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Characters: Friends
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Main Characters

     Rachel Karen Green 

''It's like, all of my life, everyone has always told me, 'You're a shoe! You're a shoe, you're a shoe, you're a shoe!'. And today I just stopped and I said, 'What if I don't wanna be a shoe? What if I wanna be a- a purse, y'know? Or a- or a hat!"

The baby of the gang, 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...).

  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Rachel claimed that she had never failed to score when wearing her cheerleader uniform, leading to her donning it at a party in a desperate attempt to win the attention of Joshua in "The One With The Fake Party". It practically succeeds.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: She's never said to be Jewish on the show and she celebrates Christmas and Thanksgiving. On the other hand, she fits the Jewish American Princess stereotype, has a Jewish-sounding name and uses the Yiddish word "bubbe" referring to her grandmother. Years later, both David Crane and Marta Kauffman said they wrote her as Jewish.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Ross after their breakup in season 3.
    • Also with her co-worker Gavin in season 9, although he only appears in three episodes.
  • Berserk Button: Don't tell her that she and Ross were on a break either. On the other hand, don't tell Ross that they weren't on a break.
    • Don't mess about on any sailing boat Rachel's on. She's inherited her father's intolerance for not respecting the dangers of being at sea.
  • Better as Friends: With Joey.
  • Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Julie's Betty for Ross' Archie.
    • The Betty to Bonnie's Veronica also for Ross' Archie.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Rachel loves her sisters dearly, but there are times where they test her patience, especially when they drag in their niece and future brother-in-law.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: At her worst.
  • Book Dumb: She doesn't know the plot of Wuthering Heights or who was the enemy in World War One (though neither did some of the others). She even actually believes Phoebe when she sarcastically says that the plot of Jane Eyre involves cyborgs. She didn't seem to have any trouble with Little Women though.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Happens to her often when she likes someone. With Ross in season 2 (subverted in the first episode of season 5), with Joshua in season 4, and with Joey in season 9.
  • Catch Phrase: Her long drawn out Oh Crap expression of "Nooooo..."
  • Character Development: While Rachel started out as spoiled, selfish and somewhat incompetent; she eventually became a successful, independent career woman and a mother.
  • The Cheerleader: Formerly. This is brought up in several episodes.
  • Childhood Friends: With Monica.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: She can be extremely jealous of Ross' girlfriends (particularly Julie and Bonnie).
  • Cool Aunt: While not his actual Aunt, Rachel is delighted when Ross' son, Ben, starts calling her his 'Fun Aunt Rachel' after she teaches him some practical jokes, much to Ross's chagrin.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Her father really doesn't like Ross and the feeling is mutual.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rachel shows tendencies of this from season 4 onwards, especially towards Ross.
  • Drives Like Crazy
  • Dude Magnet
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Her college friend, played by Winona Ryder, is still in love with her.
  • Eye Scream: Rachel's phobia.
  • Fangirl: Of soap operas; Joey tells her that he hides his cast parties from her because of this trope, since she fawns over all the actors.
  • First Girl Wins: Of course.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
  • Girly Bruiser: Surprisingly. Rachel is not very athletic and has been described as a pushover, yet in "The One With The Girl Who Hits Joey" she has no problem beating up Joey's Pintsized Powerhouse girlfriend.
  • Gold Digger: In her back story. Subverted as she couldn't bring herself to marry Barry and left him at the altar in the pilot episode. She does however encourage Monica to date billionaire Pete Becker despite not loving him and gets very excited about having a 'money-themed' wedding.
  • Guilty Pleasures: She claims her favorite movie is Dangerous Liaisons - it's actually Weekend At Bernie's. She also keeps steamy romance novels hidden under the pillow.
  • Has a Type: Rachel has a thing for doctors in the earliest seasons. The show brings up and then hastily backs away from the revelation that her father is a doctor. Eventually, she ends up with Ross, who's Not That Kind of Doctor.
  • Heavy Sleeper
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Monica.
  • Hypocrite: She dumps Ross for sleeping with someone else while they were on her poorly defined 'break', (which he fairly enough thought was a break up). When he gets a new girlfriend, she kisses him and tries to have sex with him.
  • In-Series Nickname: Rach.
  • It's All About Me: She's pretty self-absorbed. Examples include stealing Monica and Chandler's engagement night, subjecting her friends to rants about her come-and-go feelings for Ross and planning to gatecrash Ross's wedding despite the pain it will cause him.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Trope Namer, from the incident when she makes a Trifle/Shepherd's Pie in "The One Where Ross Got High".
  • Karma Houdini: Rachel is known for coming out on top even though she had pulled some nefarious deeds. The main victims of this were Ross and Phoebe. That's not to say karma doesn't get to her every now and then.
  • Lethal Chef
  • Longest Pregnancy Ever: Lasting from May 2001 to August 2002.
    • And then evoked in-verse, as she's two weeks overdue, and spends nearly 24 consecutive hours in labor.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: She was The Cheerleader in high school, and had several former classmates show up and mention just how horrible she was, but was friends with the unpopular Monica. She still retains some traits of this as an adult.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Although it wasn't really love, just attraction, but Rachel totally makes a fool of herself when she has a crush on Joshua in season 4.
  • Love Revelation Epiphany: With Ross, who she only began to fall in love with after hearing secondhand that he loved her. When she goes to meet him at the airport upon his return from China, she comes face-to-face with his new girlfriend.
  • Ms. Fanservice: In early seasons her nipples are visible through her shirt and she gets naked in the apartment the night before she and Ross go to Las Vegas (which Ross mistakes for a come-on), as well as being accidentally interrupted in the shower by Chandler.
  • My Sister Is Off Limits: She does this when Joey tries hitting on Jill.
  • Naïve Newcomer
  • Never My Fault: She blamed Ross for everything that went wrong in their relationship.
  • Not a Morning Person
  • Oblivious to Love: To Ross in season 1, to Joey in season 8 and to Gunther until the last episode.
  • One-Note Cook: In an episode of season three where, despite the others' doubts, the brownies she makes receive no complaints. The same can't be said for the rest of her cooking attempts.
  • Playing Hard to Get
  • Plucky Girl
  • Runaway Bride
  • Selective Obliviousness: For Ross' feelings, and later hers.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Sometimes, her name appears as Rachel Greene.
  • Spoiled Brat: In her back story, and has shades of it as an adult. Thanks to Character Development she's more...
  • Spoiled Sweet: In her high school days, she was probably more Alpha Bitch-like (there was an I Hate Rachel Green Club, though it only had 3 members, and only one of them actually hated her).
  • Sweater Girl: Not all the time, but enough that it's one of the things Monica mentions to make fun of her.
    Monica: (mocking) "Hi I'm Rachel, is my sweater too tight? No? Oh, I'd better wash it and shrink it!"
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly Girl to Monica's Tomboy.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Mainly in her treatment toward Ross, though Phoebe is also a victim to this at times.
  • Town Girls: The Femme to Phoebe's Neither and Monica's Butch.
  • Tsundere: Neatly summed up by Monica.
    Monica: I'm Rachel. I love Ross! I hate Ross! I love Ross! I hate Ross!
  • The Unfair Sex: "We were on a break!"
    • A couple episodes after the break-up, she actually goes on a date with Mark - the guy that Ross was constantly jealous of and certain was trying to get with Rachel. And of course, Rachel even tells Mark that she's only dating him to get back at Ross.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Several times with Ross, and with Joey in season 9.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Ross.
  • Upper-Class Twit: In earlier seasons when she was still recovering from her spoiled upbringing.
  • Well Done Daughter Gal
    "You hear that, guys? My Dad's proud of me!"
  • White Sheep: Though she's no saint, Rachel at least has several redeeming features compared to her parents and sisters, a lot of it coming from the Character Development she went through making it on her own over the course of the show. Lampshaded with her sister Jill, who was just as spoiled and vain as Rachel was in the beginning, she was similarly cut off by their father and told to go learn something from "the one daughter he's proud of."
  • Will They or Won't They?: Exaggerated, between her and Ross. It lasts almost the entire series.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: In one episode when she reveals that she had a sexual fantasy dream involving a threesome with Chandler and Joey, she notes that at some of the points, she was merely a spectator watching the two of them getting busy.

