It's been almost 25 years since Friends aired its first episode, and Google has joined in the celebration. The beloved sitcom premiered on September 22, 1994 and ran for 10 seasons. It was a huge part of NBC's "Must See TV" block on Thursday nights, which also included Seinfeld, ER, and Will & Grace. Friends centered on a group of six New Yorkers in their 20s and launched the careers of its cast, including Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, and Matthew Perry. Both critics and viewers enjoyed the series, giving it 62 Emmy nominations and a series finale watched by 52.5 million people.
The 25th anniversary of Friends has led to many products and events celebrating the massively popular show. Starting this coming week, movie theaters across the country will air 12 of the show's biggest episodes over three nights. The chosen episodes include the pilot and "The One with the Embryos," which features the infamous quiz that leads to Joey and Chandler switching apartments with Monica and Rachel. There's also a large celebration planned for next month in Las Vegas, though no cast members will be present. Even LEGO has joined the fun in honoring Friends: they announced a special "Central Perk" themed set last month. It has all six main characters and fan favorite Gunther.
Google has released several Easter eggs for fans to enjoy, most of which can be found by Googling each of the main characters' names. Monica, Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe, and Ross all have icons associated with their character next to their name. For example, Monica has a bucket filled with soapy water for her love of cleaning, Phoebe has a guitar for how often she sang on the show, etc. Clicking on each character's icon leads to another fun surprise. Ross's couch, for instance, makes the screen pivot and causes Ross to yell the same. In addition to the character Easter eggs, searching for "friends glossary" causes different Friends specific words to appear at the top of the page, such as "trifle," "Joey's apple," and "on a break."
Though much of the Friends media coverage lately has surrounded its 25th anniversary, it also made news recently for its streaming deal with HBO Max. The new service secured the rights to Friends in July, snagging them from Netflix who had them for several years prior. All episodes of the show will be available when HBO Max launches in spring 2020. Series creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, in addition to executive producer Kevin Bright, recently said that they approve of the move from Netflix to HBO Max. Referring to HBO Max, Bright commented, "It's really exciting what they're starting over there and we're happy to be a part of it."
Google has a long history of doing fun Easter eggs, especially to celebrate momentous occasions like the Friends anniversary. Recently, the search engine celebrated the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz with a pair of ruby slippers that turned the screen black and white. Though Friends still has a long way to go before it reaches that milestone, 25 years is still worth celebrating. The show remains a pop culture touchstone for many, and shaped the TV sitcom as we know it. It's possible or even likely that similar celebrations will happen 25 years from now to celebrate the show's 50th anniversary.