How big a part of your life is Friends? Not the people you hang out or text with on a daily basis, but, rather, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Monica, Joey and Phoebe (aka Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow). Did you watch the show in its original run?
What about catching reruns on TV or endlessly streaming it on Netflix to the point where you need an intervention? If you’re one to shaking your head yes, then it’s likely you’re extremely excited for the new Friends reunion, streaming on HBO Max on Thursday, May 27. The beloved sitcom has resonated with fans all these years later, and author Kelsey Miller has an idea why the program is still such a hit.
In her October 2018 book, I’ll Be There For You: The One About Friends, Kelsey does a deep dive into the phenomenon of the show. While exclusively chatting with Closer Weekly at the time, the author said her book was inspired back when there was a big resurgence of interest in Friends after it went off the air in 2004.
“That’s when it became very popular to not only look back nostalgically at the show, but it also became popular to critique the show,” she explained to Closer, noting the effect the series had on herself. “I thought I was a Friends fan in the way that everybody was. I didn’t think I was one of the diehards. But as it turned out, when I actually sat down to think about it, I realized, ‘God, this show had a much bigger impact, not just on television and not just on haircuts, fashion, and things like that. It really had an impact on a global scale.’ This is the show that eventually made it to 170-something countries.”
One of the big issues tackled in the book and in this exclusive conversation with Kelsey is why the show remains so popular so many years later, which she credits, in her opinion, to a combination of nostalgia and a more innocent time. “When something is in the past, it’s very easy to think of it as simpler or easier because it’s so removed from today,” she shared.
“Think about it: if you watch Friends, nobody’s staring at their phone all the time, because there was no such thing as smartphones. You look at that and you think, ‘I remember when people had conversations,'” Kelsey continued. “At the same time, the show has a really universal and timeless heart to it, and it’s very relatable because it’s simply about friendship. That’s an experience that everybody has regardless of smartphones; we’re just looking at it through this [decades-old] lens, so it seems a little rosier.”
For more on Closer‘s exclusive conversation with Kelsey and why Friends is a fan-favorite after all these years, scroll through the gallery below!
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