Friends

Common Sense Media says

Hilarious sitcom for adults and older teens.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's plenty of squabbling, ribbing, and drama among the six main characters, but ultimately their relationships are solid, and they're always there for one another.

Positive role models

The characters all have their flaws and insecurities, but they clearly care for one another and are loyal and accepting. Plenty of iffy behavior over the series' long run (including casual hook-ups, drinking, pettiness, etc.), but it's all played for humor and makes the characters more relatable. Very little diversity.

Violence

A humorous pratfall or slug here and there.

Sex

Plenty of sexual innuendo and jokes. Discussion of adult relationships. Nothing explicit on screen, though characters are sometimes shown in bed together. Kissing, embraces.

Language

Occasional expletives or name-calling on the level of "damn" and "bitch."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters have acted irresponsibly while intoxicated. Social drinking. Infrequent smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this long-running sitcom's subject matter is often mature. Episodes have dealt with divorce, single parenthood, infertility, and more. The topics are treated sensitively but with the irreverence befitting a sitcom. Premarital sex is depicted as the norm for dating relationships; there's also frequent drinking and some smoking. The characters, while flawed, are always there for one another and are extremely loyal when the chips are down.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Debuting in 1994, the long-running, Emmy-winning sitcom FRIENDS centers on six Manhattan-dwelling friends as they undergo their twenties and become thirtysomethings. The sextet consists of neat-freak chef Monica (Courteney Cox), her thrice-divorced brother Ross (David Schwimmer), sarcastic quipster Chandler (Matthew Perry), batty singer/massage therapist Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), aspiring actor Joey (Matt LeBlanc), and former suburban princess Rachel (Jennifer Aniston). Storylines range from standard sitcom fare (hilarious misunderstandings, dating nightmares, etc.) to weightier plots involving lesbian ex-wives, friend hook-ups, unexpected pregnancies, and more. As the series progressed, episodes became more dramatic and less situational, wisely capitalizing on viewers' decade-long relationship with the characters.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

While the characters take on careers and a bit more responsibility over the course of the series, in most ways the friends remain slaves to their idiosyncrasies and compulsions rather than display more maturity. Too many jokes that lampoon personality traits such as Joey's libido or Chandler's wimpiness (he's sometimes made fun of for seeming gay) are one of the series' weaknesses. Many of the juicier plot developments were obviously thrown in to boost ratings and sometimes seem borrowed from soap operas. Still, the writing is often intelligent, and the acting is skillful. Long-time fans are often rewarded with jokes that reference past episodes and personality quirks; familiarity makes this show all the funnier.

There are trade-offs for families to consider. The comedy may be inappropriate for kids, and yet the storytelling can be more original and thought-provoking than in sitcoms geared specifically to younger viewers. Characters' contradictions and mistakes make them questionable role models but also account for why so many viewers relate to them. The friends frequently talk through their problems openly and honestly with one another, which could be viewed as a model for communication within families.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether or not the characters make good decisions. Do their lives seem realistic? Are they intended to be role models?

  • How do the characters' friendships compare to teens' own relationships with their friends?

TV details

Cast:Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry
Networks:NBC, Syndicated
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming
Awards:Emmy, Golden Globe

This review of Friends was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byBook_lover98 April 22, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

BUILD A BRIDGE AND GET OVER IT!!!!!!

This website is stupid! Friends is a heart warming comedy that is suitable form 12 and up. my god stop treating kids like babies!

What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written byPeterE472 July 16, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

on on on for every1

i love love love it its the best tv show ever

What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old Written bywill_turner April 9, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

I laughed!!!!

this programme is the best. i have got season 5 and i think that it is so funny. joey is the best and chandler and pheobe are second. joey is stupid and funny and chandler is sarcastic!!!

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