Sunday, February 23, 2020

Book Review | Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era

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Rating: ⭐

So here's the thing: I know this show inside and out. I probably know Friends even better than I know Buffy, which is saying A LOT. My mom got me the boxed set of all ten seasons way back when it came out and I was still in college; I fell asleep to Friends every night for the next eight years, right up until Eleanor was born. I still fall asleep to it now on the nights she has to be at her dad's. So, I know the show well. I finish lines when I am half-asleep, chuckling as I drift off into dream land.

Need proof? Some of my friends and I go to pretty much anything Friends-related that we can find - which is surprisingly quite a bit for a show that went off the air fifteen years ago. A few months back we had t-shirts made for a Friends trivia night contest. Then a couple of us from that group when to a Friends painting/trivia night back in January. To say we like the show is an understatement.


This means that if you are going to write a book about one of the greatest shows of all time, get your fucking facts right. And not only had you better know the show inside and out, but anyone who claims to be an editor had better know also, in the off chance that you might make a mistake.

One mistake is one too many. You have an entire rabid fandom who will point out every single error you make in regards to the show. Unfortunately, there was definitely more than one and ain't nobody got time for that.


1. "Chandler has erectile dysfunction." (page 230)

Because of the engagement episode? And the "I knew it!" that he shouted after Rachel informed Ross, "And just so you know, it's not that common, it doesn't happen to every guy, and IT IS A BIG DEAL!"? Because I am pretty sure that all the other times he and Monica had sex when they were trying to get pregnant, and in general throughout their relationship, shows that he didn't.

2. "Chandler must explain why he has suddenly been seized with the urge to take a bath - and in Monica and Rachel's apartment, no less." (page 217)

Except they were in Joey and Chandler's bathroom. It would also make no sense for Joey to have randomly knocked on the bathroom door in the girls' apartment to ask Chandler if he wanted some chicken.

3. "He was regularly shown violating the masculine code via wearing a towel on his head after a bath or blotting his Chapstick with a tissue." (page 214)

Except no, not regularly. Those two very specific things happened when Chandler was listening to the hypnosis self-help tapes in his sleep to try to quit smoking. The female speaker on the tape also made statements about being a 'strong, confident woman'. Chandler did not do those things at any other time in the entire series.

4. "Writer Andrew Reich thought that Michael Rappaport's exit from the show, at the end of an arc as Phoebe's police-officer boyfriend, was particularly undignified; after shooting a bird from bed, he disappeared, never to be seen again." (page 198)

Except he did not just 'disappear'. Seeing as how Phoebe loves animals, is a vegetarian, won't even wear a fur coat given to her by her mom, it makes sense that she would break up with him. She even SAID SO at the end of the episode, that it was over because he shot a bird.

5. "He once had a threesome with Carol and Susan in which he was mostly left holding the women's coats." (page 182)

FALSE. So, so false. The scenario took place in "The One that Could Have Been" which was the two-part what-if episode. Ross's what-if was 'What if Carol had not realized she was a lesbian?' It didn't actually happen.

6. "His father regularly cheated on his mother - with her blessing, as it turned out." (page 182)

This is a pretty solid misrepresentation of the situation. That's not exactly right. By saying Joey's dad regularly cheated, the author makes it sound like he was out cheating with different women all the time. It doesn't make his cheating any less terrible, with him actually having one mistress, and his father even says he is in love with two women, but it is still different from what the author seems to be implying.

7. The author states that Ross's mantra is "eat fast or don't eat." (page 181)

No. Ross explained that, "Hey! I grew up with Monica! If you didn't eat fast, you didn't eat!" This is not his 'mantra' but was a way of explaining why he always ate fast, when Rachel talked about how he would be done and she had not even finished her soup.

8. The author says of Monica that she weighed 200 pounds by age 11, but in her "earlier, lighter years, enjoyed riding the family dog, ChiChi." (page 181)

Wrong again. ChiChi needed knee replacements because Monica rode him when she was heavier. She could not get braces because ChiChi needed the knee replacement.

9. "Rachel developed a crush on Joey the first time they met." (page 181)

Nope. That was Monica. This is mentioned or shown on the show more than once.

10. "Phoebe had already discovered a thumb in her can of soda, demonstrated her skepticism about the theory of evolution to Ross, and once whistled at a man and accidentally sent him into a coma." (page 127).

Nope. That was Monica. AGAIN. Phoebe and Monica were at the newsstand and saw a cute guy. He smiled and walked by and Phoebe nudged Monica to whistle at him. Monica made the 'woo-woo' noise and when he turned around, she pointed to Phoebe to try and say that Phoebe had woo-wooed. The guy had also made the mistake of stopping in the middle of the street and was hit by an ambulance.

11. The author says that Rachel borrowed her date's cell phone to leave a message on Ross's answering machine that she is over him. (page 118)

Um, except no. She borrowed the phone from a stranger at the table behind her.

So, in summary, this book is garbage and you should not bother reading it. The author also made some really weird connections and assumptions, but I chose not to include those because I guess everyone is entitled to see things how they want to see them, even if what they are claiming/assuming/suggesting is COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY WRONG. That is why I stuck to only the facts, pointing out the errors that are 100% provable to be errors. Not only that, but there is not really anything new here, no new insights, stories, or analysis. The author rehashes multiple times the lack of diversity, something the show has always been rightly criticized for. The author brings nothing new to the table except an alarming disregard for the show itself, evident in his lack of knowledge and also the lack of knowledge of whoever edited this thing.

Friends deserves way better than this dumpster fire.


  1. [Imagines multiple copies of this book *in* the dumpster fire.....]

  2. If you're going to write a book about such a big icon, you really need to have your facts straight. Sorry this one was a disappointment :(

    Happy reading!
    Megan | Ginger Mom & Company

    1. RIGHT?!?! How do you screw up facts that are so EASY TO VERIFY OR DISPROVE BY WATCHING THE EPISODE?!?! Sorry, but I am still heated. Such garbage.

  3. I'm a fan of Friends and now so are my teenage daughters. Thank you for shining a light on this awful excuse for a book, Sarah, and saving me the high blood pressure while reading it. Editors are supposed to fact check - obviously not done in this case.

    1. My thoughts exactly. And I in general do not understand how someone could write a book about the subject and not know the facts. Perhaps the editor thought the author knew what he was talking about, and did not do their job as well as they should have. I think only rabid Friends fans should edit books about the show.

  4. I'm glad to know Trekkies are not the only ones who can produce a thorough list of how badly a book has mistreated their passion! :D

    1. Oh no, you are most certainly not alone. Anyone messes with Friends or Buffy, I am ON IT!


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