There's no such thing as bad t.v.: If Eno can (rightly) declare that there are no bad songs, then I shall make the same bold statement over the television and its programming. Note to our reader(s): Eno is a devout t.v.-avoider and as such, any comments he makes on this post will be based only on pure speculation, and without any good reason...you know...as opposed to all his other posts.
With "Friends" coming to its cataclysmic finale tonight (in case you haven't heard), I declare "Friends" to be a great t.v. show. I watched it, if not religiously, then near so (at least until the past two years) and enjoyed 8 out of every 10 episodes. While the stars of the show are all 8 to 2 years older than me, considering it started the year after I graduated from college, I always viewed them as immediate peers, albeit with better apartments (even in Philly I couldn't afford the space they had). While I didn't have a close-knit group of sexy, funny buddies (I was the only one) coming over every few seconds, that lifestyle of loose yet intense camraderie was something I could certainly relate to from college - indeed Slate refers to the dorm-like life the "Friends" cast led - no real responsibility [children were apparently born, but almost never seen], casual sex among and between, and pizza/beer diets) - and like anything else, that which you can relate to you develop an affinity for.
The show got much broader and less interesting as the years went by. It probably jumped the shark after Season 7 when Monica married Chandler got married (everything leading up the the wedding was funny - especially when the two first hook up in London for one of Ross' many marriages - Eno, just play along), but things went downhill as the show must then inevitably succumbed to the gravity of married life where nothing funny happens...
Still, as far as sitcoms go, it was better than most, in an artform where even middling is renewed for a second season. Will I miss it? No. It's fair to say that as the cast grew up and moved on, so have I. I'm in to "Overhaulin'" now.