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The Group

In General

  • Big Applesauce: They're all rather proud New Yorkers.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang:
    • The most obvious one is Chandler. He rarely has storylines with Phoebe, Ross (who considers Chandler his best friend), and Rachel. Justified in that he's married to Monica and is Heterosexual Life Partners with Joey. He doesn't have much free time to hang with the others.
    • Joey and Rachel at first. Later substituted by Joey and Monica. Odd since, as noted above, the latter two are both very close to Chandler.
    • Monica and Ross despite being brother and sister. Then again, this could be exactly why they don't enjoy each other's company.
    • Given her Ax Crazy tendencies, people aren't really eager to spend time alone with Phoebe.
  • Gender Equal Ensemble: When Rachel arrived, it balanced it out to three guys and three girls.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: The guys and the girls.
  • It's All About Me: They're good people but they're also selfish people. The extent of this varies but it applies to the lot of them.
  • Large Ham: Each and every one of them.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Phoebe and Joey flirt a lot but it's clear that they're perfectly happy just being friends and don't want that to change.
  • True Companions: They bicker but they've got each other's back. Not one of them would qualify as The Friend Nobody Likes.

Rachel Karen Green

Played by: Jennifer Aniston

Spoiled, naive Rachel enters the series in the first episode in her wedding dress, running away from her own big day. She moves in with Monica, gets a menial job serving coffee, soon learns a little bit more about grownup life and ends up dating Ross off and on (and off and on and off and on and...).

Monica Geller

Played by: Courteney Cox

Monica is Ross' sister and the group's Team Mom. She has signs of OCD and a generally very controlling attitude, although she puts it to good use in her job as a chef. She was fat in high school, which is still a source of shame for her. Eventually, she ends up with Chandler, although the first half of the series has her dating a tremendously handsome moustachioed man named Richard.
  • Adorkable
  • Attention Whore: Though justified. Her parents frequently ignored growing up.
  • Big No: When she and Rachel lose the apartment.
  • Berserk Button: Mostly involving tidyness.
    • Also anytime there's a competition, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
  • Beta Couple: With Chandler.
  • Big Eater: Frequently stated to be one. It's why she was so fat as a child.
  • Big No: Let loose a blood-curdling one after she and Rachel lost the apartment to the guys.
  • Bridezilla: And at Phoebe's wedding, Maid-of-Honor-zilla.
  • Catch Phrase: Her panicked I KNOW! whenever she done goofed.
    • Also her hyper-chipper "OKAY!" when all gets resolved.
  • The Chew Toy: Monica is usually a tool for physical comedy, such as hitting her eye and wearing a patch, getting her hair caught in a shower curtain, wearing agony inducing boots, and getting stuck in a bean bag chair during her 'fat days'.
  • Christmas Cake: Before she met Chandler.
  • Competition Freak: Everything is a competition to Monica, there's no such thing as a "friendly contest", and throwing the contest amounts to her running at 95%.
  • Control Freak
  • Disproportionate Retribution: It was an accident, but yes, she technically did cut off part of Chandler's toe for calling her fat.
  • Eighties Hair: In the earlier seasons.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: She can cook, and is great at it, but is probably the least feminine of the girls.
  • Flanderization: Her neatness and competitiveness steadily became her defining traits.
  • Formerly Fat
  • Happily Married: To Chandler in the last three seasons.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: With Rachel.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • Informed Deformity: At best, Fat Monica was mildly obese. The way people talk, it sounds like she needed to be carried around on a forklift.
  • Informed Judaism: The Gellers' religious affiliation isn't clear until season 7, when Ross appears as the Holiday Armadillo, and then the only other mention is three seasons later, when Chandler has to remind Monica she can't be a minister because she's Jewish. Considering the care she gives to decorating the Christmas tree, we might not have known.
  • Insane Troll Logic: In "The One With The Sharks", she walks in on Chandler as he was pleasuring himself causing him to randomly switch the channel, ending up on a shark attack show. The logical conclusion is, of course, that Chander is sexually attracted to sharks.
  • Neat Freak
  • Nerd Nanny: Unless it's a subject she is nerdy about.
  • Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: Which shows up when she accompanies Phoebe to night school.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe, her being fat.
  • The Perfectionist
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Oddly enough both. She's the Red to Chandler's Blue, but is often the Blue to Rachel's Red.
  • Super Strength: Lampshaded when Ross was trying to get his new couch up to his apartment.

