ESSAY: The One(s) I Love: Relationships, Monogamy, and Marriage in "Friends" and "House of Cards"


While at first glance it might seem like Friends and House of Cards are so vastly different as to provide few pertinent points for comparison, on the contrary, these two very different shows provide interesting related polysemic points of analysis. Friends, which aired from 1994-2004 weekly on NBC, is a half-hour episodic sitcom, shot in the multi-camera style, and includes a laugh track. Making use of the talents of actors Rachel Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer, Friends is the story of the trials and travails—romantic, social and professional—of a group of six friends in their late twenties/early thirties. House of Cards, an adaptation of the 1990 British series of the same name, has been streaming on Netflix since February 2013, with new seasons arriving each February to the service in their entirety, thus encouraging the show to be “binge-watched”. House of Cards stars Kevin Spacey as a ruthless congressman out for revenge, along with Robin Wright as his equally cunning wife.

In this paper, I intend to discuss and analyze the different approaches that Friends and House of Cards take in depicting relationships, monogamy, and the idea of marriage, and what kind of polysemic meanings these different depictions reflect, in addition to reflecting on how these relationships have been received and remediated by fans of the shows. In Friends, the majority of the group of friends are seeking long-term, monogamous romantic relationships, with the idea that they will lead to marriage, while in House of Cards, the central couple makes use of an open marriage in order to further their political aspirations. What does this shift from the monogamy on television in the 90’s world of Friends to the contemporary open marriage of House of Cards, both acclaimed mainstream shows, say about the state of marriage and relationships in the United States today?

Friends: Dreaming of Monogamy?

In Friends, for four of the six main characters, as well as several side characters introduced/shown in one or two episodes, monogamy and (heterosexual) marriage is presented as the ideal—a given goal for the characters to aspire towards as they navigate their twenties and early thirties. Ross, Rachel, Chandler and Monica are all shown to be seeking a monogamous partner and eventually marriage, while Phoebe and Joey break this mold by being the more adventurous, free-spirited friends less concerned with monogamy and marriage. While the goals (or lack thereof) of all six characters regarding marriage or monogamy are treated as equally valid within the context of the show, ultimately Phoebe joins Ross, Rachel, Chandler and Monica in the search for monogamy when she gets married to Mike (Paul Rudd) towards the end of the show, leaving Joey as the only member of the group not in a monogamous relationship. In this way, Friends is ultimately advocating a pro-monogamy and traditional committed (heterosexual) relationship viewpoint—that for most people (those not like Joey, whose relationships are more predicated on physical attraction), monogamy and commitment, based upon not only physical attraction, but other factors as well, are what is best and most desirable. 

In the pilot episode (“The One Where Monica Gets A Roommate”) it is established that Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), one of the six protagonists of the show, was previously married to a woman named Carol, whom he has since divorced, and who is currently in a relationship with another woman, named Susan; Ross finds out in this episode that Carol is pregnant with Ross’ child. Upon Rachel Green’s (Jennifer Aniston) return into his life (she was a classmate/old friend of his younger sister Monica), his old feelings for her immediately resurface and he spends much of the rest of the first season (and indeed, much of the rest of the show’s run) trying to enter into a monogamous romantic relationship with her. Of all of the members of the central group on Friends, Ross is the one who is most desperate to get married and stay married. Over the course of the show, he is married three times and divorced three times: his first marriage to Carol falls apart when she comes out as a lesbian; in season four, he marries Emily, whom he divorces when they realize his feelings for Rachel are too strong; and in season five, he and Rachel drunkenly marry one another is Las Vegas, followed by another divorce in the following season, followed by their conception of a daughter, Emma, in seasons seven and eight. 

