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You Won’t Believe How the 6 Friends Characters Have Evolved Over the Years

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FRIENDS -- Season 4 -- Pictured: (back l-r) Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, (front l-r) Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay (Photo by Gerald Weinman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

It’s a common theme among long-running TV shows that characters evolve over time. If we look at popular sitcoms, we’d see that Frasier Crane became more down-to-earth, and Homer Simpson became less and less intelligent. But what about Friends? It’s clear that the first season was very different to the last season, and we’re not just talking about the fashion! Let’s look at how the characters changed in the ten years it was on the air!

1. Monica became more controlling.

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When Friends was finding it’s feet, Monica was a very sophisticated and rational woman. As the years went by, she became obsessive, bossy and, not to mention, shrill! By season ten, she had gotten extremely competitive to the point where she’d compete with herself making a better Thanksgiving dinner than last year. Her favourite thing to do was clean because it gave her control, and she also was penned as ‘high-maintenance’ by Phoebe. She was easily the most intimidating friend and wasn’t shy about her need to dominate everyone else:

“I’m his sister, ok? And I love him! I don’t wanna see him get hurt! Come on! Doesn’t that give me the right to control him- help, him?”

2. Chandler became more of a grown-up.

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Chandler started off as the unsociable, ‘fraidy-cat’ of the group. He was “hopeless, and awkward, and desperate for love” and was ‘friend-zoned’ more times than any of us could count. But when he and Monica got together, we began to see a more sensitive, more mature side to him. He still had his ‘freak out’ moments when it came to commitment, but he always found a way to put them aside in favour of his relationship. Surprisingly, he became the most responsible man out of him, Ross and Joey!

See the reason for why Chandler and Monica were the ultimate #RelationshipGoals here.

3. Ross became more whiny.

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In the beginning of Friends, Ross was all about science and fatherhood! He was the most intelligent member of the group and he didn’t fly off the handle easily. In fact, Rachel once told him that he was completely devoid of sentiment. Several series later, he became a great deal more obnoxious…in a good way. He’d moan about everything, from a shampoo explosion in his suitcase to people using ‘who’ instead of ‘whom’. Ross tried hard to keep a tough exterior, but the truth is he’s extremely oversensitive.

4. Rachel got a backbone.

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When Rachel first walked into Central Perk, she was a spoiled daddy’s girl, without hint of independence. For a while, she was the pushover of the group, and she’d break down at anyone who yelled at her for simple things, like putting a pizza box down the trash-chute. The moment her daughter Emma was born she knew she had to pluck up some courage. Rachel began to tell people exactly what she thought of them, including when she yelled at her boss when she thought he was trying to kiss her. She wasn’t afraid to put Ross in his place either:

“Make love? What are you, a girl?”

5. Phoebe became meaner.

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‘Pheebs’ started her Friends journey as a kind and sensitive woman, writing her friends Christmas songs and being afraid to hurt Monica’s feelings when she doesn’t want to live with her anymore. But as time goes on, she develops a mean street that no one dares to cross! Even Joey admitted “she’s got a crazy temper”, when Monica asked who would win in a fight at the Halloween party. Phoebe also showed her tough side when she proved that her way of handling drunk relatives at a wedding is to tackle them down!

She may have been hot-tempered at times, but Phoebe still had all the qualities that make an amazing friend.

6. Joey got even dumber.

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Joey was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, but at least he had some common sense when Friends first exploded onto our screens. In the early episodes, he was serious about his acting career and even moved out for a while to gain some independence from Chandler. We’re not sure why he ended up losing brain cells later on, but maybe it was something to do with falling down an elevator shaft (oh wait, that was his character in Days of Our Lives)! Whatever the reason, he became so dumb, he somehow named fifty-six states in America. But having less intelligence seemed to give way to a huge heart, and who could ask for more than that?

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