Naomi Adam

So No-One Told You 2019 Was Gonna Be This Way?

Fifteen years after the final episode aired, what would the sitcom sextet be up to?

Happy New Year, everybody- it’s 2019!

Now, just for a minute, let me take you back fifteen years, to 2004…

We had Bush in the White House, and Blair back home in Downing Street. Britney Spears’ Toxic was on our radios, Mean Girls was on our cinema screens, and turkey twizzlers were still on our plates. We wore bootleg jeans and tops that looked like they had been in too hot a wash. The most technologically advanced handheld device was the Tamagotchi. At least, as a then seven-year-old, those are my memories of it (supplemented by Wikipedia). Then came May 6, and the world went into collective mourning mode. NBC had just aired the last ever episode of America’s best sitcom, Friends. Could we be any more devastated?

Fast-forward fifteen years, though, to the present day, and it has become a (pop) cultural institution. Primark plaster the logo upon every conceivable piece of merch. (‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S.’ cookie jar, anyone?) There are more daily re-runs than Ross has had divorces. But what would the Central Perk crew be doing in today’s world? Would they still be stuck in second gear, or would 2019 be their year?

Joey.

Would be a veteran of every single reality show that would accept him. Really, though, which ones wouldn’t? He was Doctor Drake Ramorez on Days of Our Lives, right? Ex-soap star equals creme de la creme of the reality show universe. So, after some Dancing With the Stars, he would be in talks about joining Ant and Dec down under for some crocodile anus on the next series of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. How kangaroo doin’?

Phoebe.

Would be living in the outskirts of Nevada… in a reinforced concrete bunker. A hardcore Doomsday prepper, I can imagine her spending her free time on mindfulness colouring books, and serenading her co-bunkees with her latest hit: Extra-Terrestrial Cat.

Extra-terrestrial cat, extra-terrestrial cat,

Why is your fur blue?

Extra-terrestrial cat, extra-terrestrial cat,

Let’s hope it doesn’t moult…

Chandler.

In all likelihood, an entrepreneurial internet billionaire. Founder of some social media, video sharing, photo posting phenomenon. You Twit Face? Or a messaging app- Snap Chan? No, definitely a search engine: Bing. Money from this tech empire would also be funnelled into the business of…

Monica.

Would be owner and head chef of a raw, gluten-free, vegan cafe. The kind that serves kale and courgetti (spiralised, obvs.) and very little else. Would have only ever taken one day off work: to watch ten hours continuous coverage of Harry and Meghan’s wedding. The place would probably be named after her best friend, Green’s.

Rachel.

Said best friend would by now be a full-time fashion vlogger. She would spend inordinate amounts of time updating her Insta account, and on the systematic overuse of the hashtag #yummymummy. Would still believe being ‘on a break’ did not excuse Ross’ behaviour.

Ross.

Would be a great supporter of his lesbian ex-wife Carol’s frequent anti-Trump protest marches. Arrested at one for an incident involving a megaphone and a Trump blimp. Would have seen the latest Jurassic World film (at least) seventeen times. Still thinks that he and Rachel were on a break.

Central Perk.

Would be resisting the encroaching coffee shop chains opening around it, sandwiched between Starbucks and Costa. They would have added soy milk to the menu. They may have improved the standard of the acts at karaoke night, but if not, I’m sure they’d have started Central Perk loyalty cards by now- how does ‘The One with the special Stamp and Save bonus’ sound as an episode?

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