We as the viewer first meet Rachel Green when she arrives at Central Perk, one of the main haunts of the gang, literally having fled her intended husband, Barry, at the altar, an unexpectedly independent act for the spoiled Rachel, who further continues to evoke her parents’ ire and assert her independence by trying to support herself financially without their help, even though it means that her friends from her community in New Jersey will cut ties with her. Yet despite her reluctance to marry Barry, whom she doesn’t particularly like very much, she is still interested in the idea of a monogamous relationship and quickly begins dating her attractive Italian neighbor Paolo in season one, followed by other men—most importantly, Ross. While Rachel and Ross get together and break up several times over the ten-year run of Friends, even parenting a child together while split up, ultimately in the show’s finale they end up together—not married, but as a committed, monogamous couple, parenting their daughter Emma.

Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) is established as a socially awkward character who displays some desire for one-night stands and more casual relationships with attractive women, but, as is revealed in “The One With the Monkey,” he is quite lonely and longs for female companionship and the illusion of a partner at nearly all costs—he is distraught upon considering the idea that he will have no-one to kiss on New Years’ Eve, which is why, despite protestations from the gang, he invites his comically unpleasant ex-girlfriend Janice to the gang’s New Years’ party.

Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) also expresses a desire for a monogamous relationship and also for children over the course of the show; in season two, she seriously dates the older, sophisticated Richard (Tom Selleck), but breaks it off when he reveals he doesn’t want children, having already fathered two from a prior marriage. Over the course of the series, Monica and Chandler are shown to be in various relationships with different degrees of seriousness, but in seasons 4-5 it is revealed that they have begun dating, albeit secretly. Their relationship, which soon equaled Ross’ and Rachel’s in popularity amongst the fans of the show, eventually results in Chandler and Monica getting married and, in the last season, adopting twins, thus fulfilling the roles ascribed to them as heterosexual, middle-class adults in their thirties. By the end of the series, Chandler and Monica reinforce the supremacy of monogamy indicated by the narrative of Friends.

In contrast to the previous four characters, Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) is not shown to be preoccupied with finding a monogamous relationship. In “The One with the Monkey”, she is not particularly concerned about being single on New Year’s Eve, unlike Chandler and Ross, and is pleasantly surprised and flattered when a scientist named David (Hank Azaria) at her coffeehouse show confesses his attraction to her. When David has to leave for Minsk for a project, she lets him go rather easily, even though it means the end of their relationship. She is sad, but does not display concern about potentially finding another partner. Ultimately, while Phoebe might have seemed like a wild-card character and unlikely to settle down, in seasons 9-10 she meets and marries Mike Hannigan, played by Paul Rudd.

Indeed, the only one of the central six characters on Friends to not end the show in a committed, monogamous relationship is Joey (Matt LeBlanc). Joey Tribbiani is shown to be a well-meaning, rather buffoonish playboy with little interest in monogamy. While he maintains what seem to be short flings based on physical attraction during various points of the show, overall, he demonstrates his lack of intention of settling down. Indeed, in the eighth season episode “The One With the Stripper,” he asks Chandler: “How does it feel knowing you’re never gonna be with another woman again huh? Knowing you’re gonna have to wake up to the same face everyday until you finally have the sweet release of death.” 

While the decision not to have Joey settle down was likely driven by his characterization and the narrative (after all, if all of the Friends settled down, it would likely be a boring ending), it was also likely driven by the fact that Matt LeBlanc was about to reprise his role as Joey Tribbiani in the Friends spinoff, Joey, which followed Joey as he moves to Los Angeles to further his acting career, beginning when Friends ends.

While in her article “I’ll Be There For You: Friends and the Fantasy of Alternate Families,” Jillian Sandell argues rather the opposite, claiming that the diversity and variety of relationships, marriages and divorces presented on the show demonstrates that Friends “is not a show which champions normative heterosexuality,” I argue that while the show does display lifestyles that deviate from monogamous heterosexuality throughout its run, including Carol and Susan’s partnership, Phoebe’s role as a surrogate mother, and Rachel and Ross conceiving a child out of wedlock, ultimately the narrative of the show follows the desires of the characters whose desires to be in a monogamous heterosexual relationship. Ultimately these desires are fulfilled, with alternative relationships relegated to the periphery of the show’s concerns. None of the main six characters dates someone of their own sex, decides to seriously pursue single motherhood, or stay divorced for very long. With the exception of Phoebe (until the end of the show) and Joey, each of the six friends desires, seeks out, and achieves a stable, monogamous, heterosexual relationship.

