Proposed Research for NBC’s Hit Series-Friends

I would like to explore the NBC show Friends which aired from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004.  The show was produced by David Crane, Marta Kauffman and Kevin Bright.   The series finale (the 236th episode), airing on May 6, 2004, was watched by 51.1 million American viewers,making it the fourth most watched series finale in television history.[1] The series won many Emmy Awards and was a top hit since its pilot episode.  The Central Perk coffee house that the main characters gathered around daily (and the main setting) has been imitated several times in the real world. The most popular recent imitation was in London, England is 2009 to celebrate the 10 season DVD box-set distribution.

First I would like to explore a content analysis of Friends through its ten years on television. There are reoccurring themes that are very persistent throughout the series. There are reoccurring themes about weight and the negative connotations of being heavy. There are several episodes which make fun and focus on the negative aspects of being overweight.  The show is also very anti-smoking. I was surprised the producers were so set on this point especially during a time when smoking cigarettes was more socially acceptable and legal in indoor establishments.  The show is also very “pro” gay marriage and “pro” interracial couples. I would like to explore these themes by examining several blogs that I am already following, using Twitter to possibly contact either one of the producers or one of the actors in  the show. I am planning on interviewing five very avid fans of friends to find out why they believe that these themes are so important to the show and their feelings about these themes as it pertains to the show itself and how they believe it makes general audiences feel.

I would also like to find out what age group what the show then and how  the show was advertised. The show recently emerged again and is becoming popular again. I constantly see commercials and hear radio advertisements attempt to excite a new generation of younger people to watch the show. The show now plays again on a daily basis on Nick at Night, TBS, and NBC. I can find out this information most likely from Nielson Research and by researching demographics by show within the station websites. I also want to look into why the show decided to air again.

Many shows that have reached the top have decided to make a movie. I would like to find out why the cast of friends has not created a movie since consumer rate was at all time high with the finale of the show and why the NBC spin-off series of Friends, “Joey” was such a failure. I also want to look at what shows people consider similar to Friends presently. I hear a lot of Friends fans say that How I Met Your Mother is the new Friends. I would like to see if there are any similarities in themes, advertising, iTunes purchase rates, and audience targeting.  A lot of this information will be gathered by blogs, examination of social networks that are solely about Friends, and interviews with avid fans.


[1] “Estimated 51.1M Tune in for Friends Finale”. Fox News Channel. May 7, 2004. Retrieved October 24. 2010.


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