Rachel: I couldn't get Joey but I got the next best thing.

Chandler: Hey.

Ross: You got Chandler?! The next best thing is Monica!

Chandler: You'd think I'd be offended, but Monica is freakishly strong.

    • And again when she forces Rachel to take her eyedrops.
  • Supreme Chef
  • Team Chef
  • Team Mom: Though it wouldn't be wise to call her that... as Chandler found out.
  • Too Much Alike: With Peter. Like her, he was a Competition Freak who could not be talked down and Monica couldn't stand by if he was going to keep going with his UFC career.
  • The Unfavorite: Often criticised by her mother, Judy, the same way Judy had been criticized by her own mother. Also, both parents favored Ross, which their dad tries to rectify (seemingly successfully, judging by the reaction) by giving Monica his Porsche.

Phoebe Buffay

Played by: Lisa Kudrow

Phoebe is the group's Cloudcuckoolander who, after her mother's girlfriend killed herself and she lived on the street for some time, found a job as a masseuse. She plays the guitar (badly) and sings (badly) at Central Perk.

 Joey: They let you get married when you're drunk. Most people who get married in Las Vegas are drunk.

Phoebe: Hell, I'm drunk right now! (Beat) What, I can't have a mimosa at breakfast? I'm on vacation!

Rachel: In case you didn't notice, that is a scary man.

Phoebe: He's right, though. The '74 is absolute piss.

  Rachel: How have you never been on Oprah?

  • Platonic Life Partners: With Joey.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Ursula was appearing on Mad About You before Friends premiered. (It was actually Kudrow's appearances there that helped get her cast as Phoebe.) When this series launched, it was decided to make Phoebe and Ursula twins to justify Kudrow playing characters on two different NBC shows.
  • Running Gag: "Regina Philange". Even acts as a Chekhov's Gun so that Ross can say good-bye to Rachel in the season finale.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Ross/Rachel.
  • Shipping Torpedo: A light one for Chandler/Monica.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Often rails against cruelty to animals and preservation of nature but she sometimes falls short.
  • Street Urchin: From the age of 14.
  • Weird Aside
  • Weirdness Magnet: Having the ghost of an old woman posses her, being chased around a junkyard by a psychotic, being stalked by men who mistake her for her twin sister, Ursula, and having her apartment haunted by her grandmother.

Joseph Francis "Joey" Tribbiani

Played by: Matt LeBlanc

A laid-back Italian womanizer, Joey is Chandler's best friend and roommate, and often the group's comic relief. He tries to make a living as an actor. Later seasons turned him into a The Ditz. He ended up with his own spinoff, which was cancelled very soon after.

 "What's not to like. Whipped cream? Good. Jam? Good. Meat? Good."