Friends aired during the 1990s, a period of time in which the shifts in marriage trends from the 1950s and 1960s, the “golden age of marriage,” were made abundantly clear. According to a United States census report from 2012, “in 1890, 11 percent of men and 8 percent of women age 35 and older had never been married. These proportions rose to 13 percent of men and 10 percent of women age 35 and older having never been married in 1920. Gradually, over the next sixty years, the proportion of men and women who had never been married by age 35 dropped to 6 percent of men and women in 1980.” Thus, Friends was being written just a decade after more people in the United States were married by 35 than any other decade, and the creators likely grew up in households where their parents had been part of the “golden age” of marriage. Thus it makes sense that in creating the story of six people in their late twenties and early thirties that marriage, or at least, a monogamous relationship with the potential for marriage, would be prevalent in these storylines.

Friends and Metatextual Monogamy

When thinking about Friends’ depictions and views of relationships, it is interesting to consider the way the format of the show itself creates and perpetuates an idea of commitment and monogamy—that is, between the viewer and the show and through the majority of the six characters. As a weekly show, Friends had to rely upon an ideally consistent (or increasing) audience in order to continue to be renewed each season. Viewers were expected to—and, hopefully, wanted to—make a weekly appointment to watch the show during its original first run and keep up with the travails and trials of their favorite group of friends—and many did just that, to the extent that people “watched [the series finale] while sitting on blankets” while it “was beamed on big screens around New York.” According to Willa Paskin of Slate, with the exception of the first season, Friends had over 20 million viewers per week and was a top-10 show throughout its run. Essentially, Friends encouraged viewing patterns that reflected the show’s views and espousal of monogamy, trusting that the principles of fidelity and commitment to one’s partner or spouse would translate into their weekly commitment to watching the show.

Additionally, the idea of monogamy and commitment is interwoven into other aspects of the show, including mise-en-scène. In many cases, Monica and Rachel’s shared apartment itself functions as a character in the show—continuing the sense of familiarity and commitment that the viewer feels towards the show. The apartment, much like the main group of six, becomes, over the course of the show, a “face”, so to speak, that the viewer remembers and can picture in their minds—indeed, it’s fair to say that the open kitchen/living room part of the apartment is iconic at this point. Each of the six friends has a relationship with Monica’s and Rachel’s apartment as well—all of them have lived in the apartment for some period of time, whether it is throughout nearly all of the show (Monica and Rachel), as part of a committed monogamous relationship (Chandler), or for a summer (Ross). In short, Monica’s and Rachel’s apartment helps facilitate the feelings of familiarity in the viewer, and this recognition engendered by the space serves as a reward for those faithful viewers for whom seeing the interior of this apartment will resonate.

Indeed, Monica’s and Rachel’s apartment and one of the hallways of the apartment building function much like a character in the first season episode “The One with the Blackout” in that its architecture and layout, including the open kitchen plan and the balcony, attempt to help Ross successfully begin a relationship with Rachel, while the hallway, a non-exclusive space for the gang, manages to destroy Ross’ chance at seizing the moment. In this episode, the mood is appropriately set for romance with darkness and candles, as Joey points out to Ross in an attempt to spur him into action, due to a citywide blackout. Once Joey has convinced Ross to act and to get Rachel alone on the balcony (figure 1), Joey frantically tries to prevent Monica from going outside onto the balcony and spoiling Ross’s attempt to confess his feelings to Rachel, thus trying to keep a divide between the interior and exterior space of the apartment (figure 2). Of course, in typical Friends fashion, the moment is ruined by a wayward cat attacking Ross when he tries to tell Rachel how he feels, leading Rachel to go throughout the darkened apartment to find its owner—and in so doing, meeting the cat’s attractive owner, Paolo, with whom she quickly begins a relationship (figure 3). In this way, the apartment and the apartment building’s hallway are at cross-purposes. In one sense, the apartment tries, much like Joey, to facilitate a relationship between Ross and Rachel, yet the building’s hallway, a transitional space outside the normal world of the Friends gang, is the place where Ross’ hopes are crushed (for the time being). 

