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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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Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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Cobra Kai Season Four image
Netflix

Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.

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

It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!

Alliance

Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.

This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.

Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.

Shades of grey

This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.

With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.

This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.

New champions

Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.

Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.

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