'Friends' Superfan Quit His Job, Opened A Central Perk Replica In Beijing, And Changed His Name to Gunther (No, Really, This Happened) — VIDEO
Like any other woman in her early 30s, I love Friends . I have opinions on the 10 greatest episodes, on when the show peaked, and which character was the most underrated. (It's Joey; The dude had some seriously hilarious lines that just kind of slipped under the radar of our collective consciousness.) But my level of Friends love comes nowhere near that of "Gunther", a man who loves the show so much that he quit his job to open an exact replica of Central Perk in Beijing. Honestly, I don't know that I've ever loved anything as deeply as Gunther loves Friends, and I'm strangely okay with that fact.
After Gunther's first love broke up with him, he was in a sorry state. It wasn't until a friend of his insisted he watch Friends that our man was able to come out of his funk. Since then, Gunther (his chosen English name) has been determined to get as many people to watch the show as possible ("Just like persuading a lot of people to believe in some kind of religion.") and has literally made the show the center of his world. His wife's English name is Rachel. His son's English name is Joey. He has a cat who lives at the coffee house named "Smelly Cat." His apartment appears to look just like Joey and Chandler's apartment. He collects items featured in the show (Lionel Ritchie records, Baywatch DVDs), and if he can't find them he makes them
One of the coffee shop employees (he's the Chandler) touches upon a really interesting reason that so many people have joined Gunther in his self-constructed Friends-centric lifestyle.
Chinese television is kind of political. They are trying to teach people what our country wants us to know.
We just don't have TV series like Friends.
Well, "Joey", we really haven't had one like it since it went off the air (shut up Happy Endings fans; stop trying to compare it to Friends, 'cuz it just wasn't that funny), so it's nice to know that somewhere in the world there is a dedicated crew like you guys keeping the spirit of the show alive.
Images: NBC; YouTube