May 06, 2004 09:00 AM

Some 40 million viewers are expected to tune in to Thursday night’s Friends finale, and according to therapists, the majority of those will be suffering from some symptoms of withdrawal after faithfully spending the past 10 years with Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Phoebe.

One of the major questions hanging over the wrap-up is how the relationship between Ross and Rachel (David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston) will be resolved. She’s threatened to move to Paris, and he’ll either convince her to stay put or else whip out his passport and go with her.

As for the others: Monica and Chandler (Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry) are to become adoptive parents, which can trigger all sorts of plot turns; Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), who already married Mike (Paul Rudd), could likely advise all of her other friends; and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) needs to deal with all the upheavals his pals are presenting him – and fast, since his character is being spun off into his own series this fall.

Although the final, hour-long episode (which airs on NBC at 9 p.m., following an hour-long series retrospective) was shot in Burbank on Jan. 23, the cast will reunite for a live, final farewell on Thursday’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The program will be taped on the “Friends” Central Perk set.

And if that’s still not enough, Warner Bros. (which, like PEOPLE, is part of Time Warner), plans to release a DVD of the finale next Tuesday, though it’s already available by pre-order for $9.95 from the Warner Home Video Web site.

The disc also includes the original pilot episode, along with exclusive behind-the-scenes material.

You May Like