NBC (ended 2004)
1. Chandler and Joey.
2. Rachel and Monica.
3. Joey and Phoebe.
4. Ross and Rachel.
5. Ross and Chandler.
6. Rachel and Joey.
7. Chandler and Monica.
8. Joey and Ross.
9. Rachel and Phoebe.
10. Monica and Ross.
11. Monica and Phoebe.
12. Chandler and Rachel.
13. Chandler and Phoebe.
14. Ross and Phoebe
15. Joey and Monica
But I do think they are all pretty close, and when you think about it, I think all the friendships have enough storylines.
I think the Ross & Phoebe and Joey & Monica friendships might be slightly weaker because Ross and Phoebe are so different (i.e. the evolution views), and so are Joey and Monica.
|I think it depends which part of the series you are talking about. For example I think in the earlier seasons Chandler/Rachel and Chandler/Phoebe had fairly close relationships. Chandler and Rachel always seemed as if they went out to lunch together and Chandler and Phoebe seemed to hang out together alone as well. However as the series progressed both Rachel and Phoebe seemed to not like Chandler very much. They were always insulting him and never seemed to hang out with him except in a group. Ross/Phoebe argued a lot but always seemed to me to be close anyway. Joey and Monica's friendship seemed more implied to me. They didn't show many scenes of them alone, but he was always coming over there for food and stuff, and I think they hung out a lot off camera.|
Exactly! You totally wrote what I was planning on writing. That's why the early seasons are my favorites; because Chandler and Rachel/Phoebe had much better bonds. And not just them, by the way, but *all* of them. The intensity and genuinity (is that a word?) severely lessened as the show progressed. Chandler and Rachel/Phoebe just stood out more, because -like you said- the two girls would mock him all the time (in a mean way, not in a funny way like they occasionally did with Joey or Ross).
I just watched 'TOW the tiny T-shirt' and it had two cute little scenes in it with Chandler and Phoebe. In the first, Chandler explains to Phoebe why 'Spiderman' is not a last name; and in the second, they play Chandler's chair game (who can 'draw' the fastest). Little, silly random funny things they didn't do in later seasons anymore. Like Rachel and Chandler having lunch and him going with her to her office to check if they keep the lingerie there.
I have two lists: One for the earlier seasons, and one for the later seasons because well, people change and relationships change.
Please keep in mind these are just my own observations and opinions. Yours are going to be different, I guarantee it.
1. Chandler/Monica +7
2. Chandler/Joey -1
3. Ross/Rachel -1
4. Joey/Phoebe --
5. Ross/Monica -2
6. Joey/Rachel +9
7. Ross/Joey +2
8. Rachel/Monica -3
9. Rachel/Phoebe +1
10. Ross/Phoebe +3
11. Ross/Chandler -3
12. Phoebe/Chandler --
13. Phoebe/Monica -6
14. Joey/Monica -3
15. Rachel/Chandler -1
-Weakest- (Or least strong, however you wish to see it)
Quick Lengthy analysis:
Starting with the most famous/infamous relationship: Ross and Rachel had some major ups and downs. I would say that approximately half of the total time, they were in love or at least one was in love with the other... and then the rest of the time, there was tension and awkward distance between them, especially in the middle seasons. In the first three seasons, they are very close.. then they don't reach that same level of closeness again until the very last episode, with only a slight buildup and they slowly begin to realize they still love each other, but don't confess it until the end. Because of this complicated mess, their relationship, while strong on both ends, was rough a majority of the time. Their interactions as regular friends, however, worked surprisingly smoothly-until Ross decided it was time to bring up the time they were on a break..
I'm sure we can all agree that Chandler and Joey had the strongest non-sexual friendship of the whole series hands down. Most people, at some point in their lives, have had that one friend growing up, or if you're lucky- now, that clicks with you, finishes your sentences, shares the same interests as you, has the same wild ideas as you, and most importantly, never judges you. This is the type of bond that Chandler and Joey demonstrate from start to finish and it's precisely what the title of the show signifies. The next strongest friendship is arguably the one between Joey and Phoebe. And I know some of you are raising your eyebrows at that last statement but let me explain myself here. Phoebe and Joey were truly there for each other during the rough times, and genuinely cared for one another in a very nurturing sort of way. Phoebe pretended to be someone else on several occasions for Joey- posing as a casting agent and even putting on Estelle's voice to soften the blow of her death for Joey. In return, Joey offered to marry Phoebe when he thought she would be raising a child on her own, and instantly put aside a petty fight between the two of them when Phoebe's love interest left New York for the second time, causing her very visible pain. At times, Joey was like a protective father and Phoebe, a protective mother. This never changed throughout the series, evidenced by the fact that in the above list, their bond is the one of the only ones that doesn't budge.
