Monica Geller in The One with the Cheap Wedding Dress
|First appearance||The Pilot|
|Last appearance||The Last One|
|Created by||Marta Kauffman|
|Portrayed by||Courteney Cox Arquette|
|Nickname(s)||Mon, Big Fat Goalie, Harmonica, Crazy Plate Lady (by Amy), Candy Lady (guy on "The One With All The Candy") Felula (middle name by Phoebe)|
(2001- , married)
Jack Bing (son, adopted)
Monica Elizabeth Geller is a fictional character on the popular US television sitcom Friends (1994–2004), played by Courteney Cox Arquette. Monica is known as the "Mother Hen" of the group and her Greenwich Village apartment was one of the group's main gathering places. She tended to look after her friends and was known for her obsessive personality and competitive nature.
During the series, it is revealed that Monica was obese, ballooning to 255 pounds by high school. Monica was shown in her earlier "fat" stage in flashback scenes in a few episodes. Monica met Ross's friend Chandler when he and Ross were in college. After overhearing Chandler call her fat, Monica lost weight during her senior year of high school and her freshman year of college. In a flashback episode, it is revealed that as Monica attempted to get revenge for Chandler calling her fat by seducing him but accidentally cut off Chandler's toe. It was Chandler who suggested (facetiously) that she become a chef, which she did.
Monica initially shared her New York City apartment with Phoebe, who moved out because she was worried their friendship would be strained because of Monica's obsessive tidiness. For most of the series, Monica's roommate was Rachel, her friend from high school. In the pilot episode, Rachel left her fiancé Barry Farber at the altar and moved in with Monica. Monica met Joey Tribbiani when he moved in with Chandler, who lived across the hall from Monica. It is revealed that upon first meeting, Monica had a crush on Joey.
Her catchphrase is a loud, excited and exaggerated "I KNOW!" which some of the friends are known to use in the same way one time or another throughout the series.
Monica and Ross are usually quite affectionate although there is a lot of sibling rivalry between them. When they were children, Ross often took pranks on Monica too far, and was very mean. Although she has forgiven him, they often have childish brother/sister arguments. In many episodes, Ross and Monica used an odd childhood gesture whereby they would knock their fists together with their thumbs pointing outward (as an alternative to "the finger"). Joey and Rachel picked up this habit.
In Season 10, Monica and Ross shockingly find out that they kissed at a party as teenagers (Ross was in college). Ross says that he went to bed in the dark and kissed Rachel (who was buried under a pile of coats) after she passed out on his bed. Chandler explained that he left Rachel on his bed, meaning Monica was asleep on Ross's bed. Ross was confused and said that Rachel was buried under a bunch of coats, then Monica replied "I WAS the pile of coats!" Ross and Monica are very disappointed to discover this. Monica then reveals that her "Midnight Mystery Kisser" was also her first kiss ever.
Monica and Ross are particularly competitive around their parents and Monica feels her parents favor Ross. Judy Geller is very critical of Monica and forgets that she has two children. In one episode, Ross and Chandler each place fake entries on their internet college forum about one another. Chandler states that Ross has died, and during a phone call between Ross and his mother, while trying to reassure her that he is not dead, he says, "Even if I had died you wouldn't be left childless", and has to be reminded by Ross about Monica. Similarly, when Rachel and Monica are trying to help Phoebe get ready to meet Mike's parents, Rachel says that Judy referred to her as "the daughter she never had".
Other examples of Monica feeling neglected by her family include:
Judy Geller makes it no secret that Ross is her preferred child, and is highly critical of Monica, constantly telling her to get married. Jack Geller is Jewish, while Judy is Christian. In "The One with the Holiday Armadillo", Ross goes to Monica's apartment, and introduces Ben to Hanukkah. Also, Ross talks about getting Monica a Hanukkah present several times. Monica also mentions that she had a Bat Mitzvah. And when Monica muses that she would make a good Reverend, Chandler responds that would be tough as she's Jewish.
Monica began a secret relationship with Chandler in London, at Ross's wedding to second wife Emily Waltham at the end of Season 4. After a drunken party guest mistook Monica as Ross's mother, Chandler comforted Monica, telling her that she is "the most beautiful woman in most rooms." This led to them sleeping together the night before Ross's wedding. As their relationship deepened, Monica and Chandler tried to keep it a secret but their friends found out. After almost marrying in Las Vegas in Season 5, Chandler moved in with Monica when they returned to New York (Season 6), causing Rachel to move out. They got engaged in Season 6 and married in Season 7. In the Series Finale, they supported the birth mother as she gave birth to their adopted twins, Jack and Erica.
