After watching a staggering 236 episodes, representing nearly a decade of television, some Friends viewers may feel they know the show’s six main characters better than they know anyone in their own, real lives. Similarly, the show’s most frequently used locations, usually consisting of two neighboring New York apartments and a nearby coffee shop, may seem as vivid in fans’ memories as the actual, existent homes in which they grew up. YouTuber 5teven94 has carried this idea to extremes with an uncannily detailed and accurate 3D simulation of Monica and Rachel’s apartment, created with Unreal Engine. He describes this as a university project and says that it was completed over the course of three months. In any event, it’s a remarkable example of one fan’s dedication to a departed NBC sitcom.
Technical wizardry aside, there is not much to the video. With a tinkling, instrumental version of “I’ll Be There For You” on the soundtrack, a virtual camera tours the familiar locale from several angles, zooming in occasionally on particularly famous features. Just over there, for instance, is the large window through which the Friends gang watched the exploits of Ugly Naked Guy with a mixture of fascination and horror. And what would the apartment be without that iconic peephole with the picture frame around it? Naturally, Monica’s colorful, well-appointed kitchen is thoroughly represented, down to pretty minute details, such as magazines on the counter and photos on the fridge. One cannot help noticing, however, that this version of the Friends universe is wholly unpopulated. Sunlight streams in through the windows, and all of the bric-a-brac seems to be in place, but the Friends themselves are sadly absent. Even the theme song lacks lyrics here. It suggests a sad coda to the series, perhaps called “The One Where Everyone Mysteriously Evaporates” or “The One With The Rapture.”