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Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era

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A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Friends, published for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show’s premiere, including brand-new interviews with the series creators In September 1994, six friends sat down in their favorite coffee shop and began bantering. A quarter of a century later, new fans are still finding their way into the lives of Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Friends, published for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show’s premiere, including brand-new interviews with the series creators In September 1994, six friends sat down in their favorite coffee shop and began bantering. A quarter of a century later, new fans are still finding their way into the lives of Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe, and thanks to a combination of talented creators, its intimate understanding of its youthful audience, and its reign during network television’s last moment of dominance, Friends has become the most influential and beloved show of its era. Noted pop culture historian Saul Austerlitz is here to tell us how it happened. Utilizing exclusive interviews with creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, executive producer Kevin Bright, director James Burrows, and many other producers, writers, and cast members, Generation Friends tells the story of Friends’ creation, its remarkable decade-long run, and its astonishing Netflix-fueled afterlife. Readers will learn how the show was developed and cast, written and filmed. They’ll be reminded of episodes like the one about the trivia contest, the prom video, and the London trip. And, of course, the saga of Ross and Rachel. They’ll also discover surprising details—that Monica and Joey were the show’s original romantic couple, how Danielle Steel probably saved Jennifer Aniston’s career, and why Friends is still so popular that if it was a new show, its over-the-air broadcast reruns would be the ninth-highest-rated program on TV. The show that defined the 1990s remains wildly popular today and has a legacy that has endured beyond wildest expectations. And in this hilarious, informative, and entertaining book, readers will now understand why. “A treat for Friends fans, from OG Must See TV viewers to the new generation of streamers, full of insights into what made a quintessential ’90s phenomenon into a lasting, international classic for the ages. You’ll get your share of juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits, from vicious writers’-room debates about Rachel and Joey’s romance to the time the producers almost moved the setting to Minneapolis (seriously). But you’ll also get a hit of nostalgia for a time when an entire nation hung on the fate of Ross and Rachel, and plenty of smart analysis of why Friends was the right show at the right time … and also continues to be the right show at an entirely different time.” —Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of Seinfeldia


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A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Friends, published for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show’s premiere, including brand-new interviews with the series creators In September 1994, six friends sat down in their favorite coffee shop and began bantering. A quarter of a century later, new fans are still finding their way into the lives of Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Friends, published for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show’s premiere, including brand-new interviews with the series creators In September 1994, six friends sat down in their favorite coffee shop and began bantering. A quarter of a century later, new fans are still finding their way into the lives of Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe, and thanks to a combination of talented creators, its intimate understanding of its youthful audience, and its reign during network television’s last moment of dominance, Friends has become the most influential and beloved show of its era. Noted pop culture historian Saul Austerlitz is here to tell us how it happened. Utilizing exclusive interviews with creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, executive producer Kevin Bright, director James Burrows, and many other producers, writers, and cast members, Generation Friends tells the story of Friends’ creation, its remarkable decade-long run, and its astonishing Netflix-fueled afterlife. Readers will learn how the show was developed and cast, written and filmed. They’ll be reminded of episodes like the one about the trivia contest, the prom video, and the London trip. And, of course, the saga of Ross and Rachel. They’ll also discover surprising details—that Monica and Joey were the show’s original romantic couple, how Danielle Steel probably saved Jennifer Aniston’s career, and why Friends is still so popular that if it was a new show, its over-the-air broadcast reruns would be the ninth-highest-rated program on TV. The show that defined the 1990s remains wildly popular today and has a legacy that has endured beyond wildest expectations. And in this hilarious, informative, and entertaining book, readers will now understand why. “A treat for Friends fans, from OG Must See TV viewers to the new generation of streamers, full of insights into what made a quintessential ’90s phenomenon into a lasting, international classic for the ages. You’ll get your share of juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits, from vicious writers’-room debates about Rachel and Joey’s romance to the time the producers almost moved the setting to Minneapolis (seriously). But you’ll also get a hit of nostalgia for a time when an entire nation hung on the fate of Ross and Rachel, and plenty of smart analysis of why Friends was the right show at the right time … and also continues to be the right show at an entirely different time.” —Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of Seinfeldia

