Friends

TV review by
Betsy Wallace, Common Sense Media
Friends TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Hilarious sitcom for adults and older teens.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 84 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 341 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & Representations

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
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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

What 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byyuri13 October 13, 2014

Not so graphic like Seinfeld,but watch with caution...

CSM is wrong.I mean,had sexual content but is infrequent and sometime it's just two peoples in a bed.Mild swears infrequent,brif and mild drug references.... Continue reading
Parent of a 10 and 10-year-old Written bydavid.wallace July 4, 2011

Great Show

It has some iffy parts but in the end kids are exposed to much worse at school and being able to talk about it in a safe environment is great. Explain to your c... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byPeterE472 July 16, 2010

on on on for every1

i love love love it its the best tv show ever
Kid, 12 years old April 27, 2015

Friends is the best!

I'm 12 and I love watching friends! They say it's violent, but it isn't that violent. A few people trip and fall, nose bleeds, that's about... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

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