On the surface, Friends is a show about sex and silliness, about the insanity of life and the jokes. But underneath runs a current of friendship and love that I have not yet seen equaled in any modern sitcoms. For all the horrendous things Ross, Rachel, Monica (Courteney Cox), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) put each other and themselves through, when it comes down to it, they love each other. That love carries them through fights, breakups, job loss, heartache, and ten seasons of much, much more. And the depth of their affection for each other is far from hidden. Every episode touches on it, and in my opinion, it was the best unifying element of the whole show. Yes, the jokes were hilarious, the relationship plots engaging, and the characters lively and fun to be with for thirty minutes or more, but seeing the depth of those friendships gave Friends a depth and resonance that ensured it a place in many hearts.
Friends taught me two things over the years that I watched it. First, my prejudices are often worth getting over, and at the least, I should give something an honest chance before dismissing it as drivel. And second, creating strong relationships is one of the most effective ways for a show or series to resonate with an audience, unify itself, and touch the heart.
So what about you? What was or is your favorite sitcom and why?