This show first aired in 1994 and I only started watching it in the early 2000s. While growing up, there were only two channels on TV and that itself was considered a luxury then. When cable TV became affordable, I learnt the concept of English sitcoms. I do not recall the first ever episode of FRIENDS that I saw, but I remember falling head over heels in love with it. Earlier they showed just one episode a week and I had to wait for a whole week after that. Most importantly, due to the western concept and kissing being shown on screen I couldn't watch this in front of my parents. Soon, dad got us another TV for our room and I was thrilled. But still I had to wait for a whole week to watch a new episode.
Internet was considered a luxury too back then. I used to save money and go to cyber cafes to read about the show. I read almost everything about all the cast members and I continued to watch the re-runs of the show. Soon CDs became popular and we bought a computer at home just about the same time. Yeah, this is what is called being middle class. I learnt of a store near home that gave CDs on rent and I saw that he had the FRIENDS show too, season by season. I remember my sister and I sitting and watching an entire season throughout the night. Years passed and we loved watching them. Sometimes we rented the same season again to watch it all over again. I never felt bored of it. Soon, it was time for the last season. I remember watching it with a heavy heart and tears in my eye. I bawled my eyes out after the last episode and could not believe that it was all over. It was the "end of an era" like what they would say.
This is probably the only show that I have followed from the start to the end and I can still watch it anytime, any day. I remember all the dialogues by heart and yet there is a thrill whenever I watch it. This show is something I grew up with. I have loved each and every character and each and every situation of the show. I know it is a western concept, but I could totally relate to it. Till date, almost every situation that I've been in, in my life I can relate it to some episode of FRIENDS. Be it Joey's relationship with Huggsy, Monica's OCD, Phoebe's weirdness, Rachel's sense of fashion, Chandler's sarcasm or Ross's geekiness; it all does strike a chord somewhere. And this is the only show where I love all the main characters equally.
As much as this show was about the six main characters, they had a wonderful supporting cast as well. Especially Gunther, Jack and Judy Geller! The cameos by famous stars were an added bonus too. George Clooney, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Charlie Sheen, Elle Macpherson, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon were just some of the few hugely popular stars who appeared in small roles on the show. Till date I watch the re-runs on TV and laugh like I've been watching it for the first time. I might be mouthing the dialogues myself, but I will still watch and enjoy the show immensely. It is an instant mood lifter.
As much as I love this show, I love people who are crazy about this show as well. Like I said before that you can relate any situation of your life to an episode of this show, it feels so nice to talk about this to somebody. Most of my close friends are fans of this show too and at times we only talk in FRIENDS reference and all of us totally get it! I hate people who do not get a reference to the show and look at me blankly. "Could you be anymore stupid?" is what I want to ask them.
No matter how old I get I would still watch this show. I have the entire collection of the show and I would save them for my children if I decide to have any. Else, I would happily gift it to my God-children.