30 review for Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)

    My first thought when I saw this book was coming out? ‘Oh. My. Gawd.’ And then, “How You Doin’?” Could I BE any more excited? Nope. I don’t think I could. It’s a 'Moo' point. This book, Would Be Perfection. This book, will be my Lobster. We will go together like a Chick and a Duck because it’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy and it IS a big deal!! You’re going to want to be ‘On a Break’ and summon all your UNAGI when you dive into this one because you will gobble it up like teenag My first thought when I saw this book was coming out? ‘Oh. My. Gawd.’ And then, “How You Doin’?” Could I BE any more excited? Nope. I don’t think I could. It’s a 'Moo' point. This book, Would Be Perfection. This book, will be my Lobster. We will go together like a Chick and a Duck because it’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy and it IS a big deal!! You’re going to want to be ‘On a Break’ and summon all your UNAGI when you dive into this one because you will gobble it up like teenage Monica and 5 types of Thanksgiving potatoes and still get the meat sweats. The fun facts and tidbits packed into this fun book will Steal Your Wind - and you’ll want to read it more times than Ross has been married! Layers upon layers of things I never knew! This book truly goes Commando and lets it all hang out. Layers as juicy as an English Trifle. Things that ‘They Don’t Know, That we Know, They Know we Know', but also insider scoop worthy of a Royal, like Princess Consuela Bananahammock. You’re going to laugh until Mr. Heckles bangs on your ceiling with a broom to quiet down. You’re going to run like Phoebe, arms flailing - don’t PIVOT! - to get this one. It is no Smelly Cat. Place it on your Apothecary Table so your own friends can enjoy it. Cause on a scale on 1 to 7… this book is a 7,7,7,7……SEVEN! Huge thanks to Dutton Books for gifting me with this book. It’s 'kick you in the crotch, spit on your neck fantastic’! And it’s out today!! Who’s your favorite friend?! Mine’s Joey! Because like, Joey - Kate doesn’t share food!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    If you're a Friends fanatic--as I am--then this book is a must read. I was already familiar with some of the information here of course having read everything else I could find on the subject but Austerlitz offers interesting analysis of the Friends' phenomena here in the U.S. and across the world. This sit com from the 90s continues to be popular with new generations. Why? Austerlitz finds the answer in the world presented in Friends. It's one of belonging, of finding one's way into adulthood wi If you're a Friends fanatic--as I am--then this book is a must read. I was already familiar with some of the information here of course having read everything else I could find on the subject but Austerlitz offers interesting analysis of the Friends' phenomena here in the U.S. and across the world. This sit com from the 90s continues to be popular with new generations. Why? Austerlitz finds the answer in the world presented in Friends. It's one of belonging, of finding one's way into adulthood with the support of a chosen family of friends. It also is set in a different world, one before terrorism ruled the world (although 9/11 happened during its run, the series decided to not include the event which would obviously eclipse anything else and, although they worried about this decision, apparently people turned to it for comfort in a dark time). It has many flaws: homophobia (although also presenting a loving gay couple and their wedding and a loving relationship between two of its male stars, Joey and Chandler) and, especially, the lack of diversity in one of the most diverse cities in the world). Despite these drawbacks, the show presents caring relationships within a well-crafted and acted vehicle. I especially enjoyed all the behind-the-scenes coverage which is, in fact, the major focus of the book. The information about the actual process of writing (a team of writers working grueling hours together to create as perfect a script as possible), the producers/creators/directors' contributions and process, including the work of costume designers and props' person) was fascinating, at least to me. It was more than just an analysis of the making of Friends' but a look into the creative process and the world of television. Reading this book was great fun for me and it went by too quickly. Of course, all of us who love Friends must read it but it will also be of interest to those interested in the entire process of putting together a television show, including the creative process, the production process and the ordinary nuts and bolts of it all.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura • lauralovestoread

