Between 1994 to 2004, the buddy sitcom Friends ruled the airwaves. Over 10 years later, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who can't finish the lyrics "So no one told you live was gonna be this way..."
For many of us, Friends is a great show for some quick, easy laughs. But for one man in Bejing, it has become a lifestyle. Thanks to i-D's mini-documentary series Obsessed, we've become acquainted with one ultra-Friends fan, who is using his love of the American television show to make the lives of his real-life friends a little brighter.
While hearing a man describe likening a television show to a religion might seem strange at first, this man's experience is actually very sweet and uplifting.
After going through a rough breakup that left him emotionally drained, a friend suggested Du Xin (who goes by the name "Gunther" today) watch Friends to get his might off of his heartache.
He quickly identified Chandler, Monica, Ross, Rachel, Joey, and the group's misadventures in life and used them as inspiration to get past a hard time in his own life.
From the video alone, it's apparent that Du Xin is a kind, gentle man. Probably the sweetest thing about him is that he chooses to identify with Gunther, a secondary character and the manager of the Central Perk coffee shop.
Gunther and Rachel
In the show, Gunther may have never gotten his chance to be with Rachel, but Du Xin married his real-life Rachel! Even though he goes by the name Gunther, he claims that he learned a lot of life lessons from Chandler and even goes so far as to treat his wife with the loving sarcasm that Chandler uses towards Monica.
Their own Friends family
Together the pair have a son who they have given the English name "Joey." Joey is already pulling out all the stops with the character's iconic pickup line "How you doin'?"
The Chinese Friends
Gunther has found other like-minded people who share his love of Friends. Many of them go by the names of their favorite characters or characters that they share common traits with.
Together, they spent time watching the show that they feel best speaks to their generation, in a country that doesn't necessarily put an emphasis on depoliticized youth culture.
Some members of the friend group have even taken the path of the show and started romantic relationships with one another. Some have even found their lobsters and gotten married!
Central Perk and Apartment #19
Just like Gunther in the show, he runs Beijing's Central Perk, a cafe which he has built to near-perfect detail, chock-full of references to the show (a Baywatch VHS and a Lionel Richie vinyl), and including its own resident feline, "Smelly Cat."
He also built another hangout area modeled after Chandler and Joey's apartment in the series.
For some, pop culture just means being entertained, but for others it's a way of life! It brought this group of friends together, and isn't that the best possible outcome?
I mean, who wouldn't want to be a starring member of this motley crew?