Monica and Chandler almost didn't get engaged because an ex-boyfriend of Monica's, Richard Burke (played by Tom Selleck), came back into her life. Richard was significantly older than Monica (21 years) but the two fell in love during Season 2. A chance meeting during Season 6 rekindled Richard's passion, and he told her that he wanted to have children with her. However, Monica thought about it, thinking Chandler didn't want to get married. Monica and Chandler are now married and living together.
"Neat Freak" Monica is comically obsessive about her apartment and loves cleaning (she described the dry cleaner as her Disneyland). This personality trait becomes exaggerated as the series progressed. Examples of this include:
Monica also has an unfortunate, but funny, tendency to express happiness about sad events (especially death). Throughout the series, she often says the wrong thing at the wrong time and doesn't realize how it sounds until she has already said it. People sometimes find her insensitive when she behaves in this way.
Monica is highly competitive, allegedly throwing a plate in a fit of rage during a game of Pictionary, and declaring that "rules help control the fun!" When Joey and Ross were casually tossing a ball back and forth in Joey's apartment, Monica joined in and turned it into a challenge to see how long they could go without dropping it. She also threw the ball too hard at Ross to which he exclaimed "Monica, stop throwing the ball so hard! We're on the same team". Sometimes, however, she takes her competitive nature too far. One dramatic example of this was when Monica impulsively gambled her and Rachel's apartment during a trivia game created by Ross. When she and Rachel then lost the final question, they were forced to swap apartments with Chandler and Joey. However, they later won their apartment back by agreeing to kiss for one minute.
Monica also demonstrates athletic prowess, which, coupled with her competitive streak, makes her formidable, especially in foosball. During the group's trip to Barbados, Monica became obsessed with beating Phoebe's boyfriend Mike at table tennis, and the two became engaged in a marathon match, lasting hours. Sometimes, however, Monica becomes too rough. While attempting to give Chandler a sensuous massage, she hurts him to the point of his crying out. Moreover, she held firm in an arm wrestle against Chandler in "The One with the Halloween Party". Also, in their youth, Monica broke Ross's nose when a game of touch American football turned ugly in an attempt to win the "Geller Cup." The cup was thrown into a nearby lake. What Ross didn't know until "The One with the Football" was that Monica jumped into the lake to retrieve it. In the last episode, while trying to rescue the birds Joey bought, she managed to destroy the foosball table, without using tools for most of it.
Monica is notoriously bossy. She is often referred to as such by her friends. Her bossiness is best seen in her relationship with Chandler, where she frequently wins the upper hand in their disputes. After becoming a couple, Chandler says "so I really don't get to win [arguments] any more?", to which Monica replies "how often did you ever really win anyway".
Monica is repeatedly depicted as wanting to be in a relationship and have children. Before and after her relationship with Richard, she frequently worries about not having a boyfriend. Early in the series, Monica longed to have a child and broke up with Richard because he did not want children. After Richard, Monica seriously considers becoming a single mother through artificial insemination. Interestingly, even before she and Chandler began dating, the two talked about getting together and having a baby if both were single at the age of 40. Finally after she marries Chandler, they attempt to have children but fail. They consider adoption and are chosen by a pregnant teenager named Erica. They are chosen, initially, because the adoption agency tells Erica that Chandler is a doctor and Monica is a minister. After a long conversation, Chandler convinces Erica to give them the baby. In the last episode, it is announced that she is having twins, a boy named Jack after Monica and Ross's father and a girl named Erica after the children's biological mother.
It is revealed early in the series that she had been overweight until she was a teenager. Monica lost the weight when she was 18 after she overheard Chandler call her "fat" at Thanksgiving and lost the weight by dancing non-stop for several hours for several weeks.
The writers of the series often used flashbacks to show the overweight Monica (with Courteney Cox Arquette wearing a fat suit). In one episode, when the group watched an old prom video and were surprised to see her weight, Joey yelled "some girl ate Monica!". This was also the first episode where we saw "big-nosed Rachel." Monica tried to stick up for herself, claiming the camera adds ten pounds. Chandler was quick to retort, "So how many cameras are actually on you?" In another episode where the group remember past Thanksgivings, one flashback reveals why Monica lost all the weight. She heard Chandler tell Ross he didn't want to be stuck in all night with his fat sister, prompting Monica to break down and refuse the food offered to her by her mother. She lost the weight by Thanksgiving of 1988, Rachel also lost the big nose. In almost every episode that features "Fat Monica", the episode ends with Monica dancing.
