Learn English with Friends

Study this video as a lesson on LingQ: https://bit.ly/3QpIx2E

Some girl ate Monica!

Shut up.

The camera adds 10 pounds.

Uh so how many cameras are actually on you?

Hi everyone, and welcome to the LingQ podcast with me, Elle.

If you would like to learn English from interesting content, like TV

shows, movies, songs, books, and more, this is the channel for you.

Today I’m going to be joined by a guest and we’re going to chat about the absolute

phenomenon that is the TV show Friends.

It’s used by so many people to study English.

Before we get into it though, let me show you how you can make

English lessons with friends.

So first you’re going to want to find your Friends script.

So this site is called foreverdreaming.org, and they

have, uh, subtitles of the script for every single Friends episode.

So let’s take a look here.

Let’s choose The One with Phoebe’s Wedding.

Open it up.

And as you can see, we have all of the subtitles.

So you copy and then go into LingQ.

Click the import lesson button in the top right there, and you will

open up the import lesson page where you can add the text that you just

copied from the subtitles website.

So your script, you can also add an image and the title and there’s your lesson.

So you can work through the words and phrases as you watch the episode, so

listening and reading at the same time.

This is what my Friends lesson looks like on mobile, and if you

look here down the bottom left, there’s a little headphones icon.

If you click on that, the audio will be generated for you to listen along

to if you would like to just listen and read as opposed to watching the show.

And then you can review the words and phrases in your lesson at any point.

Today I am joined by Cara Leopold of Leo Listening, uh, website, and

she also runs a YouTube channel.

Cara, thank you so much for joining me.

How are you today?

I’m very well, thank you.

Thanks for asking.

Thanks for having me here.

Yeah, my pleasure.

My pleasure.

And whereabouts in the world are you joining us from?

So I live in France in a town called Besançon, which is, um,

in the east of France, kind of between Dijon and Lausanne.

So if people can situate that near, near Switzerland, but still in France.


Is that Dijon of Dijon mustard?

It, it is.

Ah, okay.

So they’re to the, they’re to the west, and then if you keep heading

east, you end up in Switzerland.

Very nice.

And are you experiencing any wintry weather this, uh, this December,

or is it pretty calm there?

Well, it’s been really, really cold.

The first two weeks of December were really cold.

Then it went very warm, and now it’s, it’s just kind of raining.

So it’s gonna be kind of a, a wet christmas maybe.

Oh dear.

Maybe you can…

Nothing like yours.

Oh yeah.

This is, if you can see in the image behind me, the tree’s covered in snow.


We’re having a bit of a snowy time here.

It’s a, they’re calling it, it’s the arctic outflow too.

So it’s, my watch tells me it’s minus 11 right now, which is, is cold.




A bit Chilly.

It’s a

bit chilly, yeah.

Um, so, I would love to chat with you today about the, one of the biggest TV

shows in the world and a show that many English learners use to study English.

Um, because of course, your, uh, website and YouTube channel,

Leo listening, they’re all about studying from content of interest,

studying from TV shows and movies.

Um, we’re gonna talk about Friends, the show Friends.

The phenomenon that is Friends.

So, yeah.

First off, why don’t we, in case anyone who is watching listening has never

seen or heard of Friends and help me out here as I share the premise of the show.

So Friends is an American sitcom about six friends who live in New York, uh, Phoebe,

Monica, Rachel, three women, and then Joey, Chandler, and Ross, the three Men.

And the show just explores their lives, you know, getting jobs, losing jobs,

dating the ups and downs, life of a 20-something-year-old living in New York.

That sound about right?

Have I missed anything else?

That’s pretty, that’s pretty much it.



I would, you know, I would say that’s, that’s, that’s the main, that’s the,

the main, those are the main points.


Even, even if you’re not really familiar with it or you weren’t a big

fan, at the very least, you know that.

And the show I guess started broadcast, started broadcasting

rather in the nineties.

Um, I, I think it was 94.

Oh, was it?

Oh, there we go.



So how old was I even, uh, eight.

Wait, yes.

I was eight, so I did not stop start watching it when it was on TV.


no, I was gonna say, I don’t think I was a target audience either either.

I was like nine and…

oh, there we go.

We were just, we were just saying off camera that we, that we didn’t have the

right TV channels at the time because it was not broadcast on network TV.

You know, back in the days when we just had four, maybe five channels,

you had to have satellite TV and then the nineties, that was actually quite,

um, quite expensive, quite, I don’t know, not like not everybody had it.

