A Chandler Among Us
by Tarique Ejaz
We have all had moments where we have said someone quirky, witty and humorous to deal with a situation or to simply make fun of a close friend. Moreover, we all have a sort of a friend who is downright finicky in his actions, awkward in his dealings and just one who can say something hurtful/funny (not so always) and get away with it. If the answer remains a silent, resounding yet ‘meh’ like yes in the mind or the lips, Chandler Bing is the one character you cannot prevent from sort of forming an associative relation with.
I have been a fan of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. for quite some time now and I still have to come across another sitcom dealing with the concept of friendship, which warms my heart the way this show does. (Not even How I Met Your Mother. Yes, I mean it)
Six friends from different walks of life, bearing strikingly diverse personalities come together to form a kind of feel-good friendship for the ages. It’s been more than a decade and still the show’s fan following is considerable. That in itself speaks volume.
Now, let’s come back to the main character this article is supposed to be about. Chandler Bing or rather Chanandalor Bong, as his TV guide bears his name in the series. There couldn’t have been a better actor to play Chandler than Mathew Perry, or if there was it wouldn’t have been the same Chandler we have all come to love. For as Perry has stated over and over again across various media that he used to write most of his lines and Chandler is more Perry than he could actually be himself. (One for the ardent fans to re-note)
There are a lot of moments spanning 10 seasons of the show that I could refer to just to reinstate the fact as to how awesome a character Chandler is but let me leave that be. More than just a fictional character who bears traits that makes us wish that we had a friend like that or realize that ‘Hey! He is just like X or Y or both of them combined into one.’ we see a part of us (or what we aspire for) being reflected back at us.
"I speak more rubbish before 9 am than most people do all day."
The thing about Bing is that he can be condescending, absolutely jerk-like and an antisocial element in a group that isn't actually the best functional group you can expect to come across. Despite all this he is a delight. Like the point where Phoebe comes in and finds a cop's badge under her sofa at the coffee house - the now iconic Central Perk, and then Chandler goes like 'They don't sell donuts here' just makes you smile. And then the fact that the entire gang bounds upon Chandler to restrain cracking a joke at the expense of others, just for a week, as his New Year's resolution and he is unable to go through the ordeal. It almost kills him!
He is supposed to be the fun guy in the group and using his jokes, some of them along the homophobic lines to evade social intimacy, just shows that the character is a layer rather than just a crust of unusual attributes.
"I have solved the quiz and it appears that I put my career before men."
There is a subtle sensitive side to Chandler, he is a person who does not refrain from indulging in activities that are considered more feminine by the guys in the group, like keeping a jewelry box and possessing almost every single sort of moisturizers and other handy-dandy accessories.
This does not stop him, however, from treating Joey's gift of a bracelet with abhorrence.
Confused much? That is how he is.
“Like what she saw, huh? Dug my action, did she? Checking out the Chan Chan man!”
Chandler has tried to get into many a relationship with absolutely no success and has avoided certain doom multiple times, before he eventually settles down with Monica. The thing about Chandler is that he knows he is horrible when it comes to relationships. But does that matter? NO. As he says it. He is desperate, awkward and hopeless in love.
From Janice appearing and reappearing in his life, with him hating and then liking and then hating her again (He broke up with her on Valentine's Day once as well as her birthday) to Joey's then-girlfriend Kathy, he wants them and yet somehow ends up getting himself screwed.
Not to forget the short stint with Rachel's boss that one time!
The relationship shared between Joey and Chandler is the most beautiful of them all. The kind of friendship they share reminds one of brothers, or maybe something more than that. The chemistry (Yes, I am using the term chemistry) present between the two is electric. The time when Joey decides to leave the apartment after he becomes a success is heart-wrenching. I might even admit that it did sadden me immensely. And then when he comes back to kick the new guy out, well, I was more or less jumping in my seat *with joy*.
The two most memorable moments that shall remain etched in my memory shall be the time they team up to go up against Rachel and Monica in the 'How Well Do We Know Each Other' quiz for the apartment/birds deal and the just-before-it-all-came-to-an-end when Chandler and Monica are discussing about Joey's future.
"You know what's weird? Donald Duck never wore pants. But whenever he's getting out of the shower, he always puts a towel around his waist. I mean, what is that about?"
Chandler Bing is here to stay after all these years and as a fan of the show, among many other, I see no reason as to not want to emulate this funky character with insecurities that run so deep that you could find Adele rolling in it.
There is, was and will always be a Chandler among us!
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