10 years ago, to the day, my favorite television show ever, Friends, ended in grand style with a two-part finale that wrapped everything up much better than a lot of finales have before or since. Of course, being such a huge fan, I wanted several certain things to happen, and I had my fingers crossed for:
- Rachel and Ross to end up together
- Monica and Chandler to have their kids
- Joey to not be left behind
- Closure on this part of their lives
- Hope for good things to happen in their future
In fact, 10 years later I imagine Ross and Rachel have two more beautiful children, and Ben is a good big brother to them all, even though he’s in college in Rhode Island so he doesn’t see them nearly as much as he would wish. Joey’s attempt at restarting his acting career gave him a chance to reconnect with his sister and his nephew in Los Angeles, then he lands an amazing part in a new sitcom as the headmaster of a school for young boys. The show is still a huge international hit. Monica and Chandler raised the twins well, and then 3 years after their birth Monica got pregnant despite the odds and ironically had another set of twins they called Joey and Phoebe.
Their kids are good friends with Rachel and Ross’s kids. In fact, their parents joked that they might end up living across the hall from each other in New York City someday.
Phoebe and Mike are a wonderful couple, and they have an amazing story to tell about how they met, but they’re just too quirky to really make things work. I think eventually they get divorce, but remain wonderful friends. They never had any children, which was a small comfort to them. She still sees her brother and his triplets a lot. In fact, she’s moved in down the block from them and has almost forgotten about the time the pimp spit in her mouth. Almost. Oh, and David the scientist guy has returned from Minsk at long last with an answer to whatever question he was over there asking. They finally make it work like they couldn’t in Barbados, and they’re expecting their first child.
The finale, when it aired, answered the vast majority of my questions, and it did so in style. It was a good send-off to the foosball table, to Monica’s apartment, and even to Central Perk and Gunther. Ah, Gunther, and his unrequited love of Rachel. He was never able to stop his obsession, and he can often still be found mooning over “the one that got away.” As a side note, his hair is still brighter than the sun.
Also, wasn’t that just the best answering machine message ever? I found myself holding my breath, along with the passengers who were so upset that their plane had no phalanges. It just wouldn’t have been the same if those two hadn’t ended up together, even if it would have been a tad more realistic. But, come on, he’s her lobster. That home movie from the day of her prom still makes me tear up even to this day. So I was holding my breath while listening to the message. Then I smiled.
Was it perfect? No, because things are never perfect, but it came pretty damn close. At its best Friends was always a show about beginnings, and about endings. The very first episode marked the end of Rachel’s dream life as Mrs. Barry Finkle (nee Farber, D.D.S), and the beginning of the life she was always meant to live, with her friends who became her family. And it comes full circle at the end of the 10th season, at the end of the series, as another ending swoops in, this time of the constant good times spent with their friends, so many good beginnings (the rest of their lives) stretch out in front of them.
And the keys. I love the keys. As such a symbolic gesture they work. Try finding another place that big in the city to sublet for pennies a month, then get your five friends to come in and out over the course of 10 years, to sometimes live there, and to create so many hilarious memories there. Then give them keys and let them have at it. It was time to hand those keys in, but the door to apartment 20 will always be left open for those who remain fans of the show, of the characters, and of the time we spent with them every Thursday night (during the season) for 10 years.
I still miss you guys. How YOU doin’?