Friends-A Strangely Endearing Band of Losers

Hey! I made my second attempt to watch Friends starting in January and I finished the series last night. Now, I have a lot of thoughts on it. When I say “a lot”, I mean this is basically a 1000-word essay.

Seasons 1-2, 5-7, and 9 were awesome, but I’ve already forgotten seasons 3 and 8. I know season 10 has a nostalgia factor, but it just wasn’t the best. And don’t get me STARTED on “I got off the plane”, I’ll cover that in a second.

Ok. Whoever decided to put Ross and Rachel together as endgame, I have some WORDS for y’all. Ross has been married 3 times, with two different baby mamas. He also can’t work a damn spray tan machine despite having a PhD. In addition, he is overly proud of being a paleontologist despite never doing more than writing papers for obscure journals. And finally, even counting the argument that he suffers from depression, he is a narcissistic pessimist who has the most toxic masculinity I’ve ever seen on TV. (I watch mostly modern shows) The best possible example of this toxicity is the aforementioned series finale. I don’t care that “they love each other”, Ross is forcing her to choose love over her passion!! I do get that their daughter Emma (who should have been way more than a plot device) complicates things, but why not just bring them all? Seriously, get a grip. I’ll cover Rachel soon, but let’s go to my sweet soul sister Phoebe.

My dear sweet soul sister Phoebe Buffay has gone through so much trauma pre-show, and yet she is the funniest, kindest, weirdest Friend of them all. I strongly identify with her free spirit, her naïveté, her approach to her past and her future, and her creativity. Plus she’s the one who gets to marry Paul Rudd. 😊 And that brings me to her love life. While all of the Friends have numerous romances, Phoebe has the most intriguing escapades, namely with David the scientist (almost endgame!) and Paul Rudd. I guess his character is named Mike Hanigan, but it’s just Paul Rudd being the cutest cinnamon roll. He protects her, he supports her, he learns from her, and he proposes 3 times!! The only good episodes of season 10 were when they got engaged and then married. Anyway, Phoebe is my queen and I’m still looking for Paul Rudd. 😊

Despite the show being an ensemble cast, Rachel Karen Green is the closest to a sole protagonist. The series opens with her running into Central Perk coffee shop in a wedding dress, leaving Barry somebody at the altar. She starts off as the epitome of “poor little rich girl”, but she adjusts to NYC pretty quickly and eventually becomes almost likable. The one thing that stops me from rooting for her is her insistence on being tied to Ross chauvinist-insecure-Man-child Geller.

As horrible as Ross is, his younger sister Monica is the “mom friend” and the most sane of the bunch. Take a type A personality, give it some steroids, enlarge it by 1000% and you have a rough estimation of the force of Monica’s being. At times she’s overbearing for comedic effect, but there are worse addictions than cleaning and cooking. I realize in hindsight she sounds like a ’50s housewife, but she’s also a professional chef, which sort of helps. She marries Ross’s best friend Chandler, and they are the solid stable couple of the show. Their stability is the primary reason they are my favorite couple of the show.

I rather like Joey Tribbianni, but he’s the happy version of Ross. Both are womanizing man-children, but Ross is utterly devoid of innocence or charm, both of which Joey has in spades. His most powerful arc shows up in season 9 when he falls for Rachel, and they briefly date. I personally think Joey and Rachel should have been the endgame couple. They had much more chemistry, zero conflict, and an actual sense of fun and contentment in their relationship.

Chandler Bing, best friend of Ross and husband of Monica. He’s also “the gay character” despite being completely heterosexual. This running joke has flown over my head given the current social climate, but I suppose it was funny 20 years ago. Another running Chandler joke is the gag that no one has any clue what he does for a living. It has something to do with data processing, but the details are vague. Overall, his main purpose is comic relief and he executes it well.

That sums up this character review and analysis of the hit show Friends. Thanks for reading! I’ll be back with new content soon.

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