Customers chat at a Beijing cafe modeled after the Central Perk cafe in the hit American sitcom Friends, in2010. Nearly a decade after the series ended, the popularity of Friends continues among young Chinese, who use the show as a language-learning tool and enjoy its depiction of young Americans.
Credit Loiusa Lim / NPR
Du Xin, the "Chinese Gunther," owns Central Perk in Beijing. That's not all he has in common with Gunther on the show. "I love Rachel," he sighs.
Credit Getty Images
The six Manhattan singles of Friends (from left, Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Monica (Courteney Cox), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Ross (David Schwimmer) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) congregate at Central Perk in this 1999 still photo from the program.
Almost a decade since the end of the hit American TV series Friends, the show — and, in particular, the fictitious Central Perk cafe, where much of the action took place — is enjoying an afterlife in China's capital, Beijing. Here, the show that chronicled the exploits of New York City pals Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey is almost seen as a lifestyle guide.
Tucked away on the sixth floor of a Beijing apartment block is a mini replica of the cafe, orange couch and all, whose owner Du Xin introduces himself by saying, "Everyone calls me 'Gunther' here."
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