Thursday, 8 November 2018

Review: I'll be There for You by Kelsey Miller

Publication Date: 25th October 2018
Publisher: HQ
Pages: 304

This definitive retrospective of Friends incorporates interviews, history and behind-the-scenes anecdotes to offer a critical analysis of how a sitcom about six twentysomethings changed television forever. 
When Friends debuted in 1994, no one expected it to become a mainstay of NBC's "Must See TV" lineup, let alone a global phenomenon. In the years since, Friends has gone through many phases of cultural relevancy, from prime-time hit to 90s novelty item to certified classic. Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe have entered the pantheon of great television characters, and millions of people around the globe continue to tune in or stream their stories every day.
I'll Be There for You is the definitive retrospective of Friends, exploring all aspects of the show from its unlikely origins to the elusive reasons why we still watch it. Journalist and pop culture expert Kelsey Miller relives the show's most iconic moments, analyzes the ways in which Friends is occasionally problematic and examines the many trends it inspired, from the rise of coffee-shop culture to "Friendsgivings" to the ultimate 90s haircut, The Rachel.
Weaving incisive commentary, revelatory interviews and behind-the-scenes anecdotes involving high-profile guest stars, I'll Be There for You is the most comprehensive take on Friends, and the ultimate book for fans everywhere.

For myself, and for a lot of people around the world, "Friends" was a lynchpin of growing up. A show that you watched every week without fail. Whose characters felt like your own friends. And who you'd return to again and again on re-watches. Feeling under the weather? World going to hell? Need some nostalgia or tlc? Friends were literally there for you (in some cases three episodes three times a day) whenever you needed them.
It was a show you could enjoy as a child, because it was clean and nice and people weren't mean to each other. And as the viewers grew up, the show took on new layers and meanings. There's a lot that resonates for me now on re-watches, that I didn't really touch on at all when I was first watching it.

Basically, it's a cultural phenomenon, and this book explores all of that.

It's a deep dive into the creators, the cast, how the show came to be, the issues they faced with filming, and the entire smorgasbord of elements that came together to form this entity that no-one ever saw coming.

It's well written and engaging, and I found myself immersed in this show again, wanting to go back and re-watching certain episodes. To revisit these characters and that nostalgia once more. It's stuffed with titbits of information, anecdotes and retrospection that are really interesting, and quite frequently things that I had no idea about, despite having done a lot of reading around the show.

It likely won't appeal in the same way to those who are just very casual viewers, but anyone who loved the show at the time, or has found it since it came off the air, will enjoy this insightful foray into a phenomenon that no one saw coming when the pilot was first written.

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