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Community reflects on Chandler Bing’s impact, Matthew Perry’s comedic legacy after ‘Friends’ star’s death

Matthew+Perry+played+Chandler+Bing+on+NBCs+Friends+for+10+seasons+from+1994-2004.+%0ACredit%3A+NBC+via+Getty+Images
Matthew Perry played Chandler Bing on NBC’s “Friends” for 10 seasons from 1994-2004. Credit: NBC via Getty Images

Matthew Perry, best known for his role as Chandler Bing on the hit sitcom “Friends,” died on Oct. 28 at the age of 54, after being found unresponsive in his hot tub. The Los Angeles County medical examiner ruled Perry’s death accidental, according to the autopsy report released Dec. 15.

After Perry’s death, Community students and staff reflected on the actor’s iconic role as Chandler Bing.

When “Friends” debuted in 1994, Mr. Dave Feeney was in college, and on his dorm floor the show was “must-see T.V.”

“Everybody was watching and commenting on the show,” Feeney said. “Chandler was a huge part of that.”

“He would ask a question as his punch line. Like, do I want a cup of coffee? That caught on with the vernacular of society in the ’90s,” Feeney said. “You can tell when a character resonates outside of a show when people start imitating their speech habits.”

Perry’s ability to make a joke from just a line-reading speaks to the actor’s comedic ability. This ability left an impression on sophomore Emma Ruebush.

“He provided comedic relief when [the show] was getting too dramatic,” Ruebush said.

Perry’s sarcasm or a simple joke, Ruebush said, could lighten up some of the show’s heavier moments: topics like divorce, infidelity, infertility, suicide and family trauma.

For Coach Thomas, the actor’s ability to emote is what stands out about Perry’s performances.

“He was full of facial expressions,” Thomas said. Expressions, Thomas said, he heard were not scripted.

“He just knew that he should have that … expression,” Thomas continued. “That seemed genuine. He really made the show authentic.”

It is hard for “Friends” fan Ms. Emily Houk to think of a favorite Chandler moment.

“They are all very funny for their own reasons,” Houk said.

There was just “this certain energy in his comedy that was a little bit different than the rest of [the cast]: his physical comedy, “the way he could just say one line or one word, give one look, and it was just “automatically funny.”

But for Houk, Chandler is more than just a comedic character.

“There are these layers to him that I don’t know everybody understood,” Houk said. “[They] just saw him as the jokester.”

Houk highlights the character’s “emotional and deeper parts,” aspects of the character that allowed Perry to show his acting range.

If another actor played Chandler, Houk said, “Friends” might “still be funny, but it would definitely be different.”

“That chemistry [the show’s six stars had] had was so strong. I don’t know if anybody else could really take his place,” Houk said.

The role helped earn Matthew Perry a place in Hollywood history as the “Friends” cast took home the 1996 Screen Actors Guild award for Oustanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and 2002’s Primetime Emmy for Oustanding Comedy Series.

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About the Contributor
Anysia Russell, Staff Writer
Anysia Russell is a sophomore at Normal Community High School. This is her first year working with the Inkspot. She is a staff writer. In my free time, I enjoy writing poetry, reading, and listening to music. A slogan that I live by is “No grit, no grind, no glory.” My favorite films are the “Twilight” movie series.
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