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Monica Geller
Friendsmonica.jpg
Monica Geller in The One with the Cheap Wedding Dress
First appearance The Pilot
Last appearance The Last One
Created by

David Crane

Marta Kauffman
Portrayed by Courteney Cox Arquette
Information
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)
Occupation Chef
Spouse(s) Chandler Bing
(2001- , married)
Children Erica Bing
(daughter, adopted)
Jack Bing (son, adopted)
Religion Judaism

Monica Elizabeth Geller is a fictional character on the popular US television sitcom Friends (19942004), 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.

Contents

History

Monica is the younger sister of Ross Geller, high school friend of Rachel Green, former roommate of Phoebe Buffay, and married to Ross's college friend Chandler Bing.

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 and Chandler got together in London during the Season 4 finale and married in the Season 7 finale. Monica and Chandler have two adopted children, twins named Jack and Erica.

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.[1] 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.[2]

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.

Geller family

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:

  • Her parents only wanting Ross to make a speech at their 35th wedding anniversary party.
  • Having her childhood room turned into a gym while Ross's was untouched.
  • Having all her old mementos destroyed by water damage in her parents's garage, while Ross's were in perfect condition (although her dad gave her his Porsche 911 to make it up to her).
  • Having "The Monica Wedding Fund" spent on the family beach house.

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.

Relationship with Chandler

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.

Personality

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Cleanliness

"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:

  • She categorises her towels into 11 sections, with examples being "everyday use", "fancy", "guest", and "fancy guest".[3]
  • She labels everything from dishes to photographs.
  • Chandler woke her up by announcing that he "probably won't spill coffee grounds all over the kitchen floor."[4]
  • When Ross tells her that an ex-girlfriend (played by Rebecca Romijn) has an incredibly messy apartment, Monica is unable to sleep thinking about it. Monica later goes to clean for her. After being told that she couldn't clean it up, she cleaned the door instead.[5]
  • In Season 1, she tried to act like she was a "kook" and didn't care when she left her shoes in the living room but couldn't sleep, wondering if she should go and get them.
  • In another episode it is learned that she has supplies for cleaning cars because there was a dirty car parked out front of the building. She washed it, and six others.[6]
  • In season 5, Rachel didn't want to go to an eye appointment and tried stopping Monica by knocking over a box of cereal. Monica pretends she isn't bothered and they leave but Monica returns seconds later, yelling "Chandler!" and Chandler cleans it up.
  • In Season 6, it's revealed that Rachel hasn't begun packing when she is supposed to have finished. Rachel defends herself by claiming it was a gift for Monica. Monica begins by choosing herself as co-ordinator and says "I'm so sorry, I didn't get you anything!"[7]
  • She is obsessive to the point that she cleans her cleaning supplies, using a Dustbuster to remove dirt from a vacuum cleaner and wishing there was a smaller vacuum to clean the Dustbuster.
  • In Season 10, when Phoebe tells her that they couldn't meet because she was "cleaning and organizing" her apartment before Mike moves in, Monica "forgets" and goes to Phoebe's apartment with her label-maker
  • In Season 3, when Mark asks Rachel why all the cups have numbers, Rachel claims that Monica labels the cups so she knows which one is missing.
  • After Rachel's birthday party in The One With Phoebe's Rats, Rachel offered to help Monica clean up to which Monica replies, "Are you kidding? You had your party, now I'll have mine!"
  • In The One Where Monica Sings, Rachel is telling Phoebe about her kiss with Gavin. Monica asks how she didn't see it when it was on her balcony, Phoebe replies "It was after the party - you were probably ironing the wrapping paper."
  • In another episode, Chandler cleans the apartment as a surprise. Ross sees him doing this and explains that she will "kill" him if everything is not back in the exact place it was originally. She returns home after a hard day at work and notices that the house is different (even though it appears to be the same). Also, Rachel also cleans the apartment during the first season (the "Kook" episode), and moves the green ottoman, which makes Monica anxious. Chandler exclaims to Rachel "Thank God you didn't try to fan out the magazines, I mean she'll scratch your eyes right out"
  • While Monica and Chandler are together, Monica discovers that none of Chandler's CDs are in the right cases when he states "If I can't find the right case I just put it in the nearest one." Monica responds nervously, "Ok, no need to panic... deep breaths everyone, I'll just have to spend some time putting them back in the right cases."
  • In 'The One with the Stain' Monica comes home to find that the apartment has been cleaned. After finding out that Chandler didn't clean, Monica replies, "Oh no, was I cleaning in my sleep again?" to which Chandler replies "I got a maid" to which Monica nervously replies "...I hope that by maid you mean mistress cuz if some other woman was here cleaning then...! to which Chandler replies " Honey I know you don't like to relinquish control..." to which Monica replies " relinquish is just a fancy word for lose...!" which would indicate that Monica was not only obsessed about cleaning, she was also determined that her way was the only proper way to handle it.
  • In 'The One with the Stain' Monica becomes anxious when she discovers that Chandler had hired a maid. When Chandler asks her: "What`s wrong", she replies: "Usually when I`m this anxious, I clean!"
  • In The One with Rachel's Other Sister, Rachel and her sister, Amy, had a fight and Rachel knocks over and breaks a plate from Monica's and Chandler's wedding china and Monica nearly fainted. Moments later, Chandler knocks over the box containing the rest of the wedding china but the viewer never sees Monica's reaction.