It was fairly unusual to have.

Yeah, it was fancy and so.

Yeah, it was a fan, a fancy thing to have for sure.

So, yeah, I don’t think in the UK I don’t think people really started

seeing it until maybe the end of the nineties, start of the two thousands.

‘Cause at that point, channel 4I think started broadcasting it

in the UK they had the rights to show, um, the, the old episodes.

So, yeah.

If you were watching it in 94, wow, you had a, you were maybe American

or you had a satellite dish.



It was a dish.

Oh my goodness.

I remember those.

I saw one of those recently here.

I was walking somewhere and someone had a huge satellite dish.

I don’t know why you would have that these days.

Looks like maybe they’re trying to communicate with aliens or something.


Uh, of course.

. Okay.

. I need to go back to that house.

. It looked like one of those houses…

what’s going on?

There was like an RV outside.

It looked like maybe there’s some conspiracy theorists live there.

I dunno, but, uh, yes.

Yeah, a hundred percent.

I, I started watching, must have been like 97.

Say when, when…

like early two thousands.

I remember on Friday night we would watch friends.

It was on, I guess it must have been channel 4.


And I remember even then just everyone talking about it, it being such

a huge show, show even in the UK.


Um, so yeah, , I don’t know, I think 10 Seasons was where they capped it.

Well, yeah.

I get the impression it, when, if it, if I’m right in saying it started in, in 94.

I, I get the impression it finished in 2004.


.So 10 years, 10 seasons, that kind of makes sense.

For Friends, trivia fans.

You may be more precise in the dates and number of seasons, but

um, yeah, that sounds about right.


. Mm-hmm.

. So let’s talk about the good and the bad, what we like, what we don’t like,

um, because it’s, you know, some aspects of the show haven’t aged well.

You know, this word problematic.

Friends is problematic.

I think Friends is more of its time and of course now you’d hope we’ve grown and

wouldn’t speak in the ways that they were or make fun of the things that they were

making fun of in the show, uh, back then.


Well, there’s some terrible fat phobia in the show.

And and actually, well, I’ve noticed this like with, you know, so I have

a movie club and with my students we watch, we’ve watched a lot of movies from

kind of the eighties, nineties, and two thousands, and sometimes the worst ones

in terms of, yeah, problematic content are the ones from the two thousands.

So Friends would fit into that.

And even the cast of Friends, uh, were renowned for, you

know, the women especially, were very thin throughout the show.

So thin, they must have just been desperate to eat something for those 10

years I feel so, I feel sorry for them cause I think there’s horrible pressure.

There didn’t seem to be quite the same pressure on the men, but I, but I think,

you know, probably on the whole cast, but still and uh, yeah and there’s

some terrible fat phobia in the show.

Cause there’s this running joke about the fact that Monica used to

be fat now she’s very, very thin.

And there’s a whole…

yeah, there’s a whole ongoing joke, joke about that.

And I…

yeah, it’s pretty, so it’s bad enough.


So if you wanna feel bad about yourself, watch these very thin, these very thin

women that, and make and, and, and, you know, so Courtney Cox wore a fat suit.

And again, that’s very much something of, of that time, the late nineties,

early two thousands, there were a lot of unfortunately, you know, movies

with people wearing fat suits and jokes about people being, um, overweight.

And yeah, I think it would, Tricky to, to, to do that now.

It just wouldn’t, it just wouldn’t work.

It wouldn’t fly, thank goodness.



No, thank goodness.

So yeah, I mean, that’s just not really, yeah.

Um, it’s, it’s not really what people are looking for these days I don’t think.

Things, things are moving, if things are changing, probably too slowly, but, um.



So there’s the, yeah, there’s the, there’s the.

Uh, the fat phobia , the fat phobia thread.


Running through the episodes of Friends.

That’s, I made, I made a note of that one.

Yeah, as a standout, problematic, shall we say, running theme.


And I feel like you’re totally right because, um, in that, in the

two thousands, early two thousands was maybe the worst time to be

like a teenager coming of age.


Because the media was obsessed with thinness and it was like, okay, to

put a woman, it was always a woman.

Put a young, you know, movie star or singer on the front of a magazine,

she’s got like a tiny little tiny little bulge or maybe shock horror she has some

cellulite or stretch marks and they zoom in, like she’s at the beach and it’s

like, oh, she got fat, or she’s obese, or like, wow, look how she’s let herself go.