    I grew up watching FRIENDS, and still find myself drawn in to watch the show if it’s on. I knew I needed to read this book, to get all of the behind the scenes details. I loved that some of the influences of the show creators were represented in Phoebe, Chandler and Monica. I can’t imagine the characters being represented by any other actor, so that was interesting to learn that som of the actresses auditioned for other characters for the show! *Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy for I grew up watching FRIENDS, and still find myself drawn in to watch the show if it’s on. I knew I needed to read this book, to get all of the behind the scenes details. I loved that some of the influences of the show creators were represented in Phoebe, Chandler and Monica. I can’t imagine the characters being represented by any other actor, so that was interesting to learn that som of the actresses auditioned for other characters for the show! *Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy for review. All opinions are my own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Its hard to take a “Friends” book seriously when there are a few glaring mistakes regarding plotlines and episodes!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Fedder

    I would give this book a better review if the author didn’t feel the need to include their political opinion multiple times.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    While parts of this book are a lot of fun for a friends superfan like me, I feel this author just doesn’t get it. I was expecting some behind the scenes gossip and show facts and that would have been really good to me. What it actually was turned into a TON of stupid opinions by this obviously liberal idiot author and at least four stupidly mentioned digs on the president of the United States. Automatic deductions of Stars for those comments. I hate that more than anything in a book. To me this While parts of this book are a lot of fun for a friends superfan like me, I feel this author just doesn’t get it. I was expecting some behind the scenes gossip and show facts and that would have been really good to me. What it actually was turned into a TON of stupid opinions by this obviously liberal idiot author and at least four stupidly mentioned digs on the president of the United States. Automatic deductions of Stars for those comments. I hate that more than anything in a book. To me this book should not be a non fiction book because this author takes so much liberty making his own opinions up. The source notes in the back just solidify the fact this guy just read some articles and made up a fiction book. The chapter at the end is WORTHLESS! Don’t tell me how all you idiotic social justice warriors feel friends is a detriment to society. It was fun and continues to be fun. This author is a moron!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lyndsey thelittlereadingmermaid

    holy nostalgia! I consider myself to be a FRIENDS superfan, okay? i’ve seen each episode well over 100 times, and I STILL laugh at Chandler’s jokes, Rachel’s ditziness, Phoebe’s eccentric personality, Joey’s blonde moments, Monica’s antics, and Ross’s hopeless romantic gestures. I was beyond excited when I saw this book was being released because I had hoped it would dive further into the behind the scenes life of FRIENDS than a certain other book released last year had. This book exceeded my expe holy nostalgia! I consider myself to be a FRIENDS superfan, okay? i’ve seen each episode well over 100 times, and I STILL laugh at Chandler’s jokes, Rachel’s ditziness, Phoebe’s eccentric personality, Joey’s blonde moments, Monica’s antics, and Ross’s hopeless romantic gestures. I was beyond excited when I saw this book was being released because I had hoped it would dive further into the behind the scenes life of FRIENDS than a certain other book released last year had. This book exceeded my expectations and had me reliving each season moment by moment. The casting and overall beginning of the show is very interesting if you don’t know how the world of television shows works, which I didn’t, so it was extremely informative. I loved reading about Matthew Perry’s genuine passion to play Chandler, and how he helped other guys audition for the role because he couldn’t take it at the time. I also loved that the FRIENDS cast was just that in real life, too, friends! I didn’t know they all got paid the same amount throughout all 10 seasons, and they stuck together and were there for each other behind the scenes as well as while the cameras were rolling. I didn’t know a ton about the lawsuit against FRIENDS going into this book, but I definitely felt like I walked away with a good general knowledge about what happened and the outcome. I like how the author addressed the hot topic of slim to none diversity on the show, but did so in a classy, well informed way that wasn’t flat out bashing the series. It’s very clear that Saul did his homework and extensive research and interviews to bring us the most exciting facts and stories surrounding the show, and I am super appreciative of that. It was also super refreshing to know that the cast also hated the Rachel/Joey love interest plot just as much as I think the rest of the audience did. I loved reading about how everyone was cast, the relationships between the writers and cast, the cast’s rising stardom throughout it all, the guest stars and how they acted on set, and how emotional the last season really was to film. What happened next for our favorite FRIENDS, and everything in between. I feel like now I could definitely walk into a trivia night and ace every single question regarding my favorite TV show in the entire world. Thank you, Dutton Publishing, for sending me this amazing book in exchange for my honest review, and thank you Saul Austerlitz for helping me fall even more in love with my show!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bookgirl

