Why You Should Rewatch Friends: The Case For Nostalgia

Words by: Dena Tissera
Art by: Samara

I re-watch corny old TV shows constantly. Sitcoms are my favourite.

Friends, Seinfeld, Brooklyn 99, Community, I’ve seen them all multiple times. There is something calming about this process to me. Familiar voices, familiar jokes; an antidote to the constant state of flux I find myself in.

Whenever I decide to rewatch a show I think back to the first time I read Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. It’s the original teen angst novel, and honestly I didn’t enjoy it one bit. However, the end of the novel has always stuck with me. Holden Caulfield, the book’s 16 year-old protagonist drifts around New York City in search of thrills, belonging, and a sense of peace. Sadly these things elude him until he finds his way to the Museum of Natural History. It’s a place that he used to come to as a child, and he is comforted by the fact that it has not changed since.

Watching The One Where No One’s Ready for the thousandth time offers me the same kind of solace. Things have changed since the first time I watched the episode — I’m different now. People have come and gone, lessons have been learnt and mistakes have been made. Life has gotten more complicated but The One Where No One’s Ready, hasn’t changed. The jokes still make me laugh and the desire to buy a dress just like Rachels’s mint green number remains.

Meditation asks too much of my hyperactive brain, candles and face masks are too expensive and sometimes no amount of banana bread can take away the stress of daily life. For this I turn to the same old TV shows, to tell me the same old jokes and give me the same sense of familiarity. While life constantly presents us with a new normal, it’s nice to know that not everything changes. The things that bring us joy, silly as they might be, endure. It could be an album you used to listen to on repeat, a book you once loved, a place you used to call home. The nostalgia these things offer us is comforting, especially now, in what your boss calls “unprecedented times” (before he assigns you a double shift).

Sometimes revisiting things from the past can prompt self reflection. Who were you the first time you watched Ferris Buller’s Day Off? Who are you now? Hopefully, things have changed for the better, but if not, dancing to Ferris’ rendition of ‘Twist and Shout’ is the key to fixing anything. Let Gwen Stefani’s

‘Hollaback Girl’ remind you of primary school discos, The Great Gatsby of the idealistic days in year 10

English or Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ remind you of your first love.

If you have the time to do so, I recommend revisiting something you once loved. These artefacts will take you back to the past, and bring you greater appreciation for the present. Let them bring you some joy despite the chaos around you. Re-read that old book, listen to the album you used to love, or rewatch Friends to find a bit of peace, the same kind Holden Caulfield was searching for.

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