TV

From 'The Rachel' to 'Smelly Cat,' 'Friends' is still there for us

May 6, 2014 at 5:52 AM ET

Could "Friends" BE any more influential? The theme song promised that even when "your job's a joke, you're broke," your friends would stand by you. And we've stood by "Friends." The blockbuster sitcom ended 10 years ago Tuesday, and its quirks still ripple through pop culture today. TODAY.com rounded up six surprising ways the series lives on. Every time someone gets an updated Rachel cut or makes a list of celebrities they'd date, somewhere, a romantic lobster gets its claws.

IMAGE: Friends
Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection
"The Rachel" haircut has enjoyed surprising staying power.

The Rachel
Hair today, gone tomorrow? Nope, The Rachel still reigns on many heads. According to Britain's Daily Express, 11 million British women were wearing a version of Jennifer Aniston's layered coif as of 2010. (Anecdotal evidence suggests it's still going strong in the States, too.) Aniston's stylist famously claimed he was "stoned" when he created the cut in 1994, but that doesn't stop scores of women from flocking to salons for a similar look.

The list
You remember: The "Friends" each make a list of five celebrities they'd have free passes to fool around with should the occasion arise. Chandler's list includes Jessica Rabbit. Ross, in a stroke of bad luck, bumps into sexy Italian actress Isabella Rossellini just after he's cut her from his list for geographic improbability. If you've ever joked to your pals that you'd like a penalty-free night with George Clooney or Jennifer Lawrence, you may owe a debt to "Friends."

'Smelly Cat'
Quick, name a Phoebe song. If anything other than "Smelly Cat" comes to mind, you're a true "Friends" scholar. The rest of us are still cooing "Smelly Cat" to our little feline friends, likely mangling the lyrics to include our pets' names ("Mitzi Cat....") or emotional states ("Crabby Cat..."). What ARE they feeding you?

IMAGE: Friends
Everett Collection
Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) had many bizarre songs, and "Smelly Cat" endures.

'WE WERE ON A BREAK!'
Every romance has its ups and downs, but Ross and Rachel's had its ups and downs and downs and ups and more downs. In one memorable episode, Rachel pens Ross an 18-page letter in which she asks him to accept blame for their recent breakup — and express remorse for a rebound hookup. When Ross admits he didn't read the letter, Rachel gets angry and calls him a cheater. Ross fires back by shouting, "WE WERE ON A BREAK!" Hiatus etiquette has been a hot topic ever since. (On a happier note, "Friends" taught us that lobsters mate for life, and that your calling your partner your "lobster" is a good thing.)

Language of the 'Friends'
Shakespeare reportedly coined such terms as "bedazzled" and "hot-blooded," but the "Friends" made a few linguistic contributions of their own: Joey's wannabe-sexy "How YOU doin'?" Chandler's endless rhetorical questions ("Could we BE any more white trash?"). The simple word "so" was used so often on the show as an intensifier ("That is SO not cool"), a University of Toronto linguistics prof postulated that it was changing how people talk.

IMAGE: Friends
NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection
How YOU doin', 'Friends' fans?

Going commando
True, "Friends" didn't invent the term "going commando" as code for skipping underwear. But the show certainly popularized the saying for a new generation. When Chandler steals all of Joey's undies on the night he has to wear a rented tux, it's Joey who delivers the memorable line, "I'm not going to go commando in another man's fatigues." And with that, the battle for pop immortality was won.

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