House of Cards: Weaponized Marriage

The United States adaptation of House of Cards has been noted for its cinematic and literary qualities that mark it as fundamentally different from much of the television currently on air today, with Frank consistently breaking the fourth wall to deliver asides to the viewer, who becomes a social actor within the show’s narrative. The show’s approach to the depiction of marriage and monogamy is no less unique among most American television shows. In House of Cards, marriage is presented as politically useful and as the means to an end, be it political, professional, or both. 

Frank and Claire’s open marriage, as displayed in much of season one, is presented as a marriage of love, but also a convenient partnership of allies rather than as the romantic ideal of a relationship, in contrast to the ideal presented on Friends. Frank and Claire love one another and provide political and emotional support to one another on various occasions, with Frank memorably declaring that he loves her “more than sharks love blood,” but they accept that the other might have affairs if it is politically useful for them. Indeed, as Claire describes in Chapter 6, the very manner in which Frank proposed to her outlined the promises and sacrifices being married to him would entail: “Claire, if all you want is happiness, say no. I’m not going to give you a couple of kids and count the days until retirement. I promise you freedom from that. I promise you’ll never be bored.”

Frank has–and relies upon—Claire’s full support in undermining the President for revenge and increasing his own power within the government, and she tacitly acknowledges his sexual affair with reporter Zoe Barnes as a means to that end. In Chapter 4, the editing in particular emphasizes the way their relationship works to fulfill their goals: 

Claire is deciding between two dresses, one black (figure 4) and one white (figure 5), and Frank offers his opinions. Claire reveals that Adam Galloway (Ben Daniels) is coming into town, to which Frank responds: “if you want to look inviting, wear the black one.” We immediately cut to a shot of Claire at her office, wearing the black dress (with a wide, open neckline), about to meet with Adam (figure 6) […Thus, this segment proves] interesting because it hints that Frank knows about Claire’s relationship with Adam and that she might even want to continue it outside of her marriage with Frank; the signs of a potential rekindling of the relationship with Adam Galloway, as well as Frank’s knowledge/approval of it, are confirmed later on in the episode. In this segment, Frank demonstrates his willingness to let his wife use her appearance in order to get what she wants (photographs from Adam), knowing and accepting what had previously occurred between the two; in addition, the next shot of Claire wearing the dress represents not only her heeding of his advice, but also symbolizes in general the synchronicity of their unconventional marriage. 

In 2013, Hanna Rosin of Slate asked, “Do Frank and Claire Underwood Have the Ideal Marriage?” citing the events of Chapter Nine when Claire underhandedly defeats Frank’s Watershed Act by undermining the vote count for her own reasons, pointing out that “under the terms of the Underwood marriage, an affair does not count as the ultimate betrayal, but upsetting their delicate balance between separate and apart does.”

In season two (Chapter 24), another dimension to the Underwood marriage is revealed when they engage in sexual relations with their loyal, stoic bodyguard, Edward Meechum, as a way of securing his loyalty. Rather than the inclusion of Meechum engendering any sort of jealousy between Frank and Claire, the three of them are briefly shown kissing one another, with the implication of increased physicality occurring later, off-screen. As Jen Chaney of Vulture wrote in her recap of this episode, 
Frank and Claire […] are solid only because their marriage is not based on actual emotions. They stand as proof that the best way to get ahead in Washington — or at least the Washington in House of Cards — is to avoid all those pesky, messy human feelings and just keep both pairs of eyes on the political prize […] [this incident] involved Frank taking a lover, a man who happens to be responsible for shielding Frank from violence on a daily basis. Instead of pushing Meechum out, Frank — and also Claire — were inviting him in, confident that his loyalty is beyond question. Something about the way that interaction unfolded felt like an initiation ritual, as if Meechum were being inducted into the cult of Underwood.
Indeed, this particular relationship has proved incredibly popular in terms of remediation, with much fan fiction being written by fans of the show about the dynamic among Frank, Claire, and Meechum on sites like and an Archive of Our Own

