By the time seasons 3 and 4 of Friends rolled around, it was a full-on cultural phenomenon. Everybody knew the names of the 6 characters on the show; everybody had their favorite. The “Rachel” cut was the most popular hair style among women, and people began to mimick the catchphrases of the characters from the show.
At this point, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross had become a part of our lives.
Some of the central plot highlights in these seasons include:
- the Ross and Rachel blowup. Rachel begins working in fashion, and Ross is incredibly jealous. This leads to him cheating on her, their breakup, and the running gag of, “We were on a break.”
- Joey meets the possible girl of his dreams, and actress in a play he is working on.
- Phoebe meets her half-brother.
- Monica dates Pete the Millionaire.
- Chandler falls for Joey’s girlfriend.
- The potential getting back together of Ross and Rachel, which ended with a Season 3 cliffhanger. This lead to some funny fights. “18 pages. Front and back!”
- Phoebe becomes the surrogate mother for her brother’s triplets. (One of the more annoying and insane stories ever to be on Friends, but it was a way to mask that Lisa Kudrow was really pregnant during filming of this season).
- Monica gets a head chef job.
- Ross meets Emily, and their whirlwind relationship ends with them getting engaged. The season ends with Ross’ wedding to Emily, which includes Rachel deciding at the last minute that she still loves Ross and has to tell him. She never does, but on the altar, Ross says Rachel’s name instead of Emily’s, setting up the major plot line for Season 5.
The stories in these season of Friends become more serialized, which worked in truly making it Must-See-TV. Nobody wanted to miss an episode, because the plots ran together for several episodes at a time. It got viewers hooked, but it also lead to us having to endure some of the crazier stories.
Either way, during season 3 and 4, Friends was rolling along. It was still quite funny, and the characters had only begun their development into complete caricatures of themselves. This would get worse as the show wore on, but at the time, everybody was enjoying the ride.
During the first four years, there are so many truly memorable episodes, that it is really worth going back over them again, to watch them in order.
One annoying thing about Friends on Netflix though…the theme song. Since the show always had a lead-in prior to the opening credits, you have to manually fast forward through the theme song so that it doesn’t completely ruin your life.
First world problems, I guess.