Are The Characters In Friends Actually Horrible People, Though?
The world's most famous friendship group made us laugh, cry, and eat cheesecake off the floor when no one was looking, and for that we'll love 'em forever. But thinking about them (and we do. A lot), are they actually awful people?
Wasn't it a bit, well, terrible when Ross said another woman's name at his wedding?! And isn't it kind of horrific that joey sleeps with women and never calls them back? That Rachel - let's say it together, shall we - she was really a bit of a cow, right? Let's examine the evidence once and for all.
Against: Leaving aside Chandler's numerous misdemeanours, his biggest problem seems to be the utter contempt which he holds his 'friends' in. Scarcely a moment goes by without a cruel and sarcastic aside as he snipes unneccessarily at people that he presumably likes. He's dismissive of people's thoughts, dreams, love lives, personalities and careers as his campaign to lower the collective self esteem of the group continues apace. The man is utterly devoid of compassion.
For: Well...not utterly devoid of compassion. For all of his needless barbs, his actions on the most part seem honourable. He lends Joey huge amounts of money and he seems to be a loving and devoted husband. He's a man plagued with insecurities that sometimes get the better of him but he always tries to do right by his friends and family.
Verdict: Real Bastard. Chandler would be an awful person to meet in real life. He'd belittle you for no reason and then laugh at his own joke. The man is an arsehole.
Against: Ross waited about 4 seconds before sleeping with the Xerox girl following his break from Rachel, he dates one of his students in a move that is both immoral and unprofessional, he said the wrong name at his wedding, he stayed married to Rachel against her will but perhaps the zenith of his arseholery is his decision to pose as a masseuse so as to get the opportunity to massage an attractive woman.
For: In Ross' defence, out of all the Friends he is by far and away the most victimised. Despite the fact that he's an incredibly successful academic, his career is consistently mocked for being boring. Sorry but are dinosaurs not exciting enough for you? His actions become increasingly erratic and bizarre in the ten years we see of him as he degenerates before our eyes from well respected professor to someone who can't even successfully get a spray tan or whiten his teeth.
Verdict: Bit of a bastard. Ross is by no means perfect but most of his moments of arseholery mostly seem to stem from his lack of confidence which has hit rock bottom after years of being told both him and his career are boring. He's a bit of an arsehole but he's a product of his environment.
Against: Phoebe has her moments such as her eating meat whilst pregnant, wearing a fur coat despite that contradicting her principles and taking money she previously donated to a children's charity to fund her wedding. Her biggest crimes seem to be having a hard time sticking to her moral compass and occassionally being rude to others.
For: Phoebe's upbringing was frankly a mess. She lived on the streets for years, her mum committed suicide, her dad was absent and later went to prison, her estranged twin sister is a porn star, she had her brothers babies and none of them even bothered to turn up to her wedding. Her life could easily be made into a tragic bestselling novel.
Verdict: Not a bastard. Phoebe's problems are much more deep rooted than whether she is a horrible person. Someone who has lived a life as traumatic as hers needs some kind of counselling. The fact that her friends seem unwilling to accept this uncomfortable reality is a black mark against all of them.
Against: Joey is a bit of a creep right? A conversation rarely passes without him sexualising one of the girls or bragging about one of his sexual conquests. In addition to this, Joey has also thrown a woman's wooden leg in a fire and leeched money off his best friend for many years. Also for a man so insistent on not sharing food, he has no qualms at all about eating all of Monica and Chandlers.
For: Although to be fair to Joe, he does eventually pay that money back. The wooden leg in the fire was an unfortunate accident (you'd hope) and for the most part any offence he causes is seemingly out of naivety than out of maliciousness.
Verdict: Real bastard. Imagine living in his building, barely a moment would pass without him making a sleazy comment or eating all the contents of your fridge.
Against: Several years into a relationship with Chandler, she decides to go visit her ex Richard to see what he has to offer. Her competitiveness borders on mania and she's been known for violent outbursts when things don't go her way. She's also on the anti-Janice bandwagon whose main crime seems to be having a high pitch voice and an overly affectionate manner.
For: Monica is constantly playing the role of the hostess. Her food budget must be through the roof as the gang willingly raid her fridge at every turn, she's rarely anything other than kind and considerate and she takes a bullet for humanity by marrying Chandler.
Verdict: Not a bastard. Out of all the gang, Monica is the only one that seems to stick to some kind of moral code. Her indiscretions happen far less frequently than the people around her and her competititveness aside she's a wonderful person.
Against: Rachel's first action in the show is to run out on Barry on their wedding day with whom she later sleeps with when he's engaged to someone else. She convinces one of Ross' girlfriends to shave her head, she flies to London with the intention of ruining a wedding and she's materialistic to a fault.
For: A lot of Rachel's major indiscretions come in the earlier series and for the most part she's improving morally and spiritually. She ran away from her life of dependency on the fortunes of others and learnt to support herself. She was also incredibly forgiving to Ross who cheated on her, wrote that list about her and then let them remain married against her will.
Verdict: Mostly good but with bits of bastard still in there. Whereas Rachel started as perhaps the most horrible of them all, she's on a road to redemption and is actively trying to improve herself.
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