AN ASSOCIATE professor at the University of Reading has co-written a book celebrating the genius of Friends which aims to examine exactly why the 90s sitcom continues to draw such large audiences.

Dr Simone Knox, an associate professor in film and television at the University of Reading and Kai Hanno Schwind, an expert in television comedy and production studies at the Kristiana University College in Oslo collaborated on a ground-breaking reading of the show.

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The release of their book, Friends: A Reading of the Sitcom, coincides with the 25th anniversary of the sitcom’s first episode, which ran for 10 series between 1994 and 2004.

The book, which is believed to be the first of its kind, examines cast performances, the show’s use of set design, diversity and representation, and endeavours to answer the question of why a 25-year-old sitcom still manages to capture such huge audiences today.

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It also features exclusive interviews with show creator Marta Kauffman, executive producer Kevin S. Bright, director James Burrows and production designer John Shaffner.

The authors provide analyses of some of the most well-remembered scenes—the one where Ross can’t get his leather pants back on, and Ross and Rachel’s break-up, to name just a few—and reflect on how and why A-list guest performances sometimes fell short of the standards set by the ensemble cast.

Also considered are the iconic look of Monica’s apartment, as well as the programme’s much discussed politics of representation and the critical backlash it has received in recent years.

Dr Knox says: “Friends’ cultural impact has been significant, launching catchphrases; influencing the English language; inspiring a hairstyle; and became a cultural touchstone within the broader cultural media landscape.

“Clearly, Friends has achieved a longevity for its fans that far outstrips its ten seasons and is indisputably one of the most significant programmes in the history of television and media culture.

“A quarter of a century after the first broadcast of ‘just another sitcom’ Friends continues to be highly influential on sitcom production in the USA and beyond, and to shape the lived engagement with the socio-cultural world of people across the globe.

“Its legacy and place in past, present and future television culture seems assured.

“Friends’ intimate bond with viewers certainly shows no signs of dying off.

"A towering presence in television culture for a quarter of a century (and counting), we hope that this book will help to give Friends the central place it warrants in television scholarship.”

Friends: A Reading of the Sitcom is released through Palgrave Macmillan on 7 October.