Review: I’ll Be There For You

Posted November 17, 2018

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: I’ll Be There For You I'll Be There For You: The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller
Published by HQ on 25th October 2018
Genres: Non-Fiction
Format: Hardback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads

When Friends debuted in 1994, no one expected it to become a mainstay of NBC's Must See TV lineup, let alone a global phenomenon. In the years since, Friends has gone through many phases of cultural relevancy, from prime-time hit to 90s novelty item to certified classic. Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe have entered the pantheon of great television characters, and millions of people around the globe continue to tune in or stream their stories every day.

I'll Be There for You is the definitive retrospective of Friends, exploring all aspects of the show from its unlikely origins to the elusive reasons why we still watch it. Journalist and pop culture expert Kelsey Miller relives the show's most iconic moments, analyzes the ways in which Friends is occasionally problematic and examines the many trends it inspired, from the rise of coffee-shop culture to Friendsgivings to the ultimate 90s haircut, the Rachel.

My Relationship With ‘Friends

I remember being at school when everyone started talking about this amazing new TV show, Friends.

If memory serves, Friday, Channel 4, 9pm. I actually used to watch it at my friend’s house in the beginning, that’s where I was introduced to it properly. His older sister used to let me hang out with her in her bedroom and huddle round her wee tv to catch the latest episode. She had a pet snake in that room – I hate snakes, but I braved it just so that I could watch this program that everyone was talking about!

Eventually my sister and I got some episodes on VHS and we watched them relentlessly! We could be bickering all day, but the one thing we could always agree on was to watch Friends. Twenty years on, that’s still the case – not that we bicker quite so much these days!

I remember we managed to get Mum into Friends too, but Dad wasn’t remotely interested. That is, until a day known as ‘The One Where Dad Laughs at Friends“. He hadn’t realised what we were watching and said “this is really funny, what is it?’ Mission accomplished!

The ten seasons of Friends accompanied my school years. I was at University when the last episode aired. I was gutted when it ended, and so was everyone around me. It had come to be such a large part of our lives. Somehow a program about six twenty-somethings in New York living in unrealistically large apartments and spending a lot of time not at work, had meant so much to a teenager from a Scottish island. I loved it then, and still do. Far too many of my analogies and references come from that TV Show!

Over the years I’ve come back to Friends time and again. Usually when I need comfort in my life, and a laugh.

When Netflix acquired the show and a new generation started to watch Friends, I was interested in their takes on it. It seems Friends hadn’t aged too well.

So when I saw a new book I’ll Be There For You: The One About Friends, I knew I wanted to learn more about the series – then and now.

My Thoughts On The Book

I’ll Be There For You is an exploration of Friends – from the history of its creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, and how the actors came to secure their roles, to how the series has been received in 2018.

Kelsey Miller has clearly done her research thoroughly – the cope of the references section at the back of this book makes that evident.

Beyond this thorough research, she has interviewed a wide range of people with regards to issues raised by the new generation that Netflix has introduced to the show – with a particular focus on such issues as the ‘gay jokes’, lack of representation, and ‘fat jokes’. This is an element of the book that I found very interesting.

Also of particular interest were the facts about the show itself; like the fact that Phoebe wasn’t originally to be a twin, and how the actors themselves played crucial role in shaping the characters that I cam to love.

I learned a lot about how Friends fit into the (US) network’s Thursday night schedule, and how some of the stories crossed with another of their shows, Mad About You. Here in the UK I hadn’t realised that, and suddenly episodes such as “The One with the Blackout” take on a different element.

As a Friends fan, I really enjoyed this book. Yes, at times I found some bits a little confusing – such as names, networks, syndication etc. That aside, it was an enjoyable read. I have already urged the fellow Friends geeks in my life to read it – I want to discuss it with someone.

With Christmas around the corner, I’d say this would make a great gift for any Friends fans in your life.

 

P.S. I resisted flooding this post with Friends gifs, but I had to have at least ONE!

via GIPHY

I just need to look at this gif and it makes me laugh!!

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