Chandler Bing

Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010

Chandler Muriel Bing is a fictional character on the popular U.S. television sitcom Friends (1994–2004), portrayed by Matthew Perry.

Chandler Muriel Bing, b: April 8, 1969 son of erotic novelist Nora Bing (Morgan Fairchild in four episodes) and cross-dressing Vegas burlesque star Charles Bing (Kathleen Turner), was Ross Geller’s roommate at college.

Chandler met Ross’s sister, Monica Geller, and her friend, Rachel Green, while celebrating Thanksgiving with the Geller family during his first year at college. On a tip from Monica, Chandler later moved to Apartment #19 in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, across the hall from Monica and her roommate, Phoebe Buffay.

Throughout most of the series, Chandler was an executive specializing in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration. He later quit and became a junior copywriter at an advertising agency.

Numerous times throughout the series, Chandler mentions that he hates Thanksgiving as his parents announced that they were divorcing at Thanksgiving. During Season 5, it is revealed that Monica chopped off part of his pinky toe, the portion containing the nail, during one particular Thanksgiving, which only adds to his hatred of the holiday. Chandler has a “tradition” of retelling the story of his parents’ announcement for divorce. During Season 8, Monica cooks a separate chicken for him on Thanksgiving.

Chandler’s first line at the show was “Alright Joey, be nice. So, (asking Monica), does he have a hump?” while discussing Monica’s new date. Chandler’s last line is answering Rachel’s offer to have coffee: “Sure. Where?” This is also the last line of the show.

At the end of season 4, Chandler began a secret relationship with Monica Geller in London. They had been friends for some time and met when Chandler and Ross were at college together. Chandler dropped hints about his interest in Monica during season 1, genuinely increased his efforts in season 3 but Monica thought he was joking.

At Ross and Emily’s wedding in London, Monica and Chandler slept together and began dating (a few years later, Monica revealed that she had actually gone to Chandler’s room, looking for Joey). Monica and Chandler tried keeping their relationship secret, not wanting the others to make a big deal out of it, but they all eventually found out. Because Chandler and Monica did not tell them, Rachel and Phoebe tried getting them to admit their relationship. Correspondingly, Monica and Chandler tried getting them to admit that they knew, and a silent battle broke out (with Joey as the go-between) and ending with Phoebe and Chandler together, but Chandler finally cracked and admitted his love for Monica.

The two moved in together at the beginning of season 6, Chandler proposed by the end of the season, and they were married at the end of season 7. Their wedding was officiated by Joey, who was ordained over the Internet. In the final episode, Monica and Chandler (who were unable to conceive) watched as their adopted twins, Erica and Jack, were born, though they had expected only a single child. Chandler has also had many problems with Monica’s ex-boyfriend Richard (portrayed by Tom Selleck), whom he and Joey had briefly idolized before Chandler and Monica started dating, mostly because of Richard’s moustache and macho appearance.

Monica also sometimes got on Chandler’s nerves because of her bossiness, neatness, and overly competitive nature. This forced Chandler into several situations, such as Monica being unable to throw a game of tennis against Chandler’s boss and Chandler’s having to hide the fact that he is incredibly good at ping-pong to keep Monica from entering them into doubles-tournaments. During season 8 episode “The One with Monica’s Secret Closet”, Chandler says he married Monica despite the fact she was overly organized.

In the alternative reality episode of “The One that Could Have Been”, Monica is still fat and Chandler does not show much interest in her. However, when Monica’s current boyfriend gets called out to work during dinner, they sleep together and Chandler falls in love with her, so the two end up together anyway.

Twins Jack and Erica appear in the final episode, when biological mother Erica (Anna Faris) gave birth to them. Everyone, except the doctor, was shocked as Erica had not realized she was expecting twins. Erica said the doctor, at an antenatal appointment, had said “both heartbeats sound strong” and assumed he meant hers and the baby’s. Chandler and Monica were a little shocked and discussed having the other baby adopted by someone else, but soon decided to adopt both when Monica said that they could not split them up.

Chandler and Monica, unable to conceive, are selected by Erica to adopt the twins. Jack was named after his adoptive grandfather and Erica after her biological mother. They are shown in Apartment 20, with the rest of the group before leaving for their new home.

