The news of Matthew Perry’s death had the world come to a short standstill. A standstill, because Perry was a part of a TV show that is a favorite of many generations. No one would have ever thought that a tribute banner to Perry of all people would be displayed while watching an episode. He was found in his home on October 28th and police investigations still remain underway to determine his exact cause of death.
Since its beginning in 1994, the show still continues to run on networks across the world, and is perpetually available online. In fact, his passing has led to F.R.I.E.N.D.S being rewatched by many, and has ended up in the Trending list of Netflix. But this is not a comfort rewatch, it is out of grief and a way of mourning for fans. Perry remains a favorite to so many people, spanning a multitude of countries, and across generations – a feat only few in this world have achieved.
Friends remains a cult favorite for scores of people, so much so that it has become a part of pop culture. Merchandise businesses cannot survive if they have no FRIENDS themed products. There are very few Gen-Z elements in the show, and yet it has a viewership among them. Fans can blindly, and efficiently list every memorable dialogue, event, prop that was ever part of it. Among dialogues, Perry’s have to be the most ingenious ones written for the show.
The first thought that fans love about Perry is how quick-witted he was, both as Chandler and himself. No one delivered comedy like Chandler Bing in F.R.I.E.N.D.S, even though the character uses comedy as a means of not being awkward in public. Chandler Bing is the undisputed king of sarcasm, as he implies on the show. There are instances in the show where Bing goes on a sarcasm spree, and not once did they have audiences not laughing (remember the time when he took a class in sarcasm?). They’re not lines that are meant for anybody else; no other character on TV has a comic delivery like that of Chandler.
Chandler Bing is also the flagbearer of most introverts, who identified with his mannerisms. The way he interacted with his friends, with other people – people even identified with his very sorry state in romance. The first line of thought for most of us upon talking to someone is to very clearly warn them that… we’re quite weird. Somewhere or the other, like Chandler, we specify that we might or might not make joke when we’re uncomfortable. And in a very Chandler way, there is also a daily indulgence in awkward humor way before 9 a.m. Bing fumbled around in his daily life, which most young people continue to relate to. This quiet group also identified with Bing because they could only be themselves amongst their trusted group of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, who would tolerate their incessant sarcasm without question. He is also that snappy friend of a group who whips the others into a line when they might go out of control. Chandler, like the rest of the show, is the most enduring character that finds a home in the hearts of audience members. Doesn’t matter how tech-savvy you become, you are bound to land yourself into embarrassing situations at some point. That is also when the Chandler Bing guidebook also comes in handy.
But despite being his socially awkward self, Chandler was the greenest of green flag men to ever grace 90s and 2000s TV. Girls who are in their 20s or late teens continue to pine for a man like Chandler, who proved time and again why he was a keeper. This is a man who was in doubt for a very long time, as to how he deserved a woman like Monica. In fact, to handle someone as volatile as Monica, you have to become Chandler.
Perhaps what made fans, of even today’s time, love Perry was his outspoken pain on dealing with addiction. He has admitted to being to rehab for 15 times. The number is enough to send anyone running when they know of this kind of information about someone. Talking about addiction was not a very rampant thing in the 90s, which is why he did it much, much later in life. Addiction continues to be an evil even today, and recovering addicts find cognizance in Perry’s voice. He shared how right after filming Chandler and Monica’s wedding, he was driven off to a rehab center. He was also open about how he struggled with addiction while shooting F.R.I.E.N.D.S, citing how his body changed visibly. Perry was proof that even the people with the best characters and hearts can be victim to addiction. He does not hold back from reducing the gravity of his struggles. In his memoir, Perry recounted that he was nearly at the death’s doorstep when he was 49, and was in a two-week coma. His shedding of a façade resonated with those who have been through similar struggles. Perry was always upfront with his struggle, and also how F.R.I.E.N.D.S is the best thing that he has ever done. He heartwarmingly wished that in the event of his death, he wanted the show to be able to help people, and act as an elixir to anyone going through anything.
Perry’s passing came as a hard-hitting shock, perhaps because he was the last person fans would have thought of passing. Fans now recall how some episodes had foreshadowed his death, and comment that the series will never be the same again. His wit and humor continues to put a smile across generations – another feat that only a few in this world have achieved. Fans continue to mourn him, as they gather around the F.R.I.E.N.D.S’s New York City apartment and lay their tributes. He continues to be remembered warmly by peers and fans alike, and will do so for a goof time in the future.