This coming Monday (September 22nd) marks the 20th anniversary of the first airing of the first episode of the sitcom Friends. And while I could blather on about how that makes me feel “soooo old!” instead, Friends reminds me more of my friends and the bonds we formed over the show. But more than that, Friends was simply fine television. Yeah, it was (and still is) easy to make fun of its broadness and archetypical characters, or put down for being too fluffy and inconsequential, but Friends demonstrated a power that had only been captured by a handful of sitcoms before it. It was a show that was easy for everyone to watch. Whether you laughed with the cast or at it, you still laughed, and you still watched because there was just some about it that was so appealing.
I didn’t watch Friends from the start. In fact, even when I started watching the show, I didn’t think of it in any significant way until I started seeing girls in my classes with the infamous “Rachel” haircut. In September 1994, I was a college sophomore. I had just moved into a new dorm room with a dear friend and a brand new 13-inch(!) TV that I had received for my birthday. This meant we didn’t have to congregate in one of the common rooms with strangers around a television; we could watch whatever we wanted whenever we wanted! (Read: we could watch whatever channels we were lucky enough to receive through the college’s piddly cable contract. Thankfully that included the major networks, at least.)