Chandler shared an apartment with his best friend Joey Tribbiani. Chandler and Joey’s apartment became an important focal point for the series as one of the few meeting areas of the gang. The two formed a close and enduring friendship, and got into many humorous situations. Their adventures included losing Ross’s infant son, Ben, on a bus; Chandler’s dismay at Joey building an “entertainment unit” which was so big it partially covered both of their bedroom doors; buying a chick and a duck (affectionately named “The Chick and The Duck”); and replacing their dining table with a foosball table. A famous running gag suggested them as an old married couple when they argued, with Chandler usually assuming the wife role and Joey assuming the husband role. (Although in one of the episodes where Joey’s new roommate Janine is present, Joey takes the more woman-like role of their argument with comments such as “Why would you say that? It’s just mean!” and “It’s not what you said; it was the way you said it”, due to Janine’s feminine qualities rubbing off on Joey).

The two started off on the wrong foot when Chandler was looking for a roommate when Joey said that he “was cool with the gay thing,” Joey saying that Chandler was gay. Joey came to fill the slot, only Chandler had already chosen a roommate – a fashion photographer with a porn-star sister. But after Mr. Heckles (the grumpy old man who lived in the apartment below Monica and Rachel) told the photographer that he was Chandler’s new roommate, the photographer left disappointed and never moved in. This forced Chandler to give the keys to Joey and they found out they had a lot in common – sports and beer. He also introduced him to watching the women of Baywatch (especially Yasmine Bleeth and Nicole Eggert).

Chandler often supported Joey throughout the show, paying the rent, paying for Joey’s headshots, and buying most of the food. Joey had tried to repay Chandler by allowing him the only ticket to the premiere of his new movie. Unfortunately, Chandler fell asleep during the movie. Joey later comes in Chandler’s apartment saying that he will pay Chandler back every penny he owed him. However, seeing that Chandler had covered so many expenses for him, he dismisses it saying “So what, you fell asleep during my premiere.”

However, in the alternate reality of “The One that Could Have Been” these roles are reversed as Chandler struggles with finances while Joey rakes in the money. At one point, Joey helps out Chandler by allowing Chandler to be his assistant.

The two “broke up” temporarily after Joey found success as “Dr. Drake Ramoray” on the daytime soap opera Days of our Lives. When ‘Dr. Drake Ramoray’ was killed off and Chandler became freaked out by his new psychopathic roommate Eddie, the two soon moved back in together.

Once Chandler moved in with Monica, Joey and Chandler remained close as neighbors instead of roommates. In the final episode, Monica destroyed the foosball table in order to save Chick Jr. and Duck Jr., before she and Chandler moved to Westchester. Despite no longer living in the same apartment block, Chandler and Monica made it known that their new home would have a specially designated ‘Joey room’ above the garage.

Chandler often (jokingly) refers to Joey as a childlike family member, stating to Ross in “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister” that if he can not have Emma when Ross, Rachel and Monica died, then Ross couldn’t have Joey, in the event of Chandler’s death. Later on in that episode, Ross said that Chandler could have Emma and Ross asked him if he could have Joey.

Prior to his relationship with Monica, Chandler had an on-off relationship with Janice Hosenstein played by Maggie Wheeler, who became a recurring fixture in his life. With her big hair, her nasal voice and laugh, and her tendency to say “Oh… my… God!” (with noticeable pauses in between each word and hands flapping in sync), Chandler spent most of his time trying to end things with her. After finally breaking up with her in the season 1 episode “The One with the East German Laundry Detergent”, Chandler found himself involved with Janice twice more that season and several more times throughout the show.

There seems to be only one point in the entirety of the show where Chandler and Janice’s relationship went well, without him feeling the need to end things. During the Season 2 finale, Chandler began chatting to a woman on an internet chat room, who told him that her husband (the Mattress King) was sleeping with his secretary. He then agrees to meet up with her, only to find that the woman he was chatting to was Janice all along. The finale ends with Chandler passionately kissing Janice. The relationship continues into Season 3, where Joey reveals his unyielding hatred for her, claiming that every time she laughs, he wants to “rip off my own arm so I have something to throw at her!” He then makes an effort, for Chandler, to like her and be comfortable in her presence. At the end of “The One with the Race Car Bed”, Joey enters the Mattress King store, and sees Janice kissing her ex-husband in his office. In “The One with the Giant Poking Device”, Joey finally decides to tell Chandler this, who confronts her about it. He tells her that Joey saw her kissing her ex-husband, she replies with “In the park?” He is shocked by this and asks her if she is breaking up with him. When she says no, he asks her if she is breaking up with her ex-husband, she again says no as she cannot decide between the two. After a talk with Joey, Chandler decides to back off, because she has a child with her ex-husband, and that there may be a chance for the family to work things out. He then changes his mind at the last minute, saying that he “was babbling. Pick me!” She decides that the right thing to do is to go back to her ex-husband and try to make things work with him.

