Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for years.
Friends is the beloved hit show that followed six twenty-something friends as they dealt with love, relationships, careers and friendships in New York City. Each of the six main characters is unique, and they are all pivotal to the success and legacy of the show. This is a list analyzing their characters and what they brought to the table. Since they are all so diverse, it's hard to rate them, but I did so based on likability, growth, and personality.
6. Ross Geller (David Schwimmer)
Ross is older brother to Monica, and growing up harbored a huge crush on Rachel. He was a "medical marvel" according to his parents and wasn't the most popular in high school. He became roommates in college with Chandler, and the two became best friends. At 14, he was mugged by a 14-year-old girl (who was later revealed to be Phoebe). Ross is a paleontologist who worked at the Museum of Natural History and tenured at New York University.
His first wife was Carol, who came out as a lesbian in the pilot episode. The two have a son together, Ben. Ross has three failed marriages (a running gag on the show). Following a one-night stand, he and Rachel have a daughter, Emma. He is polite and smart, but also socially awkward and arrogant. He starts developing anger issues, as demonstrated when a co-worker eats his sandwich.
Ross has a need to always be right, and can often come across as childish. He has jealous tendencies, like when he was suspicious of Mark for giving Rachel a job. Ross' angry outbursts and tantrums are often hilarious, as is his need to be correct. He seems irrational when people won't agree with him. However, Ross also had a deep need to please others and often compromises his own interests for others. His goofy but loving demeanor is endearing to audiences.
Best Quote: "We were on a break!"
5. Monica Geller-Bing (Courteney Cox)
Monica is the younger sister of Ross, and had a difficult time in high school due to her gaining a substantial amount of weight. Her best friend from childhood was Rachel, and growing up she had a complex relationship with her parents, due to her believing they favored Ross. She is the mother hen of the group, and works as a professional chef. Monica is known for her obsession with cleaning, and for her perfectionist and competitive nature. She took Rachel in when she ran out on her fiance at the altar, and ends up falling for and marrying her older brother's best friend. Monica is a neat-freak and can be a bit bossy, but she always watches out for her friends and offers support.
Monica is known for talking abnormally loud, and is very high-strung. She is detail-orientated and extremely conscientious and puts 100% into everything she does. Her neuroses are what make her character so great, and her extreme competitive nature and can-do attitude are endearing and fun for audiences.
Best Quote: "I know!"
4. Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc)
Joey Tribbiani comes from a big, Italian-American family of eight children, of which he is the only male. Though he is often portrayed as dense and promiscuous, Joey has a kind heart and is fiercely protective of his friends. He is the character that is viewed as a ladies' man and has no problems getting dates. Joey's two vices are women and food, and he loves foosball and pizza. An often struggling actor, he is always looking for his big break, and his dim-witted nature is a perfect recipe for laughter.
Joey's character is extremely important to the dynamic of Friends. He doesn't take himself or life too seriously and is always there for the gang. The relationship between him and Chandler is arguably the strongest on the show, and their friendship is the definition of best friend goals. Joey's simple-mindedness is endearing, even if he is often the butt of the joke.
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Best Quote: "It's like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter. It's moo."
3. Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston)
Rachel Green came from a spoiled upbringing, along with her sisters Jill and Amy. She grew up with Monica and they remained best friends throughout high school. Rachel never noticed that Ross (Monica's older brother) had deep feelings for her. She ran out on her fiance Barry at the altar and was taken under Monica's wing when they reconnected at Central Perk. Rachel can often be self-centered, but she always tries to be a good friend. The constant will they/won't they between Ross and Rachel was a huge focus of the show. Together, the two have a daughter Emma, and Rachel becomes much less-absorbed.
Rachel's character is the fashionista of the show, and she can sometimes be materialistic. She is sassy and sophisticated and often thinks with her heart, not her head. Rachel is arguably the character that grew the most throughout the series, going from a spoiled rich girl to an independent businesswoman. Though she is often forgetful and sometimes unreliable, Rachel transforms into a more dependent and honest person by the conclusion of the show.
Best Quote: "Isn't that just kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic?"
2. Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow)
Phoebe is the most eccentric of the Friends group, and lives a bohemian lifestyle as a masseuse and plays guitar in Central Perk. She and her twin sister Ursula are the daughters of Phoebe Abbott, but she wasn't ready to be a mother so Frank and Lily Buffay raised them. Frank would ultimately abandon the family, and Lily committed suicide when Phoebe was 13. She lived on the streets as a teenager, and never attended high school or college. Her colorful history growing up was funny to learn, as she often revealed interesting and unique facts about her life.
Phoebe writes and sings her own quirky songs, and is a self-taught musician and vegetarian. "Smelly Cat" is a running gag on the show. She was Monica's roommate until she moved out, due to Monica's obsessive neatness. She has an ongoing romance with David the Scientist, but ultimately falls in love and marries Mike Hannigan.
Phoebe is known for her silly wit and offbeat, ditzy behavior. She can be very sarcastic and often straightforward, which sometimes catches the gang off guard. She is the most promiscuous of the group, and many times uses her chaotic and tragic childhood as a ploy to get sympathy. Phoebe grew as a character throughout the series, becoming less ditzy and more intelligent and thoughtful.
Best Quote: "They don't know that we know they know we know."
1. Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry)
Chandler is the only child of an erotic novelist and cross-dressing burlesque star. Throughout the series, his main job is as an executive specializing in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration (though his friends never really knew just what he did). Chandler is also Ross Geller's best friend since college and became Joey's roommate. He refuses to celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional way, due to his parents announcing their divorce on the day when he was 9. He has a habit of accenting the wrong words in his sentences, which leads to his friend often imitating him. Chandler and Monica ultimately fall in love and get married, and the two adopt twins.
Chandler is extremely sarcastic and often the comic relief with his self-deprecating humor. He uses his sarcasm as a defense and sometimes comes off emotionally immature (though he is the most financially secure). Chandler is fast with quips and always enjoys poking fun at his friends, which as a viewer is enjoyable to see. He often turns to humor in emotional situations, but always offers support to the group. Chandler constantly looks out for Joey, both financially and emotionally. The duo form a close bond and often get into hilarious shenanigans together.
Best Quote: "I'm not great at the advice, can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?"
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Rachel M Johnson