  • Bad Bad Acting: What most of his roles end up being.
  • Book Dumb: But street smart and friend savvy. At least that's how the writers viewed him.
  • Brainless Beauty
  • Casanova
  • Catch Phrase: "How you doin'?"
  • Dawson Casting: Tries to pull this off in-universe in order to land a part for a 19-year-old character. Everyone else calls him on how ridiculous it would be.
  • Delayed Reaction: His whole being is one gigantic delayed reaction. After everyone figures something out, expect Joey to catch on maybe ten seconds later.
  • The Ditz
    • Bordering on Genius Ditz, he's practically mentally impaired when it comes to anything but women (and food), and even then he only knows how to get them into bed. Once in a while though, he can be inexplicably cunning, fire off weird but practical knowledge or think brilliantly outside the box, and then go right back to being a ditz, sometimes in the same sentence.
      • Take note that Joey was also the only one in the group to figure out on his own that Ross had a thing for Rachel; Chandler being Ross's confidant and the girls finding out when the secret was blown; and that Monica and Chandler were dating.
  • Flanderization: His eating habits and intelligence (or lack thereof) soon became his defining traits.
  • Friend to All Living Things: He adopted a chick (the bird) because he saw on TV about how chicks given as Easter gifts are mistreated to the point of being killed. And he didn't seem to have any problem with the duck Chandler took in moments later.
  • Girl-On-Girl Is Hot: Is the most likely one to suggest this.
  • Handsome Lech: His treatment of potential female roommates borders on stalking.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: With Chandler.
  • Hidden Depths: In "The one with the Kips", he shows his strange knowledge of elevators.
    • He also knew how to turn off the radiator in Monica and Rachel's apartment after they broke the handle off. Might not seem like a big deal, but nobody else on hand knew what to do.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton
  • Ladykiller in Love: As short-lived as it was, his crush on Rachel in season 8 was genuine.
    • He also develops feelings for his co-star Kate in season 3, and his new roommate Janine in season 6.
  • Man Child: Pretty much how Monica and Chandler practiced becoming parents.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Is quite annoyed that Chandler fooled around with Mary Angela and can only be talked down from punching him by Chandler first lying that it's serious and then Chandler's heartfelt apology.
  • Nice Guy
  • Platonic Life Partners: With Phoebe.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Chandler's Blue.
  • Sex God: He is sometimes portrayed as an extremely satisfying lover.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Joey is not anywhere near as good an actor as he believes himself to be.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Several times.
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Because a steady acting gig is hard to find when you're just starting out and he needs the money for cable.
  • You Fail Logic Forever: Joey naturally falls into this a lot.

 Joey: You hid my clothes?! Well...I'm going to do the exact opposite!

Chandler: ...You're going to show me my clothes?

    • Which is pretty much what he does.

 It might fall a little into Squick since he wears all of Chandler's clothes without any underwear, then he stretches so the clothes will rise up into his butt, and nut sack.

Chandler Muriel Bing

Played by: Matthew Perry

The group's Deadpan Snarker. Not much is known about his work, though it seems to involve data entry and accounting. His dad (now mom) is transgender and attracted to men, which he still has trouble coping with even as an adult. He ends up with Monica.

  • Accent On the Wrong Syllable: Only occasionally, but when he does... could he BE more of an example?
  • Adorkable
  • Ambiguously Bi: The character of Chandler was originally meant to be gay, but the writers dropped the idea when Matthew Perry was cast. It does come up now and then; early on in the first season it turns out most people get gay vibes when the first meet him.
    • Doesn't help that he's a huge fan of romantic comedies, and once started a sentence with "If I was a guy..."
  • Beard of Evil: Lampshaded when he grew a goatee towards the end of the third season:

 Joey: You know, with that goatee, you kinda look like Satan.

