The Gen Xers on 'Friends' ruined the real world for millennials

When “Friends” debuted on NBC 25 years ago Sunday and took American culture by storm, becoming one of the most popular sitcoms in television history, much of its success was attributed to how relatable the characters and their lives were — how they become friends to the viewer as well as to one another.

But so much about the cast and their lifestyle was anything but typical — at least for a group of 20-something New Yorkers — and the program presented a white-washed bubble of privilege inhabited by self-absorbed individuals unaware, or at least unconcerned, with how breezy their lives were compared to just about everyone else.

Let’s be real: Trying to get half a dozen friends together in NYC on even an occasional basis is a daunting challenge.

For a show synonymous with the 1990s and Gen Xer culture, its most lasting legacy might well be the false portrayal of the real world that it bestowed on the millennials who consumed it as they grew up. It showed them how adults who didn’t have glamorous jobs could live in nice, big apartments, shirk many of their responsibilities and act immaturely well into adulthood.

The obvious, eternal criticism of “Friends” is the fact that, from the start, roommates Monica and Rachel live in a huge apartment in great condition in the chic West Village that, even if rent-controlled as the script claimed, strains believability with its $200-per-month price tag. Even the smaller apartment that Joey and Chandler reside in across the hall is spacious, especially for their modest combined income.