After 25 Years, These Are the ‘Friends’ Characters Critics Love the Most

IndieWire | 9/17/2019 | Staff
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This week’s question: In honor of the 25th anniversary of “Friends,” who is your favorite character on the show? Why?

For a TV critic with some, um, seniority, it is odd to go from covering Friends as a contemporary TV show to covering it as a nostalgia phenomenon. So my feelings about “Friends” characters have gone through an evolution. When the show started, I liked David Schwimmer’s Ross Geller the most. Hard to remember now, but he was the most established actor when the show started, particularly following a well-received guest role on “NYPD Blue,” and I felt his character on “Friends” was the most developed in the early days of the show.

End - Run - Lisa - Kudrow - Phoebe

Eventually, toward the end of the run, I came to like Lisa Kudrow’s Phoebe more, because she seemed like the underdog of the crew — not much family, no real job, a desire to be an artist with none of the talent — and I always thought Kudrow was smart in how she played someone whose intelligence was, let’s say, unconventional.

But in watching the old episodes with my 15-year-old son more recently, I have embraced the idea that all the characters on “Friends” were kind of awful people in their own ways; self-centered and myopic in that way that young people of every generation often are. It’s part of what makes the spirit of the show resonate with young people of many different generations, I think. But it’s also what makes picking a favorite character decidedly more difficult, now that I’m old enough to be their exasperated parent. Or at least an older uncle.

Lisa - Kudrow - Matt - LeBlanc - Friends

Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc, “Friends”

Warner Bros.

Joey - Question - Joey - Tribbiani - Matt

Joey, to answer the question. Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc). I chose him because I love Matt’s charisma on screen and his off-kilter sense of humor. But truth be told, I’m...
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