Why critics beat up Friends at the premiere


On September 22nd, 1994, we met Monica, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel and Ross when Friends made their debut.

The character relationships, timeless jokes, and The Rembrandts’ catchy opening song “I’ll Be There For You” are still rife in popular culture today – 27 years after they first appeared on our screens.

But it wasn’t all smooth.

The world met the Friends cast in 1994. Source: Getty Images

Humble beginnings

The creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman originally introduced Friends under the title Insomnia Café and described that it was “about sex, love, relationships, careers, [and] a time in your life when anything is possible. “

With NBC already dominated by hit sitcoms Seinfeld, Mad About You and Frasier, Crane and Kauffman were determined to make the Friends pilot a hit.

Over 1,000 actors responded to the callouts for each role, including Kathy Griffin and Jane Lynch who auditioned for Phoebe and Eric McCormack of Will & Grace who auditioned for Ross.

Eventually, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry were cast, all of whom first met on April 28, 1994.

“The Pilot” against Seinfeld

The Pilot, also known as The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate, The First One, and The One Where It All Began, officially aired on September 22, 1994.

While the gang hangs out at Central Perk, Chandler tells a story of a troubling dream he had, Joey poking fun at Ross, Phoebe cleanses Ross’ aura, Monica talks about an upcoming date, and Ross complains that he wants to remarry . Then Rachel comes in line in a wedding dress.

Though Chandler and Phoebe were originally written as comedic relief minor characters, their appearance on The Pilot hit a nerve with the 22 million viewers, and they soon became recurring characters on the series.

Audiences quickly bonded with The Pilot and the rest of the first season, but critics were far from impressed as similarities to other popular comedies showed through.

Critics Tom Feran, Ann Hodges, and Robert P. Laurence slammed the show in their columns, calling it “vaguely and less successful on Seinfeld’s hanging style,” “the new Seinfeld wannabe,” and “Seinfeld plus two or cubits plus “. five.”

The cast of Friends (excluding Lisa Kudrow).  Source: Reuters

Despite critics calling it a wannabe Seinfeld, the show received high ratings almost immediately. Source: Reuters

‘Because you are there for me too’

With an impressive 62 Emmy nominations, 6 Emmy victories, a spot on the IMDB list of the 100 best shows of all time, an overall rating of 8.8 / 10, and countless popular culture mentions, Friends became much more than just a sitcom for many .

Today, 17 years after the Friends Finals aired, many still quote that Friends’ welcoming atmosphere helped their mental health and even saved their lives.

Friends Reunion, which aired on May 27, 2021, has been watched by the millions who have held the six in their hearts since the show was first seen.

Now that the popular show is broadcast on many popular streaming services, teens are still discovering the adventures of Monica, Phoebe, Rachel, Chandler, Joey, and Ross.

Could we be more grateful for friends ?!

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