The famous Central Perk couch on Friends will soon be appearing at famous landmarks worldwide. The news comes as a way to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary and also as a trend that seeks to capitalize on the sitcom’s enduring popularity.
Hitting the airwaves all the way back in 1994, the trials and tribulations of six young men and women is still discussed, and its legacy is fiercely debated among TV viewers, even years after the show’s final episode. Friends has influenced fashion trends, hair styles, helped audiences to learn English, popularized the idea of being ‘on a break’, and helped alter the trajectory of American sitcoms. Enjoyed by a younger generation of viewers, who are considering whether they’re a Rachel or a Chandler, the silver anniversary has occasioned a LEGO set, a limited theatrical run, fond reminiscences of the cast. Now, it’s fair to add a travelling piece of furniture to the list.
As reported by USA Today, Warner Bros. created 30 replicas of the iconic orange couch. The intention is to place the replicas, which are fabric and waterproof, at different landmarks around the world. The list of locations includes several spots in the United States, several more in the UK, a stop at the Toronto Film Festival and landmarks like the Royal Palace in Madrid as well as Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The full list, with corresponding dates, can be viewed below.
- Empire State Building (New York) (Sept. 21-22)
- Friends Pop-Up Experience (New York) (Sept. 7-Oct. 7)
- Tribeca Television Festival (New York)
- Grand Canyon (Arizona)
- Maggie Daley Park (Chicago) (Sept. 21)
- Willis Tower (Chicago) (Sept. 20-22)
- Jackson Square (New Orleans) (Sept. 19-22)
- Klyde Warren Park (Dallas) (Sept. 13-29)
- Reunion Tower (Dallas) (Sept. 16-30)
- US Bank Tower (Los Angeles) (Sept. 16-22)
- AT&T stores (Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Anchorage, Alaska; Mall of America in Minnesota)
- Toronto International Film Festival
- The London Eye (U.K.) (Sept. 22)
- Abbey Road (London)
- Venice International Film Festival (Italy)
- Stonehenge (U.K.)
- Ross Fountain (Edinburgh, Scotland)
- Cardiff Castle (Wales) (Sept. 19)
- Potters Field/Tower Bridge (London) (Sept. 20)
- Triton Fountain (Rome) (Sept. 21-22)
- Royal Palace (Madrid) (Oct. 1-Nov. 30)
- Sony Center (Berlin) (Sept. 21-22)
- Jardin du Palais Royal (Paris) (Sept. 12)
- Burj Khalifa (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
- Comic-Con Africa (Johannesburg)
- Bogota, Colombia
- Mexico City
- Sao Paulo
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
Despite its instantly recognizable status now, appearing in the opening credits and being essentially a recurring character on the show, the orange couch was discovered by accident and initially drew criticism from the network for showing a bit of wear and tear. Set director Greg Grande told USA Today that it was famed director James Burrows who lobbied for the couch. He thought it looked believable and real.
Burrows, notable for his work on many of TV’s most memorable programs, had a good eye. Burrows directed several episodes of the NBC sitcom, including the very first, titled "The One Where Monica Gets a New Roommate", and he would often vouch for the show when no one was quite ready to do the same. Early in the process, still filming the first season, he took the cast of relative newcomers out for dinner and told them to enjoy these last gasps of anonymity they were experiencing because their lives would forever be changed by the characters they were just beginning to portray. Their lives did change, of course, and many other aspects of culture shifted as a result of Friends. The nostalgia it inspires, and its effectiveness, serves as proof.
Source: USA Today