Twenty years ago today, audiences tuning in to NBC had no idea they were watching the birth of a sitcom that would shape the decade. Sure “Friends” had a catchy theme song and fabulous hair, but who could've guessed it would take on such pop culture significance?
Yet despite its popularity, there remain those of us who have never seen a single episode. Confession: I am one of those people. Sure, I know the theme song – *clap clap clap clap* – and have absorbed knowledge via Internet osmosis over the years. But how accurate can that be? Let's find out. Here's everything I know about “Friends,” despite never watching the show.
#1 – So there's this group of friends – ho ho! – that are young 20-somethings living in NYC in a time of terrible 90s fashion. It was the darkest timeline.
#2 – Only they live in comically large apartments that look as if they were decorated by a manic toddler who loves bright colors and tchotchkes.
#3 – How they pay for these apartments is a mystery. Do any of them have jobs? “Friends” is basically “Girls” before “Girls” clearly some real adult is bankrolling this lifestyle.
#4 – There are six main cast members: three girls and three boys. I assume so they can all hook up with no loose ends because 1994 primetime TV wasn't about to showcase LBGT people as normal.
#5 – So we've got Courteney Cox, who has to wear a fat suit in flashbacks to account for her neuroses, and her brother, the nerd. Then we've got Jennifer Aniston, who must be the Hot Chick™ because ever woman in American immediately wanted her haircut. The hippie lady who sings about Smelly Cats rounds out the girls. The Nerd's buddies are a greaser caricature and Matthew Perry.
#6 – Everybody hangs out at some coffee shop, because the scourge that is Starbucks hadn't engulfed every mom'n'pop in America. They sat on couches and talked and probably read magazines instead of wondering if the wifi is down and glaring at that bitch who's been plugged in for three hours even though that MacBook is obviously at 100% battery life…not that they'd spy over her shoulder to check!
#7 – Courteney Cox is really unhappy that her Nerd brother likes the Hot Chick™, because she doesn't understand how narratives work. At some point, Aniston and the guy hook up, probably date, maybe get married? There's either a break-up or a divorce and then the cycle repeats until ratings bottom out or salary renegotiations become higher than some countries' GNP.
#8 – The greaser hangs out with a pet duck and a chicken at some point, maybe?
#9 – I have no idea what Matthew Perry is doing here, and based on every photo and GIF of his expression, neither does he.
#10 – Smelly Cat hippie loves scrunchies and hair chopsticks and overalls and today would be considered a “crunchy granola.”
#11 – Okay, so the plot of this show: Every week middle-class white people invent their own problems through a series of misunderstandings coupled with self-loathing and neuroses to create a miasma of self-perpetuating arrested development. Wackiness ensues.