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'Friends' fans say farewell

After 10 years, the popular NBC sitcom aired its final episode Thursday.

After 10 years, the popular NBC sitcom aired its final episode Thursday.

May 07, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Almost every Thursday night for the last 10 years, Hagerstown resident Betsy Mongan has been laughing with her "Friends," but last week she started crying with them.

"She's probably going to break down later," said her husband, John Mongan, 27.

"I just don't want it to end," said Betsy Mongan, 22.

She wasn't the only one.

Mongan was one of more than a dozen people who had gathered at Barracuda Surf Bar on Dual Highway on Thursday night to watch the hourlong retrospective about "Friends" Monica, Chandler, Joey, Ross, Rachel and Phoebe before the series finale.

The night club, NBC 25 and Magic 101.5 FM invited people to watch the retrospective and series finale on a night when the club usually is closed because millions of people were expected to watch the episode and they should watch it with their friends, said club Manager Wayne Peiffer.

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"I'm so sad. I'm going to cry," said Amanda Wills, 21, of Hagerstown.

Wills and Robin Dayley originally planned to watch the final episode at Dayley's place, but thought it would be more fun to watch with a crowd.

Wills began watching the show about five years ago, but she caught up with it in reruns. "It's real life," she said.

"It's just really funny and it's been on so long you just get really attached to the characters," said Dayley, 23, of Hagerstown.

Dayley said people tell her she's like Phoebe because she gets excited over little things and makes off-the-wall remarks.

"I just started playing guitar and I'm really bad at it, so my Dad calls me 'Phoebe,'" Dayley said.

"I act like the bad parts of Rachel. Twitty, worried about guys, but I'm a control freak like Monica and I like things clean," Wills said.

Catherine "Trinkie" Schaffner, 32, of Martinsburg, W.Va., said she identifies the most with Monica.

"I'm a stickler about rules and the way you do things," she said.

Her date, Dan Clark, 36, of Martinsburg, said he identifies the most with Chandler's character because, like the smart aleck known for his one-liners, Clark uses humor as a defense mechanism.

The couple said they can relate to the trials and tribulations of dating that the characters experience.

"Somebody. Anybody. I don't care who you are or what age you are, you can relate to this in some form," Clark said.

Matthew Finch, 45, of Hagerstown, said Friends is "a cute, amusing show. I don't think it's the big deal that everyone's making out of it."

"I came down here because I figure it will be a chick scene," Finch said.

"I guess what they really want to express in the show is there's some kind of unattainable love out there that if you just try hard enough, you'll find it. But, truth is, most of us end up settling," said Finch, who said he is divorced.

After watching some Friends highlights and trying out his Chandler impression, Finch said the show also is about the friendship "we all wish we had."

"The truth of the matter is you really don't see your friends every day. Because people have different lives," said Finch, who said he tends to see his friends at reunions.

"We'd like to wish that we could see them every day and in a way, 'Friends' fulfills that kind of fantasy," Finch said.

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