I often pine for the days when I could come home, whack on E4 and bask in the complete certainty that a Friends episode would chug along sooner or later.
For me, I always seemed to tune in during that episode where ‘they don’t know we know they know’ or the one where Monica’s hair goes all frizzy in Florida.
And so it was always a rare and cosy treat when one I didn’t get to see a lot came along, like the one where Ross got stuck inside his leather trousers or the one with the prom video.
Watching Friends back in the noughties was an experience today’s teens would find baffling. We would all just tune in randomly at any point in the 10 series run, using Rachel’s evolving hairstyle as a reasonably reliable marker of time.
Now placed on Netflix, shoulder to shoulder with binge-worthy modern shows, watching Friends is a completely different activity altogether.
New fans and old fans alike are tuning in from the very beginning and watching consecutively until the teary end; starting with runaway bride Rachel barging into Central Perk and ending – *spoiler alert* – with her getting off the plane.
With this much more orderly way of catching up the eclectic group of New Yorkers comes a level of analysis modern viewers have honed through hours of studying prestige TV.
Suddenly, we are noticing fresh aspects of the show which would have passed clean over our heads 10 years ago; with plenty of cleverly placed Easter Eggs to uncover even for the most dedicated fan.
Cast your mind back if you will to Season 5’s ‘The One in Vegas: Part 1’, where struggling actor Joey ends up working as a casino gladiator after his movie shuts up shop.
Down on his luck, the flirty thespian rang up Phoebe to ask for his PIN number which he had, rather worryingly, scribbled on ‘the ATM machine down on the corner’.
The audience had previously been so busy chuckling and tutting at yet another ill-thought out life decision by Joey that the significance of the next part of the conversation passed them by completely.
Unperturbed by her friend’s baffling carelessness, the equally ditzy Phoebe enquired, ‘Oh so you’re 5639?’
Now, on the mobile phone pads of the day, 5639 would have spelt out Joey, meaning his PIN was also his name; as demonstrated here by Redditor u/electronicsunrise:
Of course, this is far from the only Easter Egg to be dug out from the 236 episodes of pure nineties nostalgia/lifestyle porn.
For example, Jennifer Aniston’s Greek surname Anastassakis can be seen on a sign for the ‘Anastassakis Papasifakis Wedding’ at Chandler and Monica’s swanky wedding venue.
Furthermore, a cheeky reserved sign can be spotted on the gangs favourite table at Central Perk, solving the mystery of why they were always able to grab the comfiest seats at such a central location.
All this Easter Egg spotting has given me the perfect excuse to delve back into the warm, comforting bath which is the Friends universe. Could I be any more excited?
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