Okay, so though this wasn’t the plan for this week, I’m going to dedicate my post again to, in my opinion, the greatest television series out there, Friends. I guess you can think of my last post as a precursor or an introduction to a deeper analysis of the 1990s program.
Most of the emotional drama was taken care of by Ross and Rachel’s rocky, on/off relationship, which served a two-fold purpose of playfully tugging at our heartstrings and viciously ripping them off all together. It wasn’t until the season four finale that the flame of a new romance was lit between two of the main characters. To both the audience’s surprise and delight, it was the neurotic Monica and the pessimistic Chandler who began a secret relationship on the weekend of Ross’ wedding.
Producers began playing with the platonic relationship between the two pals as early as the third season. Through the slow integration of subtle flirting and loyal companionship, the producers decided to save this relationship for a rainy day when the Ross and Rachel thunderstorm wasn’t in the midst of a torrential downpour.
The writers knew they couldn’t concoct the relationship the same way they did with Ross and Rachel. Their relationship was one that demanded the participation of everyone in the closely-knit group of the six young adults. Monica and Chandler’s relationship however, was driven in the complete opposite direction. Their relationship required the exclusion of all characters except the two involved in the actual relationship, at least until they decided to reveal their love to the rest of the characters. The writers were inspired by how every day people conjured new intimate relationships. They based their Monica and Chandler relationship on the classic “opposites attract” method. The high maintenance, melodramatic Monica aims to find someone low-key and stable. And who better to take on that role than Chandler?
The goal was to spark a subtle and inconspicuous relationship that would at the same time shock the viewers. The unofficial and congenial rapport between Monica and Chandler is essentially supposed to act as a contrast, or even “a sigh of relief” from the draining and complicated relationship between Ross and Rachel. The producers didn’t plan for the whole “friends with benefits” thing to grow into a long term relationship, but one they saw how kindly the viewers took to the these two friends becoming more than friends, they decided to slowly transform this free and detached relationship into a lifetime of partnership and happiness.
In the end, Monica and Chandler ended up competing with the core romance between Ross and Rachel. The producers felt accomplished and competent that they were able to incorporate two huge romantic relationships between main characters without taking away from either couple. Without Monica and Chandler, the show itself would have seen a much shorter lifespan.