CULTURE

Jennifer Aniston Doesn’t Get Why the Kids Care About Friends

Jennifer Aniston smiling at the Golden Globes
Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage via Getty Images

Friends’ enormous popularity hasn’t waned in the 28 years since its final episode aired on NBC. For proof of that, look no further than the millions of viewers who tuned into last year’s reunion special, or the months-long wait lists to get into the so-called “FRIENDS™ Experience” recreating the gang’s apartment and Central Perk. As the actor behind one of the show’s most beloved characters, Jennifer Aniston is well aware of its continued success. And yet, she’s still a bit flummoxed as to why, in this technological era, people still care.

“I get very nostalgic about the past,” Aniston told Pam & Tommy star Sebastian Stan in an interview published by Variety. “I also find it interesting that people still love [Friends] today, because what are they relating to? You look over at a table of four people having a meal. And there’s usually three people on a phone, just scrolling mindlessly.” And, as Stan pointed out, Friends instead finds Rachel, Ross, Joey, Monica, and Chandler simply reading the paper and chatting over coffee.

Clearly, Aniston—who practically broke Instagram when she joined the app in 2019—has had technology on the mind. “You know how there’s this new thing where everyone says, ‘It’s tech neck,’ because you’re looking down on your phone?,” she said, warning Stan that her question was “really weird.” “Didn’t people do the same thing when they read the newspaper and books? So why is tech neck a new thing? I don’t know. Just thought I’d throw it out there.”

The 53-year-old actor didn’t leave any doubt that she prefers the pre-“tech neck” days. “I always say I feel lucky that [the Friends cast] got a little taste of the industry before it became what it is today, which is just different—more streaming services, more people,” she said. “You’re famous from TikTok. You’re famous from YouTube. You’re famous from Instagram. It’s sort of almost like it’s diluting our actor’s job.” Luckily for Aniston, she doesn’t need to join TikTok: Not only is she already established, but she also has an immensely popular TikTok doppelgänger so similar to herself, she “freaked [her] out.”