Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'll Be There for You

FRIENDS, the hit TV series is completely centered around relationships and the complications that come along with them. Each character possesses their own unique personalities and I believe that's what makes the show so humorous! My roommate watches at least one episode a day, and I have started to pick up on these personality traits and anticipate how each character will react in certain situations. I'd like to evaluate each character and discuss the features of males and females as mentioned in the text.

Monica: This character performs many of the actions that are primarily performed by the male. She talks very loud, has a tendency to point, has very erect posture, and when in the presence of her friends, sits with her legs apart.

Chandler: It seems that Chandler is the most masculine character in the group as far as movements and gestures are concerned. When in the coffee shop he enjoys putting his arm around Monica, taking up a lot of space and moving into hers. His smiles are mostly after a sarcastic comment and there are many scenes Chandler is caught staring at either an awkward event or a pretty woman.

Phoebe: She is very hard to understand since she has a reputation of being weird and random. Along with her thoughts, Phoebe's actions are also fairly random. I noticed there were times she decided to perform the gestures of a female, yet there were many times she performed those of a male. For example, she spoke very softly when holding a conversation, but when something exciting happened or when trying to get a point across, Phoebe was the loudest one in the group!

Joey: Being an actor, Joey is expected to have overdramatic gestures and speak loudly. He is usually seen standing with his hands on his hips and takes up a lot of space. On top of these masculine actions, Joey also possesses many female attributes. Since he is not the brightest one in the bunch, Joey uses his smile to get by with his ridiculous comments and tilts his head when "thinking."

Rachel: She is probably the most "normal" female figure in this group of friends. She performs most of the actions females are expected to do such as accepting touch, smiling often, sitting and standing with her legs together, and doesn't take up much space.

Ross: This character is viewed as the most feminine of the male characters. Ross smiles, places his hands at his sides on in his lap, enjoys cuddling, usually speaks softly and has more positive gestures.

There are many correlations between the characteristics of these friends and the relationships they have. Let's take Rachel and Ross for instance; as mentioned above, both are feminine in their movements and gestures yet, in the end, they end up together because they are so in love. On the other side of the spectrum, Monica and Chandler, the more masculine characters, have been married for many seasons of friends and get along great.

FRIENDS could be studied for hours upon hours because of the many examples dealing with friendships, marriages, divorce, friends-with-benefits, sibling relationships and many more. Yet, I still believe that after watching 10 full seasons of the classic TV show, relationships still could not be fully understood and never will be.


  1. What and interesting perspective! I absolutely love the show, Friends, but have never sat down and focused on all of ther nonverbal communication. Each character plays a different role with masculine and feminine and even some don't live up to male and female stererotypes. I was thinking about Ross and Rachel and Chandler and Monica....both couples are either masculine and feminine and maybe that is why they work so well together. Because opposites attract...and they they attack!

  2. Great post, Erin! I agree with Alyssa-it will be so interesting to watch the show more aware of the nonverbal communication! The show really does concentrate on realistic aspects of relationships. And you're right, gender identity plays a huge role in the characterization of each friend.

  3. Great points. I think Phoebe is more a stereotypical blond, correct? Viewers might see this exaggerated stereotype as funny, and, because of that, Phoebe's character is successful.