     Monica E. Geller 

Chandler: "It's okay, you don't have to be the best at everything."
Monica: "Oh my God! You don't know me at all!"

The much-needed Team Mom of the gang, Monica can be somewhat neurotic and obsessive, but puts it all to good use in her job as a chef and keeping the gang fed. She was fat in high school, which is still a source of shame for her and struggles with her parents Parental Favoritism of Ross. She eventually falls in love with Chandler and the two build the stable relationship of the show.

  • Adorkable: When it comes to cleaning. Or her label maker. Or making lists.
  • Berserk Button: Mostly involving tidiness.
    • Also anytime there's a competition, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
  • Beta Couple: With Chandler.
  • Betty and Veronica: The Archie to Chandler's Betty and Richard's Veronica.
  • Big Eater: She was shown to be like this as a child, most likely related to her numerous compulsive tendencies. Her parents were even once shown asking her to eat excess Thanksgiving leftovers when they ran out of space in the fridge and the show presented this as a typical request.
  • Bridezilla: And at Phoebe's wedding, Maid-of-Honor-zilla.
  • Brainy Brunette: Being the mature Team Mom, she has more common sense than Rachel and Phoebe who are both blonde.
  • Catch Phrase: I KNOW!
    • Also her hyper-chipper "OKAY!" when all gets resolved.
    • Her Big "NO!"s are fairly epic.
  • Childhood Friends: With Rachel.
  • Christmas Cake: Before she got together with Chandler.
  • Competition Freak: Particularly from season 5 onwards.
    Chandler: You know how competitive you get, and while I say it's cute, others disagree and I'm lying.
  • Control Freak
  • Cute Bruiser: Monica is the shortest of the main characters but she's very strong and tough.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Her parents dislike Chandler initially because they think he smoked pot (actually Ross did). They warm up to him though and thank him for 'taking on Monica'. They also disapprove of her relationship with Richard, not because they don't like him (he's their best friend), they just don't like him with their daughter.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes, but less so than Chandler, Ross, Rachel or even Phoebe.
  • The Determinator
  • '80s Hair: In the earlier seasons.
  • Fat Best Friend: To Rachel, in their high school days.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Inverted. Monica is a professional chef, but she - especially post-Flanderization — is feisty, loud, competitive and downright domineering, especially with Chandler. By the last seasons she was probably the least feminine of the girls. In The One With Rachel's Sister Monica bought a different set of wedding china than the ones Chandler picked out, because in her words, the ones Chandler picked out were "too feminine."
  • The Finicky One
  • Flanderization: Her neatness, bossiness and competitiveness.
  • Formerly Fat: Former Trope Namer.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
  • Girl Next Door: More so in early seasons, as she becomes bossier post-flanderization.
  • Go-Getter Girl
  • Happily Married: To Chandler in the last three seasons. They face a lot of external problems in their early marriage but remain supremely happy and clearly adore each other.
  • The Heart: Ross even called her "the glue that holds the group together"
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Rachel.
  • Hollywood Dateless: At times, she can pick up guys easily but struggles finding men who want a serious relationship.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: A pretty common theme about her relationship with Chandler, as she could be pretty domineering with him, but was fiercely loyal the instant anyone else bothered him. Best seen while getting their photos for their wedding announcement and Chandler is failing miserably.
    Monica: This photo is supposed to say "Gellar and Bing to be Married," not "Local Woman Saves Drowning Moron."
    Monica: (After photographer laughs.) Don't laugh at him, he's my drowning moron!
  • I Am Not My Mother: Determined not to end up like Judy.
  • 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.
    • Word of God has said in the past that Jack Geller is Jewish, whilst Judy is not.
  • In-Series Nickname: Mon.
  • Like Brother and Sister: With Joey in later seasons.
  • Like Mother Like Daughter: Seeks to avert this. Judy emotionally abuses her in the same way her grandmother abused Judy. As Monica's aware of this, adores children and is generally kind-hearted, it's implied she'll break the cycle.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Masculine Girl to Chandler's Feminine Boy.
  • May-December Romance: The big conflict of Monica's relationship with Richard is not only that he's older, but that he's her father's best friend and has known Monica since she was a kid. As a panicked Monica points out when she begins to fall for Richard, "I used to pee in your pool!"
  • Meaningful Name: Monica means 'The Adviser' and is the Team Mom of the gang.
  • 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.
  • Nice Girl: Despite her faults she's genuinely kind-hearted.
  • Oblivious to Love: Its hinted that Chandler had a crush on her before they got together, but she thinks any offers to be her boyfriend are jokes. She also needs Phoebe to clue her in about Richard's interest, though she see's through Pete's pretenses better.
  • Only Sane Woman: In earlier seasons, pre-flanderization.
    (after getting made fun of one too many times for dating Richard's son)
    "Fine, judge all you want to, but (points to Ross) married a lesbian, (Rachel) left a guy at the altar, (Phoebe) fell in love with a gay ice dancer, (Joey) threw a girl's wooden leg into a fire, (Chandler-in-a-box) LIVE IN A BOX! *storms out*
  • The Perfectionist
  • Plucky Girl
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Oddly enough both. She's the Red to Chandler's Blue, but is often the Blue to Rachel's Red.
  • The Reliable One
  • Second Love: Third to Chandler after Janice and Kathy.
  • Secret Relationship: With Chandler for almost an entire season.
  • Shipper on Deck: She supports Ross and Rachel obviously as they are her brother and her best friend, though her enthusiasm (as with most of the others) fades as the series and their on-off again relationship continues. She also ships Ross/Emily at one point.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Sometimes with Ross.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man
  • Slapstick Knows no Gender: 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."
  • Supreme Chef
  • Team Chef
  • Team Mom: Ironically, Monica is the second youngest of the group.
  • Tomboy: Monica is domineering, loud and hot-tempered and has a Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy relationship with Chandler. She also likes sports including football and is the most strong and athletic of the six friends, along with Joey.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Her bossiness and obsessive compulsive behavior gradually shot Up to Eleven in later seasons.
  • Town Girls: The Butch to Phoebe's Neither and Rachel's Femme.
  • The Unfavorite: Often criticized 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.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: "Don't laugh! He's MY drowning moron!"
  • Well Done Daughter Girl: As a result of being The Unfavorite. A later episode has her father affirming he's proud of her but we never get such a scene with her mother. (Who was the worse of the two). However its hinted Monica gets over Judy's behavior, as she's Happily Married and a very successful head chef and her mother's favoritism of Ross (with three divorces and two illegitimate children) seems pathetic rather than hurtful.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: Inverted. She specifically breaks up with Pete because he's obsessed with becoming the Ultimate Fighting Champion and tells Chandler straight up she doesn't care how strong he is because she loves his inner strength instead.

