Nearly 20 years since the last episode aired, Friends remains a very popular show. To this day, fans of the show continue to seek out new content related to their favorite romantic sitcom.
In fact, despite being continuously cancelled, confirmed, and rescheduled, people are still hoping that the upcoming Friends reunion will materialize sooner rather than later. Rumors of the reunion started a couple years after the show ended back in 2004. And in 2020, the buzz about it not only refuses to die down, but it is stronger than ever before.
This actually isn’t surprising, considering how Friends practically outlined the formula for similar popular comedies that came after it. Shows like The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and even Community all borrow more than a page or two from the most successful sitcom in history. And today, the show’s cultural impact extends past the series into online gaming, a highly competitive arena for the most popular television franchises.
Online gaming providers are quite fond of using cult classics and franchises in their games, mainly as it’s a great way to turn entire generations of fans into players. From competitive group trivia quizzes to single-player slot games, the Friends franchise is alive and well in the online gaming world. In fact, while there are many Slingo themed games hosted on Foxy Bingo based on popular television shows, the Friends title is the only one not based on a reality TV program or game show, demonstrating the impact it has had on all forms of media. Starting in 1994 and ending in 2004, the show continues to be relevant in the Internet age. And throughout its 10-year run, there have been several noteworthy musical moments that have reinforced Friends’ cultural impact over the years. Here are some of the songs that made those moments possible.
“Smelly Cat” – Phoebe Buffay
Arguably more memorable than even the show’s well-known theme song, “Smelly Cat” represents everything the show is about. Apart from being one of the funniest moments in the show’s history, Phoebe Buffay’s acoustic masterpiece reveals the heart and soul of the series: a deep sense of selfless love, candy-coated in clever quips and zany ideas. And VH1 agrees that no other song from Friends is as memorable or as funny as “Smelly Cat.”
“With Or Without You” – U2
Reminiscent of the most heart-wrenching moments between Rachel and Ross, U2’s “With Or Without You” provided the soundtrack to arguably the most popular love team in all of American television. Through the ups and down, misunderstandings, and eventual reunion between the two, this song was there. Much like Friends itself, this song continues to echo in contemporary music, most recently through an otherworldly cover by Amy Lee of the goth rock band Evanescence.
“Space Oddity” – Chandler Bing
Joey shoots a fake action scene to fool his grandma into thinking that they’re watching him on TV, but the show comes to an abrupt end when the tape cuts to Chandler singing the beginning of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Easily one of Chandler’s best moments, the short but sweet scene is one of the best 5 seconds in the entire series. Incidentally, Chandler is far from being the only would-be spaceman who was inspired to cover Bowie’s work.
“A Horse With No Name” – America
In one of the show’s rare, funny, and unintentionally poignant moments, Joey manages to make his way to Las Vegas to finally do a starring role in a big-budget movie. But when he gets there, he finds out that the studio is broke, and that the project is cancelled indefinitely. A delivery man hands him some balloons with a note congratulating him for his role in a big movie – the perfect cherry on top of the cake as the studio trucks roll out and “A Horse With No Name” plays in the background.
“I’ll Be There For You” – The Rembrandts
Any list of the best songs from Friends would be remiss without at least mentioning the theme song. You have to admit – it’s one of the catchiest pop rock hits from the ‘90s. And as overplayed as it is, “I’ll Be There For You” still represents not just the show, but an entire era of television.