    Other than details of how the writers worked, there isn't much here that I didn't already know. Why he inserted his political views into a book about a T.V. show is beyond me. However, the real kicker is the numerous mistakes he makes when recounting (unnecessarily) details of episodes. He goes on and on about what happens in the episodes instead of telling what happened behind the scenes. Just a waste of time and money.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paige Connell

    This book, like gum, is perfection. When you read it, you've found your lobster. You'll want to PIVOT into your favorite chair and dive into it. Could it BE any more fulfilling for a Friends fan? You won't want to be on a break from any of the chapters. The 5th dentist caved, and they're all recommending that you read this book. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would definitely give it 7...7...7... SEVEN...seven. If you have any nostalgia and knowledge of Friends from the 90s and early 200 This book, like gum, is perfection. When you read it, you've found your lobster. You'll want to PIVOT into your favorite chair and dive into it. Could it BE any more fulfilling for a Friends fan? You won't want to be on a break from any of the chapters. The 5th dentist caved, and they're all recommending that you read this book. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would definitely give it 7...7...7... SEVEN...seven. If you have any nostalgia and knowledge of Friends from the 90s and early 2000s, this book will make your heart so happy. It's an in-depth look at everything behind the scenes, from casting to writing to filming to contracts to drama to comedy to analysis of the "lightning in a bottle" that made this show the megawatt hit that it was. Thoroughly researched and keenly written, you'll absolutely want to grab a cup of coffee and jump into this book that will always be there for you.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Meh. I think any book that attempts to go in-depth into the Friends phenomenon without the participation of the six main cast members is going to be lacking. This book goes into some of the minutiae of creating, writing and producing the show but there isn't much here that hasn't been published elsewhere before. As a diehard Friends fan, I was hoping for nuggets I didn't already know. I was also perplexed by the author's propensity for going on (for paragraphs and sometimes pages) about the plot Meh. I think any book that attempts to go in-depth into the Friends phenomenon without the participation of the six main cast members is going to be lacking. This book goes into some of the minutiae of creating, writing and producing the show but there isn't much here that hasn't been published elsewhere before. As a diehard Friends fan, I was hoping for nuggets I didn't already know. I was also perplexed by the author's propensity for going on (for paragraphs and sometimes pages) about the plot and dialogue of a particular scene or episode in order to illustrate a point. If you're a Friends fan you don't need this much detail and if you're not a Friends fan it's unlikely you're reading the book in the first place.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Troszt Tamás

    Awful, awful... I wanted to give 2 stars (there were some interresting facts about the show), but holy hell that last chapter... Half the book is just the synopsis of some episodes with no added value (it feels like a fifth graders poem analysis. Guess he had to hit a word count) . The other half is a political rant. How many times can you shove in a book how they didn't have black friends, how racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic the show is. Why do I have to read about BLM, Tr Awful, awful... I wanted to give 2 stars (there were some interresting facts about the show), but holy hell that last chapter... Half the book is just the synopsis of some episodes with no added value (it feels like a fifth graders poem analysis. Guess he had to hit a word count) . The other half is a political rant. How many times can you shove in a book how they didn't have black friends, how racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic the show is. Why do I have to read about BLM, Trumps presidency, #MeToo in a book about a show in the 90s?! All you had to do was gather some stories/gossips...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    A lot of repetition and some errors. Sometimes I felt like he didn't really watch the show but just did research on it for the book. And I didnt care for his political views being sprinkled in. Irrelevant to the subject matter. I picked up the book to read about a favorite show. I could care less what the author's political bent is. Moving on, it was an enjoyable read minus the irrelevant and erroneous content.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leah Lawson