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.

Competitiveness

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.

Bossiness

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".

  • When Monica becomes Phoebe's wedding planner, she orders the events run on "military time". [8]
  • In Season 5, she and Phoebe co-ordinate Rachel's surprise birthday party, and Monica takes charge of everything except cups and ice, for which she gives Phoebe responsibility. In reaction to this, Phoebe surprises Monica by bringing hundreds of cups (which she even decorates with) and various types of ice, including crushed, cubed, and dry.'mystical'.
  • While Monica and Phoebe are living together, Monica once apologizes to Phoebe for leaving lipstick on the phone. When Phoebe tells her that she didn't, Monica replies "Oh, well, then it must have been you!"[2]

Relationships and children

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.

"Fat Monica"

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.

Employment

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.

Production

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."

References

  1. ^ "The Pilot". Director: James Burrows, Writers: David Crane and Marta Kauffman. Friends. NBC. 1994-09-22. No. 1, season 1.
  2. ^ a b "The One with the Flashback". Director: Peter Bonerz, Writers: David Crane and Marta Kauffman. Friends. NBC. 1996-10-31. No. 54, season 3.
  3. ^ "The One with the Embryos". Director: Kevin S. Bright, Writers: Jill Condon and Amy Toomin. Friends. NBC. 1998-01-15. No. 85, season 4.
  4. ^ "The One Where They're Up All Night". Director: Kevin S. Bright, Writers: Zachary Rosenblatt. Friends. NBC. 2001-01-11. No. 158, season 7.
  5. ^ "[[The One with the Dirty Girl|The One with the Dirty Girl]]". Director: Shelley Jenson, Writers: Shana Goldberg-Meehan and Scott Silveri. Friends. NBC. 1997-11-06. No. 79, season 4.
  6. ^ "The One with Joey's Porsche". Director: Gary Halvorson, Writers: Perry M. Rein and Gigi McCreery. Friends. NBC. 1999-10-21. No. 126, season 6.
  7. ^ "The One on the Last Night". Director: David Schwimmer, Writers: Scott Silveri. Friends. NBC. 1999-11-04. No. 127, season 6.
  8. ^ "The One with Phoebe's Wedding". Director: Kevin S. Bright, Writers: Robert Carlock and Dana Klein Borkow. Friends. NBC. 2004-02-12. No. 230, season 10.

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