Picks and Pans Review: Friends

updated 10/03/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/03/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. ET)

B

In a cozy Manhattan cappuccino bar, the best table in the house—the low one surrounded by a couch and a bunch of puffy armchairs—belongs to six young adults. Apparently claiming the desirable spot by virtue of squatter's rights, they seem to live in the establishment.

The ringleader of this caffeinated clique is an unlucky-in-love codependent (Courteney Cox Arquette). The rest of the klatchers range from the neurotic (David Schwimmer) to the snide (Matthew Perry) to the self-absorbed (Matt LeBlanc) to the New Age spacey (Mad About You's Lisa Kudrow). Then there's Jennifer Aniston, who appears in the pilot in tears and a wedding dress. (She fled the altar because her groom looked like Mr. Potato Head.) The scripts are filled with pop references—e.g., gags about David Hasselhoff, Shari Lewis and Mentos mints.

A game cast delivers the barrage of banter with an arch coyness that suggests they think they're in some Gen X Neil Simon play.

The show's saving grace is that as the weeks go by, the characters begin to grow on you. That has more to do with the actors' animation than it does with the rimshot writing.

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