Meanwhile, this woman is like in like amazing shape, is like, you know, a…

I dunno, zero or whatever.

Just a, just a beyond, I dunno what the sizing’s, different size 10,

size eight, size six in the uk.

Like just tiny people.

Ah, it was.

It was brutal.


It was a,

it was awful.

A, a diff a a difficult, a difficult time.


The other movie from that period that shocked me when I watched it again

was Love Actually, which I used to really like hate, but now I’m sort

of having second thoughts about it.

And yeah, there was a, there was, there’s a lot of fat phobia in that,

uh, and again, about a character who’s not, who just looks normal.

I don’t, I don’t, I really don’t understand the, the, the jokes.

She looks great.

Is it Martin Mc Cutchen?


Yeah, yeah.

And I don’t, I honestly, it’s not even funny.

Like it doesn’t even make sense.

And, um, yeah, it just, no, don’t, don’t, don’t do it.



. Yeah.

No, those, the films and TV series from that period can be quite, um, yeah quite

bad for, for, for that kind of thing.

So, yeah.



Definitely starting with the bad

. Yeah.

There’s lots of bad, there’s also the running, uh, like lesbian jokes about

Ross’s ex-wife, um, who’s a lesbian.

That that is like, I think I, I may have been reading something

and there was a clip of of the joke and I was just like, oof, really?

Like that was…

Oh, I’d forgotten about that.

Oh yeah.

That was constant as well.

You know, ’cause she’s, shock horror, she’s gay, like she’s a lesbian.


Cause we should probably add that, like the whole of the

main cast were white, thin.

Straight, um, straight.

Oh, rich.

So I do re remember an episode where there was a bit of like class consciousness

in Friends because basically half the group were rich or had sort of

well paid professional jobs and the other half had more kind of like

precarious um, lower paid employment.

So like Joey was an actor.

Phoebe was doing massage therapy or something at one point and…

Rachel was working in the coffee shop.


Rachel was in the coffee shop until she mysteriously got a job

working at, what was it, Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein or one…

With no experience.

Coming straight from the coffee shop.

Yeah, I just walked straight in coffee shop cause her hair was so, was so

beautiful that she just got a job.

And then the other three, so like, Monica’s a chef, but like

a, a chef in a fancy restaurant.


Ross was what?

A paleontologist.


So he’s an academic, that’s just the most random job, like…

Um, and uh, so he is, you know, an academic in a university and Chandler

was, I don’t know what Chandler is.

That’s the big, the joke, right.

The running joke is like, do we, what does Chandler do?

He works with like something in an office.

An HR job.



And yeah, I remember one episode where they, they’re like, they’ve gone to

a restaurant together and, um, the, the tension comes up because, you

know, half of the group can’t really afford any of the items on the menu.


And so, I don’t know, Phoebe or Joey just orders like a, a salad, a side salad.


You know, like is the, is the main course.

So tiny little bit of class consciousness.

But other than that, that, yeah, very straight, very white, very kind

of rich, and even if they’re poor, they’re all living in these apartments.

In what is it meant to be?

Which area of New York is it meant to be?

The village, Greenwich Village, which is…

I don’t know, actually.


somewhere, like somewhere where I don’t think you could afford to live there.

Mm-hmm if you’re working in a cafe or you know, like, no, no offence.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

But I think it isn’t, it is supposed to be an expensive part of New York.

It’s all a bit mysterious.

How they’re all…

maybe not for the better off ones, but for the others it’s kind of like, how,

how do they, how do they live here?

How does thathat work?

I remember reading, or maybe they, they mentioned this in the show or this was

something mentioned outside of the show, but I think, so Monica has the amazing

giant apartment that would just be, the rent would just be astronomical, but

she’s supposed to have, it’s supposed to be a, uh, rent controlled, which

is like a New York thing, I think.

I don’t think that is a thing here in Vancouver, like they just

increase the rent and they want more money whenever they want.



There seems to be this, this thing in maybe the states or in New York,

this rent controlled building, rent controlled appartment, so, I think the

idea is that Monica inherited the, the apartment from her grandmother and it’s

rent controlled, so it’s, you know, they, that’s why they can afford it.

I think that was addressed at some point.


Oh, okay.

It’s like, come on…

’cause otherwise it is, it is a bit surprising.

Like, cause it is a nice apartment.

If they lived in a really grotty apartment, you’d be like, okay…

you wouldn’t wanna watch then.

You wouldn’t wanna watch.

No, but I mean…

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