Monica Geller

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Monica Geller-Bing
Friends character
Courteney Cox as Monica Geller.jpg
Courteney Cox as Monica Geller
First appearance "The Pilot"
(episode 1.01)
Last appearance "The Last One, Part 2"
(episode 10.18)
Created by David Crane
Marta Kauffman
Portrayed by Courteney Cox
Nickname(s) Mon
Occupation Chef
Family Jack Geller (father)
Judy Geller (mother)
Ross Geller (brother)
Spouse(s) Chandler Bing
(dating. May 1998–May 2001) (m. 2001–present)
Children Erica Bing
(daughter, with Chandler, born May 6, 2004)
Jack Bing
(son, with Chandler, born May 6, 2004)
Relatives Althea (maternal grandmother, deceased)
Ben Geller (nephew)
Emma Geller-Green (niece)
Iris (aunt)
Frannie (cousin)
Cassie (cousin)
Carol Willick (former sister-in-law)
Emily Waltham (former sister-in-law)
Rachel Green (sister-in-law)
Freddie (uncle)
Sylvia (aunt)
Charlie (cousin)
Ed (uncle)
Maureen (cousin)
Ross Geller (brother)
Religion Judaism

Monica E. Geller[1][2] (sometimes credited as Monica Geller Bing[3][4] or Monica Geller-Bing)[5][6][7] is a fictional character, one of the six main characters who appear in the American NBC sitcom Friends. Created by show creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, and portrayed by actress Courteney Cox, Monica appears in each of the show's 236 episodes, from its premiere on September 24, 1994 to its finale on May 6, 2004. A chef and mother hen known among her friends for her cleanliness, competitiveness and obsessive-compulsive nature, Monica is the younger sister of Ross and best friend of Rachel, the latter of whom she allows to move in with her after Rachel forsakes her own wedding. The two characters spend several years living together as roommates until Monica eventually becomes romantically involved with friend and neighbor Chandler, who she eventually marries. Unable to conceive children on their own, the couple eventually adopts twins and moves out of their apartment into a larger house in the suburbs to raise their family, ultimately ending the series.

The producers' first choice for the role of Monica was comedian Janeane Garofalo, who ultimately declined. As the show's most famous and experienced cast member at the time, Cox was originally offered the role of Monica's spoiled, popular best friend and roommate Rachel, but the actress declined in favor of playing Monica because she preferred the character's personality. Meanwhile, the role of Rachel was eventually won by actress Jennifer Aniston, Cox's co-star who had originally been expected to play Monica. Before Friends aired, the depiction of Monica in the show's pilot was greatly debated among writers in regards to the character sleeping with a man on their first date. Kauffman defended Monica's storyline, arguing with NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer over whether or not this would depict the character as too promiscuous and make her unlikable. Ultimately, the storyline remained unchanged after the studio conducted an audience poll, which returned in favor of Monica.

When Friends premiered in fall 1994, critics initially perceived Monica and Cox as the show's main character and star, respectively. However, this gradually changed as Rachel and Aniston's popularity increased, eventually dethroning Cox as the show's most famous cast member. The Los Angeles Times holds Cox's portrayal of Monica responsible for helping disprove the common belief that attractive women were not capable of maintaining comedic performances. Despite garnering a positive reception for her performance, Cox remains the only main cast member to have never been nominated for an Emmy Award during Friends' ten-year run. Despite some mild accusations of exploiting negative stereotypes of overweight women for the sake of humor, "Fat Monica," the character's overweight alter ego, has ultimately become a fan favorite and evolved into a popular internet meme. One of the show's primary locations, Monica's Greenwich Village apartment currently ranks among the most famous sets in television history; critics often discuss its realism, speculating how the character was able to afford it.


Monica (circa 1964) 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 obese 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.


Conception and writing[edit]

Writers David Crane and Marta Kauffman pitched Friends, who were experimenting with several different working titles at the time,[8] as a show about "that special time in your life when your friends are your family"[9] to then-NBC president Warren Littlefield some time after their sitcom Family Album was canceled by CBS.[9] Inspired by their own experiences as young adults living in New York, the writers loosely based the characters on some of their own friends and relatives;[10] Monica was inspired by Kauffman herself.[9] Because Monica and her next-door neighbor Joey were initially conceived as Friends' two most sexual characters, Crane and Kauffman had originally expected them to be the show's main couple before finally settling upon a relationship between Ross and Rachel instead.[11] The idea was eventually abandoned once the role of Joey was cast because actor Matt LeBlanc exhibited a "great big brother vibe" in terms of his friendship with Monica, which the writers ultimately preferred.[9] According to Allison Piwowarski of Bustle, Monica and Joey's relationship would have greatly altered the entire trajectory of the series in several ways, potentially having a series of life-changing effects on its six main characters.[12]

