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Friends (S1)
DVD disk
10.10.2004 By: Scott Weinberg
Friends (S1) order
Director:
David Crane & Marta Kauffman

Actors:
David Schwimmer
Matthew Perry
Matt LeBlanc
Courtney Cox
Jennifer Aniston
Lisa Kudrow

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Six personable and witty young professionals spend their days drinking coffee, dating, arguing, goofing around, and basically being...friends.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Few sitcoms have been met with nearly instantaneous success like NBC’s "Friends" did. Though some of the clothes and hairstyles are a bit dated by today’s standards, the TV show holds up surprisingly well where it counts…in the laughs department. While the simplistic concept of “six friends hanging out” might not sound like a concoction for classic comedy, it’s the strong performances and priceless chemistry among the cast that makes the show so memorable. Each character seems culled from the “sitcom dustbin” (the dumb one, the fastidious one, the sarcastic one, etc.), yet is given fresh life by the likable cast. My favorite has always been the smarmy joker Chandler Bing. As played by Matthew Perry, the character starts out as a one-note wise-ass, but as the actor settles into the role he becomes a lot more fan-friendly. (Plus he gets all the best punchlines.) The lovely Jennifer Aniston constantly exceeds expectations, and she quickly became this generation’s Mary Tyler Moore…only cuter. LeBlanc (as Joey) is a charming lug, Kudrow is intermittently brilliant as the lovably daft Phoebe, and David Schwimmer’s stammering dolt usually makes for some good laughs. Acting-wise, the weakest link may be Courtney Cox as the anal-retentive Monica, but she certainly got better in subsequent seasons.

Although "Friends" may never be accused of being a particularly “deep” show, it’s a sitcom that managed to breathe a lot of life into the format. My favorite episodes from Season 1 include Chandler getting stuck in an ATM booth with supermodel Jill Goodacre, and the sudden appearance of a moody monkey! If you’re wondering about your favorites, check out the full listing of all 24 Season One episodes:

The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate The One with the Sonogram at the End The One with the Thumb The One with the George Stephanopoulos The One with the East German Laundry Detergent The One with the Butt The One with the Blackout The One Where Nana Dies Twice The One Where Underdog Gets Away The One with the Monkey The One with Mrs. Bing The One with the Dozen Lasagnas The One with the Boobies The One with the Candy Hearts The One with the Stoned Guy The One with Two Parts Part 1 The One with Two Parts Part 2 The One with All the Poker The One Where the Monkey Gets Away The One with the Evil Orthodonist The One with the Fake Monica The One with the Ick Factor The One with the Birth The One Where Rachel Finds Out
THE EXTRAS
The extras begin with a very interesting audio commentary track by producers Marta Kauffman, David Crane and Kevin S. Bright on the pilot episode. Aside from being recorded separately, it's a very good listen. A lot of time is devoted to the casting of the six leads and the filming of the pilot. They even manage to squeeze out a few thoughts on their conception of the series and some fascinating bits of trivia.

A Peek at Central Perk is an interactive map of our Friends' favorite stomping ground. You can scroll around the coffee house, click on an inanimate object and you'll be treated to some background information on them. Friends of Friends: Memorable Guest Star Moments is basically a who's who of memorable celebrities who appeared as guests on the show, including George Clooney and Noah Wyle who crossed over from ER to play…well…doctors who become potential suitors for Rachel & Monica. This feature’s a lot of fun for the Friends-faithful.

How Well Do You Know Your Friends? is a better-than-average trivia quiz that's still more than a bit slight. Instead of just plastering words onto a stoic background, this one incorporates video clips into the game. Unfortunately, there are only eight questions and any self-respecting Friends fan will find them ridiculously easy. All 24 episodes also have a preview feature that allow you to view a 30-second clip from each of them before committing. Finally, there is a trailer for the release of the second season on DVD. Start now, because there will eventually be nine of these.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Fans of this wildly popular show will simply adore this superlative set. The episodes look better than they ever have, the extras are pretty sweet, and the package as a whole is damn impressive.
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