When Friends made its debut in 1994, there were few who really believed that a sitcom about six twentysomethings who seemed to be spending an awful amount of time hanging out in a coffee house would connect with the audience. Well, those few deserve some recognition, because they were absolutely right. Not only did Friends connect, but it enjoyed a 10-season run and turned Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, and Matthew Perry into superstars. And beyond even that, the show is doing great in reruns and, especially streaming, introducing the show to people who weren’t even alive when it originally aired.
It’s into this kind of environment that author Kelsey Miller (subject of a recent episode of our Classic TV podcast) has introduced her newest book, I’ll Be There For You: The One About Friends. Published by Hanover Square Press. It’s officially described as follows: “I’ll Be There for You is a deep dive into Friends history and lore, exploring all aspects of the show, from its unlikely origins to the societal conditions that amplified its success. Journalist and pop culture expert Kelsey Miller relives the show’s most powerful moments, sheds light on its sometimes dated and problematic elements, and examines the worldwide trends that Friends catalyzed, from contemporary coffee culture to the wildly popular ’90s haircut ‘The Rachel.’ Taking readers behind the scenes, Miller traces the cast’s rise to fame and untangles the complex relationship between the actors and their characters. Weaving in revelatory interviews and personal stories, she investigates the role of celebrity media, world-changing events and the dawning of the digital age — all of which influenced both the series and its viewers. I’ll Be There for You is the definitive retrospective of Friends, not only for fans of the series but for anyone who’s ever wondered what it is about this show — and television comedy — that resonates so powerfully.”
You can count on us among them, which is why we sat down with Kelsey to discuss all things Friends, including her reasons for writing this book in the first place. Just scroll down for this exclusive interview.