Arts & Culture News

The Pop-Up Friends Experience in Plano Will 'Be There For You' ... Until January

You can sort of visit Monica's Monica-clean kitchen at the Willow Bend mall until January.
You can sort of visit Monica's Monica-clean kitchen at the Willow Bend mall until January. Superfly X
More than a quarter of a century has passed since Friends first debuted on NBC, and some fans are still analyzing the what-went-wrongs during Ross and Rachel’s “We were on a break” debacle with greater consideration than they've ever given their own relationships.

Real fans, though, know that the answer is much more nuanced than simply whether or not the TV couple was on a break. They were, of course, but Ross slept with Chloe faster than she could make a Xerox copy, and the Ugly-Naked-Guy truth is that he was dead-wrong for that; the pain is so universal that Olivia Rodrigo made an entire hit album about exes moving on too fast.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way: If you’re that kind who still flips people off by knocking your fists together and knows all the steps to "The Routine," then you can finally take your Friends obsession somewhere other than the quiz section at Buzzfeed
click to enlarge You can practically hear the sound of "Smelly Cat" at the Central Perk room at the Friends experience. - EVA RAGGIO
You can practically hear the sound of "Smelly Cat" at the Central Perk room at the Friends experience.
Eva Raggio

Just in time for Friendsgiving, there’s a pop-up for Friends stans that opened on Nov. 4 and runs until Jan. 17 at the Shops of Willow Bend mall in Plano, in a space located next to Dillard’s on the lower floor.

The Friends Experience has 12 interactive rooms where visitors can play trivia games on a screen, take photos in replicas of the sitcom’s iconic sets and learn about the show’s lesser-known production stories.
click to enlarge PIVOOOOT. - SUPERFLY X
PIVOOOOT.
Superfly X

The part selfie factory, part museum “experience” comes, fittingly, from New York. At least according to one staff member, all the props on display in Plano are replicas of items that appeared on the show except for the scripts signed by the cast. This is somehow disappointing, as if we really needed to see the real turkey-with-sunglasses Monica wore as a mask to apologize to Chandler.


The set replicas are not quite exact, but make for a fun photo op, especially the setup of Joey’s famous revenge outfit, where he wore ALL of Chandler’s clothes while going "commando." You can also play foosball at the boys’ apartment, where you can pose on matching recliners, and can take a seat at Central Perk, which includes the mugs that, like “Rog” said, “Might as well have nipples on them.”
click to enlarge Groups posing at Gunther's place of work. - EVA RAGGIO
Groups posing at Gunther's place of work.
Eva Raggio

There’s also a gallery of wigs delineating the timeline of Rachel’s hairdos and those interested can learn the contents of her 18-page letter, “front and back.”

For those still reeling from the recently aired Friends reunion on HBO, lots of facts will not be, as Phoebe said, “Brand new information!” but there are museum-like timelines with info about the characters' wardrobe and from the artist responsible for the Central Perk art.

click to enlarge You, too, can do the "exact opposite" to Chandler by wearing all his clothes. - EVA RAGGIO
You, too, can do the "exact opposite" to Chandler by wearing all his clothes.
Eva Raggio
Whether the entrance is worth $32.50 a person will depend on one's level of die-hard fanaticism for the show and how big their need to pose in front of a purple door or to yell "Pivot" while trying to move a couch — and keeping a unagi state of mind.

We found it a bit overpriced, but it's a fun, big, inside joke of a group-date for those who want to take their lobster, hand twin, their Ms. Chanandler Bong or that person you want to tell the story about backpacking in Europe.


We have to say the staff lives up to the theme of Friend-liness, and is good about taking pictures of the groups posing from as many angles as it takes. The merch also isn’t cheap, and includes "life- sized" Hugsy penguins, bags that say "Crap Bag" and Friends-themed board games. The big white dog statue is, disappointingly, not for sale.
click to enlarge Replicas of some famous outfits worn by the Friends characters. - EVA RAGGIO
Replicas of some famous outfits worn by the Friends characters.
Eva Raggio
click to enlarge Glo Diez looks at the Friends scripts signed by the cast. - EVA RAGGIO
Glo Diez looks at the Friends scripts signed by the cast.
Eva Raggio
click to enlarge Merch for sale at the Friends Experience. - SUPERFLY X
Merch for sale at the Friends Experience.
Superfly X
click to enlarge Hair enthusiasts can learn about the history of "The Rachel" at the Friends pop-up. - EVA RAGGIO
Hair enthusiasts can learn about the history of "The Rachel" at the Friends pop-up.
Eva Raggio
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Eva Raggio is the Dallas Observer's music and arts editor, a job she took after several years of writing about local culture and music for the paper. Eva supports the arts by rarely asking to be put on "the list" and always replies to emails, unless the word "pimp" makes up part of the artist's name.
Contact: Eva Raggio