Friends: An All-American Love Affair

by thethreepennyguignol

I was sitting with my consort and one of his numerous family members (frankly, I only need three or four on a good day), watching Friends, when said family member merrily pointed out that it was essentially a hollow facade, as we could very probably recite the dialogue by heart, and perhaps act out each episode in avant-garde reproductions with hilarious wigs. Or something.

Her point, however, stands; I have been aware of Friends as long as I can remember (it started the year I was born) and watching it for most of my adolescence. I could probably give you a reasonably accurate rundown of the plot for every episode ever made, even though I wouldn’t class it as one of my favourite shows (for future reference, my favourite TV show ever is The Simpsons. A blog post is currently gestating but will likely be nine months in my mind-womb). And that’s wierd for me; I rarely attach myself so fully to a show I don’t completely adore, but watching Friends is like slipping into a warm bath with Stephen Fry-comforting, lulling and not something I would object to on any level. Because of the sheer vastness of the series, I’ve decided to simply take apart each of the main six characters for my own amusement (hey, maybe even yours!).

1. Rachel

An almost garishly girly girl, the writers didn’t really bother with a character for Rachel until the later series; instead, she was defined by her relationship with Ross and her general incompetence in the face of real life in any facet. It wasn’t until the later series that I really began to like the character that had begun as a hairstyle-she’s smart, ambitious, a little cynical, but ultimately a good person. Not as hot as Courtney Cox, though.

2. Joey

There’s still a huge part of me that wants to be the big spoon to Matt LeBlanc. He’s a horrendously smarmy, promiscuous, proto-Stinson who once shagged the hot one from Sex and the City-but he also practically originated the man-slut-with-a-heart-of-gold. He’s also one of the most consistently funny characters-intellectually a blancmange, but socially pretty canny and the king of physical comedy on Friends. Not as hot as Courtney Cox, though.

3. Phoebe

Urururururgh. Phoebe, for me, is the only character that makes me flinch a little-it’s less because she’s poorly written, and more because she represents the kind of person I dislike in real life. Her flightly, airy, hippy-dippy nature is well-pitched but irritates the hell out of me-her only real redeeming factors being her wonderfully handled relationship with Joey, and her acting as a catalyst to get both Giovanni Ribsi AND Paul Rudd onto the show. Not as hot as Courtney Cox, though.

4. Ross

Simultaneously pathetic and sweet, arrogant and adorable, David Schwimmer puts in a deliciously Eeyore-ish performance as the hapless paleontologist. Everything’s said with a drooping head and that cuddly drone, he’s the understated comedy lynchpin of the series-and, as the only person with a kid from the start, brings a pleasant sense of emotional balance to the show. Not as hot as Courtney Cox, though.

5. Chandler

Chandler is my spirit animal. As much a source of mockery as a source for it, he’s fully rounded from the beginning-the try-hard joker in the pack, cynical, bitter, sad, but crushingly quippy and brutally funny. When you get too drunk and start trying to make socially incisive witticisms about your social group, this is who you imagine you are. Not as hot as Courtney Cox, though.

6. Monica

By far the best of the women, Cox shares mountains of chemistry with her on-screen cohorts, usually acting as the stepping stone for all the best jokes and emotional moments. Her partnership with Chandler is superb, the ultimate in unlikely-likely sitcom romance. Not as hot as..um, actually, yeah.

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