  • Butt Monkey: A very close second, after Ross.
  • Cool Loser: A prominent Butt Monkey, though he takes most of it in stride.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Of legendary proportions; it seems like Chandler can't go a scene without snarking some way. It's even exploited in "TOW All the Resolutions," in which he truly takes pains to not snark as part of his New Year's resolution (and proceeds to give up in less than a week).
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: A sometimes specialty of Chandler's, especially around Monica's parents.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Chandler's first name is considered embarrassing, though not so embarrassing that he doesn't use it (which makes sense because his middle name is...
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Muriel.
    • "Chandler Muriel Bing. Wow, your parents never even gave you a chance, did they?"
  • Gag Penis
  • Happily Married: To Monica in the last three seasons.
  • Has Two Mommies: Played by Morgan Fairchild and Kathleen Turner.
    • Of course, Turner is playing Chandler's transgender father.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Oh, so many times. Lampshaded when he does this when he and Monica go to the drag club his father performs at. One of the workers tells him, "We get it. You're straight."
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: With Joey.
  • Hidden Depths: He plays a mean game of ping pong much to Monica's surprise. He was well-aware of this skill. He just didn't tell Monica because he didn't want to do couples tournaments and the like.
    • It's not just ping pong, judging by the kinds of games Joey and Chandler play in their apartment Chandler actually is fairly athletic, just not competitive.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: His parents were never intentionally abusive per se, but his past does come close.
  • Hollywood Dateless: Before he starts a relationship with Monica.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: In one episode, several members of the group comment that he has put on weight. Phoebe even mockingly pretends that she can't put her arms around him to give him a hug. A particularly glaring example of this trope, as not only does Chandler look exactly the same as he always does, until the rest of the group point it out, he is completely unaware of having put on any weight.
    • During the worst of Perry's struggle with alcoholism, though, he is noticeably bloated.
      • It's even more noticeable if you watch the last episode of season 6 and immediately after the first episode of season 7. In the story, the events of the latter are supposed to happen a few minutes the events of the former. However, Perry/Chandler managed to lose something like 15 kg in the few minutes that it takes to Ross to reach the apartment.
  • Humiliation Conga: Happens to him twice, first when he is tricked into wearing a grade school friend's panties and then she takes his clothes and runs off, leaving a panty-clad Chandler in the bathroom to be found by Joey and Ross who take great pleasure in his humiliation and eventually, has to walk out the restaurant with nothing but a bathroom stall door to cover his unmentionables. The second time is somewhat similar when he is hooking up with Rachel's boss and she handcuffs him in her office wearing nothing but a shirt and underwear only to be found by Rachel who gags him and locks him up again so her boss doesn't know she was in her office.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Chandler had a Flock of Seagulls haircut in his college days. Also, he once won a Vanilla Ice look-alike contest.
  • In the Blood: Gets severe cold feet right before his wedding because "Bings get divorced."
  • Man Child:

Monica: Come on. Why don't you put on the tux and I'll fix you up a nice Martini.

Chandler: You know I don't really like Martinis.

Monica: Oh. Well, how about a Yoo Hoo with a funny straw?

Chandler: Ooh, yum!

  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: Why a lot his relationships ended. As Monica tells him, this isn't grounds to end a relationship.
  • One-Hour Work Week: So much so that it's a Running Gag that no one can remember what his job is - at one point, it costs Monica and Rachel their apartment.

Rachel: Oh, gosh. It has something to do with numbers...

Monica: ...And processing...

Rachel: He carries a briefcase...

Ross: Ten seconds. You need this, or you lose the game.

Monica: It's, um, it has something to do with transponding.

Rachel: Oh! Oh! He’s a transpons... transpondster!

Monica: That's not even a word!! I can get this, I can get this!

(their time runs out)

Monica: NOOOO!!!

  • Sex God: After some coaching from Monica and Rachel when he dates one of Joey's exes. Later, while secretly sleeping with Monica, she tells Rachel her new secret boyfriend is the best she ever had
  • Smoking Is Cool: Why he took up in the first place.
    • Actually, it was originally to help him deal with angst over his parents breaking up: this trope is just how he justifies it.
  • Tough Room: He's considered to be the funniest character on the show, but his friends find his jokes annoying for most of the time. Mainly because they're on the receiving end of his snarkery.
  • Unexplained Recovery: So... how did he back from Yemen?
  • What Exactly Is His Job?: Statistical analysis and data reconfiguration.
    • A Crowning Moment of Funny happens when Monica is able to say what Chandler's job is... after he has left it. Chandler lampshades it, of course.
    • This trope was also how he and Joey won Rachel and Monica's apartment. Ross asked the question, and they froze up.

Ross Geller

Played by: David Schwimmer

The nerd of the group, Ross is a Hollywood Dateless palaeontologist whose wife left him when she realized she was gay. She also turned out to be pregnant, and Ross tries his best to be a good dad to his son Ben. He loves Rachel, but you knew that already, right?
  • Agent Scully
  • Berserk Button:
    • "MY SANDWICH?"
    • "GET OFF MY SISTER!" (This one may have been some fallout from the sandwich incident.)
  • Big Brother Bully: To Monica in their youths but downplayed compared to most examples.
  • Butt Monkey: The whole cast go through instances of getting dumped on, but poor Ross seemed to become the official Butt Monkey in later seasons, ending up the victim of failed attempts, misunderstandings and overreactions one right after another.
    • The director's commentary for one of the early episodes claims this is because David Schwimmer is excellent at physical comedy (such as walking into an open washing machine door).
    • What's worse is, more than half of the instances aren't even played for laugh. His romantic life is cruelly wrecked by said misunderstandings and overreactions, and his somewhat pathetic, lovesick nature makes sure he always suffers the full impact without ever really getting to stand up for himself and make an honest effort at a healthy relationship.
    • None of the other characters miss a chance to rib Ross about being thrice divorced.