One of Chandler’s final attempts to leave her once and for all involved him claiming he was moving to Yemen (address: 15 Yemen Road, Yemen), and actually boarding a plane and flying to Yemen. (It was not actually his plan to go all the way to Yemen but Janice wanted to see the plane take off as a final goodbye). “I guess I’m going to Yemen! (to a little old lady) When we get to Yemen… can I stay with you?”

In Season 5, Janice has a fling with Ross, who is horrified when he is accused by her of being too whiny. When confronted by the Friends, Janice defends the relationship by using the fact that Chandler is in Yemen, believing that he had remained there. Ross is worried about telling Chandler but he is merely amused until Ross makes a speech about who friends can’t go out with and gives an example of “other friends’ relatives” and then Chandler, who is secretly dating Monica at the time, says (while handing Ross money) that he is angry about it and that Ross should remember that “he forgave him and also gave him $27.”

A further appearance comes when Monica inadvertently invites Janice to dinner when she discovers that Monica and Chandler are engaged. This leads to Janice inviting herself to Monica and Chandler’s wedding and so (to ensure that she does not come) Monica tells Janice that Chandler still has feelings for her, to force her to leave. Janice does so in surprise and wishes them a lifetime of happiness, although this is tempered when she whispers to Chandler as she leaves, “you call me when this goes in the pooper.”

A later appearance from Janice is at the birth of Ross and Rachel’s baby, Emma, when Janice announces to a surprised delivery room that the baby she is carrying is Chandler’s. She cackles hysterically and confesses that it is a joke moments later, pointing out that she and Chandler haven’t slept together in years.

In the final season, Janice planned to move in next door to Chandler and Monica in Westchester. In order to prevent this, Chandler suggested that they pick up where they left off and that he never stopped loving her (we actually learn her full name at this point). Fearful that they might ruin their marriages, Janice removes her bid on the house, although she does kiss Chandler one last time.

Janice has appeared in every season of Friends, except Season 6, where only her voice is heard on a mix tape that she had previously made for Chandler while they were dating, as well as appearing in a clip show.

Chandler worked as an IT Procurement Manager with the specialization “Statistical analysis and data reconfiguration”, a job which he thoroughly loathed. It remains a running joke through most of the seasons that no one quite knows what he does. His friends, in a trivia game, could not guess his job in one instance, with Rachel hysterically calling him a “transponster.” Joey once said “Jeez, Chandler, you call yourself an accountant?”, to which Chandler incredulously replied, “No…” Everyone else would go on to admit that they had no idea what he really did for a living. Monica admits several times that she doesn’t pay attention when he talks about his work, but finally learns what he does when he quits in season 9 episode 11 — she calls it Statistical Analysis And Data Reconfiguration. To which Chandler looks at Monica and asks: “I quit and you learn what I do?” (but he does mention his job title in “The One with the Cooking Class,” (season 8), a job which inspired Chandler’s oft-referenced office slang word “WENUS” (Weekly Estimated Net Usage Statistics), as well as the “ANUS” (Annual Net Usage Statistics). Because of this job Chandler appears to be the most financially well off among the six friends for the most part of the series. He reveals in one episode to have a considerably large (the exact number is unknown) sum of money which he has saved up for six years. He is also shown to hold a position of authority in his company. This may explain his hesitation in quitting.

