The new “Friends” pop-up exhibit will not be there for you.
Located in Soho for a limited time, this much-hyped “experience” — which celebrates the hit series’ 25th anniversary since its 1994 premiere — offers fans a chance to see the show’s iconic props, costumes and hang out in Central Perk. “Stick a turkey on your head, peek through Rachel and Monica’s purple door, relax on Chandler and Joey’s recliner after playing some foosball or help Ross with the infamous sofa pivot,” the press release hypes.
The only problem? It’s fake.
The iconic couch, purple door and turkey are all replicas rather than the real props that appeared on NBC’s classic sitcom. There’s a section of the exhibit with an array of wigs showcasing Rachel’s trend-setting hairstyles through the years — but the wigs were never worn by Jennifer Aniston. It’s just to show you what “The Rachel” cut looked like, in case you forgot. But if you’re enough of a fan to visit this pop-up, chances are you didn’t.
So, at the end of the day you’re paying almost 30 bucks to stare at a glass case of wigs that have nothing to do with the show, which aptly summarizes this entire fan “experience.”
To be clear, it’s not 100% fake. The pop-up boasts an array of real costumes and some props that did appear on the show, such as Joey’s “Dr. Drake Ramoray” costume and Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler’s wedding invitation.
And there are some fun wall graphics mapping the characters’ complicated web of romantic dalliances — and cleaning tips from the always uptight Monica. Scenes from the show are projected on the walls, with the catchy notes of “I’ll Be There for You” following you as you stroll through. You can pose for photos reenacting the infamous “pivot” scene or the turkey-on-the head scene — or, of course, buy overpriced “Friends” memorabilia at its store.
But compare this to similar exhibitions on “Mad Men” or “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” or “Downton Abbey.” The “Mad Men” exhibition, which ran for sixth months in the Museum of the Moving Image in 2015, had the real set to Don Draper’s office — not a replica.
The “Downton Abbey” exhibition showcased the real Crawley dining room set. The “Maisel” exhibit allowed fans to sit under vintage hair dryers that were from the show’s Steiner Resort Beauty Salon set.
Meanwhile, the “Friends” exhibit allows you to sit on an orange couch in a set that looks like Central Perk — but isn’t the real thing.
If you want to take “Friends”-themed photos for your Instagram, you’ll be happy with this exhibit. It fits the growing trend of pop-ups that exist solely for social media.
But if you want to see the real couch the friends sat on in Central Perk, the real La-Z-Boy chairs and foosball tables from Joey and Chandler’s apartment or the real iconic purple door, then consider this “The One With the Disappointment.”
“Friends” NYC Pop-up runs Sept. 7 through Oct. 6. Hours: Daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $29.50. Tickets can be purchased at Friends25popup.com.
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