It's been a few years now, and I haven't heard that theme song on the radio since forever. But, as more and more time pass from when Friends ended, I find myself popping my Friends dvd collection in my player on a regular basis. Despite some promising television shows currently on air, there's still no substitution for Friends. To be honest, I now can't stand watching the Friends episodes when shown on TBS or the WB because of the commercials and the shortened scenes.
Friends: The Complete Tenth Season is a shortened season, only having 17 episodes. The famous cast, immersed in other acting projects, still found enough time in their hectic schedule to put together a fitting capper on what has been an all-time classic sitcom. Thru the course of season 10, we witness the ascension and abrupt demise of the Rachel-Joey romance, the end of Ross's relationship with Charlie, Monica and Chandler's struggles to adopt a baby, Phoebe's marriage, Phoebe's choice of her new name (Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock) and Mike's retaliatory new monicker (Crapbag - first name "Crap," last name "Bag"), Chandler and Monica's decision to move to the suburbs, Rachel's new job offer, and, at last, the resolution of the Ross and Rachel off-again, on-again romance.
There's really no need to go into the outstanding chemistry of the regulars. The cast is luminous and knowing that this is the last season lends a certain bittersweet tang to their acting. A few standout scenes for me: Swhimmer's hilarious performances in "The One Where Ross is Fine" and "The One with Ross's Tan," Matt Perry's heartfelt speech to Erica at the end of "The One with the Birth Mother," and the whole cast's emotional performance in "The One with Rachel's Going Away Party" and "The Last One."
Some episodes did disappoint. I didn't find Danny DeVito particularly funny in "The One Where the Stripper Cries" while "The One with the Late Thanksgiving" did not live up to the quality of the other classic Thanksgiving episodes.
The reassuring, always welcome presences of Elliot Gould, Christina Pickles, Maggie Wheeler, Giovanni Ribisi, and Paul Rudd are felt as they all show up for a final bow, while the unheralded James Michael Tyler as Gunther finally reveals his affections for Rachel. The guest stars are ho-hum this time. Christina Applegate (not as memorable here as her last stint), Dakota Fanning, Selma Blair, Greg Kinnear, Danny DeVito, and Aisha Tyler don't particularly contribute anything of note to the proceedings. However, Anna Faris is great as the pregnant, kinda clueless Erica, while Jennifer Coolidge is funny enough in her role as the obnoxious Amanda Buffamonteezi that she got a regular role in Joey.
This time, there's no shortchanging the special features: teary-eyed episode commentary by the producers and director on "The One with the Late Thanksgiving," "The One Where the Stripper Cries," and "The Last One." The 4th disc is devoted entirely to extra features: Friends Final Thoughts: the cast and producers reflect during their final days at work and after series production ends, Gag Reels for Seasons 1-4 and Season 10, Friends of Friends video guestbook with Aisha Tyler, Paul Rudd, and Christina Applegate, a Joey Joey music video, and a short cast & crew list.
I grew up on Friends, which to this day continues to be my "comfort food" of television. And to this day, I still miss these six characters. When I'm bored or feeling down, I pop in any one of the 10 seasons and my mood inevitably improves. I can't help but feel that, somewhere, Ross and Rachel, Monica and Chandler, Joey and Phoebe are still hanging out together, hanging out with friends.