Friends has become of the world's dearest sitcoms, but nobody could have anticipated its large-scale success when it premiered in 1994. However, it was popular, even with the critics, from the show's first season.
At the 1995 Emmys, Friends was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series after its first season, and although it didn't win, cast mates Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry were simply happy to have been in contention for the award.
"We feel great," Aniston says as she and Perry are interviewed upon their arrival to Friends' Emmys after-party. "[In our] first year, to even be nominated is so unbelievable...What more can you ask for? We were just happy to be there."
That year's Outstanding Comedy Series award went to Frasier, which had won the award the previous year after its inaugural season. Friends' stars David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow were also nominated, but didn't receive awards.
"We kind of were sitting there at the ceremony just going, 'Do you believe were here?'" Perry said of the exciting experience. "So, winning would have been too much, I think, for us to handle...but if we don't win next year, I'm going to be really upset."
Fate would have it that Friends was beat out by Frasier the following year, and despite Lisa Kudrow being honored with Outstanding Supporting Actress in 1998, the show won its only Outstanding Comedy award in 2002 for its eighth season.
Overall, Friends would go on to be nominated for 33 major Emmys, six of which were for Outstanding Comedy in its ten-season run. Five out of the six cast members were nominated for 15 individual awards among the ten seasons, with Kudrow and Aniston both receiving their respective Outstanding Actress awards on one occasion.
Two of Friends' five major Emmys came from Bruce Willis and Christina Applegate for Outstanding Guest Actor/Actress, a category in which the show received 11 nominations.