The pattern of marriage discussed in House of Cards, where fidelity and traditionalism are foregone in favor of whatever it will take to get ahead, serves as a response to changing views of marriage. While the idea of an open marriage might still be surprising to many monogamous couples, the interest in the philosophy behind the open marriage, its benefits as well as its challenges, is hardly recent. In 1972, George and Nena O’Neill wrote in their anthropological study of open marriage, which began in 1967:
The expectations of closed marriage-the major one being that the partner will be able to fulfill all of the other's needs (emotional, social, sexual, economic, intellectual, and otherwise)-present obstacles to growth and attitudes that foster conflict between partners […] an open relationship in marriage […] involves becoming a more open person. Since the open-minded personality is one which can perceive options and alternatives and make decisions about the paths to change (Rokeach, 1960), efforts to help the marital couple in perception and skills should increase their ability to solve many problems in marriage.” 
In short, O’Neill and O’Neill describe a method through which couples can make an open marriage work, including that each spouse becomes a more “open” person and participant; Frank and Claire’s marriage, at its peak of functionality, embodies this openness perfectly, which is revealed when Claire tells Zoe in Chapter 10: “I’ve known everything [about Frank and Zoe’s affair] from the beginning, Zoe. My husband and I tell each other everything.”

Members of the millennial generation are getting married at older ages, often waiting to establish their careers before embarking on relationships and having children; according to the Pew Research Center:
Just 26% of this generation is married. When they were the age that Millennials are now, 36% of Generation X, 48% of Baby Boomers and 65% of the members of the Silent Generation were married […] Most unmarried Millennials (69%) say they would like to marry, but many, especially those with lower levels of income and education, lack what they deem to be a necessary prerequisite—a solid economic foundation. 
This tendency indicates that monogamy and traditional marriage are becoming less of a top priority than career success in world where economic stability for today’s generation is far from certain. While Frank and Claire Underwood are not members of the current generation looking to join the workforce, and have assured financial stability due to their personal wealth and lucrative jobs, their willingness to engage lovers in order to assure their rise to power and professional success might appeal to the viewers of the current generation, who are a large demographic of Netflix users. Netflix, as of March 2015, has over 57 million users worldwide, 39 million of whom are based in the United States. In a survey of American Netflix users, a 2013 study found that 43 percent of adults aged 18-36 were subscribers, in addition to 31 percent of adults between 37-48, 21 percent of adults between 49-67, and 25 percent of adults 68 and over. This pattern is not exclusively American: in a survey of Canadian Netflix users, the Media Technology Monitor found that “29 per cent [sic] of consumers aged 18 to 34 said they were Netflix users, closely followed by 27 per cent [sic] of those aged 35 to 49. Only 14 per cent [sic] of consumers aged 50 to 64 and four per cent [sic] of those 65 and older had bought into Netflix.”

Additionally, Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), who is unattached but engages with a married man for information, might also speak to this generation of viewers in that she has put aside all thoughts of romantic love in favor of elevating her career and becoming a rising star. In Chapter 7, she rejects her former coworker Lucas’ advances by telling him “I’m really flattered. But I’m just not in a place where I’m even thinking romantically right now,” indicating that her focus on her career, as well as her sexual and business-related deal with Frank, is her main priority. Yet once her relationship with Frank becomes unstable, Zoe finds herself feeling lonely and looking for comfort, and so in Chapter 10 she seeks out Lucas, asks to stay at his apartment, and ends up sleeping in his bed, where the two kiss and have sex, thus beginning a relationship. However, once she defies Frank for the first time, asking to end the physical aspect of their relationship in Chapter 9, Frank and Claire immediately regard her as dangerous, as a problem to be solved, which ultimately occurs in Chapter 14 when Frank pushes her in front of a train.