     Phoebe Buffay 

"I remember when I first came to this city. I was fourteen. My mom had just killed herself and my step-dad was back in prison, and I got here, and I didn't know anybody...then I found aromatherapy. So I know exactly how you feel."

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 was Monica's roommate before moving in with her grandmother. She plays the guitar (badly) and sings (badly) at Central Perk.

  • Afraid of Needles
  • Agent Mulder
  • Ambiguously Bi
  • Badass Adorable
  • Betty and Veronica: The Archie to Mike's Betty and David's Veronica.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
    • Apparently Phoebe became this more by the end of the series because of the revelations about her family.
    • Which is somewhat egregious because as she ends up reconciling with her father, her birth mother, finds her half brother and was the surrogate mother for her nieces and nephews... she was more upbeat before this when all she had in the way of family was a mother who killed herself.
      • Makes perfect sense when you realize that she found out she had a brother her father didn't bother telling her about, her grandmother didn't tell her how to get in touch with her father, she lost a year when she found out she's a year older than she thought, doesn't even know her full name because her sister sold her birth certificate, and found out her mom isn't her mom, but her mom's girlfriend. She probably started being such a bitch when she realized her entire family lied to her almost all of her life.
    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!
  • Brutal Honesty
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to Ursula's Cain.
  • Catch Phrase: "Oh no."
  • Character Development: Though her changes were late in the series, Phoebe eventually decides that she needs to hunker down and be in a serious relationship instead of having one night stands with random guys. This eventually leads Phoebe to getting married and becoming happy that she finally has something normal in her life.
  • Comically Missing the Point: One of her defining traits.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: One of the most well known examples.
    Phoebe: Phoebe Buffay. P as in Phoebe, H as in hoebe, O as in oebe, E as in ebe, B as in bee-bee and E as in... Ello there mate!
  • Covert Pervert: Initially, when her "innocence" was more genuine. Then it became less covert and more just part of her character that she was the kinky, frequently sharp tongued and kind of mean, one.
  • Cute Bruiser: Easily the best fighter of the girls (even more so than the supposedly strong Monica) and arguably of the entire group, as proven in several episodes like "The One After the Super Bowl" when she breaks off the Cat Fight between Rachel and Monica by grabbing their ears. She lived on the street, after all.
    Phoebe: Ok, now I'm gonna kick some ass!
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Already had a troubled family life before having to live in the streets when she was 14.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mostly in later seasons, she can be incredibly bitchy and snarky.
  • The Ditz
  • Dreadful Musician: To some, but she's mostly more of a Dreadful Songwriter.
  • Drives Like Crazy
  • Dumb Blonde: Though she's more streetwise than most of the other characters, despite her ditziness.
  • Evil Twin: Ursula
  • Erudite Stoner
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine
  • Giftedly Bad: with her songs.
  • Good Bad Girl
  • Granola Girl: More in earlier seasons.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Played with. She has both a wide-eyed look on the world similar to a child's, but certainly isn't innocent.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Not often, but it comes up now and then. When she went to a charity event, her idea of helping the kids was to drain the bar so they kids wouldn't drink it.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Some of her humor derives from the fact her sexual practices have no boundaries.
  • Hidden Depths: She spoke to Joey's grandmother in Italian. Even Phoebe was unaware of her skill.
    • She also knows French... from learning it in a street corner with some other people, presumably.
    • And she demonstrates her knowledge of wines when Rachel's father berates a waiter for serving the '74 Lafite instead of the '75, then storms off.
    Rachel: In case you didn't notice, that is a scary man.
    Phoebe: He's right, though. The '74 is absolute piss.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: One episode has Phoebe receiving a fur coat, even though she's the first one of the six to be for animal rights, and despite her initial reluctance she quickly starts wearing it and loves it. Then she suddenly runs across a squirrel that's staring at her, leading her to admit she's gone against everything she stood for and throw the coat away.
  • In-Series Nickname: Pheebs, though she didn't get it for a while.
    Phoebe: (to Rachel) Oh, Pheebs.
    Rachel: Honey, that's your name.
    Phoebe: That is short for Phoebe? I thought that's just what we called each other.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Played with. She's far from a bad person and obviously loves her friends, but she definitely has a mean streak and can be downright bitchy and rude in later episodes.
  • Large Ham: Sometimes.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: She seems to act as this to the rest of the group, as well as in most of her relationships. Notably, the group occasionally finds her actions annoying or intrusive, and in the 10th season, Phoebe admits that she has never been in a relationship which lasted more than a month. Occasionally, being an Manic Pixie Dream Girl seems to actively work against her, such as the first time she was ready to move in with a man, and then broke up with him shortly after when he impulsively shot a bird with his handgun. On another occasion, she ends a relationship because her boyfriend is even more of a Manic Pixie Dream Guy than she is, and she can't stand him.
  • Multiple Choice Past: Lampshaded.
    Rachel: How have you never been on Oprah?
  • The Not-Love Interest: To Joey.
  • Opposites Attract: With Mike.
  • Ping Pong Naïveté
  • Platonic Life Partners: With Joey.
  • The Pollyanna: Very cheerful and upbeat, despite her Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Psychic Powers: Implied and Played for Laughs. During one pre opening credits scene, everyone's thoughts are given voiceovers. Joey's thoughts are a random tune. Phoebe's thoughts ask "Who's singing?"
  • 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.
  • Really Gets Around: Almost at Joey's level. She tends to reveal many unexpected sexual escapades at the most random times, until season 9 when she started dating Mike.
  • Running Gag: "Regina Phalange." Even acts as a Chekhov's Gun so that Ross can say good-bye to Rachel in the season finale.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Energetic Girl to Mike's Savvy Guy.
  • Shipper on Deck: She clearly is a Ross/Rachel shipper. According to her, Ross is Rachel's "lobster" (The person you are supposed to be with the rest of your life). Even when they aren't dating she's always the first to believe that they have still feelings for each other (in season 6 and again in season 9) and she's also the one who drives Ross to the airport, to convince Rachel to stay, in the last episode.
    • Inverted when it comes to Chandler/Monica. Possibly because she doesn't seem a big fan of Chandler in later seasons. She even tried to introduce Monica to her "soulmate" when she was already married to Chandler! This could be due to being a Green-Eyed Monster as she's realizing she wants a committed relationship and is jealous of how happy Monica and Chandler are together.
    Phoebe (When she finds out that Chandler and Monica are together): I think it's great!.....for him. She might be able to do better.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Often rails against cruelty to animals and preservation of nature but she sometimes falls short.
  • Street Smart
  • Street Urchin: From the age of 14.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Towards the end, she was absolutely horrible to both Chandler and Ross.
  • Town Girls: The Neither to Rachel's Femme and Monica's Butch.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Ross and Chandler, especially in later seasons. But while Ross seems to enjoy their squabbling, Chandler - despite being the Deadpan Snarker - rarely bites back, hinting he's not that comfortable with her remarks.
  • Weird Aside
  • Weirdness Magnet: Having the ghost of an old woman possess 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.
  • With Friends Like These...: With Chandler in later seasons.
    • Possibly lamsphaded by Chandler in season 10, when Phoebe and Monica have a fight.
    Monica: We are not friends with Phoebe anymore.
    Chandler: If she asks, I protested a little, but ok!

     Joseph Francis "Joey" Tribbiani 
Matt LeBlanc

If the package is this pretty, no-one cares what's inside.

The Casanova of the gang, 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 ditz. He ended up with his own spinoff, which was cancelled very soon after.

