Nostalgia for Friends gets me through this pandemic

“I’ll be there for you cause you’re there for me, too.”


Ashlyn Martin

The characters of the famous TV show Friends with myself included.

by Ashlyn Martin, Reporter

Rachel, Ross, Phoebe, Joey, Monica, and Chandler: the fabulous six.

Friends is a show about six people who go through a season of life together and it’s all about friendship and being there for one another. Is it no wonder that I find myself re-watching the show with great nostalgia? For some people “it hasn’t been their day, their week, their month, or even their year” since March 13, 2020.

This show, in today’s world, would be depressing. There’s no more sitting in a coffee house, no more big holiday celebrations at Monica’s apartment, no more big weddings, no more couches needing to “PIVOT” up the stairs, and for some, no more jobs.  These six, living in downtown NYC, would be out of work: personal shoppers, masseuses, actors, and chefs are struggling to pay bills.

Instead of facing reality, I find myself turning back the clock to watch re-runs.  The fabulous six teach us valuable life long lessons from Central Perk to Monica’s apartment. There is a lot from Friends that can relate to our time in quarantine.

Rachel’s lesson: Be brave, be strong, and don’t give up

One of my favorite quotes from Rachel is from Season 1 Episode 1. “It’s like all my life everyone has told me, ‘You’re a shoe.’ And then today I just stopped and said, ‘What if I don’t want to be a shoe? What if I want to be a purse, you know, or a hat?’” When Rachel shows up at Monica’s apartment in Season One, she builds her life back up from scratch and learns how to be herself.

Rachel comes to Monica’s apartment after she runs into Monica at the coffee shop. She escaped from her wedding and ran away from her ex-fiance, finding herself where she really belongs.

Rachel worked at Central Perk at the beginning of the show and became a personal shopper at Bloomingdale’s working for Ralph Lauren. She fought for what she wanted and made her dreams come true.

This relates to the real world because not everyone’s first job will be their dream job. Rachel was at a diner that Monica worked at and she ran into someone who helped her to get a job in his department. After her first rising job in fashion she rose above it all and landed her dream job.

Rachel once said, “Sometimes things don’t work out the way you thought they would.”

During quarantine some people have found a new hobby while others have been binge watching shows and movies at home. With Covid cases still rising and lockdowns slowly being lifted, we have all found ways to adjust to this new lifestyle.

Ross’s lesson: Never give up on the people you love

One of my favorite quotes from Ross is from Season 10 Episode 2. “What is life without love?” When Ross finds out that the woman he loves has chosen someone else he rambles on about life. He avoids the fact that he’s not fine when he says, “I’m fine” with a high pitched voice.

Not too many of us are “fine” right now, even when we say we’re “fine” it’s usually just a cover.

Ross is obsessed with dinosaurs and settled in his career as a paleontologist. His title in paleontology enables him to introduce himself as Dr. Geller or doctor Ross Geller. This was an ongoing debate throughout all of Friends. His friends didn’t think he had the right to call himself a doctor but he believes he is and always will.

When Ross and Rachel were in a hospital Ross said, “And I’m doctor Geller.” Rachel’s response was, “Ross please, this is a hospital, that actually means something here.”

Whenever Ross wanted to make a good impression on someone this was his way of flirting or getting a conversation going.

David Schwimmer (Ross) directed ten episodes of Friends and even improvised by making up lines on the spot. Ross took on every challenge that came his way and did so with bravery and courage.

Ross’s personality can perfectly relate to how some of us feel in 2020.

Ross once said, “I’m gonna be happy this year. I’m gonna make myself happy.” Later on Ross says, “This year was supposed to be great.”  Suddenly, those phrases have a new meaning.

Phoebe’s lesson: Always be positive

One of my favorite quotes from Phoebe is from Season 1 Episode 1. “Don’t hate. You don’t want to put that into the universe.”

In season one when Rachel is worrying about her future, Phoebe gave her words of advice that got her standing up on her feet again.

Phoebe is a masseuse and is well known for playing gigs in the coffee house. She wrote songs and played music in Central Perk including some of her stories from the past and some from the present. Phoebe thought she was very talented playing guitar and singing cheerfully everywhere she went.

Even though Phoebe had a rough childhood she described it like it wasn’t a big deal. She’s been through truly terrifying things in her life and is able to come out the other side. Music is her escape just like it is for many of us today. Even though her singing is, frankly, terrible, Phoebe’s friends always supported her.

