It may have been the most aptly named sitcom ever.
When Friends airs its last original episode tonight at 8, a particularly warm relationship of some 10 years' standing between the show and as many as 28 million TV viewers will end -- or, at least, shift into reruns. While the show's passing is not being lamented as much as other shows that truly advanced the art of the sitcom, its absence will leave a void just the same.
For if Friends was never as edgy as Seinfeld, or as pioneering as I Love Lucy, or as sophisticated as The Dick Van Dyke Show
, it was two things that were almost as important: Reliably funny. And reassuring, in the same way an old friend can be.
The line between Friends and real life often blurred: When Rachel cut her hair, so did countless admiring viewers. When the actors married or otherwise mated in real life, their partners sometimes turned up as inside jokes on the show.
Here's a look at some of the ways we made friends with Friends over the past 10 years.
Words (and lyrics) to live by:
"We were on a break." First used by Ross (David Schwimmer) when he slept with another woman after fighting with Rachel (Jennifer Aniston).
"How you doing?" Defined Joey's (Matt LeBlanc's) cheesy charm.
"Ugly Naked Guy." The man who lived in a building across from Monica's (Courteney Cox Arquette's) pad. We never saw him, but heard lots about his Thigh-Master and tons of moving boxes labeled "clothes."
"My eyes!" Yelped first by Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) when she saw Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Monica together.
"Smelly cat." The song meant to launch Phoebe's singing career (right) -- but instead was used to sell cat food.
'Friends' and family
Guest star Brad Pitt (above), the real-life Mr. Jennifer Aniston, plays a former classmate of Rachel's who once started an "I Hate Rachel" club.
Speaking of Aniston, speculation has been rampant almost since the show started that she had a nose job. Rachel certainly did, as flashbacks to the character's younger days have shown.
Shortly after Courteney Cox married David Arquette and became Courteney Cox Arquette, the credits for one episode stuck Arquette after everyone's name -- Lisa Kudrow Arquette, Matt LeBlanc Arquette, etc.
When Julia Roberts appeared on the show, she and Matthew Perry were also something of an item in real life.
From hair to eternity
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