It’s been nearly 25 years since "Friends" premiered — and 15 since it aired its last episode. Netflix rerun binges aside, some of us are still trying to fill that Central Perk-shaped hole in our lives.
After the series’ milestone Sept. 22 anniversary, you’ll still have some time to slowly say goodbye to your "Friends" before they disappear from Netflix for good. But, don’t be down in the dumps like Chandler on Thanksgiving. The series will reappear on WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service HBO Max in spring 2020.
If you’re not looking to add yet another streaming service to your monthly expenses, you’ll need to consider finding a worthy replacement. True fans may never be able to find a true substitution for the NBC sitcom that gave the world New Yorker envy, but there are a few shows about groups of best buds that sure come close.
Looking for a laugh of Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) proportions? The close-knit work family at Pawnee’s "Parks and Recreation" department or the Cloud 9 "Superstore" will do the trick.
Here are our picks for what to watch after "Friends."
You probably don’t have roommates as cool as Jessica Day’s, but you can turn on an episode of "New Girl" and pretend. This extended gang (Schmidt, Nick, Coach, Winston and Cece) spends just about every minute of the day together and even has their own drinking game called "True American." Jess is probably the only reason this sometimes dysfunctional group stayed friends for seven seasons.
"New Girl" is available to stream on Netflix.
"How I Met Your Mother"
As with any sitcom, there are many romantic storylines in "How I Met Your Mother." But the friends have more than their share of adventures together: Ted teaching Barney how to drive, slap bets during Thanksgiving, taking over the bar, tracking down the best hamburger in NYC, and even the pineapple incident. Even if we never did find out how that pineapple got there. A good group of friends (and a good friends show) is all about inside jokes.
"How I Met Your Mother" is available to stream on Hulu.
Transport "Friends" to Detroit and what do you get? Perhaps something close to "Undateable." It’s about a group of pals who, you guessed it, aren’t the best at solving problems in their love lives. You’ll take comfort in knowing this awkward group of pals has a go-to hangout spot, like Central Perk. It’s called Justin’s, a bar where they chat out their days over glasses of beer rather than coffee.
"Undateable" is available to stream on NBC.com.
"Parks and Recreation"
The co-workers on "Parks and Recreation" are not your average friends — they’ve also solved some important Pawnee crises over the years: the shutdown, bankruptcy, merging with their rival town, turning an empty pit (or Lot 47, as it’s known) into a park, planning the Harvest Festival, dealing with the death of Lil’ Sebastian, making the summer parks catalog, the flu, evil ex-wives named Tammy and having 94 meetings in one day.
"Parks and Rec" (as you’ll have to start calling it, as a "seasoned" fan) is available to stream on Netflix.
"That ’70s Show"
Apparently, there wasn’t much else to do in Wisconsin in the ’70s except hang around in your friends’ basements and cook up trouble. That’s what Jackie, Michael, Donna, Fez, Steven and Eric did for all eight seasons.
"That ’70s Show" is available to stream on Netflix and ComedyCentral.com.
OK, "The Office" is another workplace sitcom. But what set the American version of "The Office" apart from the British version is that the crew from Dunder Mifflin actually liked each other. While the colleagues were forced to spend working hours together, they also hung outside the office. They came together to help each other out in some of their happiest and toughest times.
"The Office" is available to stream on Netflix.
"The Office," take two: "Superstore" is a workplace comedy that’ll leave you realizing you don’t talk to your co-workers nearly as much as these Cloud 9 employees do. Amy, Jonah and the rest of the crew tackle coupon-crazed customers, holiday sales and even help deliver a baby in the middle of the seasonal aisle. If that doesn’t form an unbreakable bond, what will?
"Superstore" is available to stream on Hulu and NBC.com.
"The Big Bang Theory"
"The Big Bang Theory" gave us one of the most important ways to explain friendship — the Friendship Algorithm. It was designed by Sheldon to help him figure out how to become friends with his enemy, Kripke. Plus, of all the friends on television, "Big Bang" might have one of the best hangouts: The Cheesecake Factory.
"The Big Bang Theory" is available to stream on TBS.com, CBS All Access and Vudu.
"2 Broke Girls"
If anyone has taught us how to bounce back after being down on one’s luck, it’s Max and Caroline. These co-workers, roommates and best friends met at The Williamsburg Diner and bonded over cupcakes and schemes to earn cash quick.
"2 Broke Girls" is available to stream on TBS.com, Vudu and Amazon Prime.
"The Golden Girls"
"Thank you for being a friend …" Sarcastic quips by Dorothy aside, "The Golden Girls" was a show that proved romantic relationships can come and go, but friends are forever. Despite being women in their 60s, the show’s lessons about friendship and love speak to any age.
"The Golden Girls" is available to stream on Hulu.
Any medical professional knows you spend a lot of days (and nights) with your colleagues on the job. In "Scrubs," J.D, Turk, Kelso and Dr. Cox lean on each other in Sacred Heart Hospital for far more than medical advice.
"Scrubs" is available to stream on Hulu.
The "30 Rock" plot isn’t exactly on the same track as "Friends," but at least it’s another sitcom set in your city. Drama and comedy aside, there were some real friendships budding here from season one between Liz, Tracy, Jack, Jenna and Kenneth.
"30 Rock" is available to stream on Hulu.
The cast of "Seinfeld" certainly spent a lot of time together for people who never even really seemed to like each other. The show was about nothing, so many of their adventures basically just involved talking and eating — which, come to think of it, is what most real-life friendships consist of. Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer were all united in their horribleness, and maybe that makes it the best friendship out there.
"Seinfeld" is available to stream on Hulu.
What happened to Monica after she moved to Westchester with Chandler (and crushed your dreams)? Maybe she took on a whole new identity: Jules Kiki Cobb in "Cougar Town." The sitcom, starring Courtney Cox, also features guest appearances by Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow. It may not technically be a "Friends" reboot, but at least you’ll see some familiar faces.
"Cougar Town" is available to stream on Hulu.
The "Community" gang learned more about friendship than anything else in their five years at Greendale Community College. The heart of the show is the bond between the characters — even in the fifth season when they replaced Pierce and Troy. Most of the gang’s adventures center around the study room, and most of those adventures are disastrous. Jeff best sums it up: "Maybe we are caught in an endless cycle of screw-ups and hurt feelings, but I choose to believe that this is just the universe’s way of molding us into some kind of super group."
"Community" is available to stream on Hulu.
With amNewYork Staff