  • Alone Among the Couples: He ends up as this in the last episode. But he gets a Love Interest in the Joey spinoff.
  • Ambiguously Gay / Mistaken for Gay: One of the flashback episodes had a whole montage of these moments with Chandler.
  • Bad Bad Acting: Most of his in-series acting is either this or overacting.
  • Bad Liar
  • Berserk Button: "JOEY DOESN'T SHARE FOOD!"
    • Do not lie to Joey, especially if you are his best friend. It happens quite a few times with Chandler.
  • Better as Friends: With Rachel.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He's very protective of his seven sisters. He also acts like this towards all his friends, particularly the three girls.
  • Big Eater
    • Extreme Omnivore
      • Rachel's little incident of It Tastes Like Feet mentioned above? Yeah, didn't bother him in the slightest. He actually ate everyone else's slices.
      "What's not to like. Whipped cream? Good. Jam? Good. Meat? Good."
  • Book Dumb: But street smart and friend savvy. At least that's how the writers viewed him.
  • Brainless Beauty
  • The Casanova
  • Catch Phrase: "How you doin'?"
  • Characterization Marches On: In the original Series there's a running joke about him being a terrible actor who constantly has to lie on his resume (Phoebe once told him that one of the casting directors said they had never heard a more fake Italian accent from someone of Italian origins). In the spinoff Joey is seen as a much more competent actor.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Joey is this when it comes to his female friends. He hits on them on numerous occasions and tries several ploys to either see them naked or see them kiss each other, but he's kind, fiercely loyal and incredibly respectful towards them. When everyone believes Phoebe's been in a porno movie, Joey is the only member of the gang who refuses to watch it. He also freaks out quite a bit when Rachel calls his bluff and actually offers to sleep with him. Upon hearing Phoebe was pregnant, he goes out to beat up the supposed father... then comes back and proposes to Phoebe so she won't be alone. Later when he finds Rachel is the one who is actually pregnant, he promptly proposes to her too.
    • In one episode, when a drunken Rachel responds favorably to his "How you doin'?" line, he tells Ross not to let her drink any more.
  • 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).
      • He was also the only one to figure out on his own that Chandler and Monica were together (Rachel accidentally heard them having phone sex, and Phoebe and Ross saw them having sex).
  • Dumb Is Good
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Often.
  • Flanderization: His eating habits and lack of intelligence. For instance, early in the show, he knows what an Adam's apple is. Later in the series, Chandler has to tell him it's not a "Joey's apple" as it's not named after every individual.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine
  • Friend to All Living Things: Joey adopted a baby chick when he heard from Chandler how the chicks given as Easter gifts are killed if the company can't find homes for them. He didn't seem to have any problem with the duck Chandler took in later on.
  • Giftedly Bad: With his acting skills.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Kind of. Chandler says Joey "only knows the swear words" of Italian.
  • Handsome Lech: His treatment of potential female roommates borders on stalking. He views the single women of New York as sexual conquests and not much else (he's never abusive, he's just... very, very shallow).
  • 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.
    • He also pointed out, when everyone wondered why their bosses hated them, that they were in a coffee shop at 11:00 a.m on a Wednesday.
  • Hypocrite: He was furious when Chandler kissed his girlfriend, Kathy, even though he was cheating on her with another girl.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": The Little General - formerly Little Major, but it earned a promotion after Denise DeMarco.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton
  • Ladykiller in Love: As short-lived as it was, his crush on Rachel in season 8 was genuine.
    • He also develops real feelings for Phoebe's twin Ursula in season 1, his co-star Kate in season 3, and his new roommate Janine in season 6.
  • Like Brother and Sister: With Monica in later seasons, when she marries his Heterosexual Life Partner Chandler.
  • Logical Fallacies: 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. By wearing every pair of clothes Chandler owns.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac
  • Man Child: He constantly mooches off Chandler (with everything from rent payments to acting classes), he refuses to maintain a steady romantic relationship even when he's well into his mid/late-30's, and he's hopelessly idealistic about his acting career despite clearly being a pretty lousy actor.
  • Nice Guy: Well, maybe not so nice to his one night stands, but despite being a shallow womanizer, he's repeatedly shown as a caring and kindhearted person who's incredibly loyal to his friends.
    Phoebe: I just think you don’t expect someone so hot to be so sweet.
  • The Not-Love Interest: To Phoebe and Chandler.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Joey or Joe. Phoebe does call him by his full name when he blows her off one night.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: He comes from a family of eight children, where he is the only male.
  • Papa Wolf
  • Platonic Life Partners: With Phoebe.
  • The Pornomancer
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: When Matt LeBlanc dislocated his shoulder around the start of the third season, they just wrote it in for the character so they didn't have to write him out or hide his sling (Joey breaks it by falling while jumping on the bed).
  • Really Gets Around: Big time.
  • Romantic False Lead: On at least two occasions: first with Chandler and Kathy, then later with Ross and Charlie.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Chandler's Sensitive Guy.
  • Sex God: He is sometimes portrayed as an extremely satisfying lover.
  • Shipper on Deck: A hardcore one for Chandler/Monica as he helps hide their relationship for months, officiates at their wedding and tells Chandler that they're perfect for each other and going to be together forever.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: He seems to have lost quite a few IQ points over the years, to the point where in the final season he can't tell left from right.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Most Italian dishes, especially meatball sub sandwiches, lasagna, and the "Joey Special."note 
  • Un Entendre: He can make anything sound dirty, including "Grandma's chicken salad."
  • Yuri Fan: Is the most likely one to suggest that Girl on Girl Is Hot.

     Chandler Muriel Bing 
Matthew Perry

I'm not so good with the advice. Could I interest you in a sarcastic comment?

The group's Deadpan Snarker. Not much is known about his work, most likely because it only seems to involve data entry and accounting. His dad owns an all-male burlesque called "Viva Las Gaygas," and his mom is world-famous for being an erotic romance novelist, neither fact sits well with him and fuels his neuroses. He eventually falls in love with Monica, and they build the rare stable relationship of the gang.

  • Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: Only occasionally, but when he does... could he BE more of an example?
  • Adorkable
  • Always Someone Better: Monica's previous boyfriends, especially Richard. Given that he'd idolized Richard, and her other ex-boyfriends included millionaire Pete, The Ace Allan and Fun Bobby, his insecurity is understandable. Thanks to his strong relationship with Monica, he overcomes many of his confidence issues.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: It's hard to beat telling people how you got your son his first condoms on The Tonight Show. "And then he burst into flames."
  • Beta Couple: With Monica.
  • Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Richard's Veronica for Monica's Archie.
  • Boarding School - One Gender School: Reveals he attended an all boys boarding school.
  • Bound and Gagged: In "The One With The Cuffs". Being Chandler, he takes a moment to lampshade the Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists trope.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite being the joker of the gang and rather lazy he's shown to be very capable at his job, being promoted several times (including heading up an office in Tulsa). When he switches to advertising he's good enough to skip several rungs on the career ladder.
  • Butt Monkey: A very close second, after Ross.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret
  • Character Development: At the beginning, Chandler had serious issues with commitment, which made him incapable of holding a relationship. He eventually overcame them thanks to his relationship with Monica and he was also ready to start a family with her as well.
  • Characterization Marches On: In the first few seasons, Chandler is shown to be as rabid a sports fan as Joey is. As the Ambiguously Gay traits set in later seasons, this goes away to the point where even Rachel chides him for not knowing who Paul O'Neill is.note 
    Rachel: May I suggest watching a little more ESPN and a little less "E!"?...Seriously, ESPN, just once in the while, have it on in the background.
    • He also can't think of a masculine sport on the spot:
    Chandler: This is like figure skating team all over again!... I mean synchronized swimming!... I mean... I mean the balance beam. Help me.
    Ross: FOOTBALL!
    Chandler: Thank you!
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: To Joey.
  • Commitment Issues: One of his defining traits. The first four seasons have him freaking out whenever it gets serious with a girl and it's only thanks to Monica's support he copes with their relationship. This is attributed to his unstable upbringing, his parent's horrible divorce and being continually screwed over by the women he does commit to. (Given that, until Monica, every girl he dated during the series cheated on him, and that his parents can't stand to be in the same room together, its hard to judge his fears.)
    Chandler: So, I guess this is it.
    Monica: What's it?
    Chandler: Well, it's over. The thing we had.
    Monica: Why?
    Chandler: Because, we had a fight. I mean...
    Monica: Chandler, you don't just give up after you have a fight. I mean, if you do that you'd never have a relationship lasting longer than... Ohhhhh.
  • Cool Loser: A prominent Butt Monkey, though he takes most of it in stride.
  • The Cynic: This mostly stems from both his parent's divorce and his all around crappy childhood, he gradually gets better later in the series, largely because of Monica's love and support.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Of legendary proportions; it seems like Chandler can't go a scene without snarking some way - even in situations he really shouldn't. 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).
  • Deconfirmed Bachelor: Starts out with serious commitment issues but finds he is 'happier than he ever thought he could be' after falling in love with Monica.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: A specialty of Chandler's, especially around Monica's parents.
    "I tend to keep talking until somebody stops me."
  • 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 last name is Bing and his middle name is...)
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Muriel.
    Ross: Chandler Muriel Bing...Boy, your parents never gave you a chance did they?
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: While the six were inseparable and had love and affection for each other, the two pairs of friends who arguably got along the least were Chandler/Phoebe (who both admit at times that they're not really close) and Chandler/Rachel. They still got along just fine and cared for each other, they just rarely interacted with each other outside of the circle and probably had the fewest heartwarming moments between them. Jokingly played with in regards to Monica; before sleeping together for the first time, Chandler points out that this would probably ruin their friendship forever, to which Monica jokes that they weren't that close to begin with. (Blatant Lies as he was closest to her of the three girls, they had a history going back to college and shared secrets and romantic advice.)
    Joey: Between Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, and Ross if you had to, if you had to, who would you punch?
    Rachel: No one! They're my friends, I wouldn't punch any of them!
    Joey: ...Chandler?
    Rachel: Yeah, but I don't know why!
  • Gag Penis
  • Happily Married: To Monica in the last three seasons.
  • Hates Being Alone: Hinted to be this. In Season 2 when Joey moves out he's openly distressed and quickly finds a new roommate despite admitting he can afford his apartment by himself. He also worries that all the other Friends will get married and leave him behind, begging to be allowed to come over for holidays when this happens. Given his unstable parents and childhood, the friends were probably the first security he'd ever known.
  • 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." This fades in later seasons after he gets together with Monica and clearly becomes more secure in himself.
  • Henpecked Husband: In the last three seasons, although interestingly in all their big decisions (moving in together, the price of the wedding, having a baby etc.) he and Monica have a very balanced dynamic, and there are several occasions when he puts his foot down. On small issues though he's happy to let Monica take control.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: So much.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Joey.
    • Also with Ross during their college years.
  • Hidden Depths: He plays a mean game of ping pong much to Monica's surprise. (Note 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 (which is Truth in Television, as Matthew Perry is a pretty skilled tennis player in real life).
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: His parents were never intentionally abusive per se, but his past does come close. When Monica finds out that he's Unable to Cry, she tries to make him cry by showing him an album of pictures of his childhood.
  • Hollywood Dateless: Before he starts a relationship with Monica.
  • 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 Am Not Left-Handed: As revealed during his table tennis match with Mike, he's fairly good at competitive games, more than enough to keep up with Monica. He just preferred to downplay it because of her ultra-competitive nature.
  • I Am Not My Father: Many of his neuroses stem from worrying he'll end up like his flighty and self-absorbed parents, and mimic their unpleasant marriage. Much of his Character Development, especially his relationship with Monica, revolves around getting over these issues.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Concerning Monica. He felt inferior to her ex-boyfriend Richard (his previous idol) and got very worried when Phoebe introduced Monica's 'soulmate', and offered to stand aside for him. Thanks to Monica's reassurances he does get better.
    • Also with previous girlfriends like Janice and Kathy, as much of his Self-Deprecation references his struggles to please women, which he frequently feels dejected about. (Not that he'd show it...)
  • 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-Series Nickname: Subverted. Joey comes up with a few nicknames but no one uses them.
    Joey: It's like the end of an era! No more J-Man and Channy!
    Chandler: Okay, I gotta ask, who calls us that?!
    • Chandler also refers to himself as the Chan Chan Man but it doesn't catch on. He was called Skid Marks in the past.
  • In the Blood: Gets severe cold feet right before his wedding because "Bings get divorced."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Nice Guy: Somewhere between the two. In early seasons he's cynical, has Commitment Issues and can be pretty selfish, but is a lot sweeter than he realizes. As the series progresses he takes a level in kindness, though is still very much a Deadpan Snarker.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: The houseboys seemed more dependable than his parents when he was growing up.
  • 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!
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Feminine Boy to Monica's Masculine Girl.
  • Mistaken for Gay: 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.
    Chandler: What is it about me? Is it my hair?
    Rachel: Yes, Chandler, that's exactly what it is. It's your hair.
    Phoebe: Yeah, you have homosexual hair.
    • Doesn't help that he's a huge fan of romantic comedies, knowledge of celebrities (which makes Rachel suggest he watches less E! and more ESPN) and once started a sentence with "If I was a guy..."
  • Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation:
    • A Funny Moment happens when Monica is able to say what Chandler's job is (statistical analysis and data reconfiguration)... 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;
    Rachel: Oh, gosh. It has something to do with numbers...
    Monica: ...And processing...
    Rachel: He carries a briefcase...
    Monica: It's, um, it has something to do with transponding.
    Rachel: Oh! Oh! He’s a transpons... transponster!
    Monica: That's not even a word!! I can get this, I can get this!
    (their time runs out)
  • One-Hour Work Week: Less justified than most of the others, as... whatever it is he does looks like a 9-5 office job.
    • Lampshaded in one scene at Central Perk. Chandler's complaining about not being treated well at his job and Joey notes, "Well, maybe it's because you're hanging out here at noon on a Wednesday..."
  • Parental Neglect: His mother was a famous erotic novelist, his father ran off with the houseboy and he was sent to boarding school. This conversation sums it up nicely:
    Chandler: Oh, that’s Parent’s Day, first grade. That’s me with the janitor Martin.
    Monica: Where were your parents?
  • Pungeon Master: From time to time.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Joey, Ross and Monica.
  • Sad Clown
  • Second Love: Third to Monica, after Richard and Pete. Richard's status as Monica's First Love is a recurring fear of his, though but Monica makes it very clear she loves him more than Richard.
  • Secret Relationship: With Monica for almost an entire season.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Joey's Manly Man.
  • Sex God: After some coaching from Monica and Rachel when he dates one of Joey's exes. Later, Monica tells Rachel her new secret boyfriend is the best she ever had.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Or so he claims.
    Hey, y'know, I have had it with you guys and your cancer and your emphysema and your heart disease. The bottom line is, smoking is cool, and you know it.
  • Stepford Snarker
  • Took a Level in Badass: Chandler is referenced as being mediocre in bed a couple times over the course of the early seasons, until the famous scene where Monica gives him a diagram-based crash-course in pleasuring the female body. His girlfriend literally runs across the hall to hug and emphatically thank Monica following their next lovemaking session. Ends up being a good call on Monica's part, as when she and Chandler later enter a relationship she repeatedly describes him as the best sex she's ever had.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Chandler loves Yoo-Hoo chocolate milk; in addition to scenes that explicitly bring it up as a joke, there's also times during the series where he's drinking it without it being a set-up for a punchline.
  • Triple Nipple: Had a "nubbin" for the first couple of seasons; after it scared off a girl he was trying to date, he got it removed.
  • 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. A little justified for a couple of reasons: One, he makes those jokes all the time meaning his friend are likely going to get tired of them eventually, and Two, he frequently makes his jokes about them, giving them another reason not to laugh.
  • Unable to Cry: Initially. He gets over it.
  • Unexplained Recovery: One episode has him making a huge scheme and ending up flying to Yemen to escape his on-again-off-again girlfriend Janice. The next episode does not address how he managed to come back, though one can presume that he simply bought another ticket for a trip back immediately after arriving. Assuming that the return trip cost as much as it did to get there, this means he wasted over $4000 just to get out of dating Janice without having to directly break up with her.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Phoebe.
  • Unfortunate Names: "Chandler Muriel Bing. Wow, your parents never even gave you a chance, did they?"
  • Your Cheating Heart: All his girlfriends before Monica cheat on him. (Which doesn't do much for his Commitment Issues.)

