I’ll be there for you: The One about Friends by Kelsey Miller [review]

I'll be there for you - audiobook cover

Title: I’ll Be There For You: The One About Friends
Author: Kelsey Miller
Format: Audiobook

[Synopsis]

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.

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[My Review]

I’ll Be There For You is a reminiscent walk down memory lane, summarising the 10 entertaining years of Friends, from the very beginning (with castings, pilot episodes and anticipation of how it would be received by audiences) to the massive success it became. It’s a really informative book because it charts not only Friend’s successes but also its various problems, and the way it was lacking in some key areas.

I used to absolutely love watching Friends but have to admit I haven’t sat down to watch it for ages, and I wouldn’t necessarily pick to watch it on TV anymore as there’s just so many other series I want to watch more. However, saying all that, when I have happened to catch an episode or two, it has really taken me back to my teenage years in a way that makes me feel really happy, so listening to this audiobook was a very interesting and enjoyable experience.

The programme is, as we all know, very much a product of its time but that doesn’t excuse some of its key shortcomings – these are, however, portrayed in a balanced way. I found it really entertaining (and a bit of a blast from the past) to remind myself of older episodes, as Kelsey Miller discusses the storylines and themes throughout the 10 seasons. There is some very interesting information on a court case I wasn’t aware of, as well as commentary from other people – both fans and critics.

The audiobook, which I listened to, was an absorbing, interesting read for my commute and I often find myself drifting off, or losing concentration, when listening to audiobooks but this wasn’t the case here at all.

I would definitely recommend this book for fans of Friends; it’s not just recounting various episodes but the cultural and societal issues and highlights it arguably had during its ten years on television.

[Rating: 4/5]

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