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Why was Friends Such a Huge Hit?

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Why was Friends Such a Huge Hit?

Old 09-30-05, 10:05 PM
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Why was Friends Such a Huge Hit?

Although I've never been a huge fan of Friends, due to the massive publicity and high ratings, Friends was an absurdly popular sitcom that was heavily cemented into popular culture during the mid 90s to early 2000s, in much the same way Cheers was a mega hit during most of the 1980s.

Now although I don't despise Friends per se, most of the time I don't know what the fuss is about this show and the cast members, I always get a strong feeling of indifference and mostly regard Friends as somewhat overrated. Not that I actively hate Friends, far from it, I just don't get it.

What made Friends one of the mega hits of the last decade?
Old 09-30-05, 10:12 PM
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4 attractive white people living in NYC, what's not to like about that?
NBC's Must see TV push?
The other chanels gave up on Thursday nights back during Cheers, Cosby, Seinfeld runs?
Old 09-30-05, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Timber
4 attractive white people living in NYC, what's not to like about that?
NBC's Must see TV push?
The other chanels gave up on Thursday nights back during Cheers, Cosby, Seinfeld runs?
Are you suggesting you didn't think two of them were attractive?

I blame a lot of it on the theme song, but I think the third reason in the quote is the reality. Friends was the last show to show up in the time period when NBC could make anything a hit by hammocking it into Thursdays.
Old 09-30-05, 10:22 PM
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Jennifer Aniston kept sneaking raisins on the set.

Old 09-30-05, 10:25 PM
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There are a lot of white people who own TV sets.
Old 09-30-05, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jadzia
There are a lot of white people who own TV sets.
That evokes the Newsradio episode "Daydream". Any chance it was intentional?
Old 09-30-05, 10:33 PM
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I think the reasons it was popular are simple. Great casting, direction and writing. Most of the strength comes from the casting. I can't imagine any other actors that would work as well as they did. All of the names floated about probably wouldn't have gotten the job done nearly as well.

In a sense, Friends pulled off what everything from How I Met Your Mother, Committed and the Single Guy, couldn't and or can't.
Old 09-30-05, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by zebop
I think the reasons it was popular are simple. Great casting, direction and writing. Most of the strength comes from the casting. I can't imagine any other actors that would work as well as they did. All of the names floated about probably wouldn't have gotten the job done nearly as well.

In a sense, Friends pulled off what everything from How I Met Your Mother, Committed and the Single Guy, couldn't and or can't.
I don't think it is nearly this simple. These things may have contributed, but the history of television is littered with shows that had equally good or even better casting, direction, and writing that either didn't break out like Friends did or even got the ax before they should have. Take as an example Newsradio. I mention it because time slot stability obviously has a lot to do with it. Sure, the show [Friends] moved times on Thursday. It never moved off of Thursday that I recall, though.
Old 09-30-05, 10:46 PM
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The first season (and some of the subsequent ones) were freakin' hilarious. As we've seen countless times over history, once the better writing talent moved on and the show stopped being nearly as good, people were just in the habit of watching it. e.r. still pulls in great ratings, but to be blunt, it's shit. How many of us watched The X-Files finale? I'm still watching Alias. Why? Certainly not because it's good. It's because I'm used to it. To understand why Friends was such a huge hit, you have to remember 1994, remember that it was sandwiched between monster hits Seinfeld and Mad About You, and remember that the other networks were so used to running scared from NBC Thursdays that Friends rarely had any competition. Once it became popular, it simply sustained itself, quality or not.

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Old 09-30-05, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
The first season (and some of the subsequent ones) were freakin' hilarious.
Exactly. It was a solid show whether you are a fan or not. I agree with the casting, direction, etc. but that doesn't make an explosive hit. Same with time slot. How many shows have failed in the same slot sandwiched between two hit shows? Two dozen? From what I remember it wasn't a smash out of the gates, it was later on in the first season. I attribute the explosion to two things.

1. (sadly) the song. Sad but true. It hit a chord with the younger crowd. It was damn catchy. The show was doing well enough, then they release that song and then everyone has to watch the show to see what they are missing.

2. a simple love story of boy meets girl, pines for girl, etc. the whole seesaw. Aniston & Schwimmer nailed it. These were two characters you rooted for. In an era of family comedy and a hit where all the characters were assholes (Seinfeld) it was a breath of fresh air. Also at the time most shows were geared towards teens or 30-somethings. No one had ventured into the mid-twenty's with any success.
Old 09-30-05, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Jadzia
There are a lot of white people who own TV sets.
That's what I always thought but I used to think the same thing about Cheers and Seinfeld
Old 09-30-05, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by zebop
In a sense, Friends pulled off what everything from How I Met Your Mother, Committed and the Single Guy, couldn't and or can't.
Committed, The Single Guy, Two Guys and a Girl, and Men Behaving Badly were great shows to watch. I never expected them to get Emmys, but they were fun.

Last edited by CPT; 09-30-05 at 11:32 PM.
Old 09-30-05, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CPT
Committed, The Single Guy, Two Guys and a Girl, and Men Behaving Badly were great shows to watch. I never expected them to Emmys, but they were fun.
Loved every one of those shows but all but The Single Guy never got any kind of a push.
Old 10-01-05, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
Exactly. It was a solid show whether you are a fan or not. I agree with the casting, direction, etc. but that doesn't make an explosive hit. Same with time slot. How many shows have failed in the same slot sandwiched between two hit shows? Two dozen? From what I remember it wasn't a smash out of the gates, it was later on in the first season. I attribute the explosion to two things.