In the pilot episode, Monica is scripted as being dumped immediately after agreeing to sleep with her new date Paul on the night of their first date. Monica is tricked into bed with him after Paul lies to her about his sex life, falsely explaining that he has not slept with anyone in two years ever since his wife left him.[13] NBC executives worried at first that audiences would receive Monica negatively because of this subplot, thus the decided to survey the studio audience and ask them whether or not they thought Monica sleeping with someone on their first date made her too promiscuous.[11] Don Ohlmeyer, then-president of NBC's west coast division, was particularly adamant about his stance against Monica's role in the episode, referring to it as "casual sex,"[14] and created a "stacked" questionnaire asking audiences if they thought Monica was "(a) a slut, (b) a whore, (c) a trollop."[15] Kauffman recalled Ohlmeyer expressing that Monica "got what she deserved" by being dumped, a statement by which the writer was greatly offended,[16] dismissing Ohlmeyer as a misogynist.[17] Ultimately, the results returned in favor of the plot; audiences liked Monica nonetheless, and the episode aired unchanged.[11]

Summarizing the character's role in the series, Martin Gitlin wrote in his book The Greatest Sitcoms of All Time that while her friends "were, more or less, just out to make the most of their social lives in" New York, Monica on the other hand "sought to keep the others in line and ... seek out Mr. Right," which unexpectedly turns out to be close friend Chandler, who she marries in season seven.[18] Before Monica and Chandler became romantically involved, Cox once joked in an interview with Elle that if Monica were to have sex with another main character, it would probably be Chandler.[19][20] However, Crane and Kauffman had never intended for Monica and Chandler to be an official couple. At first, the two friends were supposed to have only had a one-time hookup, but the writers decided to further expand upon this idea after realizing that the audience had "fallen in love" with the idea of Monica and Chandler as a couple.[21] Encyclopedia of Television author Horace Newcomb believes that Monica feelings for Chandler are responsible for curing the latter character's fear of commitment.[22] In terms of writing the finale, one of Crane and Kauffman's goals had always been to finally give Monica and Chandler a baby; they ultimately have them adopt twins for "fun," described by Entertainment Weekly as "a surprise twist to Monica and Chandler’s adoption journey."[23] Their twins Jack and Erica are born three minutes and forty-six seconds apart.[24]

Early in the series, Monica's apartment, which she initially shares with roommate Rachel, is established as one of the show's two primary locations,[25] serving as "the stage for a great deal of the episodes."[26] In the pilot, the apartment number is 5; it was changed to 20 in subsequent episodes after the writers determined that Monica actually lived on a much higher floor.[8] Season three's "The One Where No One's Ready" takes place entirely in Monica's apartment because the show's budget was not large enough to accommodate additional sets or guest stars at the time.[27] In the series finale, Phoebe reveals that each character resided in Monica's apartment at one point during their lives.[28]


Monica is portrayed by American actress Courteney Cox.[29] Crane and Kauffman had originally written the role of Monica for comedian Janeane Garofalo,[30] their first choice,[31] because they were attracted to her "edgier and snarkier" voice.[30] However, Garofalo ultimately turned down the offer.[32] Actress Jamie Gertz was also offered the role but declined,[33][34] while actress Leah Remini auditioned for Monica before ultimately being cast as Carrie Heffernan in the sitcom The King of Queens in 1998,[35] a role she would play for nine years.[36] Remini would eventually guest star in an episode of Friends.[37] Before being cast, Cox was best known within the television industry for her recurring role as Lauren Miller, Alex P. Keaton's girlfriend on the sitcom Family Ties, and Melissa Robinson in the comedy film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994).[25] After guest starring on the sitcom Seinfeld as Meryl,[38] main character Jerry Seinfeld's girlfriend,[39] the producers offered Cox the role of Rachel because, according to Kauffman, the actress "had this cheery, upbeat energy," which was significantly different than how they had conceived Monica at the time.[11] However, Cox lobbied in favor of the role of Monica because she was drawn to the character's "strong" personality,[8] but the producers worried that she was not "tough" enough for the part.[40] A close competitor for the role was actress Nancy McKeon; Littlefield recalled having greatly enjoyed both actress' auditions equally, explaining to Crane and Kauffman that "we can go either way here. It really is who you think can go the distance."[9] Ultimately, Cox won the role over McKeon because Crane and Kauffman observed "something fresh" in her audition.[9] Kauffman elaborated that Cox ultimately "brought a whole bunch of other colors" to Monica than what they had first envisioned back when they were considering Garofalo for the role.[41]

The show's most famous cast member at the time, actress Courteney Cox was originally offered the role of Rachel; she turned it down because she was drawn to Monica's personality.