Ultimately, however, the climax of season three, after a series of fundamental differences and disagreements, as well as Claire’s dissatisfaction with the balance of power in their relationship now that Frank is President, is Claire telling Frank she’s leaving him. Thus, while for much of the first and second seasons, Frank and Claire’s unique relationship is presented as an asset (mainly, it is revealed, to Frank), season three slowly deconstructs the nature of this relationship and the weaknesses created by their various arrangements. 

House of Cards: An Affair to Remember

Similarly to Friends, House of Cards also seeks to create a type of relationship to the viewer—albeit a totally different one, just as the idea of marriage depicting in House of Cards differs vastly from the ideals of monogamy in Friends. Due to the nature of how House of Cards was released—that is, on Netflix Instant, one season at a time—the show does not rely upon the viewer’s weekly fidelity, instead encouraging them to binge-watch the episodes all at once. 

According to a survey conducted by Netflix in November 2013, 73 percent of surveyed Netflix viewers aged 18 and up said that watching between 2 and 6 episodes in one sitting qualified as binge-watching, with 61 percent reporting that they regularly did so. In February 2014, Business Insider reported that 670,000, or two percent, of U.S. Netflix subscribers had finished the show’s second season within the week of its being released on February 14, 2014; another 6 to 10 percent had watched at least one episode of the new season in that same timeframe. In that way, the nature of the viewer-show relationship between Friends and House of Cards differs in a manner reflective of the types of relationships they depict and espouse: Friends is your long-term monogamous relationship show that you have a weekly date with, while House of Cards is more like a thirteen-hour affair that happens once per year.


In conclusion, while Friends and House of Cards are vastly different American television shows, their narratives address historically and societally pertinent parallel concerns through elements such as mise-en-scène and editing. How do these shows engage with ideas of monogamy and relationships? How do these approaches differ? How do the technical and narrative aspects of the shows themselves support these approaches? And how are these different approaches products of the times in which the shows were created? 

In terms of Friends, I have demonstrated that while a variety of different types of relationships are in fact portrayed on the show, with only the exception of Joey, each of the main six characters ends the show’s run in either heterosexual married (Chandler and Monica, Phoebe and Mike), or in a committed relationships (Ross and Rachel), which emphasizes the show’s overall positive and supportive views of monogamy. Friends’ such view of monogamy is likely based on the showrunners’ own preferences or experiences, since the people writing the show were raised by parents who likely married during the “golden age of marriage” in the 1950s and 1960s, and were writing for an American culture where the number of unmarried people was at an all-time low. As Chris Segrin and Robin L. Nabi demonstrate in their article “Does Television Viewing Cultivate Unrealistic Expectations About Marriage?”:
Whereas overall television viewing is not a good predictor of either idealistic expectations of marriage or martial intentions [… and] has a negative association with idealistic marriage expectations […] particular television viewing is. That is, viewing television programming that focuses on marriage and close relationships (e.g., romantic comedies and soap operas) is associated with each of these constructs. 
Thus, Friends was both playing to an audience likely interested in stories of monogamy as well as promoting the idea of monogamy.