    This is the second book in the last year that I have read about Friends. I enjoyed reading this one much more. If felt less political and more about the actual show and actors/actresses.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    When you don't have a car for a month due to a predatory car insurance industry, you can get a LOT of reading done!! I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Friends, published for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show's premiere. Howyoudo When you don't have a car for a month due to a predatory car insurance industry, you can get a LOT of reading done!! I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Friends, published for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show's premiere. Howyoudoin’? In September 1994, six friends sat down in their favourite coffee shop and began bantering about sex, relationships, jobs, and just about everything else. A quarter of a century later, new fans are still finding their way into the lives of Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe, and thanks to the show’s immensely talented creators, its intimate understanding of its youthful audience, and its reign during network television’s last moment of dominance, Friends has become the most influential and beloved show of its era. "Friends" has never gone on a break, and this is the story of how it all happened. Noted pop culture historian Saul Austerlitz utilizes exclusive interviews with creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, executive producer Kevin Bright, director James Burrows, and many other producers, writers, and cast members to tell the story of Friends’ creation, its remarkable decade-long run, and its astonishing Netflix-fueled afterlife. Readers will go behind the scenes to hear from the people who were present as the show was developed and cast, written and filmed. There will be the talk of trivia contests, prom videos, trips to London, Super Bowls, lesbian weddings, wildly popular hairstyles, superstar cameos, mad dashes to the airport, and million-dollar contracts. They’ll also discover surprising details—that Monica and Joey were the show’s original romantic couple, how Danielle Steel probably saved Jennifer Aniston’s career, and why Friends is still so popular that if it was a new show, its over-the-air broadcast reruns would be the ninth-highest-rated program on TV. The show that defined the 1990s has a legacy that has endured beyond wildest expectations. And in this hilarious, informative, and entertaining book, readers will now understand why. I LOVE the show Friends but I learned nothing new in this book. Why? Because last year I read and reviewed a book named "I'll Be There for You" and it had pretty much 95% of the information in this book. (It was also 1/3 footnotes - at least this book was "all writing"!) If you have not wasted your time reading that book (which I did not like) you would like this one - it is perfect for any fan of the show. I am going to give it a solid middle of the road 2.5/5 stars (rounded up to 3) as someone who did not read the other book would enjoy learning what is in this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)

    Ugh. I'm so torn on this book. Parts of it are five star worthy, in fact I would even shake hands with the author as these parts were so good. Then there are other parts that, I felt, barely deserved 3 stars, in fact I'd like to throat punch (not for real) the author. So I'll average out the hand shake and throat punch. Four stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I received Generation Friends as part of a Goodreads giveaway. On the 25th anniversary of its premiere, Saul Austerlitz recounts the background, meteoric popularity, and aftermath of Friends. Overviews of episodes and story arcs, interviews with creators and writers, and related information about the cast and crew give a well-rounded portrait of the ratings juggernaut. As someone who adored Friends as a teenager, I really enjoyed this. There were some stories I knew backward and forwards; others I I received Generation Friends as part of a Goodreads giveaway. On the 25th anniversary of its premiere, Saul Austerlitz recounts the background, meteoric popularity, and aftermath of Friends. Overviews of episodes and story arcs, interviews with creators and writers, and related information about the cast and crew give a well-rounded portrait of the ratings juggernaut. As someone who adored Friends as a teenager, I really enjoyed this. There were some stories I knew backward and forwards; others I heard for the first time. Despite it being almost 15 years since watching the show regularly, I spotted a couple errors that will hopefully get fixed in editing (in TOW the Blackout, Ross tells Rachel that he sees big passion in her future, not the reverse!), and occasionally I feel like it relies too heavily on episode summaries. That said, it's clearly a well-researched look at not only the show, but the sociological elements that made it such a smash hit. He also doesn't shy away from the criticisms--the show's lack of diversity, the tinges of homophobia, the sanitization of New York City--that (straight white girl from the Midwestern suburbs that I am/was) I was ignorant of at the time. A fun and nostalgic look back at an impactful if imperfect show.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ramon van Dam

