Despite television portrayals to the contrary, Americans today have weaker ties to extended groups of friends than did prior generations, Neal Gabler observes:

...we miss the friendships we no longer have, and we know that Facebook or e-mails cannot possibly compensate for the loss. So we sit in front of our television sets and enjoy the dream of friendship instead: a dream where we need never be alone, where there are a group of people who would do anything for us, and where everyone seems to understand us to our very core, just like Jerry and George, Chandler and Joey, Carrie and her girls, or the members of the McKinley High glee club. It is a powerful dream, and it is one that may now be the primary pleasure of television.

In real life, one can't fit more than a friend or two into the average twentysomething's New York City apartment.

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