The TV show Friends has millions of fans around the world, and for the longest time I was not one of them. My journey to finally watching the show was a long one, considering that I only started to watch it ten years after the series finale. But I'm glad I waited that long.
Back when the series premiered in 1994, I was a mere 9 years old. Although some of my friends in grade school said they "watched" it, my parents were firm in the fact that I was not supposed to watch it. The show was on Thursdays at 8pm, which meant my parents were probably watching the first part of it as I got ready for bed. I did manage to catch little bits of it here and there, and eventually learned the six main characters' names: Joey, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, Ross, and Rachel. It was easy to do, since the theme song became a hit single and the actors filmed the music video (remember this?).
In high school, I lived away from home and didn't have the time to catch up on any network television besides Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. In college, when Friends was in its twilight years and coming to a close, I do remember some of my classmates holding Friends viewing parties, but by that time nine seasons had passed and lots of the little plot points had passed me by, even though I'd kept tabs on the major developments. (Chandler and Monica? Rachel and Joey?)
I also had turned into a Friends hater by then, rolling my eyes at the retrospectives that were cropping up as the tenth season ended. I had a core group of friends who loved it, and referenced it any chance they got. I just ignored it or insulted it, which I'm sure they hated. As the years passed, their references continued, but my blatant disregard for the series did fade. I didn't want to watch it enough to catch any of the eight hundred channels on which the series was syndicated (I couldn't do the commercials.) However, when my brother obtained the entire series, I finally resolved to watch it.
I am very glad that I did. Had I watched it at any other point in my life - grade school (heaven forbid!), high school, college, or early twenties - I would have liked it, but now that I am watching it as someone the same age as the characters, I can relate to them better. Well, not all of their issues. But job crises? Girl talk? Friend issues? Living paycheck to paycheck? Comfortable recliners that you don't want to ever leave? Those are things with which I can now relate.
I'm still in the middle of season three right now, but I am laughing a lot more at awkward situations and witty Chandler comebacks than I ever would have been in earlier years. My journey to Friends has been long, but it was worth it in the end.