     Ross Geller 
David Schwimmer

Oh, sure, Ross'll do it. It's not like he has a job or a child or a life of his own - no, no, I wanna play!

The nerd of the group, Ross is a Hollywood Dateless paleontologist 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?

  • Adorkable
  • Afraid of Needles
  • Agent Scully
  • All Jews Are Cheapskates: Ross is notoriously cheap.
  • All There in the Manual: Word of God states Ross's middle name is Eustace. The name "Eustace" was written in the original script for one episode of season 1, but the line was cut, so it never actually aired.
  • Amicably Divorced: With Carol. And with Rachel in the last few seasons.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Rachel after their breakup in season 3.
  • Berserk Button: "MY SANDWICH?"
    • "WE WERE ON A BREAK!"
    • "GET OFF MY SISTER!" (This one may have been some fallout from the sandwich incident.)
  • Betty and Veronica: The Archie to Rachel's Veronica and Julie's Betty.
    • Also the Archie to Rachel's Betty and Bonnie's Veronica.
  • Big Brother Instinct: See the dramatic explosion above.
    • At Monica and Chandler's wedding, he tells Chandler that if he ever hurts his little sister, he will hunt him down and kick his ass. Of course, since it's Ross, everyone just starts laughing at him—until he proves that he wasn't kidding when he lays Chandler flat out and tells him "you're not running out on my sister!"
  • 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. What's worse is that more than half of the instances aren't even played for laughs. 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.
    • 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).
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Ross doesn't tell Rachel he loves her for the entire first season of Friends, chickening out every time the opportunity arises. This has the unfortunate result of Rachel only finding out from Chandler while Ross is on a trip to China, and when she realizes she loves him too, he's already met someone else there.
  • Catch Phrase: His distinctive "Hi" and "We were on a break!".
  • Chick Magnet: Ross attracts several women during the show, including Rachel (of course!), Julie, Bonnie, Emily, Elizabeth, Mona, Charlie, Chloe and others.
  • 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.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Pointed out that he became this after his first divorce. Ross' jealousy becomes full blown when Mark is introduced to Rachel, causing Ross to go to extreme lengths to show he is dating Rachel.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Not as much as Chandler, but he has his moments.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Can be just as bad as Chandler when it comes to this, especially when he tries flirting with other women.
  • Dreadful Musician: With keyboard and especially bagpipes.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Hence why he's a paleontologist.
  • Flanderization: His nerdiness and neurosis.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic
  • Give Geeks a Chance
  • Grammar Nazi
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Chandler during their college years. By the time the shows starts, his place has been taken by Joey (though Chandler calls both of them his best friend), but its clear they were very close early on including making life-long pacts and spending holidays together.
  • 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 Dateless
  • Hollywood Nerd
  • Honor Before Reason: Ross never wants to admit he is wrong or that he did something wrong (unless an extreme circumstance forces him to). For example, when Monica threatened to expose Ross' secret to his parents about smoking pot in college, Ross kept coming up with excuses and lies on how he was tricked or how it wasn't really him that smoked.
    • After Ross got married to Rachel while drunk, he knows that he has to get a divorce because he and Rachel would never agree to it. However, in order to save his pride and not get divorced for a 3rd time, he tries to convince Rachel to stay married to him and then lies about getting the marriage annulled.
    • A possible explanation behind Ross' behavior is his parents always praised him growing up and covered for him should anything tarnish his good name. Ergo, Ross grew up believing he was the star child that could never be wrong.
  • 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.
  • Inseries Nickname: Discussed several times: He likes 'Ross-A-Tron' and 'Red Ross' but they never catch on, Wet Pants Geller and Crazy Geller however...
    • He and Phoebe also debate between 'Divorco' 'Ross the Divorcer', and 'The Divorce Force'.
  • Insufferable Genius: He tends to be right on many subjects and he always has to prove that he is right whenever someone says something grammatically incorrect or state a wrong fact. His friends naturally get annoyed by this.
    Rachel: "God, I hate it when Ross is right!"
    Chandler: "You know, I think for once Ross might actually be wrong..."
    Rachel (delighted): "Really?!"
    Chandler: "Nah, he's right."
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Ross's 80's curly fro and mustache from his school days.
  • Jewish and Nerdy
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Not as bad as some other examples of this trope, but he definitely doesn't know quite as much as he thinks he does.
  • Large Ham: Everyone has these moments, but Ross really ran with this trope as the Holiday Armadillo.
  • Last Het Romance: His wife left him for another woman.
  • Lost Food Grievance: MY SANDWICH?! (cue Astronomic Zoom)
  • Lovable Nerd
  • Man Child: Although he's pretty good with his job and looking after himself, and a good father to Ben, he can fall into this in some situations. In early seasons, both he and Rachel resort to petty revenge whenever they break up from their on again off again relationship. He also gets into childish fights with his sister, Monica, such as hogging the TV or calling her childish names. For the latter, he thought his squabbles with Monica as they grew up together was harmless fun and that is why he kept doing it well into adulthood until Monica confessed that she hated him when they were kids because of his bullying.
  • Momma's Boy
  • Never My Fault: See Honor Before Reason above.
  • Nice Guy
  • Not That Kind of Doctor
  • One-Hour Work Week: Though his profession does come into play every now and then.
  • Only Sane Man: He likes to think he is, being the man of science and the only one with any kind of post-college education. Whilst he's arguably this early on, as the series progresses, he becomes such a neurotic mess, he can barely live up to this trope.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Chandler's Blue.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: As close as a thirty-year-old man can do without any help. And it is brilliant.
  • Self-Deprecation: Even Ross starts making jokes about his three failed marriages in the later seasons.
  • Serial Romeo
  • Serial Spouse: He had three ex-wives by the end of the series.
  • Sibling Rivalry: He and Monica appropriately fight like brothers would at times.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: The tallest out of the three guys.
  • That Came Out Wrong
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: In one episode out of depression from his breakup with Emily he winds up dating Janice. However, his complaining winds up getting on Janice's nerves and she quickly ends things with him. The knowledge that he's managed to actually annoy her winds up cheering him up a little.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: He becomes more egotistical and obnoxious, if only to justify his Butt Monkey role.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Several times with Rachel.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Rachel.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Phoebe.
  • Will They or Won't They?: He and Rachel are the king and the queen of this trope.