However, Chandler was unable to simply quit his job as it was his nature to avoid ending anything forcefully, be it his job, a relationship, or even his membership with a gym. Chandler tried to quit his job in season 1, but was lured back by a huge raise on top of the yearly bonus structure. During one of the presumed many meetings that Chandler endures, he falls asleep. After awakening, he realizes that his boss has selected him to head up the new corporate division in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On Christmas Day, Chandler quits his job in Tulsa so that he can fly home to New York to be with Monica. Monica helps Chandler secure a job in advertising. Much to Chandler’s dismay, the job is as an intern. He soon secures a full-time job in the business.

In an alternate reality storyline during the show (“The One that Could Have Been”), Chandler did have the guts to quit his job and worked as a freelance writer, specializing in comics.

The character of Chandler is noted for his wise-cracks and sardonic attitude, which provides a defense mechanism. His most famous phrase is the rhetorical question “Could I be anymore…?” and is used on the show as a source of humor many times, primarily mocking from the other friends (indeed, the other friends actually make fun of the line more often than Chandler says it).

Some of the humor used by Chandler includes him describing Rachel’s attempts to stop him smoking by throwing away every cigarette he puts into his mouth as “the least fun game ever”, quoting A.A. Milne as having said “Get out of my chair, dillhole!” in an attempt to persuade Joey to vacate the chair he had been sitting in, and his insistence that his surname (Bing) is Gaelic for “thy turkey’s done”. His humorous conversations with Phoebe ranged from why Donald Duck wears a towel when getting out of the shower, to why there isn’t a superhero called “Goldman” (inspired by Spider-Man). When he and Joey are trying to pick up women, he would be referred to as ‘The Funny One’. It was revealed he had the nickname “Skidmark” at summer camp.

Throughout the show, Chandler claims he started using humor as a defense mechanism when his parents broke up, and tends to make jokes when he is nervous. In fact, when Phoebe dates a psychologist named Roger, he states that Chandler’s behavior is textbook of someone who does. His co-workers were so used to his sarcastic jokes that any serious comment he made was thought to be another joke. At one point, the Friends even challenged him to not make fun of his friends for an entire week as his New Year’s Resolution; this proved difficult when, among other things, Ross started dating a woman named Elizabeth Hornswoggle. He eventually broke down and sarcastically demanded, “And, Ross, Hornswoggle? What, are you dating a character from Fraggle Rock?” In season 9, Chandler became jealous of Monica’s new colleague, Jeffrey, because she claimed that he was ‘the funniest guy she had ever met.’ He told Joey about the situation, and Joey agreed that Chandler had a right to be upset: “Bein’ funny’s your thing!” In an early episode, Joey’s father, visiting the neighborhood, suggests “Chandler, say something funny!” to defuse a tense moment, implying Chandler’s sense of humor is well-known to Joey’s family. However, Chandler’s humor is usually seen as annoying throughout the show. The friend who tends to find Chandler’s jokes most annoying is Rachel. In “The One Where Joey Dates Rachel”, Joey asks Rachel who she would want to punch out of all of her friends. Rachel refuses to answer, until Joey says “Chandler?” Rachel replies “Yeah, but I don’t know why.” In “The One with Phoebe’s Wedding”, Rachel has to choose who will be Mike’s last groomsman. Ross tries to convince Rachel that if she picks Chandler, he will make jokes the whole way down the aisle. Rachel realizes that fact, and tells Ross that he is the lesser of two evils (Although he was still involved with the wedding when he was assigned the position of Phoebe’s ‘father’ to give her away when Joey- the original candidate- had to perform the ceremony). Chandler is also made fun of for his name many times in the series.

When Chandler is going for a job interview, which he is nervous about, he is told by Phoebe that he does not make a good first impression as he makes too many jokes. He asks for her help in preparation for the interview, and Phoebe tests him by saying, “Instead of talking about what you don’t do, let’s talk about what you do do.” When Chandler avoids joking about it, Phoebe responds by saying “Nice side step on the doo doo thing” and Chandler replies, “Hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Later, at the actual interview, the boss mentions “duties” (which, with an American accent can sound like “doodies”) and makes several innocuous references to excretion, which Chandler nervously sidesteps. After the interview, he explains to the boss that it “was hard to sidestep that doo doo thing” much to the boss’s confusion, he explains to him that “duties” are “poo” which offends the boss, thus ruining the first impression.

As the series progressed, Chandler’s humor became less prominent, and he became a decidedly more serious character.