    This book is a bit of a mixed bag. As a major fan of the show I'll happily read anything that can give me new insights into the world-wide phenomenon that had a big footprint in my teenage years, but to be honest the actual quality of the writing isn't up to par. Austerlitz brings some new information to the table, he definitely did good research by talking to a lot of people that were very involved in the creation of the series. That alone made the read worthwhile to me, although large sections This book is a bit of a mixed bag. As a major fan of the show I'll happily read anything that can give me new insights into the world-wide phenomenon that had a big footprint in my teenage years, but to be honest the actual quality of the writing isn't up to par. Austerlitz brings some new information to the table, he definitely did good research by talking to a lot of people that were very involved in the creation of the series. That alone made the read worthwhile to me, although large sections are rehashes of old interviews and articles. Especially reading about the complicated route the creators had to take to eventually shoot the pilot was quite interesting. Having something to tell is one thing, but being able to weave it into a compelling narrative is another. Austerlitz just doesn't come across like a talented author, I'm afraid. Maybe his other work is better, but here he regularly jumps from one piece information to the next without any sense of how to use transitions. Recommended for big fans of Friends, stay away of you're just looking for a behind-the-scenes look at American television in general.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Graham

    I just finished reading Generation Friends by Saul Austerlitz. I’d been reading it off & on since last November when I bought it from Strand. tough not to compare it to I’ll Be There for You by Kelsey Miller because I’ll Be There for You was WAYYY better imho. I loved Kelsey Miller’s mix of memoir w/ sociopolitical analysis re: gender, race, etc. in contrast, Generation Friends was a summary of the show and swung & missed a few times. I just finished reading Generation Friends by Saul Austerlitz. I’d been reading it off & on since last November when I bought it from Strand. tough not to compare it to I’ll Be There for You by Kelsey Miller because I’ll Be There for You was WAYYY better imho. I loved Kelsey Miller’s mix of memoir w/ sociopolitical analysis re: gender, race, etc. in contrast, Generation Friends was a summary of the show and swung & missed a few times.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ben Lund

    What can I say, I liked this book. I'm the guy that has Friends on in the background while I'm cleaning up, or has it on while I eat my breakfast. It's fun, it's familiar, and I know what I'm going to get. The same goes for this book, I knew what I was getting into when I picked it up. I wasn't looking for the "rumours" or the "gossip" of the show. That has been throughly covered by the tabloids. I wanted to know why Friends is the way it is. I can't think of any other show that had 10 consisten What can I say, I liked this book. I'm the guy that has Friends on in the background while I'm cleaning up, or has it on while I eat my breakfast. It's fun, it's familiar, and I know what I'm going to get. The same goes for this book, I knew what I was getting into when I picked it up. I wasn't looking for the "rumours" or the "gossip" of the show. That has been throughly covered by the tabloids. I wanted to know why Friends is the way it is. I can't think of any other show that had 10 consistently funny seasons, and a group of people that felt so much like, well, friends. And has so much pop culture cache, say "how you doin?" in a room and not get a laugh from someone, or go online for a gif of every friends scene ever. "Could there BE any more .gifs?" It really opened my eyes to how Friends came to be, and what it was like to be a part of that phenomenon, not so much as the actors, but of those that made the show exist each week, the production assistants, the writers, all the people we don't see, but who are vital to the show appearing on our tv each week, and forever in reruns. A fitting recap to 10 years of hilarity and emotions that is still resonating with people today.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Nagle