Ross and Monica's relationship is perhaps the third most consistently strong relationship, but this is most likely due to the fact that they are brother and sister and have been close since they were children. Their sibling rivalry shines through on multiple occasions, particularly in one episode where Ross spends a little too much time at Monica's apartment and she's had enough, so she confronts him. Here, you really get to see them as 3 dimensional siblings. i.e. Monica's legitimate frustration with Ross and him believing it was merely playful bickering, not understanding that as children, he really upset her with it. This is the first episode where we realize they aren't a perfect pair, and it's amazing because a lot of us have been through that complicated sibling stuff ourselves and it let us really connect to both characters from both sides. Then, there is perhaps the funniest storyline between the two: The routine. Need I say more? Now, I can definitely say that many shows cannot pull off brother/sister relationships comfortably (*cough* DEXTER and DEBORAH *cough*) but this show really nailed it. Although other ties among the group surpass Monica and Ross in closeness (mainly due to certain significant others entering the equation), their relationship only continues to thrive as one of the strongest.
The most drastic changes we see are with the following pairs: Chandler and Monica AND Rachel and Joey. In both case we see that the bonds become significantly stronger. Monica and Chandler start at neighbors and already have a strong bond as pals playing pool, having beers together, and comforting each other as shown in "TOW The Flashback." However, a seemingly harmless fling quickly paves the way for the most intimate relationship we see at any point in the series. For the latter half of the season, the two become inseparable. Rachel and Joey, while starting out as the most distant friends soon become best buds as Rachel transforms into the relaxed, easy-going woman we see in the later seasons. They both begin to see how much they have in common with one another and, after spending so much time together as roommates, begin to fall in love. Unfortunately for them, there are too many awkward relations with their other mutual best friend, Ross, and their relationship is put to a sudden halt.
Rachel and Monica is what many consider the female side of the Joey and Chandler coin. I have to say, however, that these gal pals are not nearly as close as their bro counterparts. Sure, Monica and Rachel have the oldest (not counting siblings) friendship and they had a great run as roommates but as soon as Monica and Chandler began their secret romance, Monica immediately distanced herself, however subconsciously, from everyone else. Their sisterly bond was borne out of a sort of sibling rivalry atmosphere and it changed dramatically by the end of the series. Once Rachel gained her independence, got herself a job, moved out, etc. she began to bond more closely with other friends- Phoebe and Joey, in particular. Although, it would have been too obvious to say that she and Monica were BFFs in the first five or so seasons, it became clear that she was discovering more things about herself as she spent more time with Phoebe and Joey- and she liked it- so the title of BFF lost it's singularity.
