Netflix and television are an innate part of every college student’s lifestyle. Friends may bail on plans but Netflix will never let you down. I still remember when the show “Friends” was all the rage during my freshman year. Students had suddenly discovered the sitcom and almost everyone in Warren Towers was talking about it. Now the show may not have always received critical acclaim and might have been scrutinized for being too simplistic, but the truth of the matter is that it very quickly became an instant classic for people of varying ages. Given that it was one of the first American TV shows that I ever watched, and still remains in my personal top 10 TV shows, I was intrigued when “Friends! The Musical” was announced as an off-Broadway production.
Upon finishing the final episode of the series back in 2007, I was eager to find any signal that suggested that the TV show would return to the media in the form of a spinoff or a movie. The closest was back in February 2016 when five out of the six friends reunited for NBC’s two-hour special (could I be any more resentful at Matthew Perry?) Therefore, when Bob and Tobly McSmith revealed their intention to create a parody musical version of the show, my attention had been caught. It would be extremely easy for me and other fans to treat this musical as a 11th season of the original series as a means to fulfill all our wishes since the series ended. However, this announcement reminded me of the latest Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” While many people have loved the story as well as the stage play, I found myself quite let down by the book. While one of the reasons for my disappointment was the fact that this new plot altered past events in the original seven-part series, the main cause was that after years of deliberation and building up expectations in my head, I was let down by what the book delivered. I have come to strongly believe that no matter how much you may miss a book series or TV show and its characters, it’s better for them to be wrapped up and done with before they forcefully run their course.
On the other hand, this musical has been explicitly labeled as a parody and given the past work of the writers, the fans can expect the musical to be a caricature of the characters and the main plot points of the series. For example, I was delighted to learn that some of the songs to be introduced in the play included “How You Doing, Ladies?” to be performed by Joey Tribbiani, and “Will They or Won’t They” by Ross and Rachel. I do hope that they have some excellent numbers set up to display Phoebe’s musical talents. All in all, as long as we manage our expectations and don’t hope for the musical to further the plot for the series, I’m certain that this will turn out to be a great success.