It is often said that life imitates art, but in many cases, art has imitated life. The classic sitcoms of the 90s, in particular, managed to capture everything from daily stressors to the nuances of relationships between friends, family and romantic partners. "Seinfeld" did a famously superb job of pointing out common annoyances that one often overlooks, but "Friends" was the show that really excelled in doling out life lessons. Here are some of the important messages audiences received from this classic sitcom:
1. It's important to be on the same page as your significant other.[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F07%2F25%2F636050129872742234-1868174860_giphy.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=645&h=d54e00a88d25408f97fd24ac56abca187d2a4db7cd5a74f6e090cfd5856713eb&size=980x&c=3015574795 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F07%252F25%252F636050129872742234-1868174860_giphy.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D645%26h%3Dd54e00a88d25408f97fd24ac56abca187d2a4db7cd5a74f6e090cfd5856713eb%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3015574795%22%7D" expand=1]
The most famous "Friends" line (other than Joey's classic "How you doin'?") is most likely Ross's declaration of "We were on a break!" The "we" refers to himself and Rachel--the couple decide to take a break from their relationship, and that night, Ross sleeps with another woman. After deciding to get back together, Rachel finds out about this other woman and calls the relationship off. Now, most people seem to be in agreement that Ross cheated on Rachel. I, however, believe that it is a bit more complicated than that. Rachel herself called for the break in the first place, but never laid down ground rules for what this "break" really consisted of. To be clear, I think it was terrible of Ross to sleep with someone else, but this is still a good example of miscommunication in romantic relationships--if they had just clarified the grounds for their break, there may not have been a problem.
2. Question everything.
[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F07%2F25%2F6360501338144845872088321214_giphy-1.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=427&h=a7c26fb215fef96fc96547b6adbaa6132f761a434122259969fd5d7efc455ab9&size=980x&c=2495368941 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F07%252F25%252F6360501338144845872088321214_giphy-1.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D427%26h%3Da7c26fb215fef96fc96547b6adbaa6132f761a434122259969fd5d7efc455ab9%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2495368941%22%7D" expand=1]
Phoebe Buffay is without a doubt the quirkiest of the friends. I even dedicated an articleto how much I love her a few weeks ago. One trait that makes her so unique is her willingness to question any and all traditionally accepted ideas. In "The One Where Heckles Dies", Phoebe questions the scientific theory of evolution, causing Ross to do everything in his power to convince her otherwise. While there obviously is a plethora of evidence in support of evolution, this ability to call into question even the most seemingly solid ideas is an important one. After all, how would anything new be invented without a healthy dose of skepticism?
3. It's okay to be imperfect.
[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F07%2F25%2F6360501391702670911917147273_giphy-2.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=245&h=82d4b61b931481aba0a5e6642d82c2f569ff8ad7b2f183d877018c67dcab0204&size=980x&c=405522639 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F07%252F25%252F6360501391702670911917147273_giphy-2.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D245%26h%3D82d4b61b931481aba0a5e6642d82c2f569ff8ad7b2f183d877018c67dcab0204%26size%3D980x%26c%3D405522639%22%7D" expand=1]The Geller siblings are notorious for being know-it-alls (mostly Ross) and overly competitive control freaks (mostly Monica). Calling these two "uptight" would be an understatement. In my favorite episode, "The One Where No One's Ready", Ross spends the episode becoming progressively more upset with his friends for wasting time prior to attending his paleontology event. This culminates in him throwing Rachel's shoes while yelling at her in front of everyone. Eventually, he realizes that this was a major overreaction and that staying relaxed would have encouraged his friends to get ready more quickly. Monica, on the other hand, tends to be too competitive. In another great episode, "The One With The Football", a friendly Thanksgiving football game turns into a heated competition between Ross and Monica. Monica, in particular, cannot seem to let go of the ball at the end of the game, but eventually realizes that having fun is more important than winning (sometimes).
4. Everyone's financial situation is different, and that's okay.
[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F07%2F25%2F636050146037821276-708775344_giphy-3.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=642&h=e4de038cb7fc088333f78019f2e63abb79b6e6f46987248dc8a1de2cb2443e61&size=980x&c=945313502 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F07%252F25%252F636050146037821276-708775344_giphy-3.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D642%26h%3De4de038cb7fc088333f78019f2e63abb79b6e6f46987248dc8a1de2cb2443e61%26size%3D980x%26c%3D945313502%22%7D" expand=1]One of the most important episodes in my opinion is season 2's "The One With Five Steaks and an Eggplant". This is probably one of the most realistic episodes, (considering it doesn't include leaving a baby on the bus or discovering a thumb in a can of soda) and it brings to light an important and common issue: finances. In the episode, the friends go out to a nice restaurant to celebrate Monica's promotion, but unfortunately, Phoebe, Rachel, and Joey can barely afford to eat there. To make things worse, they are all expected to pitch in over $60 for Ross's birthday gift and concert tickets. This leads to an uncomfortable conversation, resulting in the more well-off friends purchasing concert tickets for the others. Phoebe, Joey, and Rachel reject these tickets, feeling that they are being treated like a charity case. I believe that everyone can relate to at least one person in this episode: if you're not having trouble keeping up financially yourself, you are wondering to what lengths you can go to help your less well-off friends without them feeling like you are looking down on them. Overall, "Five Steaks and an Eggplant" is a great reenacting of the common money issues friend groups go through all the time.