Secondary Characters

     Family Members 

Jack & Judy Geller (Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles)
  • Abusive Parents: They are not very nice to Monica, especially Judy.
    Ross (on the phone with Judy): No, Mom, I’m not dead. I know it’s not something to kid about. It was just a practical joke between Chandler and me, but it’s over, ok? (pause) Actually no, even if I had died, you would not be left childless. (pause) Monica?
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents
  • Bumbling Dad: Jack.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Jack.
  • Dirty Old Man: Jack, having "accidentally" walked in on Rachel and Joey's temporary roommate Janine while they were changing. He also peeked on a couple having sex in the janitor's closet in a hospital. Unfortunately, they turned out to be Chandler and Monica.
  • Happily Married: The only parents of the gang to be this.
  • Informed Attribute: Ross & Monica apparently inherited their competitive streak from Jack.
  • Innocently Insensitive: How Jack's mistreatment of Monica is portrayed. After learning about her perceptions that he and Judy have always favored Ross, he attempts to make amends and gives her his prized Porsche as a gift.
  • I Want Grandkids: Judy drives Monica to tears on this subject.
  • Jerkass: Judy comes off as this with her treatment of Monica.
  • Like Mother Like Daughter: Judy's mother treated her the same way she treats Monica. However, as Monica is aware of this it's implied she'll break the cycle.
  • My Beloved Smother: Judy, to Monica.
    • Turns out Judy's mother was also this.
  • Nice Guy: Jack.
  • Overprotective Dad: Jack. It is strongly implied by Richard that Jack angrily chased him after discovering that he was dating Monica.
  • Parental Favoritism: Towards Ross.
  • Primal Scene

Dr. Leonard & Sandra Green (Ron Leibman and Marlo Thomas)

Jill and Amy Green (Reese Witherspoon and Christina Applegate)

Ursula Buffay (Lisa Kudrow)

Frank Buffay Jr (Giovanni Ribisi)

Nora-Tyler & Charles Bing (Morgan Fairchild & Kathleen Turner)

Charles: Aren't you a little too old to be wearing something like that?
Nora: Don't you have too much penis to be wearing something like that?

  • Abusive Parents: Borderline. They're not intentionally hurtful, but having orgies in front of your seven year old son, kidnapping him after cub scouts and making him take the Janitor to Parents Day isn't great parenting by any stretch of the imagination.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Nora is an erotic novelist.
    • Exaggerated with Charles, if this quote from Chandler is anything to go by:
    "All kids are embarrassed by their parents! You’d have to come up with a whole new word for what I went through..."
    • To cheer him up, Ross reminds Chandler that he is nothing like either of his parents since both of them hit on Ross but Chandler never did.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Before they divorced. According to Chandler they had sexual power struggles over the pool boy.
  • Cross-Cast Role: Chandler's drag queen (but not transsexual) father is played by a woman, Kathleen Turner.
  • Drag Queen: Charles.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Nora made out with Ross in "The One With Mrs. Bing".
  • No Accounting for Taste: It's not clear why either of them got married in the first place.
  • Noodle Incident: That time Nora got arrested at the airport.
    Nora: Since then, I've always had a hankering for kung-pow chicken.
    Chandler: And then I burst into flames.
  • Parental Neglect: To Chandler.
  • Serial Spouse: Nora who apparently remarried three times after Charles.
  • Trans Equals Gay: Chandler's father is referred to as gay, and is in drag every time he's on camera.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Both of them. Special mention to both sleeping with the best man just before the wedding.

Carol Willick & Susan Bunch (Jane Sibbett & Jessica Hecht)
  • Amicably Divorced: Carol and Ross. If she wasn't a lesbian, they'd probably still be together. This may explain why Susan doesn't seem to like Ross much.
  • Happily Married: They get married in season 2.
  • Jerkass: Susan acts like this towards Ross. At times, she seems to think that getting Carol pregnant was all the involvement he should have had.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite her (somewhat inexplicable) disdain for Ross, Susan does give him a fair break in some instances. Most notably "The One With The Lesbian Wedding."
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Carol.
  • Out of Focus: In later seasons they just disappear.
  • Second Love: Carol to Ross, if you consider Ross's first love his teenage crush on Rachel. And obviously First Girl Wins.
  • Suddenly Sexuality: Carol.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Susan and Carol, respectively.

Ben Geller-Willick (Charles Thomas Allen/John Christoper Allen, later Cole Sprouse)

Emma Geller-Green

Jack and Erica Bing

     Other Characters 

Gunther (James Michael Tyler)
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Poor Gunther never had a chance with Rachel.
  • Ascended Extra: Appeared in 131 episodes.
  • The Bartender
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Has a tendency to be this, most notably when he intentionally spills to Rachel that Ross slept with the copy girl.
  • Former Child Star: Claims to have played Bryce from All My Children (in case you were wondering- he wasn't. There was no such character on that show).
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: He has some of the character traits, such as being kind, and a Chaste Hero who never had a chance with Rachel. His blond hair is noted frequently, to the point that Rachel states she will remember him whenever she sees a man with hair "brighter than the Sun".
  • Hidden Depths: Has a smoking habit, speaks fluent Dutch and may have been a child actor.
    • Tyler had a real-life example in the form of working the coffee machine. It got him cast as Gunther because none of the other extras knew how to do it.
  • Only One Name: Lampshaded. He asks Chandler if he can remember his last name. Chandler's answer is "Centralperk."
  • Single-Target Sexuality: He's very much Rachel-sexual. When Phoebe kisses him to get her cold back, he apologizes to Rachel for not stopping the kiss.
  • Sixth Ranger: Seventh.
  • Unknown Rival: To Ross.

Janice Litman (Maggie Wheeler)

Mr. Heckles (Larry Hankin)
  • Ceiling Banger
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Often bugged the gang about strange things.
    Heckles: You're disturbing my birds.
    Monica: You don't have birds.
    Heckles I could have birds.
  • Character Death: He was an older guy, but not that old. Chandler is particularly shattered by his death because he thinks their lives share the same path.
  • Hidden Depths: He was part of a tight knit group before becoming a shut-in. He was the funny one.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Constantly complained about noise, but everyone thought he was just trying to annoy them. After he died, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe found that the apartment's acoustics did amplify the noise from upstairs.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Always in a bathrobe.
  • Shadow Archetype: He is what Chandler would have become if he remained scared of relationships.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis
  • Small Role, Big Impact: According to one flashback, Joey wouldn't have been Chandler's roommate—and therefore, wouldn't have been part of the main cast—if it weren't for him.

