I'll Be There for You: The One About Friends

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Oct. 2018. 304p. index. ISBN 9781335928283. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488098642. TV
Miller (Big Girl) offers a loving, insightful, and entertaining tour through the ten-season run of the TV sitcom Friends. Beginning with showrunners David Crane and Marta Kauffman pitching a show about six Gen Xers operating as a found family in New York City, the book follows the casting and writing of the program, which ran from 1994 to 2004 on NBC and still enjoys popularity in syndication. Highlights include the cast's determination to work as an ensemble and the importance of filming before a studio audience—with writers retooling jokes on the spot to elicit greater laughs. Miller also revisits the will-they-or-won't-they drama on-screen (Ross and Rachel) and off-screen (publicized contract negotiations that threatened the renewal of Friends). Finally, the author doesn't shy away from more modern criticisms of the series' homophobia, lack of inclusivity, and jokes that rely on body- or slut-shaming.
VERDICT Miller successfully revisits a classic television show, demonstrating its larger place in pop culture. A must-read for fans of Must See TV.

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