Friends of ‘Friends’ to say farewell

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 6, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Later tonight, Lexi Holland will say a sad goodbye to six of her best friends. After today, they’ll only be able to visit on syndication.

&uot;It’s my favorite thing in the whole world!&uot; Holland says of the longtime comedy Friends, which ends its 10-year run on NBC at 9 p.m. today (a one-hour retrospective follows the final show). &uot;My girlfriends are all coming over for a Friends party. I cried in the second-to-last episode, and I’m going to cry because it’s ending.&uot;

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Since the show premiered on Sept. 22, 1994, the misadventures of Joey, Phoebe, Rachel, Ross, Chandler, and Monica have been amusing and enthralling millions of people around the globe. As the sextet struggled with jobs, relationships, family situations, and parenthood, America’s eyes have been traveling with them every Thursday night. With three average guys and three gorgeous girls, there’s always been a certain amount of sexual tension, which became more than just imaginary a few times – besides Chandler and Monica’s marriage, Ross and Rachel have a daughter, and Joey had a fling with Phoebe (though he thought she was her twin sister Ursula), and messed with Rachel once or twice. But viewers always knew that, under any conflict that might arise (and it did in Abundance, capitalization intentional), the characters shared their own love, friendship or otherwise. The theme song proclaims, &uot;I’ll be there for you… ’cause you’re there for me too!&uot; and the characters made it true.

As the Emmy-winning show winds down, Monica and Chandler are about to adopt a new baby, and Rachel and Ross, whose relationship has been a focal point since the inception, will make a final decision about their future. Rachel’s just accepted a job in Paris, and Ross might either go with her or convince her to stick around in the Big Apple. Phoebe’s happily married (but hey, anything can happen, right?), and Joey’s heading to Los Angeles for his own show (which will become reality when the spin-off &uot;Joey&uot; premiers on NBC next year).

&uot;Ross and Rachel are definitely going to get together, and I think he’ll convince her to stay,&uot; predicts Holland.

While Holland will be surrounded by her other friends tonight, Jordan Hall will be alone with her bowl of popcorn. &uot;I’m also going to have a box of tissues, because I know it’s going to be a tear-jerker,&uot; Hall says. &uot;I’m watching it without anyone around so I can focus. I like everything about it. It’s one of those shows that I can watch all the time. I love Joey – he’s just so cute and funny.&uot; While Chandler’s sarcasm/foot-in-mouth disease/self-deprecation and Phoebe’s lovable bimbo act (not to mention Rachel’s hairstyle, which is still known as ‘The Rachel’) swept American pop culture, so did Joey’s take-no-prisoners, act-before-you-think personality (who can quote his &uot;How you doing?&uot; without laughing?).

&uot;Everybody’s interested in relationships, but there’s also so much humor mixed in,&uot; said Drew Rowell, who watches the show &uot;either by myself or with my girlfriend!

&uot;I like Chandler’s dry humor, Ross’ facial expressions, and Joey, well, he’s just being Joey,&uot; Rowell said. &uot;It’s not really dramatic, like soap operas or romance movies.&uot;

On Tuesday, a DVD of the Friends finale will be released, with the disc including the series’ pilot episode and some exclusive behind-the-scenes material.