Dr. Barry Farber (Mitchell Whitfield)

Paolo (Cosimo Fusco)

Fun Bobby (Vincent Ventresca)

Julie (Lauren Tom)

Dr. Richard Burke (Tom Selleck)
  • Always Someone Better: How Chandler feels. In reality though Chandler is actually Richard's always someone better, as Monica chose him over Richard several times. Interestingly, the show Dream On from the same creators had also sort-of featured an Always Someone Better romantic rival named Richard, but in that case the character was never seen.
  • Badass Grandpa: He never actually demonstrates this, but Joey (generally considered the group's strongest member) is absolutely certain Richard could kick his and Chandler's butts at the same time.
  • Badass Mustache
  • Betty and Veronica: In Season 6, the Veronica to Chandler's Betty for Monica's Archie.
  • The Bus Came Back: In season 3 and in season 6. However he's still frequently mentioned even later.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Steps down when he realizes Monica is meant to be with Chandler.
  • First Love: To Monica. (Pete was her second and Chandler was her third).
  • Love Interest: To Monica in season 2.
  • May-December Romance: With Monica.
  • Nice Guy: Lampshaded by Chandler.
    Chandler: You know, Richard... you are a good guy.
    Richard: I know. I hate that.
  • Romantic False Lead: In his final appearance.
  • Team Dad: To his dismay, Chandler and Joey only think of him as this rather than as an equal.

Eddie Menuek (Adam Goldberg)

"Ugly Naked Guy"

Estelle Leonard (June Gable)

Mark Robinson (Steven Eckholdt)
  • The Bus Came Back: In the season 10 episode "The One With Princess Consuela".
  • Happily Married: It's revealed in season 10 that Mark is married with twins.
  • Romantic False Lead: Definitely. While Mark never asked Rachel out until she ended her relationship with Ross, he was always considered as an obstacle to Ross and Rachel's relationship and was one of the reason for their break-up (although it's mostly because Ross was a massive Crazy Jealous Guy).

Pete Becker (Jon Favreau)

Joanna (Alison La Placa)
  • Asshole Victim: Sophie is genuinely happy when she dies.
  • Bad Boss: To Sophie, so much.
    • Benevolent Boss: She's slightly nicer to Rachel, as despite all the crap she puts her through, eventually admits that she's a good assistant.
  • Character Death: She is one of the few recurring characters to have been killed on the show.
  • Jerkass: Not only she treats Sophie like crap, but also tries to sabotage Rachel's interview for a higher position because she loves Rachel as her assistant.
    • And when Chandler doesn't call her back after their date, she blames Rachel (who introduced them) for it and rather ominously hints to her that she'll fire her because of this—this is flat-out illegal workplace behavior.
  • Only One Name

Sophie (Laura Dean)

Bonnie (Christine Taylor)
  • Bald Women: She used to be this, but when Rachel meets her she is horrified to see that her hair has actually grown back and she is actually a very attractive woman. Until Rachel convinces her to shave her hair off again in "The One at the Beach".
  • Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Rachel's Betty for Ross' Archie.
  • Only One Name
  • Romantic False Lead: Of course.

Chip Matthews (Dan Gauthier)
  • Big Man on Campus: In high school, where he was dating the equally popular Rachel.
  • The Faceless: In "The One with the Prom Video", he's played by an unknown, uncredited actor and his face is not seen on screen.
  • Future Loser: He was the most popular guy in high school, now he's an immature Man Child with no job who still lives with his parents.
  • Man Child: Monica dates him in "The One With The Cat" and learns that he hasn't matured at all since high school.
  • Your Cheating Heart: He wasn't very faithful to Rachel, and at the prom he abandoned her to go have sex with a girl named Amy Welsh.

Kathy (Paget Brewster)
  • Birds of a Feather: Chandler falls in love with her after they bond over their favorite television show.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Sadly comes off as this, when she sleeps with Nick. Cheating once was sympathetic because she claimed to have fallen in love with Chandler, but cheating again tips her into this territory.
  • Hypocrite: When Chandler says it should be understandable that he believes she could be cheating on him with co-star Nick, considering how they got together, she gets upset and leaves...and promptly cheats on Chandler with Nick.
  • Love Interest: To Chandler and Joey in season 4.
  • Only One Name
  • Second Love: To Chandler, with Janice being first. (Monica was his third).
  • Your Cheating Heart: She cheated on Joey with Chandler. Later she cheats on Chandler with Nick, leading to the end of their relationship.

Joshua Burgin (Tate Donovan)

Emily Waltham (Helen Baxendale)
  • Break the Cutie: Before the season 4 finale after which she became a...
  • Clingy Jealous Girl
  • Control Freak: Again, only after the season 4 finale.
  • Derailing Love Interests
  • English Rose
  • Face-Heel Turn: Downplayed. She was actually a sympathetic Love Interest in season 4. Given what she went through, you could argue she was still sympathetic even afterwards; badly overreacting, but understandably so.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Emily's last two appearances have her in bed, under the blankets.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: She had shades of this trope and similar effect on Ross. They spontaneously went to Vermont and enthusiastically watched animals and enjoyed the autumn there, he played rugby because of her, she made him pierce his ear and enroll in helicopter lessons. Though he says she won't be around for long enough for him to actually frequent the lessons.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Her arc was supposed to be longer, but because of Baxendale's pregnancy and desire to work back in England, she was written off quicker than intended.
  • Romantic False Lead
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: To be fair, this could have been temporary and just due to the trauma of being humiliated by the groom on your wedding day.

Janine Lecroix (Elle Macpherson)

Elizabeth Stevens (Alexandra Holden)

Paul Stevens (Bruce Willis)
  • Beneath the Mask
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Especially in the episode "The One Where Paul's the Man" when he starts talking and singing exaggeratedly to himself in the mirror.
    Paul: Just relax. Just relax, Paul, you're doing great. She likes you. She... maybe, she likes you. She likes you. You know why? Because you're a... neat guy. You are the man. You are... The Man! I still got it! Nice and sexy. You're just a love machine.
  • Freudian Excuse: He had a horrible childhood that made him a very insecure person. Curiously Played for Laughs, especially when he begins crying for hours and Rachel dumps him for this reason.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood
  • Hypocrite: He doesn't like Ross' relationship with his daughter because Ross is much older than she is. Then Paul starts dating Rachel, who is considerably younger than him.
  • Jerkass: To Ross, especially.
  • Jerkass Façade: As revealed in "The One With The Ring".
  • Overprotective Dad: He still sees his college-aged daughter Elizabeth as his little girl.

Tag Jones (Eddie Cahill)

Mona (Bonnie Somerville)

Gavin Mitchell (Dermot Mulroney)

Charlie Wheeler (Aisha Tyler)

Mike Hannigan (Paul Rudd)

David (Hank Azaria)

Erica (Anna Faris)
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: When talking about the potential fathers of her baby, she mentioned one of the possibilities was a guy in prison who murdered his parents with a shovel.
  • Artistic License - Biology: As Monica said, she didn't really pay attention in Sex Ed, otherwise she'd have known that whatever it was she did with "Shovelly Joe" cannot possibly result in pregnancy.
  • Brainless Beauty: She's pretty but not very bright.
    Monica: There's something that we wanna tell you. We decided to name the girl-baby Erica.
    Erica: Oh my God, that's just like my name!
  • Dumb Blonde: She didn't even realize she was pregnant with twins and thought she would have one baby.
  • Nice Girl
  • Only One Name: Her last name is not revealed.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Played with, Erica knew she was pregnant...she just didn't know it was twins.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: When we first meet her she's a perfectly normal, intelligent girl. Then she seemed to get progressively dumber in every appearance she made, which is saying something given that she was only a one-season character. By the end of the show she's so stupid that her IQ is merely half of Forrest Gump's. Of course by the finale, you realize this was done to justify the surprise of her having twins and not realizing it.


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