With 10 seasons, 62 Emmy nominations and a worldwide following, the television show “Friends” is one of the most popular television shows in American history.
Many viewers have at one time or another imagined what it’d be like to live the life of Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Ross, Chandler, and thanks to a collaboration between AT&T and Warner Bros. Television, Santa Monica residents now have the opportunity to hang out in a life-sized replica of the famous coffee shop where some of their favorite characters spent many weekday nights.
“The One in Santa Monica” is an interactive exhibit located in the Santa Monica Promenade running from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day until Dec. 23, 2019.
Created by artist Nathan Sawaya, the life-size replica of Central Perk needed more than 1 million LEGO bricks in 38 different colors to complete the iconic orange sofa and many other pieces that are now on display.
Local and international fans alike — young and old — have stopped in this week to interact with the set, snap photos of friends on the lego couches and barstools and get lost in the details of the art.
Some attendees made an appointment when they first got wind of the installation and have been waiting weeks for their opportunity to attend, but store employees said walk-ups are more than welcome to visit as long as it’s not too crowded inside.
Featuring references to some of the show’s most memorable moments, the custom built design brings together a collection of set recreations, props, trivia and other interactive activities that make for a wonderful photo opportunity, said store manager Effirama Quayson.
“The more interactive you are with it, the better the experience is,” Quayson added. “The pictures I’ve seen all look cool, (and) that’s really what this is here for. To sit down, pick up a coffee and hang back with friends while you live stream and enjoy the experience of being in Central Perk.”
Things To See
Monica’s Purple Door
It might seem like your average door, but look through the peephole of Monica’s purple apartment door to discover clips and experience scenes in a brand-new way.
“Give it Your Best” Recording Booth
The installation also features a soundproof karaoke-style recording booth that allows fans to sing “Smelly Cat” with Phoebe. The song was made popular on an episode that aired in 1995, but fans now have a chance to record their own performance, which will be emailed to them after.
“Knowing Friends” Trivia Challenge
This three-part touchscreen series challenges fans to test their knowledge of the show. Users are asked to put scenes in the correct order before they are required to match characters with objects, phrases and places from the series. Lastly, users are quizzed with trivia.
“Friends” Tech Timeline
Since the show’s inception in 1994, technology has changed in a multitude of ways, and this multi-person, multi-touchscreen depicts the various technologies that were used to create the hundreds of episodes that are currently being enjoyed worldwide.
With scenes accompanying the timeline, viewers can see the evolution of how people have watched Friends before heading a few steps over to the gift shop, where they can find merchandise that’s exclusive to the installation.