Now we've already went into the details about Joey, so let's acknowledge that between Rachel and Phoebe, a certain chemistry arose.. something that was only hinted at VERY subtly with only this pair of friends: Sexual identity. Of course, we know that the two girls never hooked up or experimented and such-that's not what I'm getting at. What I mean is out of all the same-sex relationships between any of the friends, this one was the one that sorta blurred that line between friendship and.. more, and it did so without anyone noticing. Examples include the following: Notice that as the two girls are roommates, they develop a certain comfort.. the kind of comfort where you feel like you can say anything to someone and not be judged or even looked at strangely. Although Rachel is initially weirded out by things such as Phoebe's running, she opens her mind and finds that she actually enjoys Phoebe's strange philosophy; Phoebe, in turn, goes through a similar transformation with apothecary furniture, opening her mind to Rachel's wonderful material world. Then, there is the incident where Phoebe accompanies Rachel on a visit with an old friend who turned out to be a lesbian that retained her feelings for Rachel all these years. When the girl leaves, Phoebe fulfills her curiosity (with zero hesitation or effort, I must add) by kissing Rachel. Instead of pulling away or acting nervous, Rachel immediately asks how Phoebe felt about it, to which Phoebe replies in an indifferent manner and it becomes humorous. Now, can you imagine any of the guys doing this? Yes, I know Joey can pull it off, but Ross and Chandler freak out about that stuff so that leaves Monica with the girls... and I have a feeling she would be too anxious about it and end up hurting them. Only Rachel and Phoebe can pull of a same-sex kiss with no awkward tension before or after, and then just move on like it never happened. Finally, Rachel brings Phoebe with her on a dinner date with her father- and her father seems to be under the impression that Phoebe is a lesbian and even (jokingly(?)) suggests that she and Rachel have been together in bed. Neither Rachel or Phoebe seems to bothered by this, and instead exchange nervous laughs at their father's ignorance. Granted at the beginning of the series, Rachel seems to be uncertain about how to handle Phoebe, but by the end of the series, the girls seem are at a point where they can be silent in a room together, and not feel weird about it. They become sisterly in the most traditional sense of the word whereas as I mentioned earlier, Rachel and Monica's bond felt more rivalrous. (This happens when you've shared just about everything there is to share with someone.) The same can't be said for all pairs of friends in this series- think Chandler and Rachel for example. Well, if there is one relationship in the series that never grew much, you might say it's this one. Of course, all of their friendships grew, etc. but this one probably did it the least. They bonded over maybe two things? A cheesecake and a mutual association with her boss. I mean, if the fact that the two had met on at least four separate occasions before the show began and never remembered doing so doesn't speak volumes about the tone of their friendship, I don't know what will. Sadly, even after they start dating each other's best friends, they remain at opposite corners of the room.
Phoebe and Chandler's relationship is- wait for it- quite a bit better. There are several instances where we get to see the friendship that has perhaps developed off screen. Examples: Phoebe helps out Chandler by breaking up with Janice for him. She also enjoys playing childish games with him such as Hide-and-Seek and Cowboys. They bond over their mutual familiarity and distaste of Monica's neurotic behavior by pretending to watch football or hiding accidents, both of them having lived with her. Chandler even tells Phoebe-and only Phoebe- about wanting to propose to Monica and even has her come with him to pick out a ring. Granted, this happened by accident, but the fact that it did happen is what created a new connection and respect between them. Let's not forget that she cares about his health too. So much, in fact, that she gave him $7,000 to never smoke again. Even so, these many memorable moments are often severed by the fact that they never fully understand each other. In an early episode and rather adorable scene, Phoebe comes over with pizza and the two of them, alone, begin to sing a duet together as Chandler mourns the failed relationship between him and Janice. For comedic purposes, the duet ends on a bad note/interval and they never quite seem to be able to find that perfect harmony. Ironically, this is symbolic in a way, for as close as these two friends become, they never quite reach that point where they are always on the same page. One thing or another, whether it be Chandler's eye-rolling (from Phoebe's POV) humor or one of Phoebe's laughable (from Chandler's POV) quirks, always seems to interfere (and sometimes ruin) some otherwise intimate moments between the two.
Now over to Ross and Phoebe. I know you won't all agree but these two have a great bond. Not many of you guys seem to see this, but I do. Their relationship is the most strictly platonic friendship of all- in the same way that Harry Potter and Hermione Granger are. They are close, but they do not have romantic feelings for each other. This is most obvious when, early on in their friendship, Phoebe and Ross begin to make out after Ross discusses his failed marriage with Carol. The two seem to want each other briefly, but the moment passes and after a few awkward laughs, it's never brought up again. They became closer at that point. Whatever tension they felt was released in that moment and from then on, they were able to focus on simply being there for one another. It's clear that they really care about each other, too. This is noticeably shown here more often than the other platonic friendships. Examples: Ross buys Phoebe a bike that resembles the one Phoebe had as a kid. Phoebe helps Ross realize his feelings for Rachel and pursue on more than one occasion. Ross trusts Phoebe, and only Phoebe for a while, with the fact that he is still married to Rachel. Phoebe is subconsciously hurt when Ross tells her she is boring in a dream and won't speak to him because of it. Phoebe discovers she mugged Ross as a kid and feels closer to him because of it- Ross is almost brought to tears when he finds that Phoebe saved his Science Boy comics all these years because she cherished them. Most importantly, Phoebe is Ross and Rachel's #1 shipper and is the first to jump on the bandwagon when there is even a hint that they might work out after all. You might say that Ross is somehow closer with Phoebe than he is with Chandler, and this might be because not only can he trust her, but she knows his mind like the back of her hand and genuinely wants what is best for him.