We have to stop scrolling, looking at all the bad news and negativity in the world today. Instead focus on the positive, like Phoebe. Phoebe has a fun personality and a quirky side. She can make even the worst parts of her life sound better.

Phoebe once said, “Stop the madness!” We wish it was as easy to stop the Covid 19 madness as it is for Phoebe to stop Monica and Rachel’s silly little fights.

This pandemic feels like it’s been lasting for years when it’s only been a few months. Good news! I might have a solution for how we can escape all of this “madness.” We can all escape for a little bit by watching Friends as a reminder of the good times before the world turned upside down.

Joey’s lesson: Be a loyal friend 

One of my favorite quotes from Joey is from Season 10 Episode 19 “You can’t just give up! Is that what a dinosaur would do?” In the last episode when Ross is overthinking his love life, Joey tells him to not give up.

Joey is an actor, he played roles such as Dr. Drake Romoray in the show “Days of our Lives.” He likes to pretend that he is a real doctor in some episodes, introducing himself as Dr. Drake Romoray.

Joey and Chandler are the best of roommates across the hall from Monica’s apartment. When Joey found himself in need of money, Chandler always gave him a hand.

Monica’s lesson: Never be afraid

One of my favorite quotes from Monica is from Season 1 Episode 1. “Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it.” Monica gives the best advice because even though some of it may seem really out there, it’s true.

Monica is a hard worker who loves to cook and clean. After waiting tables at many restaurants and even having a catering business with Phoebe, she pursued her dream job as a head chef.

She loves to be in charge and is always excited when taking on a new job or opportunity. When Monica is afraid she doesn’t let her fears stop her.

Monica is very confident but in Season 1 Episode 4 Monica asks Phoebe, “Phoebe? Do you have a plan?” Phoebe’s response is, “I don’t even have a “pla-”

This relates to the real world because right now it’s hard to have a plan or even follow through.

Chandler’s lesson: Live, love, laugh

One of my favorite quotes from Chandler is from Season 10 Episode 4. “It’s the year 2020, are you still enjoying your nap?” In season 10, Ross recorded everyone for Emma (Ross and Rachel’s  child) to look back on when she turns 13.

The actress who played Emma in Friends responded to Chandler’s comment on January 1, 2020. “Just woke up from the best nap of all time. Happy 2020!”

Chandler is the funny one of the group who always had a sarcastic comment ready. Nobody understood what Chandler’s job is because he never talked about it unless they brought it up. Chandler worked in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration.

Matthew Perry (Chandler) is so funny that he even created some of his own jokes that weren’t in the script.

Chandler once said, “I’ve got nowhere to go this morning. I’m unemployed. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life.” That about sums up the beginning of quarantine, am I right?

When students were told that we were going virtual for two weeks, we didn’t know at the time that this was going to last for several months. With school shutting down, sports, clubs, and activities were on hold. . We had no clue what 2020 was going to bring us when we were in 2019 outside looking in. Covid put us to a stop and nothing has been the same since.

I catch myself making Friends references all the time and obsessing over the show, luckily I’m not the only one. Freshman Gracie Knight loves Friends, too.

“Obsessed? No questions asked,” said Knight.

Ashlyn’s cozy and cute Friends clothing collection. (Ashlyn Martin)

Friends has clothing and makeup in lots of stores but they seriously have some of the cutest clothing. I have Friends sweatshirts, sweatpants, and shirts that I absolutely love.

Urbana High School student Sophia Alahouzous is a huge fan of Friends.

Alahouzous said, “My favorite character is Chandler because he makes jokes when he’s uncomfortable.”

Chandler’s sense of humor has made everyone fall in love with him, no doubt. He never gave up on his friends. He took care of Joey like a little kid and stood by Ross since the college years.

Chandler proved that friends meant everything to him and especially Joey. Joey and Chandler’s bromance is like a bromance you have never seen before. They set hundreds of examples of what real friends do for each other.

Real friends are important to have because they can get you through so much. True friends are like family and we need each other, especially in times like this. With coronavirus disrupting our lives, communication is key. Since we can’t see many people in person, reach out to others and let them know that you care. We could use some love and positivity in the world.

If you haven’t watched the show Friends, I recommend you watch it. You won’t be disappointed.