Friday, April 4, 2008

Cultural impact

Friends has made a notable contribution to some areas of popular culture - in particular, language and fashion. The use of "so" to mean "very" or "really" was not invented by any Friends writer, but it is arguable that the extensive use of the phrase in the series encouraged its use in everyday life[17] (others assert that the use of "so" on Friends as an "unconditional" in the sense of "absolutely" ["You are so moving"; "You are so dead"], supplanting its 80s counterpart "totally," was much more influential than "so" in the sense of "very," which was firmly established in the vernacular long before Friends). The series has also been noted for its impact on everyday fashion and hairstyles. Jennifer Aniston's hairstyle was nicknamed "The Rachel" and copied around the world.[18]

Joey Tribbiani's catchphrase "How you doin'?" has become a popular part of Western English slang, often used as a pick-up line or when greeting friends.[19] The show also popularized the idea of the "laminated list", a list of celebrities that a person's partner will permit them to sleep with if they were to ever meet them. In "The One with Frank Jr." the characters exchange "lists" verbally, while Ross creates a physical list and laminates it, making his choices permanent. The concept of the laminated list has been adopted by the Hollywood Stock Exchange website.[20]

The phrase "Ross and Rachel" has appeared as a joke in Scrubs: the janitor describes J.D.'s relationship with Elliot as "not exactly Ross and Rachel." After a pause, the "Ross and Rachel" in question is revealed to be two other employees in the hospital, "Dr. Ross, and Rachel from book keeping," and the offscreen shots. Friends has been referenced again in the Scrubs episode, "My Cold Shower"; Carla describes J.D and Elliot's relationship as being, "On and off more than Ross and Rachel, from Friends", J.D then explains how he is nothing like Ross and in Doctor Cox's tradition of calling J.D girl's names, he tells J.D he's more like Rachel. On the television show One Tree Hill, a character references Ross saying the wrong name at the altar when he was marrying Emily. In one episode of the British show Skins, a Russian girl learns English from Friends, and uses many of the catchphrases (such as "How you doin'" and "We were on a break") as a recurring joke.

One of the principal settings of the series, the "Central Perk" coffee house has inspired various imitations worldwide (the coffee house is based on Cholmondeley's, a coffee shop and lounge in Usen Castle at Brandeis University, the alma mater of the show's creators), including the now-defunct "Phoenix Perk" in Dublin (named for the park in the city, and the 'Riverdale Perk' in Toronto. In 2006 Iranian businessman Mojtaba Asadian started a "Central Perk" franchise, registering the name in 32 countries. The décor of his coffee houses are inspired by that in Friends. James Michael Tyler attended the grand opening of the flagship Dubai café and is the spokesman for the company.[21]

One of Phoebe's songs, "Smelly Cat", became popular enough to be adopted by a group of Portuguese comedians claiming to be fans of Friends, who named their show "Gato Fedorento" (Portuguese for "smelly cat"). This choice of name was probably the basis for their statement that they 'often steal ideas from American comedians'. The cat (normally drawn with smell lines) has become Gato Fedorento's mascot, and the four comedians are usually known as "the smelly cats" or simply "the cats". One of the comedians, José Diogo Quintela, has stated that he thought "smelly cat" meant "cranky chair" in English, and some fans still call the show Cadeira Rançosa (cranky chair). The show was one of NBC's most popular shows, and along with Will and Grace was one of the few shows not to include a laughter track in its final season.

It is noted every single episode is named 'The One...', e.g. 'The One with Ross' Inappropriate Song'. This reflects how people, typically unaware of an episode's actual title, in conversation simply identify as, for example, 'the one where they get married'.

The show has also shown an cultural impact in other countries, in a song text (Bråkmaker) made from the Norwegian rap buddies Erik & Kriss [1] they song "Kan vi ikke bare komme overens, Stikke hjem til meg og se noen episoder av Friends", translated into English means "Can't we just get along, go home to me and watch some episodes of friends"?

No comments: