Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Friends

Today was the final episode of Friends after 10 years. I remember being determined not to watch the show when it first started, as I knew it was nothing more than a kinder, gentler, imitation of Seinfeld. Of course, the manipulation that is Must See TV made Friends nearly impossible to ignore after the first few weeks and next they I knew, Lori and I were hooked.

I really came to love the show and eventually found it very hard to imagine missing an episode. There were inevitably frustrating shows and disappointing stretches, but it remained remarkably consistent over a very long period. One thing I particularly admire is they never strayed from the formula, resisting all temptations to reach for cheap devices: the new landlord, the group moves to an island to run a hotel together, or the appearance of a younger brother no one was aware of.

The finale was well done, satisfying, and fun to watch. I think Seinfeld will always be my favorite sitcom, but Friends is a close second, along with Mad About You and the short-lived Sports Night.