After a decade of “I’ll be there for you,” the TV series “Friends” concludes with a two-hour special tonight. One pop culture expert says Iowans have continued watching Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Phoebe because on some level they identify with at least one of the characters. University of Iowa communications studies professor Mark Andrejevic says “It’s gonna’ be hard to live up to the tremendous hype that it’s received. All of these finales get this type of free advertising but certainly ‘Friends’ has got it blown out even more.” Andrejevic plans to watch the show, but more as an act of societal study. Andrejevic says he’s turned off by all the hype and the shows taking themselves so seriously, adding, “Come on, it’s just a half-hour comedy show.” While Andrejevic says he expects record ratings along with schmaltz, tears and attempts at profundity, he says the finale is prompting all sorts of “Friends Farewell” parties which he says can be a positive community-building experience.People will all be gathering together to watch it and they’ll have a sense that it’s a national event they’re all sharing. He speculates if you went out on the street tonight during the show, it’ll be very quiet as everyone will be inside, glued to their tubes.In case you somehow missed it, the two-hour show airs on N-B-C at seven.
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