Friends Central Perk Review!

Years ago, when the Friends set was approved as a LEGO Ideas set, I was pretty bummed out. I think that other potential sets from that review period were far more interesting to me than a set based on a sitcom from the 90s. 

I am big enough to admit that I was wildly wrong in this case. After binging the whole show in two months and introducing it to my brother, I received the Central Perk LEGO set for my birthday, and I could not be happier with it. (Spoilers, I guess? I really like this set.) 

The set comes with 1,070 pieces and seven Minifigures. It still retails for $59.99 in the US, which is an amazing price considering how many pieces come in the set. 

I hadn't built any of the sitcom/apartment sets, so this was new territory for me. I rather enjoyed the build. There were plenty of creative SNOT uses, and it was not repetitive. 

The set is really faithful in capturing the essence of Central Perk. Every major facet of the iconic coffee house is captured here. Obviously, since it is a LEGO set, it is not 100% accurate. Some of the tables and chairs are missing from the floor, but I much prefer the added floor space over cramming in items for accuracy. 

However, the designers did manage to cram a bunch into this set. I particularly love the counter where Gunther works. It is full of an assortment of bricks that create a wall of coffee production. The draped curtain in front of the door is quite clever, and I appreciate the giant service sign attached to the wall. 

Close to the door is a small red couch that is built into the wall to save space. Nestled in the corner and obscured by some flowers is a large candelabra. I think that it looks like an Olympic torch rather than a bunch of small candles, but I am not quite sure how I would fix this. Stuck to the wall is a stickered poster advertising a performance by Phoebe. The pink cat with green squiggles emanating from it, referencing the iconic Smelly Cat song, is a lovely touch. 

Rounding that corner, the characters encounter a coat rack with a few umbrellas stored underneath. The adjacent doors don't quite match the look of the original ones, but they work well enough. 

Three green pillars line this section of the building, and while they look nice, they are a bit flimsy. Though one of them is secured, the other two come off frequently when moving the set or adjusting the Minifigures inside. 

The couch next to the window is set up for one of Phoebe's performances. It sits atop a rug that is built sideways and then placed into the set, much like the main couch of the set. The only difference is that this one is secured with a couple of clips. 

Behind the couch is a nice printed glass pane with the Central Perk logo. The instructions show that it can be flipped around if you want to display the set from the street view. This isn't a good look for the set since the only thing out here is a trash can and a poster of Joey modeling Japanese lipstick for men. 

Included in the set is a keyboard, which can be used to recreate the scene when Ross performed his "sound" at the coffee shop. 

Lastly, and most importantly, the set includes the iconic couch and accompanying tables and chairs. The rug is built using normal bricks turned sideways. This section of the build is easily removed if you want to display it on its own. I personally wouldn't do so, since the whole set looks so nice, but having the option is nice. 

The orange couch is built with a little bit of sideways construction. It seats up to three Minifigures comfortably, which is perfect. The two identical chairs on the left have a sticker for the pattern. The chair on the right's color is an excellent match for the on-screen chair. A newspaper is appropriately placed on the table, alongside some flowers, and a reserved sign. 

Right behind the two chairs is a chalkboard menu. I am thankful that it is a print since there is an abundance of stickers in this set. 

Two large studio lights are attached to the sides of the set. I don't think that they are necessary inclusions, but it is a cool stylistic choice that they have carried on into other apartment-style sets. 

An extra set of coffee mugs and a teacup are included so that all of the characters can have coffee together on the couch without displacing the mugs scattered throughout the model. 

Rachel appears in an outfit from earlier in the show, when she is still working as a waitress. She even comes with a tray and tea cup as her accessories. The tray is a repurposed shield element, and unfortunately, it makes it hard for her to hold. Rachel's hair is ubiquitous when discussing the show's impact on culture, and I think the piece that LEGO used is perfect. Her head is reuses of Jyn Erso's head, which threw me for a loop when I first saw it. 

Monica's head also appeared in a previous LEGO Dimensions set; nevertheless, it works well. Her outfit comes from the very first episode of the show. It is really accurate, down to the high wasted pants. Her accessory is a brown swirly piece meant to represent a baked good from the coffee house.

Phoebe's torso is based on The One with a Blackout. The print is also metallic, which is a nice touch. Her alternate face seems to be singing, which is great for posing her with the guitar on the couch. The guitar is a fairly standard design, and it has shown up in plenty of other sets. 

Joey is my favorite character in the show, and I am glad that his appearance here does him justice. His face print is excellent, and I think I know exactly what he is trying to say.  His jacket is a really nice print that could be used almost anywhere. Joey also gets a handful of accessories, including a piece of pizza, a pizza box, and his purse from The One With Joey's Bag

I think that the Chandler Minifigure is perfect. The blue shirt and vest are both reminiscent of one of his outfits earlier in the show. The hair piece feels a little off but works well enough. Chandler also comes with his laptop that he uses for "games and stuff."

Ross is clad in formal wear that reflects his job as a Paleontologist, and I think the outfit comes from The One Where Rachel Tells... His face prints are great and capture his essence quite well. I really wish LEGO had included an accessory specific to him since all the other characters have one. I think the baby velociraptor mold could have made a good toy dinosaur for him. 

Finally, Gunther appears in this set to manage the coffee house. He is wearing a green collared shirt with one of his many colorful ties printed on it. He uses Luke Skywalker's head, and it works well for him. I am not sold on his hairpiece; LEGO keeps using it for really short hair, and I don't think it works. Gunther comes with a broom as his accessory, so he can clean up after all of the antics that take place. 

It is really hard not to recommend this set to a LEGO fan who also enjoys Friends. Central Perk is full of easter eggs lovingly placed in the set. It captures the feel of a place better than most LEGO sets are capable of. It is an excellent display piece, and immediately recognizable for what it is. I am so glad to have this set in my collection. And besides, with over a thousand pieces in a sixty-dollar set, this set is a steal considering the pricing changes coming to LEGO sets.