Each main cast member auditioned for Friends having had some degree of prior sitcom knowledge and experience.[42] Before finally being cast in Friends, Cox's then-moderate success as an actress had been heavily reliant on her physical appearance.[43] Unlike her previous appearances in Family Ties and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, the Los Angeles Times' Steve Weinstein believes that Monica was the first major role in which Cox was cast based on her abilities as a comedic actress as opposed to her beauty.[43] Cox believes that she owes winning the role of Monica to her brief tenure as Gabriella Easden on the short-lived sitcom The Trouble With Larry, the latter of which she considers to be the first time she played a character who "was the funny one," which in turn earned the actress a recommendation for Friends following its cancellation.[43] When Friends premiered, Cox was the show's most famous main cast member, and was thus initially perceived by critics and audiences as the show's star,[40] although Crane and Kauffman had long envisioned Friends as an ensemble comedy.[9] According to actress Lisa Kudrow, who portrays Phoebe, Cox was the first actor to suggest that the cast work together as a team and have "each other’s back."[41] As the most experienced cast member at the time, Cox advised her co-stars to remain open to each other's ideas, notes and suggestions, giving the actors permission to "to tell me ... If I could do anything funnier."[41] Kudrow holds Cox responsible for "set[ting] that tone and made it a real group that way."[41] Preferring to be treated as equals, the entire cast negotiated universal salaries, demanding that Warner Bros. accommodate their request for $100,000 per episode in season three, increased from their original first season rate of $22,000 per episode.[9] At one point, the actors went as far as threatening to boycott their own show unless their demands were met.[44] The studio eventually complied, and by season 10 the cast was being paid $1 million per episode.[20]

Kauffman believes that Cox's own cleanliness closely mirrors that of her character's.[43] According to the writer, the actress had the cleanest dressing room, and at times would even "[clean] up the other actors' dressing rooms because she won't go in there if they are too messy."[43] Cox enjoyed acting as Monica "because not only is she a grown-up, and that's good for people to see, but I can bring more of my own personality to her, and I've never really been able to do that before."[43] The actress also shares the character's motherly demeanor among the cast, describing herself in an interview with US Weekly as "the doer" among her female-costars.[45] observed that "As Monica, Cox never quite enjoyed the sort of watercooler storylines that co-star and close friend Jennifer Aniston had with David Schwimmer as the on-again, off-again Rachel and Ross."[26] At one point Cox had begun to regret her decision to accept the role of Monica over Rachel due to her character's lack of strong storylines; she relented once Monica and Chandler became romantically involved.[40] Cox was 30 years old at the time she was cast, making her the show's oldest cast member.[2] Additionally, this makes Cox older than her on-screen brother, actor David Schwimmer, who portrays her older brother Ross.[27] Cox married actor David Arquette in 1999 while the show was on hiatus between seasons five and six, and the actress changed her full name to Courteney Cox Arquette to reflect this. The opening credits of the season six premiere "The One After Vegas" features an inside joke in which the surname "Arquette" is added to the names of each cast member.[28] The episode is dedicated to Cox, reading, "For Courteney and David, who did get married."[8] Before getting married, Arquette had guest starred in an episode of Friends as Phoebe's love interest.[20] During season 10, Cox got pregnant. Although Kudrow's real-life pregnancy was written into the show,[21] something similar could not have been done for Cox because the show had already long-established that Cox's character Monica is unable to have children. Therefore, the crew attempted to conceal Cox's pregnancy as best as they could by using a combination of clothes and props instead.[8]

Characterization and analysis[edit]

