It’s been a decade since the series finale of Friends, and we’ve still failed to find a show that’s as hilarious or as enthusiastic about celebrating Thanksgiving. (How I Met Your Mother came close, and ABC never gave Happy Endings a real chance to succeed.) In the 10 years since the finale, many a TV writer has embarked on a quest to recreate that Friends magic. Turns out, it’s harder than it looks.
As a building block within NBC’s Thursday night lineup, Friends became the standard to which all future comedies about twenty and thirtysomethings living in New York City apartments way beyond their price range would be judged. As a unit, its ensemble became international superstars and broke television salary records with their $1 million an episode paydays. Individually, they’ve each found differing levels of success. Jennifer Aniston quickly shot to movie star-status with leading roles in an array of so-so romantic comedies in the late ’90s. Matthew Perry was considered a suave leading man (or at least a viable foil for Bruce Willis) and Courteney Cox found personal and professional success on the set of the Scream films. But if all else failed, they could always return to the purple walls of their home away from home. And grab a cup of joe on Gunther.
With the series now in our cultural rear-view, the cast has continued working, although the chances of a “reunion” special or film are slim. That would be fine — postmortem reunions are usually unnecessary and rarely successful. But Cox just had to go and reveal to David Letterman that she hasn’t been able to get the six of them together for a meal in 10 years, and now we’re busy worrying that David Schwimmer is ostracizing himself and Matt LeBlanc can’t eat anything but sandwiches after a decade of playing Joey Tribiani.
So who shook the dust of an old TV series that fastest and who’s suffered the most since Chandler and Monica moved to the suburbs? Let’ take a look at the most successful Friends cast members then (2004) and now (2014), above.
Of course a look back at post-Friends careers would not be complete without revisiting Jennifer Aniston (and that epic striptease) in last year’s surprise hit, We’re The Millers.
[Photo Credit: NBC]