1. (sadly) the song. Sad but true. It hit a chord with the younger crowd. It was damn catchy. The show was doing well enough, then they release that song and then everyone has to watch the show to see what they are missing.

2. a simple love story of boy meets girl, pines for girl, etc. the whole seesaw. Aniston & Schwimmer nailed it. These were two characters you rooted for. In an era of family comedy and a hit where all the characters were assholes (Seinfeld) it was a breath of fresh air. Also at the time most shows were geared towards teens or 30-somethings. No one had ventured into the mid-twenty's with any success.
It also had a running storyline with all of the characters throughout the whole series. You normally can't watch a random episode of Friends and get all of the jokes or situations, because of all the history and continuity that has been built up. You don't really get that with most sitcoms.

Last edited by MJG87; 10-01-05 at 12:43 AM.
Old 10-01-05, 12:42 AM
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I understand The Cosby Show did well because of all the white people, too.

The first season was great, and I started watching it when I was a newlywed. My new wife and I found it great, and it became a habit. Just like Cheers.
Old 10-01-05, 12:43 AM
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To me it was the same over and over again. I just couldn't get into it.
Old 10-01-05, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by CPT
Jennifer Aniston kept sneaking raisins on the set.

If by raisins you mean nipples I agree.
Old 10-01-05, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Jimmy James
I don't think it is nearly this simple. These things may have contributed, but the history of television is littered with shows that had equally good or even better casting, direction, and writing that either didn't break out like Friends did or even got the ax before they should have. Take as an example Newsradio. I mention it because time slot stability obviously has a lot to do with it. Sure, the show [Friends] moved times on Thursday. It never moved off of Thursday that I recall, though.
I agree, I just thought of a couple of shows to that were better and didn't get a chance. And nah Friends never did move from Thursday, they had too many boners on the sched to risk that.
Old 10-01-05, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by CPT
Committed, The Single Guy, Two Guys and a Girl, and Men Behaving Badly were great shows to watch. I never expected them to get Emmys, but they were fun.
Well I did like Committed and I certainly thought it deserved more of a shot, it did improve. Along the same lines, for me, I always liked the Steven Weber Show and that really disappeared.
Old 10-01-05, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Timber
Loved every one of those shows but all but The Single Guy never got any kind of a push.
It was allowed on Thursday night, that was enough of a push.

I think that if NBC would have kept shows on Thursday night instead of just letting them sit there for a year then moving them we might have just experienced the series finales of Caroline in the City and Suddenly Susan

"Friends" was such a huge hit because it had a great cast that was able to interact together successfully. There were also a lot of great running storylines throughout the entire series. Add that with NBC scheduling it on Thursday night (and remember -- they did put it in the post-Seinfeld timeslot) it was able to succeed.

As for tv shows changing timeslots, NBC was always flinging Frasier around and people continued to follow it. Why would anyone want to follow the Single Guy? Sure the first season was ok but a lot of the shows NBC tried out could not even match the quality of Suddenly Susan season one And I'm serious... I think. SS wasn't THAT bad. Or was it? I will shut up now
Old 10-01-05, 02:07 AM
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Originally Posted by nightwing82
I think that if NBC would have kept shows on Thursday night instead of just letting them sit there for a year then moving them we might have just experienced the series finales of Caroline in the City and Suddenly Susan
That is something no one wants. Not for Veronica's Closet or Union Station either.

I wonder how many crappy shows have occupied Thursday night since 1990.
Old 10-01-05, 03:27 AM
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Which one was the longest to last? Susan and Caroline got 4 seasons (Veronica had 3) but NBC cut off Susan where as they let Caroline air her series finale. So I guess in the end Caroline won, probably not viewer wise though.

Which brings up another interesting question. Of all of the lesser successful Thursday night debuters, which was NBC's best effort?

The Single Guy
Caroline in the City
Suddenly Susan
Union Square
Veronica's Closet
Jesse
Old 10-01-05, 04:19 AM
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You know "Madman of the People" is the clear quality winner of lesser Thursday night shows (and until we get a DVD set, we'll never get that crucial third part of "Blackout Thursday")
Old 10-01-05, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by nightwing82
Which brings up another interesting question. Of all of the lesser successful Thursday night debuters, which was NBC's best effort?

The Single Guy
Caroline in the City
Suddenly Susan
Union Square
Veronica's Closet
Jesse
Of those Caroline was my favorite for its first couple seasons but I lost interest when it became all about Caroline and Richard's relationship and Caroline's Ex and the idiot rollerskate guy were always in some stupid subplot that took up half the episode.

I was going to say I liked Union Square too, but I looked it up on IMDB and found out I've got no recolection of that show- I was thinking of Boston Common.
Old 10-01-05, 04:54 AM
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Which brings up another interesting question. Of all of the lesser successful Thursday night debuters, which was NBC's best effort?

The Single Guy, Caroline in the City, Suddenly Susan, Union Square, Veronica's Closet, Jesse
dog shit, cat shit
hog shit, bat shit
frog shit, rat shit

Which one tastes the best?

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