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The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The one where Mathew Perry’s legacy lives on

Friends will have an everlasting impact on the film industry as it highlights the highs and lows about adulting and growing up.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros
“Friends” will have an everlasting impact on the film industry as it highlights the highs and lows about adulting and growing up.

You laugh with them, spend afternoons with them and maybe also live with them; friends can be some of the greatest influences on a person. The classic TV show “Friends” follows a group of friends in New York City, where together, they experience the highs and lows of adulting, relationships, jobs and more. On Oct. 8, 2023, Matthew Perry, the actor who played Chandler Bing, tragically drowned in his Los Angeles home, and the incomparable popularity and cultural significance of this show made the death even more shocking for many.

“Matthew Perry’s death was definitely very shocking. He has been through so much previously with drug addiction and rehab,” WCHS sophomore Evie Namath said. “His death will leave a permanent mark on the ‘Friends’ community as he has inspired so many viewers to quit drugs and get help.”

Perry was a huge symbol for recovery in the film industry, as he struggled with a drug addiction that started from drugs prescribed after an accident. He went to rehab 15 different times, starting in 1997 and entering his final one in 2011. In his recent memoir published on Nov. 1, 2022, Perry shares about how although he struggled in recovery, his friends and family did not give up on him, encouraging fans to not give up on themselves either. After his recovery, Perry created the Matthew Perry Foundation to help people combat drug and alcohol addictions, wanting to use his platform to draw attention to an important cause close to his heart.

“The ‘Friends’ community was built over both many seasons and many generations,” WCHS sophomore Mena Hemphill said. “This show has touched so many people of different age groups; it’s something that people of all ages can come together and laugh about.”

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“Friends” has been relatable and meaningful to people from all age groups. Many adults may watch the show and think back to times in their youth when they were also learning things for the first time, while young adults watching may be experiencing those things at that very moment. 

“Matthew Perry struggled in real life while filming ‘Friends’; it helps remind the viewers of reality and how many of us may struggle under a mask of happiness,” Namath said. “Not everything is like TV shows, but ‘Friends’ did a wonderful job expressing the many emotions that we go through.”

What sets “Friends” apart is its effort to reflect reality, not just the pretty life that many wish to have. It does not sugarcoat the hard times and the varied experiences one undergoes compared to their friends around them. 

“Hollywood is very glamorized, but both the show and the cast brought a lot of people back to reality and reminded them that there is nothing wrong with their life just because it doesn’t align with what is perceived [to be right],” Hemphill said. 

Because of its originality, “Friends” will always be a staple of popular culture and will forever have a presence in society. Even as new generations watch this show, there are so many classic aspects to it that will never get old. 

“I often think a lot about my friends and how we are so similar to the characters in ‘Friends,’” Namath said. “We have so many good memories and I hope that we will always be there for each other, just like how everyone looked out for Matthew Perry and helped him through his drug addiction and getting him the support needed.”

For many viewers, the show has become an inspiration for their lives in the future, finding ways to make bright and happy memories 

“I think ‘Friends’ has the perfect amount of comedy, while still showing the ins-and-outs of their lives. They slowly get older and experience more things that change the dynamic of the show a lot,” Hemphill said. “Eventually, in the end, they all seem to have figured some part of their life out, which is reassuring because everything happens for a reason.”

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About the Contributor
Isabel Vorabhanda, Promotions & Subscriptions Manager
Isabel Vorabhanda is a sophomore and the Subscriptions Manager of the Observer. This is her second year taking journalism. During her free time, she enjoys dancing, hanging out with friends, listening to music and baking.

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