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Some television shows remain relevant decades later — why?

Asst. C&C Editor Stella Powers explains the allure of TV shows that are long over, such as "Friends" and "The Office."
Asst. C&C Editor Stella Powers explains the allure of TV shows that are long over, such as "Friends" and "The Office."

When you ask people what their favorite television shows are, chances are they’ll answer with something along the lines of “Friends,” “The Office” or a similar series.

There’s a reason for this — according to, both of these titles rank in the top 10 television shows of all time. Despite their current popularity, none of these shows have been on the air in over a decade. Why are they still so popular today?

“Friends” is one of my favorite shows. I have seen it countless times — I usually put it on in the background while working on homework or just to relax before bed. I love the show, but it ended before I was even born.

It’s strange to think about. The last episode aired in 2004, and I wasn’t born until 2005. Yet it’s still one of my favorite shows.

Most people I talk to have seen the show, with a few exceptions, from people in high school to people in retirement. People of all generations have connected with the show in some way, which is why it’s still so popular.

I have always loved the show for the variety of characters, fun jokes and the simplicity of it all. Watching “Friends” is relaxing and funny — not stressful, like a lot of television can be. It’s an easy watch that deals with issues that were relatable in the ’90s and are still relatable today.

Not only that, but due to the popularity of the show as it was airing, a lot of people from that generation have shared it with their children, keeping its popularity alive.

My mom watched “Friends” as it was airing, and she introduced me to the show. My little brother and grandma have seen it, and even my dad (reluctantly) has probably seen the majority of the series by now just from it playing on our family room television.

It’s just an easy, timeless watch. That’s why it’s so loveable. The same goes for “The Office,” another one of the most popular shows.

Similar to “Friends,” a majority of people I’ve talked to have seen “The Office” as well. It’s also hilarious, and has short, easy-to-follow and understandable episodes. It’s fun, not stressful. It’s happy, not tragic.

A lot of shows on TV now are dramas, filled with tragedy, stress and tension. These shows are good, but they aren’t as rewatchable and often deal with time-specific issues. Even if they’re popular among a certain generation, chances are they won’t be forever.

Life is chaotic enough as is, why would anyone want more stress in their lives? To me, entertainment is a way to escape reality and the difficulties of life. I love a good drama, but I have a hard time rewatching it and I often have to take breaks or watch something more lighthearted in between.

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Shorter, lighthearted and relatable shows can be easier to take in and enjoy, which is why so many of them remain so popular, even today. The real world is full of stress; our television shows should be able to help us escape that, not make it worse.