The biological and physical differences between men and women are referred to as the ‘Sex’ whilst ‘gender’ refers to the different male and female cultural roles ‘masculine’ and feminine’ gender roles. The ‘comedy’ sitcom ‘Friends’ is an American programme that is based around everyday situations. The motivation for this sitcom is to make the viewer laugh through being shown different types of relationships. The location of ‘Friends’ is set in the city; the viewer understands this by the few establishing shots the sitcom presents and the busy lifestyle which the majority of characters uphold.
There are a variety of characters within this sitcom creating a unit which the programme revolves around. The first main character of six is ‘Monica’. This is an important character because often the humour will revolve around her, due to the fact that she is an obsessive busy-body. Monica is an excitable, loud person who requires everything to be clean and tidy to exactness. She is a typical ‘Type A’ individual, which means that she likes to be in control and dreads the thought of losing control.
Monica will be inclined to get stressed out if she cannot do something to perfection. She is extremely competitive and is not ‘instinctively’ sensitive of others feelings. A good example of this is in the opening sequence of the programme; she is standing in the kitchen (which is an iconic signifier, women are repeatedly recognised as housewives, who cook and clean for the man of the house from gone by, when this was a true idealism). Monica is excitable in this scene; she is very happy with her new job and discusses it on the telephone with her boyfriend (Chandler).
Monica informs Chandler that she works with a man who is not only pleasant, but very funny, “Chandler, he is the funniest guy I’ve ever met”. She says this knowing that Chandler likes to be the centre of attention when it comes to humour; and that if he is not, then he can become very competitive and childish. The second main character is ‘Chandler’. This character is a sarcastic individual in the group of friends. In this episode he and Monica are in a relationship. Chandler’s main characteristic is insecurity; moreover he will often use sarcasm as a cover to try to balance it out.
He can often appear quite a jealous individual when he feels threatened by other men (Monica’s male friend at work being funnier than him), and Chandler is a very proud person with the role of being a successful businessman. Chandler is not in truth somebody special; his role just revolves around him not being very good with women and having a bitter sense of humour. Chandler lives with a roommate called ‘Joey’. Joey is the third main character in the sitcom ‘Friends’. Joey is slightly more individual than the other persons in the programme because he plays the role of a failing Italian actor.
Joey is somewhat more immature than the other characters. Joey can sometimes be a child or even the child within us; an example of this is when Ross and Rachel’s male nanny teaches Joey how to play with puppets. He is not sensible, and can even appear stupid sometimes. Joey is an individual who is rather like teenagers, he is not serious, nor does he take anything seriously, unless it is hurtful to him. The fourth main character in this unit of Friends is ‘Ross’. His role is not that of the ‘norm’. Ross has been married several times before; his first marriage was with a lesbian called Ben, with whom he had a child.
In this episode Ross is playing father to his and ‘Rachel’s’ new born baby. Ross has an obsessive interest in history and dinosaurs. He has a proud business-like manner similar to Chandler, also, like Chandler he feels easily threatened. Ross has strong views about things but, in fact he is quite a weak individual. Ross is Monica’s older brother. Monica is often jealous of Ross’s good relationship with his parents as she and her mum are not so close. Ross and Monica are very competitive with one another, but are also very close as they have the same circle of friends.
Monica’s best friend is ‘Rachel’, who is the mother of Ross’s baby. ‘Rachel’ is the fifth main character. Rachel is the ’emotional woman’ when she can’t deal with something, then everyone will know. Rachel does not always take things seriously until she is hit with the consequences. She, compared with Monica, is quite the slob. It is almost certain that Rachel, without Monica would be a mess. Monica is almost her mother figure. Rachel is a weak character unlike the next main character ‘Phoebe’. Phoebe is different from everybody else in the sitcom.
Phoebe is a vegetarian who has strong morals and feelings about certain things that few of the group do not really understand to any great degree. For example: she would not cut down a tree, even if it was dead. Phoebe is an identical twin. Occasionally her twin will make an appearance, but the two of them have some issues between them. Phoebe is quite a closed in person. If something is bothering her, she tends not to cry or to discuss it in any great depth with the others, but will wait it out on her own accord. She is an independent woman who has her own apartment.