In an alternate reality storyline during the show ("The One That Could Have Been"), Monica was overweight but was still a professional chef and ended up with Chandler, who was a freelance writer, at the end of the episode, having just lost her virginity to him as a favour he offered her. During the episode when her current boyfriend, a doctor, asks her to save him some of the dinner after he is paged, she replies "I can't promise anything," tucking into it.
As revealed in another episode, Monica's weight meant a junior high school member had to play with her on the see-saw rather than someone her own age, and her marching band outfit had to be custom made. Her fatness also explains Ross's hastened eating when he explains to Rachel "I grew up with Monica! If you didn't eat fast, you didn't eat!" In The One With the Pediatrician, Monica reveals that Ross had a therapist due to a recurring bad dream, which was that Monica was going to eat him. Monica's weight is reported in another episode to have been the reason for their dog's knee surgery, after she tried to ride him as an eleven year old, and in a different episode Ross reveals that she caused their parents' porch swing to break; it had been previously thought that a hurricane had broken it. In the same episode Ross also reveals that after being sent to bed without dinner one night, Monica tried to eat the macaroni glued to her jewellery box.
Another episode reveals that Monica attended fat camp as a child, and was found caught in the barbed wire after trying to catch and eat a squirrel, which she claimed she had been trying to help out.
Monica is a chef, and, as with most areas of her life, she is obsessive and competitive. Monica uses Chantal cookware in blue. Originally, she was a poorly paid chef at a restaurant called Iridium. After accepting a promotion at a restaurant called Café des Artistes, she was fired for accepting a gift from a food distributor. Monica remained unemployed for a while before getting offered a job at a 1950s-themed restaurant called the Moondance Diner. At this time, Monica reveals that she worked at the famous Cafe des Artistes when she said "I was a sous-chef at Cafe des Artistes. How can I take a job where I have to make something called Laverne and Curly fries?" At the Moondance Diner, Monica wears a blond wig, roller skates and massive fake breasts. While working at the diner, she met millionaire Pete Becker (played by Jon Favreau), who used his money to open a restaurant and appoint Monica as head chef. After the relationship failed due to the consequences of Pete's desire to become the "Ultimate Fighting Champion", Monica began a short-lived catering business with Phoebe. Also during her unemployed days, Monica worked for an unnamed food company, thinking up recipes and then making them, using substitute food products, such as 'Mocolate', a chocolate substitute which never took off due to its sour taste (Phoebe said "this must be what evil tastes like") and side effect of causing urination to become painful if a large amount was eaten. Also during this time, she temporarily bought shares in the stock market using her $127 in her bank account, despite not knowing anything about how it works, only buying shares from companies only because of the names, not knowing what the companies did or how successful they were.
Monica was eventually hired as head chef at a local restaurant, Alessandro's, putting an end to the catering business. At first, her employees disliked Monica because three of them were the children of the previous head chef, coupled with a fairly vicious review she had published in a local newspaper about the restaurant. However, Monica hired Joey as a waiter, solely to fire him, thereby appearing to be a tough boss. It apparently worked, as her problems with her employees were reduced. She left Alessandro's when Chandler's firm required him to relocate to Tulsa, Oklahoma. However, when she contacted a job-hunter about Tulsa restaurant openings, she got a job as head chef at Javu, an upscale restaurant in Manhattan, forcing her to stay in New York.
When Courteney Cox Arquette landed on the cast of Friends, she was asked to play the role of Rachel Green but she thought she should take the role of Monica Geller instead. Maggie Wheeler also auditioned for the part but ended up playing recurring character Janice Litman Goralnik (née Hosenstein) instead. Actress Jami Gertz was offered and declined the role of Monica before Friends went into production.
Monica's apartment was one of the main focal points of the series. Many critics of the show began to question how Monica could ever afford the apartment on a chef's salary, so the writers of Friends explained that she sublet the apartment from her grandmother, who had moved to Florida. In the series finale, Chandler remarks to one of his newborn twins, "Thanks to rent control, it was a friggin' steal."
Monica once stated she was allergic to cat hair, but in another episode mentions she once owned a cat.
Monica utters the first line in the show: "There's nothing to tell, he's just some guy I work with."