Let's discuss Phoebe and Monica for a bit. In regards to Ross, Phoebe has a sort of similar relationship with Monica, but is a little different in the sense that she sees Monica as a relative whom she loves unconditionally, yet likes to keep at a fair distance so as not to jeopardize what they have. All the girls have a certain sisterly bond between them: This pair goes from being the closest at the start of the series to being the most distant. Once Rachel enters the equation, Phoebe is almost instantly pushed further away from Monica and never quite finds her way back. Somehow, I think Phoebe prefers it like this. That's not to say that the two girls are no longer good friends. In fact, Phoebe shares more story lines with Monica than perhaps any other friend- and spends just about all of her time at Monica's apartment. Monica, however, has a habit of shadowing Phoebe in an unintentionally condescending way by bossing her around, putting Rachel before Phoebe(albeit Phoebe doesn't seem to mind this), and by being borderline possessive of Phoebe at times, as though expecting Phoebe to drop everything and become one of her minions. Suffice it to say, I do not necessarily see these as bad traits, so long as Monica treats just about everyone, especially Chandler in the later seasons, this way and everyone still accepts her for it. Phoebe is not exactly passive with Monica, however. It's actually the opposite. Of all the friends, Phoebe is the one least afraid to speak up to Monica and scold her with her alarmingly wise words, often putting Monica to shame for any foolish behavior. So it all balances out quite nicely.
Chandler and Ross are great friends and call each other "best" friends, but I believe their friendship has an aftertaste ring to it- and less substance than some of the other "best" friend pairings. Chandler has often put his needs and desires above Ross's. Ross has done the same, though to a lesser extant. Chandler and Joey also find Ross rather annoying during Ross's 'depression' after Emily's wedding, and try to not to subtly get him out of their apartment. Although they were awesome buddies in college, their friendship is held together by a nostalgic glue that only thickens when Chandler marries Ross's sister, Monica. They will always be friends, but never at the same level of closeness as Chandler and Joey or at the same level of understanding as Ross and Phoebe.
Ross and Joey: They see each other as brothers, but initially they are both more strongly connected to Chandler, seeing as he is the common link on the male side. As time passes, their friendship becomes strongly independent of Chandler's influence, as evidenced by the fact that they hang out frequently despite having few common interests. It's clear that they simply enjoy each others' company, especially when Chandler becomes hooked on Monica and the two are drawn together as bros looking for a cure from their on-and-off loneliness. They turn to each other when they discover Chandler has entrusted Phoebe with his coming engagement. They also verbally express their fondness for one another more and more as the series progresses, as though assuring themselves that even though Chandler has been pulled out of the circle, they now have the primary male bondage.. I hope that makes sense.
Now, the last relationship to mention here is the one between Joey and Monica. I've put this one last because I believe it to be the most tragic. I don't dislike the marriage between Chandler and Monica. I think it's very endearing and they compliment each other well. What I find tragic is that the friendship between Monica and Joey is one of the least explored in the series, and probably had the most potential for spice. Think about it. The two had an obvious mutual attraction when they first met, right? Why was his never explored further? I think the motherly-yet-sexy Monica we meet in the first few seasons and the Italian stud would have at least dated for a season or so. Alright, I must get back to actual analysis here. So, all in all, they had a somewhat fun friendship regardless. Monica was arguably the least funny character before they added the over-the-top/loudness in the later seasons. However, the earlier interactions between her and Joey were somewhat endearing and humorous. He loves her cooking and mooches off of her, coming over frequently just to eat and make little messes here and there. Every so often, Monica would scold him in a motherly sort of way. It was a rather cute aspect that I liked.. and it waned a bit as the series progressed, unfortunately. Still, would have been nice to see their friendship from a few different angles, just saying.
Whew! This took a long time to type up!. Is this the most accurate analysis? Probably not. But only because each of them are closely tied to everyone else and frankly- it's really hard to pit all of the relationships against each other because they are ALL strong... except possibly Rachel and Chandler... Nah, they'll be there for each other too, I'm sure. They all will.