Chandler often found himself in difficult situations or making statements that made him sound gay in accordance with a common stereotype of popular culture that gay men are behaviourally and emotionally ‘effeminate’. His friends and colleagues described him as having a certain “quality” that made people think he could be gay. He also often had long “gay” hugs with Joey. At one point, he entered a room full of the Friends and declared, “Well, don’t we look nice all dressed up? …It’s stuff like that, isn’t it?”. In the Season 4 episode “The One With Joey’s New Girlfriend”, Chandler invites Kathy to sit in the canoe with him, and asks her whether she would rather sit in the bow or the stern of the boat. Kathy replies saying she does not have a preference and asks Chandler which he prefers, to which he replies, “I like it in the stern… (long pause) …of the boat!”. In another episode, when Phoebe is wondering whether to propose to Mike, Chandler says, “If I were a guy… did I just say ‘if I were a guy?'” The show’s creators were actually considering making him gay at the beginning of the series, but ultimately decided not to. The creators had Chandler reveal that he is, in fact, straight in the eighth episode of the first season, in “The One Where Nana Dies Twice”, when a colleague of his offered to arrange a date with a man for him, thinking he was gay. He tells his friends about this, but he soon realizes that they also thought he was gay when they initially met him. However, when telling a gay colleague of his that he was not gay, the colleague replied, “I know,” and told him that all gays have some kind of “radar”.

After Chandler played a prank on Ross by posting on their college website that Ross had sex with dinosaurs, Ross created a page for Chandler and put on it that Chandler was “as gay as the day is long” with digitally edited images of Chandler and a policeman. Many of the alumni congratulated Chandler on revealing this fact. As a retort, Chandler posted on Ross’s page that he had died. Another instance which insinuated Chandler’s homosexuality was when Ross exposed Chandler’s kiss with a man to Monica. Ross had stated “Now, Chandler isn’t the type of guy who goes to bars and makes out with girls,” placing an emphasis on “girls” which caused Monica to scream, “You kissed a guy?!” to which Chandler replied, “In my defense, it was very dark, and he was a very pretty guy!”

Much of Chandler’s sexual ambiguity stems from his childhood, as do other personality traits such as smoking and resorting to humor. The oldest is his middle name, Muriel, revealed in “The One with Rachel’s Date”. On Thanksgiving when Chandler was nine, his father announced that he was gay and that he intended to divorce his wife, because he would “rather sleep with the house-boy than [her].” The house-boy says, “More turkey, Mr. Chandler?” in a very feminine voice just after this announcement. Charles Bing later moved to Las Vegas where he opened up an all-male burlesque called ‘Viva Las Gaygas’, featuring such musical numbers as “It’s Raining Men”, where he became a drag queen named Helena Handbasket (played by Kathleen Turner). While seeing the show in Las Vegas, Chandler tells Monica that when he was growing up, he “played the one on the far left,” referring to the line of men on the stage. As a result, Chandler hates Thanksgiving and refuses to eat traditional Thanksgiving food. Chandler also highlights this as the point where he began to use humor as a defense mechanism and started smoking (despite his young age).

Further amusement emerged when listening to a self-help hypnosis tape designed to prevent him from smoking. Unfortunately the tape was designed for females and Chandler came under the suggestion of being a ‘strong confident woman’. This manifested itself in Chandler applying ChapStick like a woman applying lipstick and blotting with a tissue, and emerging from the shower with a towel around his bosoms and a turban on his head. He also tells Rachel that she is wearing a “stunning blouse”. Eventually Joey overhears the tape and tampers with it, recording a message within it suggesting that Chandler should make him “…a cheese sandwich every day…” and buy him “…hundreds of dollars’ worth of pants”.

Another instance of Chandler seeming gay is in an episode in the 9th season. Joey (who is unable to stand the pain of eyebrow waxing) asks Chandler to help fix his eyebrows having only been able to withstand the pain of one eyebrow waxing. Chandler decides to help Joey, but only if he doesn’t tell anyone that he is an expert at fixing eyebrows, having fixed his Dad’s and his Dad’s friends eyebrows instead of doing regular chores. When Chandler is done, Joey says that he is extremely good at fixing eyebrows. After an awkward silence, Joey asks Chandler to curl his eyelashes and Chandler excitedly says “Yeah!”.