At the beginning of season one, Monica is 26 years old.[46] Rita Loiacono of SheKnows Media believes that Monica is the show's most fully realized character from the very beginning of the series because her "quirks were developed to a tee."[1] Like several strong female sitcom characters who were popular throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Monica possesses a natural maternal instinct, while constantly "vocalising a desire for motherhood."[47] As the group's "unofficial den mother,"[48] Monica occupies the role of their mother hen,[49] and is thus often perceived as the most level-headed member of the sextet, with Ken Parish Perkins of the Chicago Tribune identifying Monica as the show's most grounded character.[50] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly believes that Monica serves as "the solid center in a circle of wacky pals" due to her "sunny" personality, combined with the fact that she maintains a secure job while appearing to possess the most common sense.[51] Furthermore, Tucker identified Monica as the show's "straight woman."[51] Writing for The New York Times, John J. O'Connor believes that Monica exhibits "the strongest ties to reality" as the sitcom's most realistically portrayed character.[52] Referring to Monica as one-half of the series' "head friends," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Robert Bianco described the character as sensible, explaining that both her and Ross represent "the relatively stable centers around which the other friends rotate."[53] Describing her as "ultra-competent," Natural Living Today's Emily Nussbaum likened Monica to the fairy tale character Snow White, on whose homemaking skills the five other characters heavily rely, similar to the relationship between Snow White and her dwarfs.[54]

"Monica Geller is nothing if not a lesson in perseverance paying off. Right from the get-go, Monica had a pretty clear view about how she wanted her life to turn out and she wasn't prepared to settle for anything less. Although clearly infatuated with Richard during the show's early run, she broke up with [him] because she wanted kids and he didn't. When Chandler had his inevitable freak-out in the early days of their relationship, she laid down the law and told him she wasn't going to be in a relationship with someone who didn't want to be in one. Although she was prepared to follow Chandler to Tulsa, she elected not to turn down an amazing job opportunity and, instead, stayed in New York and made the long-distance relationship work ... And, after many heartbreaking attempts to get pregnant, Monica finally got the family she'd wanted all along when she and Chandler adopted little Erica and Jack."
— Rita Loiacono of SheKnows Media summarizing Monica's perseverance.

Refinery29's Kelsey Miller summarized Monica's personality as funny, uptight, loving and competitive.[55] A very organized character who enjoys being in charge,[56] Monica is known for being a "neat freak" obsessed with cleanliness –[57] especially when it comes to maintaining the condition of her apartment –[58] neurotic,[59] extremely obsessive-compulsive and competitive in nature,[60][61] personality traits that are often exaggerated for humor.[1] In her book Writing With Emotion, Tension, and Conflict: Techniques for Crafting an Expressive and Compelling Novel, author Cheryl St. John wrote that Monica exhibits qualities commonly associated with perfectionism and bossiness.[62] According to Glenn Whipp of the Los Angeles Times, Monica is "loaded with obsessive-compulsive quirks and a goofy, overly competitive nature."[61] However, the Los Angeles Times Steve Weinstein also observed that Monica's actions often tend to contradict with "her Miss Perfect" image, explaining that the character "makes a fool of herself as a klutz in a tap-dance class--something seemingly unimaginable to any casual observer of the athletic-looking actress ... And she is so compulsively neat that just her facial expressions of discomfort at one of her friends' messing things up in her apartment is enough to provoke genuine chuckles."[43] As creator and writer, Kauffman confirmed that Monica's personality is somewhat based on her own, explaining, "I have a lot of Monica in me, in terms of everything having to be a certain way."[9] Although Monica began Friends as the show's "straight person," the writers eventually began to make her funnier by incorporating aspects of Cox's own personality into the character,[63] in addition to writing funnier dialogue for her.[63] Cox described Monica as "goofy and angry and sarcastic and a little bit naughty," continuing, "People think of her sort as the goody-good and the prude on the show, but I think she has more sex than any of the others."[43] Writing about the development of Monica's personality in USA Today, Robert Bianco observed that the character gradually evolves from "the caring, nurturing mother figure — the one who provides a sane center for her crazier friends ... into a slightly off-the-beam benevolent monarch."[64]

