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Why the Friends Ending is Actually Sad

The ending of Friends seems to be about as happy as a sitcom finale can get—but is its resolution a lot sadder than it appears? On closer inspection, Friends’ ending carries notes of tragedy: sooner or later, your friends will leave you behind. And as if that weren’t sad enough, the show also leaves some of its central sextet of Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey trapped in increasingly narrow life paths. Here’s our Take on why Friends’ series finale is more disheartening than it seems, and whether the audience’s demand for an ending that satisfies expectations can sometimes deny a show’s characters a truer form of happiness.

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Black Voices

Delving into the world of Black characters, Black stories, Black musicians, and Black creators, the Black Voices Series looks at everything from Get Out to Lizzo to Ava DuVernay.

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The Tropes, Explained

Who is the Cool Girl, the Woman-Child, the Nice Guy? Why do we love Bad Boys, Mean Girls, and Femme Fatales? All The Tropes examines some of pop culture’s most common archetypes and narratives, from the Geek to the Strong Black Woman to the Girl Next Door, to better understand the kinds of stories we tell.

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Iconic Female Characters

Did you know Mean Girls’ Regina George can tell us a lot about dictators? Or that criticism of Cinderella is actually a form of victim-blaming? The Iconic Female Characters series explores the fictional women we love and what they have to say about ourselves.

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Endings, Explained

At the end of Breaking Bad, did Walter White win or lose? Why did the finales of How I Met Your Mother and Dexter garner such controversy? Endings, Explained breaks down the most iconic, ambiguous, and downright baffling film and TV endings ever.