Courteney Cox as Monica Geller-Bing
|First appearance||"The Pilot"
|Last appearance||"The Last One, Part 2"
|Created by||David Crane
|Portrayed by||Courteney Cox|
|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), Monican, Monican't, Marcia, Noisy Girl #1, Monona ("The One With The Fake Monica"), harmomanica ("The One Where They All Turn Thirty"), (20 years old) Twinkie, The Binguette (by Chandler's boss)|
|Family||Jack Geller (father)
Judy Geller (mother)
Ross Geller (brother)
(dating. May 1998-May 2001) (m. 2001-present)
(adopted daughter, with Chandler, born May 6, 2004)
(adopted son, with Chandler, born May 6, 2004)
Ben Geller (nephew)
Emma Geller-Green (niece)
Carol Willick (former sister-in-law)
Emily Waltham (former sister-in-law)
Rachel Green (sister-in-law)
Cousin Charlie (cousin)
Monica Elizabeth Geller-Bing is a fictional character in the American sitcom Friends, portrayed by Courteney Cox. Monica is known as the "Mother Hen" of the group and her Greenwich Village apartment is one of the group's main gathering places. She is also known for her obsessive-compulsive personality and competitive nature.
Monica is the younger sister of Ross Geller (David Schwimmer). She is best friends with Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc), and Ross's college roommate and best friend, Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry). Raised on Long Island, she was overweight in high school, weighing 255 pounds. Monica met Ross's friend, Chandler, when he and Ross were in college. After hearing Chandler call her fat, Monica lost weight and, in a flashback episode, tried to get revenge by seducing him but accidentally cut off his toe.
Monica initially shared her New York City apartment with Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), who had moved out over worries that their friendship would suffer due to Monica's obsessive tidiness. In the pilot episode, Rachel left her fiancé, Dr. Barry Farber (Mitchell Whitfield), at the altar and moved in with Monica. Monica met Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) 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.
Monica and Ross are usually quite affectionate, although there is a lot of sibling rivalry. In many episodes, Ross and Monica used an odd childhood gesture - knocking their fists together with their thumbs pointing outward (as an alternative to "the finger"). Monica and Ross are particularly competitive around their parents, Jack (Elliott Gould) and Judy (Christina Pickles), as Monica feels her parents favor Ross.
Like Ross, Monica is part Jewish. Ross introduces Ben to Hanukkah and talks about getting Monica a Hanukkah present several times. Monica also mentions her Bat Mitzvah. Chandler also reminds her of this when Erica (Anna Faris), the twins' birth mother, mistakenly thinks she's a reverend. The Geller family also celebrates Christmas.
"Neat Freak" Monica is comically obsessive-compulsive about her apartment and loves cleaning (describing the dry cleaner as her Disneyland). This personality trait becomes exaggerated as the series progresses. Examples of her maniac cleanliness are labelling cups, having sorted towels into eleven different categories (four mentioned being "everyday use", "fancy", "guest", and "fancy guest"), and describing her new workplace as being "not just Health Department clean, but Monica clean." She is also extremely territorial when it comes to cleaning, as shown when Chandler announced he'd hired a maid, and Monica snapped that she hoped he meant "mistress."
Monica is highly competitive, allegedly throwing a plate in a fit of rage during a game of Pictionary. Also, during a game of Mad Libs, Monica dismissed Phoebe's repetitive answers, claiming "rules help control the fun!", causing everyone else to leave.
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. Monica eventually won. Moreover, she won an arm wrestle contest against Chandler and, in their youth, Monica broke Ross' nose when a game of touch football turned ugly in an attempt to win the "Geller Cup." The cup was thrown into a nearby lake. What Ross didn't know was that Monica jumped into the lake to retrieve it.
Relationships and children
Monica is repeatedly depicted as wanting to be in a relationship and have children. Beginning as early as the first season, Monica expressed a strong desire to have children. Of the three girls, Monica is the most reserved sexually. Although not sexually conservative, she seeks out serious relationships due to her desire to start a family as soon as possible. Most of her casual sexual endeavors happened before the start of the show, and are mentioned humorously (much to Ross' dismay).
