The Boys – Chandler, Joey and Ross
Chandler is the quintessential funny man in the group who gets on with his life by making sarcastic comments that sometimes land him in trouble but are mostly apt and quite endearing. Joey isn’t that interested in culture, or current affairs, or pretty much anything except women and food. He is quite fiercely protective of his friends and has shown out that emotion many a times in the series. Ross is the perfect boyfriend material but is just a tad over-dramatic sometimes.
Chandler and Joey are roommates and the best of friends. They have an epiphany in one of the episodes where they realise that they hug each other too much and invent the ‘lame cool guy handshake’. But eventually during the series finale when they realise that they are moving away, they hug each other.
Chandler and Ross are college roommates turned best friends turned brothers in law. There is a lot going on in their friendship and though they are not quite expressive as Chandler is with Joey, their friendship wins the ‘best friends forever’ tag.
Joey and Ross do not proclaim their love for one another from rooftops but are there for one another as needed. In one of the episodes, when Joey and Ross inadvertently fall asleep on the couch together, they are embarrassed and try to forget it ever happened. But both admit it was the best nap they’ve ever had – and Joey wants to do it again. Ross eventually relents, but they are eventually busted taking their friendship to strange new levels by the rest of the gang.
The Girls – Monica, Phoebe and Rachel
Rachel Greene, Monica Geller and Phoebe Buffay are the female half of the ‘Friends’ sextet and while they were not a part of a series with a specific goal to show the world through a female lens or anything, they did make a huge cultural impact on women onscreen and off.
Like Chandler and Ross, Monica and Rachel share similar economical backgrounds, having grown up together and attending the same school. At the outset of the series, Rachel is depicted as the ultimate cheerleader and Monica as the underdog chef. Their relationship deepens after Rachel starts living with Monica and the viewers get a taste of their lives before and after Monica’s body weight and control issues.
One of the episodes in season 6 provided Rachel and Monica’s friendship with a showpiece as they prepared for Chandler to move in with Monica and for Rachel to move out. The two women spend much of the episode bickering before finally confessing all of the reasons why they’re going to miss living with one another and they categorically echo the emotions of a million people when they say, “It’s the end of an era!”
Phoebe’s friendship with both the girls is on the same level for she is technically an outsider in a gang where the friendship dates back to school and college days. In more than one occasion, she is shown to be the mediator who tries to settle arguments between Rachel and Monica. Phoebe’s growth arc is the most impressive among the characters in this serial. From what she originally was, Phoebe lost the clumsiness and gained a strong sense of self that made her a consistent voice of reason within the group.
Looking back, their friendship wasn’t so different from the friendships that are being formed today amongst the real aimless twenty-somethings venturing out into the adult world. Today, asking someone if they are a ‘Rachel’, ‘Phoebe’, ‘Monica’, ‘Ross’, ‘Chandler’ or ‘Joey’ is still a decent litmus test for judging their personality.