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When Friends Debuted 20 Years Ago, People Gave It a D+
Early reviews for one of the best-loved sitcoms of the '90s called the show's stars not just "sexy" and "urbane," but also "dysfunctional morons."
SEP 22 2014, 2:25 PM ET

There was a time when the phrases "how YOU doin'," "could I BE more excited?" and "we were on a break!" didn't make people laugh. There was a time when the unemployed twenty-somethings making their way in New York City lived in terrible apartments in Queens. There was a time when Rachel was not a haircut, when smelly cats weren't the subjects of troubadourian ballads, when friends who happened to live near each other were not also, in their way, a family.

That time was, pretty much, the entirety of human history that came before September 22, 1994—the day Friends debuted as part of NBC's Thursday-night lineup. The show would go on not only to average more than 20 million viewers (25 million as of its eighth season), but also to reach a kind of cultural ubiquity in the form of catch-phrases, quizzes, reaction gifs, and many, many knock-offs. Between TBS and Nick at Nite, Slate's Willa Paskin points out, the show "is currently rerun eight times a day."

It wasn't clear from the beginning, though, that Friends would become such a success. While many of the critics who reviewed the show liked it, there were also some who found Central Perk to be decidedly unperky. One resented the show's "rimshot writing." Another, the characters' promiscuity. Another called the friends themselves "dysfunctional morons."


The scripts are filled with pop references—e.g., gags about David Hasselhoff, Shari Lewis and Mentos mints.
A game cast delivers the barrage of banter with an arch coyness that suggests they think they're in some Gen X Neil Simon play.
The show's saving grace is that as the weeks go by, the characters begin to grow on you. That has more to do with the actors' animation than it does with the rimshot writing.
NBC (Thursdays, 9:30 p.m. ET)


Life on Seinfeld may be laid back, but its characters always seem to have someplace to go. In Friends the crowd is always around to share their latest personal woes or offer a shoulder to cry on. But who would want advice from these dysfunctional morons, with their obsessive pop-culture references?

オックスフォードの英英辞典でもこのドラマが見出し語になっています。しかもジョーイのHow you doin’?も紹介しています(笑)

a popular US television comedy series (1994–2004) about six close friends in New York. The characters are Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross and Joey. The stories are about the joys and problems of love, work and friendships.
How you doin’?
Joey in Friends

There was a time when the phrases "how YOU doin'," "could I BE more excited?" and "we were on a break!" didn't make people laugh.という冒頭の文がピンとこなかった方のために。フレンズファンは"how YOU doin'"とあればジョーイの顔が、"could I BE more …?”とあればチャンドラーの顔が浮かぶことでしょう。