When I have a bad day, a slow day, or really whenever I have 30 minutes to spare, I watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. For those of you who are under 10 years old or live under a rock, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. was a TV show in the 90s that ran for 10 years. It followed 6 people – Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross - on their journey from being 20 to turning 30 as they worked, fell in and out of love, and drank a lot of coffee.
I discovered F.R.I.E.N.D.S. during a particularly low point in my high school career when I pretty much spent 2 or more weeks at home in isolation. I had just had a huge fall-out with my friends and wanted nothing more than to live vicariously through the exciting lives of other people. Since then, I have made up with my high school friends, but there is still a strong part of me that feels very close to the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. cast and grateful for how they helped me get through such a rough time. I realize that they are just actors and their true personalities may be nothing like the show, but I still feel like they are really my friends and would probably have a heart attack if I got the opportunity to see all 6 of them together. Yes, I know this is both pathetic and incredibly sad, but it’s ok, I’ve accepted that.
Often I think about which character from the show represents me the most. Then I realize that one of the main reasons I love the show so much is that each and every character is a piece of theatrical genius. They all have such great characteristics and I feel like each one is an exaggeration of something that I am or, more realistically, something that I want to be. So, here is how I would describe each character in one or two words and why I can relate to them.
Monica – Neat –Monica gets incredibly stressed out very easily. Like me, she needs to have her life, her closet, and her relationships as organized as possible. She does things by the book and really wants to make other people happy. People are shocked when they see her being rebellious, breaking a rule, or drinking too much.
Rachel – Needy and Ditsy –Rachel is the one who seems to benefit most from the experiences and lessons of the other friends. She is always in a romantic relationship, and when she isn’t there are always men in her life. When something good happens to her she’s excited to tell others right away. She seems to sometimes lack common sense (a pitfall of mine as well), but she is able to laugh at herself and I have definitely picked up that useful skill from her character.
Phoebe – Eclectic – Phoebe doesn’t care at all what anyone thinks of her, something that I strive for but can’t say I’ve really achieved. She speaks her mind, dresses in really colorful and bizarre clothes, and pursues a singing career even though she is an absolutely terrible singer. I suppose Phoebe is the least relatable character to me, but I admire her and she always inspires me to just be myself and not worry so much.
Chandler – Awkward –When Chandler is uncomfortable, we does weird dance moods or laughs awkwardly. I often use humor to get me out of horrible situations, and I would say he is hands-down the funniest character on the show. Chandler has taught me to be honest with myself about who I am. He doesn’t pretend to be a sports star or a ladies’ man. He’s the funny guy, and he accepts that.
Joey – Confident – Sometimes I find myself quoting things Joey says when I feel really good about myself. He isn’t ever in particularly good shape and he isn’t my idea of “hot”, but he knows how to talk himself up and his confidence makes everyone fall in love with him.
Ross – Sweet –Ross is definitely the nicest character on the show. He often goes out of his way to help other people. Ross is a hopeless romantic, always wanting to fall in love. He is sweet to his sister, Monica, and his parents, and always supports all of the other characters in their achievements and failures. I often think about Ross when I’m with my brother because I want to be a supportive sister and have the close relationship that Ross and Monica do.
Ok, so now you probably think I’m crazy and that’s ok. I’m not really that crazy. My family and my "real-life" friends know about this obession and just count it as one of my many quirks. I just love this show and can't help but realize how much I have learned about myself from the characters and their experiences.