Early in the series, Monica starts dating Richard but eventually breaks up with him due to his refusal to have children. Monica then seriously considers becoming a single mother through artificial insemination but abandons this plan after she realizes that she wants a family and not just a baby. After sleeping together in London, Monica and Chandler fall in love and decide to get married (season 7). Shortly before Chandler's proposal, Richard returns and offers to marry and have children with her, asking her to leave Chandler for him. Although she seriously considers the offer (her confusion is due to Chandler's feigned disinterest in getting married), she ultimately chooses to propose to Chandler. After marrying Chandler, they discover that they can't get pregnant as she and Chandler both have fertility issues. The couple explore adoption and are chosen by a pregnant teenager named Erica. She initially chooses them, thinking Chandler is a doctor and Monica is a reverend (she gets the files mixed up). Chandler insists they tell her the truth but Chandler convinces Erica to give them the baby. In the last episode, during the birth, it is announced that she is having twins. Erica didn't realize this, thinking the two heartbeats the doctor could hear were hers and the baby's. She has a boy and a girl. Monica and Chandler name them Jack and Erica.
It is revealed early in the series that she had been overweight while growing up. Monica lost the weight when she was 18 after she overheard Chandler call her "fat" at Thanksgiving. The writers of the series often used flashbacks to show the overweight Monica (with Courteney Cox wearing a fat suit). In one episode, the group watch an old prom video and were surprised to see her weight and as well as Rachel's appearance before she had a nose job. 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. 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 a funny manner.
In an alternate reality storyline during the show ("The One That Could Have Been"), Monica was overweight but still a professional chef and ended up with Chandler, who was a freelance writer. 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' hastened eating and Monica tells Rachel that Ross had a therapist due to a recurring bad dream about Monica eating him. Monica's weight is reported to have been the reason for their dog's knee surgery, after she tried to ride him and in a different episode, Ross reveals that she caused their parents' porch swing to break. In an episode where Monica, Chandler and Ross are revealing secrets, Ross tells that after being sent to bed without dinner one night, Monica ate the macaroni glued to her jewelry 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 was trying to help out. Ross revealed in another episode that an eleven-year-old Monica weighed 200 pounds.
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 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 as a waitress at a 1950s-themed restaurant called the Moondance Diner, where she 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 'Mockolate' (featured only in the season two episode "The One with the List"), a chocolate substitute which never took off due to its repulsive taste (Phoebe described the taste of Mocolate as being "what evil must taste like") and its side effect of painful urination following heavy consumption. Also during this time, to avoid taking a job in the aforementioned Moondance Diner, she temporarily bought shares in the stock market using the few savings left in her bank account ($127), despite not knowing anything about how it works, buying shares from companies only because of their names, not knowing what the companies did or how successful they were.
Monica began working as a restaurant critic for a local newspaper while setting up the catering business with Phoebe, assuring Phoebe that the two would not conflict. This quickly proved incorrect, as due to writing a fairly vicious review, and the subsequent sauce she cooked for the enraged owner, Monica was eventually hired as head chef at a local restaurant, Alessandro's. This put an end to the catering business. At first, Monica's employees disliked her because three of them were the children of the previous head chef who had been fired as a consequence of Monica's arrival. 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. 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, which influenced her decision to stay in New York.
When Courteney Cox 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. Actress Nancy McKeon auditioned for the role.
Monica's apartment was one of the main focal points of the series. Critics of the show questioned how Monica could ever afford such a large apartment in New York City on a chef's salary. 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 his newborn twins, "Thanks to rent control, it was a friggin' steal."
- "Friends' Monica Geller was 'a slut' and 'a trollop' according to NBC president". Daily Mail (London). May 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-05.
- "With Friends Like Thes". Vanity. Retrieved 2012-05-05.