As we’re sure you’re all aware by now, this week marks the 25th anniversary of NBC’s beloved sitcom, Friends. This ‘90s hangout show is often considered the standard to which other like-minded shows (like How I Met Your Mother, or The Big Bang Theory) have to live up to. Even though the bulk of the jokes made on Friends have not stood the test of time—and none of the characters would understand you if you said, “That would make an awesome tweet” or “Oh my god, check out this meme”—Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Phoebe and Joey are what make the show beloved still to this day.
Though there is a lack of racial and cultural diversity among the six characters, there is a complexity within their personalities, which are portrayed in a way that adds some dimension past their stereotypes. There’s Rachel, the princess with the royally sized drive, Chandler, the emotionally aware jokester, Joey, the goofy ladies man, Monica, the Type A mom of the group, Phoebe, the woke hippie, and Ross, the Nice Guy scientist. All together in a group, their dynamic portrays a friend group that is pretty relatable to most of us.
Any Friends fan would share their opinions on each of the characters, and argue about divisive topics that were raised during the show: like, why was Fat Monica even a character? #FreeTheNipple or women objectification? The age old question of were Ross and Rachel on a break?
There’s also the question of who has the best platonic friendship within the group. Some would immediately argue that Chandler and Joey have the best bromance in the group, since Chandler supported Joey when he was struggling with his acting career, and Joey kept Chandler and Monica’s affair a secret. Rachel and Monica are also the ultimate BFF duo, since they can’t lie to each other, and have been friends since high school.
Even those are the obvious choices, I feel like Chandler and Phoebe have the most underrated friendship in the group. It’s a hot take since share the (near) least amount of interactions with each other throughout the show, but the moments that they do share together are some of the most heart-warming.
For example, in the episode “The One with the Giant Poking Device,” where Chandler is devastated by the news Joey shares with him of Janice and her ex-husband, and Phoebe is paranoid about someone close to her dying if she goes to the dentist, the two of them spontaneously sing a pitchy version of “Endless Love” together. Without a word to each other, sitting side-by-side in a La-Z-Boy chair, they work out how to harmonize the iconic tune together. Though a seemingly small moment in the grand scale of the show, this shows that the two are on the same wavelength with one another despite their starkly different lifestyles and opinions of the world. It also reflects the moments I’m sure everyone has had with their friends: singing at the top of your lungs, along to your favourite power ballad or amp up track, occasionally messing up the words but not even caring about it because you’re in that moment, appreciating that song together.
They also, and again arguably, have the best sense of humours against anyone else on the show. Chandler with his quick witty banter and groanable one-liners, and Phoebe outlandish remarks or actions to purposefully freak people out. Now, when you pair the two together—it’s pure magic. Like we see in the episode “The One Where Everybody Finds Out,” in the midst of everyone finding out about Chandler and Monica’s fair and the infinite loop of secrets upon secrets, Phoebe and Chandler have a hilarious chicken game to see who will break first when they flirt with each other. It shows that the two will go to great lengths for their friends and loved ones, while also demonstrating the fun of rolling with the punches.
Lastly, they support each other and stay friends during the difficult times. In “The One With The Ick Factor,” where Chandler and Phoebe are working in the same office, Phoebe lays it to Chandler straight about how everyone he works with doesn’t like him or the way that he talks. It’s a hard pill to swallow—and hard news to deliver—but that doesn’t hurt their friendship. By the end of the episode, Chandler is able to embrace his unique way of speaking with the help of Phoebe who reminds him that he’s still a good boss.