On the other hand, House of Cards, through its depiction of the marriage of Frank and Claire, presents another model for marriage—one that does not require monogamy or romantic love in order for both participants to achieve their goals. The Underwood marriage is contractual, open, and engineered to providing both Frank and Claire with political success and power in Washington, be it through exchanging stories and access for sex with a reporter or including their bodyguard in a likely threesome. The key to the Underwood marriage, then, is commitment of a different sort: commitment to supporting the other’s goals and quest for power. House of Cards’ approach to relationships and marriage is largely related to and likely geared in part towards the millennial generation, who comprise the largest category of Netflix subscribers Additionally, this generation is less likely to get married than the previous generation, citing the desire to attain a solid economic foundation—thus, essentially, valuing and prioritizing career potential/success over romantic connections. However, the success of this model of marriage on House of Cards remains to be seen, since by the end of the third season, Frank and Claire have grown so far apart, their marriage fractured by opposing political goals, that Claire tells Frank she is leaving him. 

Appendix 1
Figure 1.  Ross tries to confess to Rachel. 
Figure 2.  Joey prevents Monica from going onto the balcony.
Figure 3. In the hallway, Rachel meets Paolo.
Figure 4.  Claire looks at the black dress.
Figure 5. Claire looks at the white dress.
Figure 6.  On Frank’s advice, Claire has chosen the black dress to look more “inviting.”

Works Cited

Adalian, Josef. “How Friends Decided to Pair Off Monica and Chandler.” Vulture. November 20, 2013.

Chaney, Jen. “House of Cards Season 2, Episode 11 Recap: Three Is a Magic Number.” Vulture. March 4, 2014.

Cleveland, Rick, and Beau Willimon. House of Cards. “Chapter 4.” Television. 2013.

Elliot, Dana B., Kristy Krivickas, Matthew W. Brault, and Rose M. Kreider. “Historical Marriage Trends from 1890-2010: A Focus on Race Differences.” United States Census Report, 2012.

Emani, Gazelle. “House of Cards’ Edward Meechum Is a Fan-Fiction Legend.” Vulture. February 23, 2014.

Klarer, Mario. “Putting television ‘aside’: novel narration in House of Cards.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, 2014, pp. 203-220.

Krieger, Deborah. “Deborah Krieger: Week Four: Editing.” TV and New Media: WordPress Blog (blog), February 11, 2015.

Logiurato, Brett. “A Lot Of People Have Already Binge Watched The Entire Season Of ‘House Of Cards’.” Business Insider. February 21, 2014.

Oliveira, Michael. “Netflix users stream on average 6.4 hours a week.” The Star. February 25, 2013.

O’Neill, Nena and George O’Neill. “Open Marriage: A Synergic Model.” The Family Coordinator, Vol. 21, No. 4 (Oct., 1972), pp. 403-409.

Paskin, Willa. “Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things.” Slate. September 21, 2014.

Reich, Andrew, and Ted Cohen. Friends. “The One With the Stripper.” Television. 2001.

Richter, Felix. “Netflix is Almost as Popular as Cable Among Young Adults.” Statista. December 4, 2013.

Sandell, Jillian. “I’ll Be There For You: Friends and the Fantasy of Alternative Families.” American Studies, Vol. 39, No. 2, TV and American Culture (Summer, 1998), pp. 141-155.

Segrin, Chris, and Robin L. Nabi. “Does Television Viewing Cultivate Unrealistic Expectations About Marriage?” Journal of Communication, Vol. 52, Issue 2, (June 2002), pp. 247–263.

Smith, Gerry. “Nielsen to Measure Netflix Viewing by Middle of This Year.” Bloomberg. March 24, 2015.

Sweeney, Marlisse Silver. “What ‘House of Cards’ Gets About Modern Love.” Mic. February 13, 2014.

Treem, Sarah. House of Cards. “Chapter 10.” Television. 2013.

West, Kelly. “Unsurprising: Netflix Survey Indicates People Like To Binge-Watch TV.” Cinemablend. December 13, 2013.

Willimon, Beau. House of Cards. “Chapter 1.” Television. 2013.

“Millennials in Adulthood.” Pew Research Center. March 7, 2014.

“Millions tune in to Friends’ end.” BBC News. May 7, 2004.

Friends Wiki Contributors. “Monica’s Apartment.” Friends Wiki.

All images are screenshots from Netflix, taken by the author.