes me laugh! So, yay!

The first episode, or The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate (Friends' episode titles are inspired by the saying, "did you see that episode? The one where... blah, blah,") begins with the group discussing about Monica's date later that night in a coffee shop (which we all know to be the infamous Central Perk). This initial scene is pretty successful in introducing me to the main characters and their dynamic. There's Joey (Matt LeBlanc), an aspiring actor who's also a womanizer; Chandler (Matthew Perry), a witty lad who uses humor as his defense mechanism; Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), a ditzy eccentric musician; Monica (Courteney Cox), a neurotic control-freak cook; and Ross (David Schwimmer), a goofy and awkward paleontologist who recently got divorced to his lesbian wife. Later, the group is joined by Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica's former high-school friend who just ran away from her wedding, and is also the 'guide' for the audience as they see things through her eyes.

The rest of the season is spent on establishing who these characters through all sorts of fun scenarios like a blackout, a poker match, a death in the family, etc. The audience learns new things from them as they go along, like how Monica is such a control-freak for how she behaves in the Thanksgiving episode, how Chandler actually hates his job because he wants to quit even though he gets a promotion, etc. There aren't a lot of arcs that go on for long, and the episodes are pretty much stand-alones. Some of the bigger storylines are probably Ross having a monkey and Ross' ex-wife having a baby (which provides a lot of sweet moments for the show). However, the most prominent one is arguably Ross and Rachel's romance, which is the foundation of the entire season. I gotta say, they handled it pretty well. They made me care enough about the situation, and I never got bored with the whole 'will-they-won't-they' aspect of it. Well, at least for this season. Aniston and Schwimmer had good chemistry, and I found myself rooting for Ross.

The comedic aspect of the show is really good. I always found myself grinning or chuckling every episode, and sometimes even laughing. Mostly thanks to Phoebe and Chandler, my favorite characters. The same can't be said for any other sitcoms that I've watched like How I Met Your Mother or Modern Family. I just can't get through them. Friends, on the other hand, is very easy to get through. It also has a lot of heart. There are moments throughout the season that would just make you sigh in contentment.

The cast did an excellent job in their respective roles, and they had some great chemistry right from the get go. You'd definitely believe that these people are good friends. I want to give a shout-out to Matthew Perry, though, who had the best comedic timing and was very great at delivering jokes. Lisa Kudrow, who embodied Phoebe perfectly that she became my favorite character, and Jennifer Aniston, who still managed to be likable in spite of being a spoiled brat.

Nevertheless, Friends is hardly a ground-breaking show. It is very simple, standard, and it always stays in the safe zone. You won't find anything like brilliant writing, Oscar-worthy performance, or mind-blowing storyline. It is a story of a bunch of friends living together and that's it. For a first season, it succeeds in introducing me to its characters, and how fun and entertaining they could be together. If you need something to rest your brain after a long day of work, Friends is the answer. You won't have to think too much and you'll laugh. That's a guarantee. 7/10.

Kurnia Cahya Putra

A self-proclaimed movie geek.

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