    I really enjoyed this and found it to be a much better read than I'll Be There for You: The One about Friends. This is less trivia and more about the process - how FRIENDS started and how it got to where it is today. It highlights the show's shortcomings (i.e., whitewashing, homophobia, transphobia) and refuses to justify those decisions in the show by stating "yes, the show should have done better. I felt like I'll Be There for You: The One about Friends was more like a Wikipedia page about the I really enjoyed this and found it to be a much better read than I'll Be There for You: The One about Friends. This is less trivia and more about the process - how FRIENDS started and how it got to where it is today. It highlights the show's shortcomings (i.e., whitewashing, homophobia, transphobia) and refuses to justify those decisions in the show by stating "yes, the show should have done better. I felt like I'll Be There for You: The One about Friends was more like a Wikipedia page about the show, whereas this was more of a look into the behind the scenes - who were the writers? How did the show get started? How were the episodes made? What is the impact of the show now compared to when it aired in 1994? If you're a FRIENDS fan, I recommend reading this if you want some more background into the show!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    I took a break from listening to my mysteries on audio, and chose this one instead. For any fan of Friends, this was a very interesting program. I never saw the show when it was in its heyday - i was afraid it was probably too risqué for our kids.......But, since that time, I have seen every episode a few times. If I were to start the series again today, I think there is probably something in every episode that would make me laugh out loud. Austerlitz did a great job compiling SO much informatio I took a break from listening to my mysteries on audio, and chose this one instead. For any fan of Friends, this was a very interesting program. I never saw the show when it was in its heyday - i was afraid it was probably too risqué for our kids.......But, since that time, I have seen every episode a few times. If I were to start the series again today, I think there is probably something in every episode that would make me laugh out loud. Austerlitz did a great job compiling SO much information on how the show came to be, all the work the writers put into it, its legacy, its shortcomings. Some things were repeated a bit too much - I think the whole thing could have been shortened by a few hours.......but it really was great to listen to while working around the house. My only question - why wasn't my very least favorite episode mentioned - the one with the Christmas armadillo??????? Am I the only one who thought that idea was really out of left field?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Heather McC

    Saul Austerlitz does his very best to commemorate Friends' 25th anniversary and while his book does serve as a love letter of sorts to the beloved TV show of the mid 90s and early aughts, the book falls short in terms of getting little details correct in quite a few instances. It wouldn't take very much for a superfan to notice referenced storylines that are not quite accurate, or pieces of character backstory that do not add up with what viewers originally saw. Ultimately, a commemorative book Saul Austerlitz does his very best to commemorate Friends' 25th anniversary and while his book does serve as a love letter of sorts to the beloved TV show of the mid 90s and early aughts, the book falls short in terms of getting little details correct in quite a few instances. It wouldn't take very much for a superfan to notice referenced storylines that are not quite accurate, or pieces of character backstory that do not add up with what viewers originally saw. Ultimately, a commemorative book is better than no book at all, but as a 'Friends' superfan, and fan of overall research, I found myself distracted and wanting to take Austerlitz to task for glaring errors (albeit small) in the book. Since the book is intended as nonfiction and chronicles a history of the show, the little details matter and ultimately prevent the book from achieving the five star rating it otherwise would have gotten.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Leitsch

    A fun, fast read. Not as juicy as I hoped, but I did enjoy a peek into the life of a television writer. I also liked the analysis of why the show was an audience favorite when it originally aired versus why audiences like it now. Interesting social commentary. Definitely a worthy read for fans of the show!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Not being a superfan, yet having watched many episodes and enjoyed them, I found this somewhat interesting and informative, especially about how these types of shows are created. I was expecting a little more gossipy insider stuff, and you do get a bit of that, but this is perhaps more for the serious fan. It did bring back some enjoyable memories, so there was that.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Could this book BE more awesome?!?

