Why 90s Content Is Winning with Gen Z
Recently, the popularity of Friends has grown but particularly with Generation Z, even though they weren’t even alive when it was initially released. I think that one of the biggest factors that has influenced this is online streaming. Since Friends was added to UK Netflix it made the show more accessible, and people can easily binge watch all the seasons in order which highly attracts young people. Social media has influenced people revisiting retro shows as you can follow the actors and actresses, but there are now so many Friends memes which means that Gen Z are always surrounded by the TV show.
The increasing popularity of Friends has given clothing retailers like Primark, Zara, New Look and even Asda a chance to release Friends merchandise including pyjama sets, t-shirts and jumpers which are targeted at its new young audience. LEGO are even releasing a ‘Central Perk” set which will be priced at £64.99. The introduction of Friends Fest has also prompted the re-watching of Friends as it allows fans access to the iconic props and sets as well as trying iconic food and drink. For example; having coffee at Central Perk or trying Ross’s legendary Thanks Giving sandwich ‘the moist maker’.
Why do I like Friends?
What I like about Friends is the style of comedy hasn’t dated, unlike many other shows. The quick-witted humour is still very relevant today, which is probably why so many Generation Zs like it as they can relate and understand the comedy. I love that all the characters have completely different personalities, yet I couldn’t choose a favourite.
Though Friends’ style of humour has stood the test of time, the format and characters would definitely be different if designed for a 2019 audience. There’s a distinct lack of diversity in the show, problematic gags and an unrealistic kind of privilege around the concept itself. Doesn’t make it any less binge-watch worthy though!
Rachel is spoilt and has always been given everything until cut off by her father when she has to go into the working world by herself and find herself a job. She cares heavily about how she looks and loves to keep up to date with the latest fashion trends. Moreover, she can be clumsy and often loses her belongings.
In contrast, her childhood best friend Monica is a Head Chef and is often described as slightly obsessive compulsive (OCD), organised and highly competitive, particularly with her older brother Ross.
Ross is very introverted and over the years has not had much luck with the ladies, hence the 3 failed marriages and his constant on off relationship with Rachel. Ross is incredibly intelligent and is a palaeontologist.
Chandler has been Ross’ best mate since college. He is extremely quick witted and is always making sarcastic quips. His parents told him over thanks giving dinner that they were getting a divorce – this firstly made him hate Thanksgiving but also struggle emotionally with romantic relationships. Which is probably why he kept letting Janice back in his life. However, he eventually settled down with Monica and became parents when they adopted twins.
Joey is an actor, not a particular good one, but his profession as allowed him to fully express his extrovert personality. It often takes Joey a long time to catch onto jokes and what the rest of the group is talking about. One key thing to know about Joey is that JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!
Phoebe is extremely energetic and has wild imagination, especially when it comes to writing song lyrics. She has had a sad upbringing as after mother committed suicide she ended up homeless. However, luckily she has such a strong group of friends and she even found love and marriage with Mike.
To find out which Friends character you’d be, take the test here!
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
I think that Gen Z finds the concept of Fresh Prince appealing as it is loosely based on Will Smith’s real life and his character is very similar to his real-life personality, and Gen Z are huge fans of authentic personas. I think Fresh Prince has become more popular again as it is light-hearted, easy to watch, and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Will Smith is a streetwise, charming yet mischievous young man who often finds himself in trouble. He gets sent from his rough Philadelphia neighbourhood to Bel-Air to live with his wealthy Uncle Phil, Aunt Vivian and cousins in their mansion. Will often makes sarcastic comments and has fun usually at the expense of his cousins Carlton and Hilary, whilst trying to teach his youngest cousin Ashley his Fresh Prince ways. His eccentric and trendy fashion taste is really cool, though his uncle often disapproves and finds it inappropriate.
What do I like about The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?
What I like about this show is that Will Smith’s character is so extroverted and dramatic which helps to make just a normal conversation have some hilarity. In addition, I like how the TV show is very progressive for its time as it focuses on an upper class black American family and covers deeper topics like racism and problems in the US justice system. For example, in one-episode Will and his cousin Carlton get arrested for driving the family car and as the luxurious car is being drove by two black men, the officer assumes the car must be stolen. I think that if The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was to be made now in the 21st century then the show would probably explore these issues even more.
In addition, I love the theme tune as it was actual sung by The Fresh Prince himself and DJ Jazzy Jeff. The theme is instantly recognisable and if I ever hear it when I’m not watching the show I instantly begin to think about how I should re-watch Fresh Prince and how good it is. The theme tune is almost like a form of free advertising for the TV show!
Find out which Fresh Prince character you’d be, here!
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