Hall of Faces: Who’s the Greatest Character on “Friends”?

Friends The cast of Friends - Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courtney Cox, Matt Le Blanc, Lisa Kudrow

Deep in the bowels of The Spool Studios, there lies a chamber only the greatest TV characters can enter – the funniest, the grumpiest, the maddest masks the television medium has to offer. There, we honor the breakout comic relief, the magnetically flawed protagonist, the one-time guest character that defines an entire series. This is where we hoard TV’s most valuable visages. This… is the Hall of Faces.

Welcome to the Hall of Faces, The Spool’s monthly TV podcast! Hall of Faces sees hosts and TV critics Allison Shoemaker and Clint Worthington build up a pantheon of television’s greatest characters, one show at a time.

25 years ago, Friends (sorry, F*R*I*E*N*D*S) burst onto the scene to hold multicolored umbrellas and dance through the water fountain of our pop-culture consciousness, becoming one of the most indelible sitcoms of the ’90s. The tale of six close friends trying to make it in New York City amid the flannel-draped tumult of the Giuliani years, Friends was the yin to Seinfeld‘s yang, the warm, fuzzy, uncomplicated romp we turned to when the rain started to fall. Like many things in the era, it hasn’t aged well: where are the people of color? How can they afford such nice New York apartments? What’s with all the ‘no homo’ stuff between Chandler and Joey? But even with these bugaboos, it’s surprisingly easy to get back into the swing of the show, especially when Netflix makes it so addictively bingeable.

Over ten seasons of high ratings and dozens of Emmy nods, the main cast of FriendsJennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer — were catapulted to near-instant stardom, becoming one of the most beloved ensembles in television history.

It almost seems impossible to pluck one of the Friends out of the group and put them on the pedestal of our Hall of Faces, but boy howdy we’re going to try! Reigning champion Kate Kulzick (of The AV Club and The Televerse) and frequent guest/Spool staffer Caroline Siede join us as we “PIVOT!” from Friend to Friend to see which one passes muster and earns a spot in our pantheon of great TV characters. Could it be a more contentious battle?

(Hall of Faces is a proud member of the Chicago Podcast Coop. Thanks to Overcast for sponsoring this episode!)

HALL OF FACES:

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