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Does Chandler Bing Still Zing?

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How the Friends characters changed

Chandler Bing Matthew Perry image
Warner Bros.

A huge amount has been written about Friends over the years. That is to be expected, given it is a TV show that defines an era, whether you love or hate it. Much more will be written when the long-awaited cast reunion finally happens after its COVID-enforced delay. It was supposed to be filmed in March but there is currently no date scheduled for either filming or broadcast. But how did the characters themselves change over the 10 seasons & 236 episodes? Let’s look at Chandler Muriel Bing.

Firstly, his character could have been very different if either Jon Cryer or Jon Favreau had been cast as Chandler over Matthew Perry. Not that those two gentlemen seem to have suffered from missing out on the part. Jon Cryer was already an established star thanks to his roles in Hot Shots & Pretty In Pink. He went on to be the only character that appeared in all 12 seasons of Two & A Half Men. Jon Favreau meanwhile, played Monica’s boyfriend Pete Becker in Series 3, and has gone on to direct 2 Iron Man films, Elf & The Lion King.

Style

If you go back & watch the first season, Chandler’s wardrobe choices are mostly awful. Maybe that’s why he was told in an early episode that he had “a quality”. Not a quality for dressing at that point but his sartorial choices did improve. He mainly stuck to smart jeans & shirts, when he wasn’t wearing an immaculate suit for work. But the occasional bowling shirt was thrown in for good measure, as well as his infamous sweater vests.

The hair, other than that floppy mess he had in the first season, stayed pretty much unchanged for the remaining 9 years. He always liked looking clean & cool, apart from a brief dalliance with growing a mullet in Season 6.

I guess we have Phoebe to thank for that, after she cut Joey & Chandler’s hair. But the less said about her attempt to make Monica’s hair look like Demi Moore’s the better.

Humour

Chandler’s fundamental sense of humour never really changed. It was always acerbic & razor sharp. But his jokes did develop in tandem with his character.

It’s well known that Matt Perry was the only actor allowed into the writer’s room to help contribute to crafting Chandler’s multitude of killer lines.

Early on, some of Chandler‘s zingers were like a stand-up comedian, and he could treat some of his Friends like hecklers with some wicked put-downs.

Matthew Perry’s favourite Chandler joke demonstrates this perfectly. From Season 2’s opener, “”The One With Ross’ New Girlfriend”:

“You should go see Frankie, my family’s been going to him forever,” Joey says to Chandler. “He did my first suit when I was 15… No, wait, 16. No, excuse me, 15. When was 1990?” Chandler responds: “OK, you have to stop the Q-tip when there’s resistance!”

But as the character evolved, so did his comfort in being the butt of the jokes. He could also indulge in some displays of goofy geekery, and show a new side to his personality. One such example was dressing up as a rabbit for a party & arm-wrestling Ross, who was dressed as an armadillo.

Maybe it was down to his relationship with Monica, or maybe that’s a coincidence, which as Chandler rightly pointed out to Phoebe is “jo-incidence with a C”.

Romantic Relationships

As Chandler once said “Until I was 25, I thought that the only response to ‘I love you’ was ‘Oh, crap!’”.

It was a recurring theme that Chandler Bing was consistently hopeless at relationships. This was even the case until he & Monica got engaged, when he finally seemed to get his act together.

The repeated romantic disasters with Janice, which resulted in him fleeing to Yemen to escape her screeching clutches, were typical of his complete romantic inability.

But, somehow love found a way, and it found its way to London at the end of Season 4. Despite Monica stating she’d never go out with him, after he’d peed on her to kill a jellyfish sting, she somehow ended up in the bed of Bing. From then on they were inseparable & clearly a great partnership. Their personalities & own individual neuroses complemented each other brilliantly.

Their determination to become parents, despite their fertility issues, showed Chandler’s growth. There’s no doubt that it wouldn’t have been a storyline that could have happened without his relationship with Monica showing his caring side.

Monica’s stable influence also allowed him to reconcile with his estranged father Charles before their wedding.

Friendships

What about his relationships with the rest of the Friends? Well, the other one that defines Chandler is his friendship with Joey. What appears early on to be a classic roommates friendship, with pranks & jokes aplenty, becomes a brotherhood. So much so that one almost can’t function without the other, especially when Chandler has to move to Tulsa.

The genuine love they have for each other is so obvious on screen and it’s no surprise that the 2 Matt’s are best friends in real life.

Their relationship is so iconic that in 2019 it was voted the best on-screen friendship of all time,, beating Monica & Rachel into second place.

Jobs

“What is Chandler Bing’s job?” asked Ross, and the best Rachel or Monica could come up with was “a Transponster”, which Monica pointed out, isn’t even a word!

