By Charlotte Brill

OH…MY…GOD! The time has finally come where all six of the beloved ‘Friends’ cast are on Instagram. I feel a little sad being so excited about a celebrity media presence but seeing the cast interacting and reminiscing together on the social network platform, over two decades after the show premiered, is exciting! Friends was, and still is, one of the most pervasive and generationally transcending shows to ever grace our screens. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is undeniable that this show is a massive global hit. Set in New York City, the show follows the lives of six ‘ordinary’ friends though their successes, hardships and other extremely relatable life events. It makes you laugh, cry and often quite frustrated, investing you deeply in the character’s lives. It is a character driven show that grips you with its relatability and relative ordinariness. 

The primary fan base of devoted and nostalgic fans, who followed the show as it aired, are not the only ones contributing to the shows enduring popularity. It is also down to the binge-watching Generation Z-ers, including many of us Sussex students and our younger siblings. I was shocked when I found out my thirteen-year-old sister was watching and loving the show just like I had done eight years prior. It is fascinating that even those born so long after the show started, and ended, can still relate to the characters and situations, despite all the dated references.

Netflix’s acquisition of the streaming rights to Friends in 2015, in a $100 million deal, certainly helped secure the shows continual prosperity. However, after a price war with HBO Max, Netflix has lost the streaming rights to Friends, which will be moving to HBO Max this year. It will be interesting to see if this impacts the show’s popularity among the British youth, as the HBO streaming platform is currently unavailable in the UK. With DVDs being less popular and often considered a somewhat ‘vintage’ relic among the younger portion of Generation Z, I suspect less people will watch the show, at least legally. The show is not going to lose its favourability overnight, and with the hype over the debut of the final Friends star, Mathew Perry, on Instagram there is a new surge of devotion. 

Mathew ‘Matty’ Perry, with much anticipation, followed co-star Jennifer Aniston, whose glitchy debut broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest time an Instagram account reaches 1 million followers. It’s globally known that Aniston is one of the most well-loved A-list celebrities, constantly surprising everyone with her age-defying looks, but to reach 1 million followers in just over five hours is an astounding feat. Unlike his fellow stars, Mathew Perry’s experience on the show involved stints in rehab after hitting rock-bottom and accepting he needed help with his drug-addiction. Having featured in very little after Friends ended in 2004, and having a comparatively quieter media presence, it is unsurprising that Matty was the last of the six actors to come onto Instagram. It is unclear whether his presence will last, with his first post being seemingly sarcastic about his excitement for his commencing Instagram journey. At least for now, we can stop #ing and start @ing the adored actors. 

Perry’s Instagram premier was not without a warm welcome from his fans and fellow Friends Co-stars, much like Aniston got when she joined at the end of 2019, posting a group selfie of the cast, confirming their friendships outside of the sitcom. As friends and as Friends they are there for each other, as promised by The Rembrandts hit song ‘’I’ll be there for you’’, in the sitcom’s classic opening credits. No word yet from David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc and a simple common from Courtney Cox, but Lisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston’s responses were among the best. Both Lisa and Jennifer posted a welcome on their profiles, comically referring to iconic lines from their own characters (Phoebe and Rachel). Kudrow posting ‘’Finally!!! Yay!! Can’t believe my eyes MY EYES’’ and Aniston posting ‘’I’m shocked Matty is the last to join Instagram, considering he was a uh, umm…oh crap. Oh! A computer processing TRANSPONSTER’’, both give their fans the nostalgic Friends content they want. The fact that Perry reached around 2 million followers before he even made his first post epitomises the committed and timeless love of the Friends fan base. 

Is a reunion on the cards? I promised myself I would not get prematurely excited about this again after the countless times I have been duped and disappointed. Finally, sixteen years after the emotional finale, ‘’The Last One’’, a reunion episode is closer than ever. With the launch of HBO Max nearing, which will host the original ten seasons, the cast are expected to return to screens for a one-off, hour long reunion special. Reports suggest that the stars can expect to receive over $2 million for the reunion, which will likely be used to help launch HBO Max. Nothing has been confirmed for the unscripted reunion, and it’s still possible that it will not actually happen, but could I BE any more excited? That being said, there has always been good reasons to not have a reunion, to preserve the show’s original magic and satisfying end. To all the Friends fans, I hope that if the reunion does go ahead that it will avoid ruining your day, your week, your month or even your year and that it will not taint the extraordinary Friends legacy. 

Image credit: Geoffrey Chandler

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