 Ross: Do you really want to start your life together by letting [Monica] down?

Chandler: ...Marriage advice? Really?

  • Catch Phrase: His distinctive "Hi" and "We were on a break!".
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: In the third season. Led to his Rachel's breakup. She simply couldn't handle it anymore. Though as Phoebe points out, after what happened with Carol and Susan, Ross can't exactly be blamed for having this mindset when his partner gets too comfortable with a friend.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Ross can't catch a break, whenever his relationships endure the initial crush-stage and he convinces himself things are going smoothly, Rachel will interfere, or some misunderstanding happens, or his own desperation gets in the way, invariably resulting in utter heartbreak on his part. This is never seriously acknowledged, and more often than not, his friends rub it in his face afterwards, usually with all the blame too.
  • Dreadful Musician: With keyboard and especially bagpipes. Though Phoebe appreciates his work.
  • Entitled to Have You: At his worst, he came off as this with regards to Rachel, on the basis that he'd been pining after her for the better part of a decade.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Hence why he's a palaeontologist.
  • Flanderization: His nerdiness and neurosis.
    • Semi-justified. After his break-up with Emily, he spends the whole season having a complete mental breakdown (particularly the "MY SANDWICH!" incident with his boss). Whats worse, his friends keep cracking jokes about it, and don't seem to notice or care at all.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • As Phoebe notes, considering how his marriage to Carol ended, Ross can't really be faulted for his Crazy Jealous Guy attitudes.
    • Played for Laughs with regards to how fast he eats. Growing up with Monica, you either ate fast or you didn't eat at all.
  • Generation Xerox: He and his dad have a lot in common.
  • Grammar Nazi
  • Hidden Depths: Can turn erotic cakes into woodland creatures. Note this was an ability he didn't know he had until he had to fix Emma's birthday cake.
  • Hollywood Nerd
  • Hot-Blooded
  • Informed Judaism: Subverted during his turn as the Holiday Armadillo in season 7, but otherwise there's not much indication of the Gellers' religious beliefs over the course of the show.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Ross's 80's curly fro and moustache from his school days.
  • Large Ham: Everyone has these moments, but Ross really ran with this trope as the Holiday Armadillo.
  • Never Live It Down: Three divorces.
  • Nice Guy
  • Not That Kind of Doctor
  • One-Hour Work Week: Though his profession does come into play every now and then.
  • Self-Deprecation: Even Ross starts making jokes about his three failed marriages by the end of the series.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: As close as a thirty-year-old man can do without any help. And it is brilliant.
  • That Came Out Wrong: He's turned this into an art form.
  • Took a Level In Jerkass: Like everyone in the later seasons but in his case, it's brought on by the stress of divorcing Emily and having two failed marriages, needing to find a new place to live (he was subletting Emily's cousin's apartment), and being suspended from work due to his anger related stress.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: Famously in the fourth season finale.


"Ugly Naked Guy"


Played by: James Michael Tyler


Played by: Maggie Wheeler

Dr. Richard Burke

Played by: Tom Selleck

Mr. Heckles

Jack & Judy Geller

The Chick and the Duck

Susan and Carol

Ben Geller-Willlick-Bunch

  • Has Two Mommies: Susan and Carol.
  • Out of Focus: Disappeared following Season 8 and was only mentioned once after that.
  • The Prankster: Became this after Rachel babysat him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The one time he was mentioned in Season 8 was when Ross had to remind his mother that he existed after she'd referred to Emma as her first grandchild.

Emma Geller-Green

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