For the record, he was doing statistical analysis & data reconfiguration until he quit after being relocated to Tulsa. He then moved into advertising. That change of career brought him in line with the rest of the gang, who were all in jobs they had genuine passion for – actor, chef etc.

He went from being someone content to take a good wage in a job he clearly didn’t enjoy, to a married father of 2 successful in a role he revels in. That is a great example of Chandler’s growth.

Chandler Bing was & will always be my favourite Friend – could he BE any more grown up?


That’s our list of ways Chandler Bing changed from Season 1 to Season 10 in Friends. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


More of our Friends articles HERE

Read IMDB information on Matthew Perry HERE.

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TV News

Loki Episode 6 – Review

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Loki episode 6 image
Marvel Studios

Episode six of Loki from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus. It’s time for the series finale. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

More to come

The post-credit scene showed that a second series has already been ordered, meaning this finale is essentially the end of Part One. Thank goodness it is. Because if this was the denouement of the entire Loki story then there’s a good chance it would go down in television infamy as one of the more unusual series endings.

Introducing the big bad

We pick up from Sylvie and Loki’s defeat of The Alioth as they look at the citadel upon the rock at the end of time. They make their way to the entrance, and upon being invited in they’re met by Miss Minutes. It’s been widely predicted that ‘she’ would be an agitator in this series. And at last her role has been revealed. She is an emissary of Kang The Conquerer, embedded within the TVA.

She offers Loki the earth, almost literally, as she tries to coax him to betray Sylvie. Her offers of infinity stones, defeating Thanos etc. Happily, Loki rejects all the trinkets that she offers. Instead, he and Sylvie head into the lift where they meet ‘He Who Remains’ aka Kang The Conquerer. A 31st-century scientist and the true timekeeper.

Loki fight

Sylvie attempts to kill him but he quickly demonstrates some of his powers by dodging and weaving her before she gives in and the three of them sit down for a very long discussion. To sum up what was a lengthy and occasionally fairly tedious scene. He Who Remains (HWR) asks Loki and Sylvie to kill him and take over the role of controlling the timeline. Loki is extremely reticent but Sylvie, angry at what HWR’s meddling has done to her life, is desperate to do so.

Meanwhile, back at TVA HQ, Renslayer is informed by Miss Minutes of HWR’s plan. Showing her dual role and playing on Renslayer’s desperation to keep the TVA active and relevant.

Loki and Sylvie get into a physical fight over what to do with HWR. With Loki recognising how the timeline will fragment with branches springing up all over the place. But Sylvie is consumed by her rage and eventually overpowers Loki, sending him back to the TVA and then kills He Who Remains.

Setting up season two

Loki finds Mobius and tries to explain what has happened. But then discovers the terrible effects of what Sylvie has done by apparently killing HWR. Mobius has no idea who Loki is. This situation is then made worse when Loki looks out to see a statue of He Who Remains adorning TVA HQ. Loki realises that he is in a different timeline branch. One where HWR or Kang is in control of everything. Sylvie has been manipulated into apparently killing him which has enabled him to increase his power further.

Jonathan Majors was masterful as He Who Remains. Which is what you’d expect from someone with a Masters in acting from Yale. He was flamboyant, powerful and mesmerising, which is exactly what you want from a major villain. He will be back in AntMan 3 as Kang The Conquerer and is set to be the key villain in the next phase of the MCU post-Endgame and Thanos.

I have been extremely positive about this series, as I think it has been the strongest and most cohesive of the Marvel series so far this year. But I can’t disagree with anyone who felt short-changed by this finale. My 11-year-old son was pretty vocal in his disappointment the moment the credits rolled, and he was absolutely right. He is one of the most obsessive Marvel fans around and if he was underwhelmed, I feel pretty sure he was reflecting the majority view. Nothing I’ve seen online since has dissuaded me from that either.

Phase 4 groundwork

It seemed that the finale was essentially an exercise in introducing He Who Remains or Kang to our screens ahead of AntMan 3. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it meant that the focus shifted away from being the climax of this series. Instead of being a prologue for the next phase of the MCU, which does seem a peculiar decision.

There are those who feel that the series original premise of Loki and Mobius teaming up to find Variants dotted around time and space was dropped after the first two episodes. Instead, it was replaced with a love story between Sylvie and Loki and a voyage of discovery with Mobius reduced to a bit part for the rest of the series.

But, the cliffhanger at the end of the series as Loki returns to the TVA does give me hope that Series Two will be an even better follow up.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10


Thank you for reading our review of Loki episode six. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our Loki episode five review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Loki HERE.

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