F.R.I.E.N.D.S. – THROUGH THE EYES OF AN IMAGE CONSULTANT -By Oshin Halder
Unless one has been living under the rock or belong to the very recent generation, they must have heard of a show named FRIENDS. FRIENDS is arguably amongst the greatest sitcoms, produced till date. It revolves around the lives of 6 adults aged between 20 and 30 living in Manhattan, and, no points for guessing, are friends at some point in the story timeline. The series aired between 1994 and 2004, but is still a rage today.
Tune in to any episode and you’ll be hooked. The greatness of the show is driven by great story writing, impeccable characterization and flawless execution by the team, especially the cast of friends, each having very different personalities, you can’t help but fall in love with each of them. If you were to ask me to pick and choose one of my favorite episodes, i won’t be able to, because there are many.
I still laugh out loud to the episode where Chandler presents the mixed tape to Monica and in between their romantic dance, the highly unpleasant voice of Janice ruins it all. Or the one where Phoebe volunteers for his brother’s child’s surrogacy, but sounds so awkward when she just says she is having her brother’s babies. The touching episode where Joey selflessly takes care of Rachel during her pregnancy or the one he pretends he understands what his friends discuss, but is absolutely clueless. Or the many marriages of Ross and his encounter with Rachel’s father in front of Mona. Or the one where Rachel turns 30 and she is upset and last but not the least ‘They Don’t Know That We Know They Know We Know’, leading to the spilling of the secret relationship between Chandler and Monica, it’s an unending list. We can just binge watch and keep re-watching them.
Even today I tune in to watch FRIENDS for my dose of laughter and feel good factor, just that, now my lense has changed a bit. I involuntarily tend to evaluate from an image consulting angle and found it very interesting that all these six main characters who are best of Friends with each other have got distinctly different “personality styles”, as we may refer in Image consulting. So, without much ado, presenting FRIENDS.
Rachel as Dramatic: “Mysterious, sophisticated”.
Rachel always came out as fashion-forward and extreme. She prefers high fashion and clothes that look expensive. She takes pride working for prestigious fashion brands like Bloomingdales and Ralph Lauren, dressing up upmarket clients. She exudes independence, personal power, quality and prestige, who loves traveling and prepared to take risks. In the series, she evolves from marrying for money to a full-fledged career oriented woman. In the final season, nailing her dream job in the city of Paris, the Mecca of fashion and trend setter, and dream city, making her a Dramatic personality
Ross as Romantic: “Sensuous, warm”.
The ‘medical marvel’ and a paleontologist who loves everything about dinosaurs, came out as a sophisticated, flirtatious, warm, and welcoming persona. He couldn’t resist falling in love every time, from marrying a lesbian to a college student and only to end up in three divorces and defending himself from Rachel’s father to Bruce Willis. Though his relationship with Rachel always remains the most special. He loves children, always caring for Ben. Ross thoroughly values his family and friends, wants to give his best to relationships so that they nurture into a memorable journey in life. Ross exhibits all traits of a hopeless romantic
Chandler as Natural: “Guy-next-door”.
Chandler is characterized as a carefree, easy going and breezy, but also practical and grounded. The wittiest and the sarcasm king of the lot, he is intelligent and well-informed. Being a trait of natural personality, Chandler leaves his lucrative job of “Statistical analysis and data reconfiguration,” which Rachel calls ‘transponster’, to trying his luck in starting his own advertising firm. Material possessions never attracted Chandler – as shown at the time of his wedding with Monica, where he wanted a simple wedding and his epic reaction with Monica’s highly expensive but impractical boots, which he is shocked costed four grands. Chandler is a classic example of a natural personality.
Monica as Classic: “Executive, cultured”.
Monica the human incarnation of Hygieia, symbolizes or rather terrorizes with her sense of cleanliness. She is extremely organized and mindful of details, sets goals and very dependable. Open mindedness doesn’t come easily to her and particularly wants things to be her way. Not receptive to changes, remember the scene where Chandler wants to impress Monica by cleaning the house and literally panics thinking if he’s put back everything in the right places, she mightily likes things done properly. She had every tool in her closet that is needed to clean everything in an organised way. “Cleaning strangers’ cars”, “Vacuuming the vacuum cleaner”, “The joy of packing for Rachel”, “all these showcases how much she loved to clean and organise things. Monica is an example of a thorough Classic.
Joey as Aristocratic: “Powerful, adventurous”.
Joey is portrayed as promiscuous, and low on his wit, but extremely warm, as well as very loyal, caring, and protective of his friends. Joey is characterized as a simple-minded but good-natured womanizer, with his characteristic ‘How you doin’?’ who loves food. He particularly loves meatball sub sandwiches, pizzas with extra cheese and thanksgiving turkey. He is very receptive and welcoming whenever anyone needed a home, be it Ross, Chandler, Rachel or Phoebe, making him a typical Aristocrat.
Phoebe as Creative: “Intuitiveness, alternative lifestyles, artistic endeavors, mysticism, solitude.”
Phoebe characterized a distinctive and unique outgo who can handle off-beat clothing quite easily. Phoebe good in nostalgic, her troubled past influences her, and clothing that is unusual, with a guitar in hand and ‘Smelly Cat’. Granny boots, ruffles, full gathered sleeves, vests, A-line dresses, coats and skirts all work.Phoebe’s unorthodox dressing sense, her love for new age spiritualism, and her general and complete eccentricity convinced us all that it’s she who could stand to take a lesson in emotional grounding above anyone else in the main cast. Phoebe portrayed strong traits of creative personality.
At the end of the day when the six FRIENDS get together at Central Perk, they are the most loveable lot, you simply can’t choose one over another, all are equally adorable, yet different. It just goes to show that we need friends of all personalities to bring that fresh perspective into our lives and enrich each other’s experiences, else life would be such a boring and predictable one. Just like the new lens that image consulting has given me and am loving looking at things through it. Finally, with Holidays around the corner, here is Phoebe’s creative rendition:
“Went to the store, sat on Santa’s lap. Asked him to bring my friends all kinds of crap. He said, “all you need is to write them a song.” Now you haven’t heard it yet, so don’t try to sing along. So don’t sing along. Monica, Monica, have a happy Hanukkah. Saw Santa Claus, he said hello to Ross. And please tell Joey Christmas will be snowy. And Rachel and Chandler, [mumbles some nonsense that rhymes with “Chandler”]. Happy holidays everybody!”