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I had to stop because of the hold list at the library, but what I've read so far I've really enjoyed!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    An interesting account of how a show comes together. Brought back fond memories of the show. Sometimes it's more fun NOT to think about how it would hold up today and all the things it may have done wrong. It was meant to be an escape and entertainment.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a fun walk down memory lane, and I appreciated reliving some of the episodes I remember watching years ago, and also adding to my knowledge of Friends by hearing some behind the scenes details for the first time.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hill

    Thank you to Penguin Group Dutton and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on September 17th, 2019. A fun read for those of us who are big Friends fans (and apparently there are a lot of us). I’m not a big TV person — I don’t have cable, and usually just watch a single movie on DVD at night — but I loved Friends, owned all the DVDs, and it was definitely my go to in times of stress. I just never realized how popular it w Thank you to Penguin Group Dutton and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on September 17th, 2019. A fun read for those of us who are big Friends fans (and apparently there are a lot of us). I’m not a big TV person — I don’t have cable, and usually just watch a single movie on DVD at night — but I loved Friends, owned all the DVDs, and it was definitely my go to in times of stress. I just never realized how popular it was with everyone else. The book tracks the show from concept through the ten seasons to the offshoots, residuals, and “where are they now” recaps. Decent (and sometimes excellent) writing, a good structure, and comprehensive in scope, it has just the right amount of gossip and mixes plenty of pleasant recognition with surprisingly fresh insights. I also learned a lot about the making of TV — scheduling, showrunners, production companies vs networks, bidding wars, contract negotiations and some fascinating explanations of what went into the set and costume design. I liked the first half better — the second half included a lot of bits that needed to be included to be complete but weren’t terribly interesting to me — one female writer’s hostile workplace suit, Matthew Perry’s addiction issues, etc. I didn’t always agree with the author’s conclusions, and sometimes felt there was too much episode recap, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed myself and learned a lot about how things work in an industry far away from my own. Some fun quotes: “Chase and Ungerleider had emerged from the same bookish East Coast Jewish milieu as Kauffman and Crane. Chase knew he could instantly summon that overly caffeinated, verbose, linguistically tricky voice.” “Journalists pored over the results with the nuance of elderly Talmudists, intent on parsing the meaning of the message being sent by the American moviegoing populace.” “Neither Crane nor Kauffman was familiar with the term going commando, but when the entire staff urged them to include it, asserting that their audience would instantly understand the reference, they acceded. (Eventually, the Oxford English Dictionary would credit Friends with one of the earliest recorded usages of the term.)” “The world of Friends is notable, to modern eyes,” wrote New York’s Sternergh, “for what it encompasses about being young and single and carefree in the city but also for what it doesn’t encompass: social media, smartphones, student debt the sexual politics of Tinder, moving back in with your parents as a matter of course, and a national mood that vacillates between anxiety and defeatism.”

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    Thank you to Penguin Group Dutton and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published on September 17th, 2019. 📚 As someone who has only seen about a third of Friends' 236 episodes, I wasn't sure if this was going to be the book for me. I was a year and three months old when the first episode hit the air. I've watched episodes casually with friends and seen clips on Youtube, but as a more casual fan than a die-hard one, I wondered Thank you to Penguin Group Dutton and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published on September 17th, 2019. 📚 As someone who has only seen about a third of Friends' 236 episodes, I wasn't sure if this was going to be the book for me. I was a year and three months old when the first episode hit the air. I've watched episodes casually with friends and seen clips on Youtube, but as a more casual fan than a die-hard one, I wondered if this book could catch my interest. I ended up loving it. From the first few chapters of Generation Friends, I was so captivated by the inside look at the creation of a beloved series. Saul Austerlitz's countless hours of research have allowed him to create a nonfiction text that reads much like a compelling narrative. I found myself rooting for the success of the TV show as it evolved from pilot to season to series. Even though I knew the show would reach the height of popularity, I was still pulled into the pageturner as the showrunners worked to navigate the complexities of bringing their vision to life. Whether you watched Friends from its launch in 1994 or you're just discovering the series now, I highly recommend Generation Friends. Bonus: an audio version of this book will be available from Penguin Random House Audio - perfect for car rides or a morning commute! You can preorder it now on Audible! 🎧

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