Key Takeaway:

Matthew Perry, best known for his role as Chandler Bing in the popular television series Friends, has passed away at 54. Friends, a popular sitcom, has maintained an average of over 20 million viewers each season and has been a source of comfort and connection for viewers. The show’s likeable characters and relatable lifestyles have made it a popular choice for viewers, providing a sense of identity and connection. However, the loss of Perry has also led to real sadness, as the lines between character and creator become blurred. Fans of Perry should acknowledge their loss and strive to create empathy for those struggling with addiction. Perry’s legacy is to raise awareness about addiction and the help it provides to those struggling with this disorder.

Following Matthew Perry’s passing, the Hollywood community and fans have expressed their sorrow. Matthew Perry is best known for playing Chandler Bing in the television series Friends.

Both people who followed his efforts to raise awareness of the suffering caused by addiction and those who appreciated his acting career were shocked to learn of his passing at the age of 54.

It makes sense that tributes to Perry have centred on his breakthrough role on the immensely successful sitcom. The internet has been devotedly repurposing scenes, catchphrases, and lines from his character to honour the talented actor.

In the meantime, a lot of viewers have placed Perry and the show in the context of their personal histories.

Many who watched the show when it first started have reminisced about how important Perry and his co-stars’ work was to them when they were young or were the characters’ ages. Similar sentiments have been expressed by more recent viewers regarding the significance of the series to them; their bond with it frequently stretches well beyond the conclusion of production.

Friends served as a lot of people’s life soundtrack on television.

We must think about the purposes of watching television and the connections we have with its characters if we are to understand the show’s enduring appeal to both older and younger audiences nearly three decades after its premiere.

Durable allure

The timing of Friends contributes to its appeal. In 1994, when network television was still in its heyday, the show made its debut. Even though the major television networks’ influence had diminished by the time the show ended a decade later, it was still attracting an average of over 20 million viewers per season.

A record-breaking 52.5 million people watched the 2004 season finale in the United States. After then, the show started airing again all over the world. Since then, it hasn’t left our screens.

There have been claims that the late 1990s and early 2000s marked the end of monoculture. Monoculture meant we watched a lot of the same things, but it was also a contentious and divisive concept due to issues with who was included and excluded on our screens, among other things.

Friends, one of the most watched television programmes of its time, united people. It was a television programme that we watched with our loved ones or friends, discussed with coworkers the following day, and that gave us something in common. It made it possible to connect with both real and made-up friends.

Friends not only reflected the era’s fashion sense, they often spearheaded it. People could never get enough of Jennifer Aniston’s “The Rachel” haircut or Perry’s endearing smart-alecky tone, which was embodied by Chandler’s famous line “Could I be any more…” I admit that I tried to pull off Chandler’s light blue denim and jumper vest look. A sense of identity was given to viewers through participation.

People tend to return to the memories they made during their formative adolescent and young adult years as they approach their 30s and 40s. Friends was a part of and represents the lives of its original viewers during this pivotal period, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the show still has an audience today.

Likeable individuals

Our needs for both enjoyment and deriving meaning are satisfied by television and other fictional media. Television excites, entertains, and moves us.

We form bonds with fictional characters as part of this. We are compelled to feel sympathy for them. With its characters’ mix of breakups, reunions, and other mishaps, a television show like Friends gave us a safe space to exercise our empathy and support the group of six, even if we also felt sorry for them at times. Each character had flaws but was likeable at heart, which helped.

We can also experience lifestyles that we might not otherwise be able to through fictional characters. Who among us wouldn’t want to frequent Central Perk for coffee with their wise-cracking and hilarious friends, or live in a rent-controlled flat like Monica’s? I saw myself living in such a world in the not-too-distant future when I was a teenager.

Younger viewers may find the show’s humour occasionally archaic or be more conscious of how out of reach that lifestyle was. However, it seems that the concept of the friends’ lifestyle—possibility, independence, and a chosen family—remains appealing.

Fictitious partnerships, but genuine melancholy

We connect with the actors who inhabit fictional characters as a result of our relationships with them. Because actors’ characters seem so real and because we have access to information about their lives through celebrity culture, it becomes difficult to distinguish between creator and character. We are truly saddened when actors die.

It’s critical that Matthew Perry’s followers accept their loss. You can still feel depressed even though his character is made up and you didn’t know him personally. It might be challenging to watch the series at the moment. It will get easier in due course.

Matthew Perry wished for his contributions to the field of addiction awareness and treatment to be remembered. Hopefully, empathy for those struggling with addiction will be felt at this time in addition to a general sense of sadness. That could be the influence of television, a character by the name of Chandler, and the actor who played him—a man many saw as a friend.

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