Mathew Perry or Chanandler Bong(Actually it's Miss Chanandler Bong) was recently found dead possibly of drowning in a Hot Tub, now as an avid Friends fan obviously I was sad, but then I refuse to write a sad article about someone who dedicated their life to making us laugh.
So here is my two cents on a roughly twenty year old sit com which somehow still stands up till date in spite of the fact that time has indeed shown some glaring issues that went unnoticed at the time(but today we shall ignore those).
So why do I think Chandler is the most hopeful? Well in all of the six friends it is fair to say that Phoebe and Chandler had a particularly terrible helping of traumas in their past, but while Phoebe somehow through all of it stayed strong(based on the info from the show like street phoebe being a badass or her mugging ross in her childhood for eg.), fought her way up to the top and has come to a place of accepting herself(distinction to be made, accepting oneself is not the same as accepting one's past, because that is a common mistake I have seen people make online- wow people online are wrong what a crazy concept!).
Chandler had the exact opposite reaction where he just learned to push everyone away and put up walls and freaked out at the slightest hint of intimacy or long term commitment, which was emphasized the episode: "the one where Heckles dies" which is S2 E4 I think.
His turbulent life has made him turn to absurdity where in any situation the first thing he notices is what makes this situation 'weird' and how none of it ever makes sense, a common Trauma response, and also what gave him his characteristic 'humor' that he often uses to keep everyone at arms length.
what's more even though he is insanely creative (emphasized when he gets a job at an ad agency) he works in every creative person's nightmare: a 9 to 5 desk job which earns amazingly, in fact, the running joke on friends that no one knows what Chandler Bing's Job emphasizes exactly how interchangeable and devoid of creativity and meaning jobs like this can become especially over time.
You know they say it doesn't matter what your past is, you can always work on acceptance and growth, what most stories like that do not show is that there comes a time when your choices have led you to a place where even if you try to change, certain parts of your life have been chained by things such as financial stability and the fact that life is finite and you have to live it.
Chandler at the point we meet him in the story had already crossed this point, in fact there is a point at which he decides to quit his job to pursue creativity, but stays anyways due to the money... or numbers... I guess...
So... it's over for him right? He is doomed to a fate of eternal meaninglessness and loneliness?
Well, that's where the show says differently, because Chandler... ends up married... and in a job that he loves.
And the way in which this happens is very important, he is attending the marriage of his college best friend and is actually just trying to comfort his friend while she was also comforting him after having a bad reaction for one of his jokes, when he finds the love of his life, that's it, no rizzing someone up or over the top gestures or moments, he was just being himself.
And throughout the relationship he goes step by step unravelling every one of his unhealthy habits, including the ones that kept him from having a long lasting relationship, like the one where he assumes every argument is a break up, where he freaks out at the idea of marriage because of how badly his parents marriage turned out and even came face to face with his family again.
But this is getting dangerously close to the trope of, that one perfect girl coming in your life and changing everything.
Well thankfully, his final rung of growth happened due to his own actions, he messes up before a meeting, falls asleep, is forced to move to another place where he doesn't want to live, and realizing how much this is taking away from his life, this time... he quits and sticks with it.
This is the most crucial time of his life where he must find a new job, and one that he likes for a change, and this is where his whole friend group supports him, and stands by him, as he goes in the midst of essentially kids from his perspective in order to get into advertising, a job he really likes.
And not once in the entire storyline do we have that one hyper-dramatic cathartic moment where he realizes everything and then suddenly everything is just amazing... because that's not how life works, after every one of his realizations there is a period when he is figuring things out, often becomes miserable, like in his famous, "I'm going to die alone" scene.
Or that one time when he proposed to Monica because he was sorry.
In the end one of the most immature amongst the group ends up being the one with the best marriage, a Kid, a Job that he likes, and a happy life ahead of him, and to top it all off he also ended things as the most mature amongst the group.
I say this because him and Monica made the decision to shift to a better place for the sake of their new kid (which they also got because of his mature handling of an otherwise downhill situation, I mean he could easily have freaked out and thrown a tantrum or made fun of the situation-he nearly did-when he realized he couldn't give Monica a child, and then when he realizes that they wont get the baby they were about to adopt either) realizing that this is not the kind of place they want to live the rest of their lives in.
A fate that sadly Mathew Perry could not share as in his real life the actor struggled with Drugs and really fell upon dark times, and now he is dead at the age of 54.(clarification, official report says there is no foul play and no drugs found on the scene, just in case someone misinterprets.)
So I guess what I am saying is, thank you Chandler Bing for giving me and many like me hope that there is something there in the future, and goodbye.