Early in the series, Monica develops a reputation for experiencing generally bad luck and encountering rather unfortunate circumstances when it comes to dating and her love life. This trait is explored as a source of comic relief;[50] the character's friends would often "pick apart" her new dates and boyfriends.[46] In his review of the series, David Hiltbrand of People referred to the character as "an unlucky-in-love codependent,"[65] while the Chicago Tribune's Ken Parish Perkins observed that Monica "often misfires when shooting for Mr. Right."[50] Possessing a very strong will, the character also tends to exhibit outstanding perseverance when it comes to what she expects out of relationships, jobs and life goals in general, oftentimes refusing to settle for anything that does not satisfy her.[1] One of her defining qualities,[66] Monica has had a strong passion for cooking ever since childhood, stemming from when she received her first Easy-Bake Oven.[67] A chef, the character has had several cooking-related jobs throughout the series, including temporarily running a catering business with friend Phoebe.[67] However, her love of cooking and food is also responsible for her having been extremely overweight as a child,[67] throughout high school and college,[68] which is first revealed in the second season episode "The One With the Prom Video" via flashback.[69] While overweight, Monica is depicted as having had "low self esteem, seemed to binge eat, and was desperate for attention that she only got as a joke or from begrudging guys."[68] While in college, Monica is embarrassed into losing weight for good after overhearing Chandler make fun of her appearance.[55] Media and the Rhetoric of Body Perfection: Cosmetic Surgery, Weight Loss and Beauty in Popular Culture author Dr. Deborah Harris-Moore believes that Monica's tendency to come off as a control freak stems from her childhood struggles with weight gain, explaining that the character "use[d] food as a means to cope with her emotions."[70]

Monica has a complicated relationship with her parents Jack and Judy Geller,[46] especially her mother;[71] Entertainment Weekly referred to the character's relationship with her parents as "esteem-sucking."[46] The majority of Friends' main cast is portrayed as having "strained relationships" with their parents.[72] Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 author Vincent Terrance believes that Monica's competitiveness originates from her growing up with older brother Ross, who is three years her senior,[20] against whom she often competed as a child for various reasons.[67] Although Monica and Rachel are best friends who grew up together, they are opposites. Sabienna Bowman of This Was Television explained that although "Monica and Rachel shared similar economical backgrounds, but they represented different ends of the high school social order," which Rachel being a popular cheerleader and Monica "deal[ing] with body and control issues due to being an overweight child and teen."[66] Bowman observed that "Monica’s struggles ultimately left her more confident than Rachel, not to mention more equipped to deal with the realities of adulthood."[66] In terms of religion and ethnicity, Crane confirmed that both Monica and Ross are in fact half-Jewish, with their father being Jewish and their mother being American.[73] However, Television's Changing Image of American Jews categorized Monica as a "masked" Jew, explaining that "the smart, funny, and insecure Ross seems more Jewish" than Monica, who the author dismissed as "china-doll like" in appearance and demeanor.[73] In his book Encyclopedia of American Jewish History, Volume 1, author Stephen Harlan Norwood agrees that, unlike the show's male Jewish characters, Monica's Jewish "markers" have been removed.[74]

Reception and impact[edit]

When Friends first premiered in September 1994, critics initially perceived Monica as the show's main character; Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker attributes this to the fact that "Cox is the biggest name-brand star in this show."[51] An early evaluation of Friends pegged Cox as the show's star, writing, "As Monica, she came across as charming, attractive, confident, and motivated – the leader of the group ... Men thought she was sexy and women liked her sense of humor."[40] The actress has garnered largely positive reviews for her performance. Tucker concluded that Cox successfully "plays straight woman ... with alluring modesty."[51] Tony Scott of Variety commended the entire cast for "appear[ing] resourceful and display[ing] sharp sitcom skills ... especially Cox,"[75] while The Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik described her acting as "terrific."[25] John Kiesewetter of The Cincinnati Enquirer praised Cox's ability to "deliver both verbal and physical comedy."[76]'s Sophie Miskiw commended Cox for portraying Monica with "endearing neurosis."[36] As a character, Lifetime described Monica as "neurotic yet lovable."[77] Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times was receptive towards the entire cast, specifically complimenting Cox and her character, who he described as "strong" and "likable and funny," respectively.[78] Also writing for the Los Angeles Times, Glenn Whipp extolled Cox's tenure on Friends, enthusing that the actress successfully "took a character loaded with obsessive-compulsive quirks and a goofy, overly competitive nature and fashioned a flesh-and-blood woman." Describing the actress' comic timing as "impeccable," Whipp went on to write that Cox "brought out Monica's insecurities in a way that turned self-deprecation into an art form," concluding, "Of all the friends, Monica actually was more multi-dimensional."[61] However, The Washington Post dismissed Cox's acting as "degrading."[79] In 1999, Cox was nominated for an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Female Performer in a TV Series.[80][81] In 2014, SheKnows Media published an article explaining five reasons author Rita Loiacono believes Monica is "the best character on Friends," citing her cleanliness, bluntness and role as "the heart of the group," among others.[1] Loiacono enthused that Monica "didn't just have one defining aspect; she had many, and they were all equally hilarious. Not to mention, her ambition and vulnerability resulted in some of the show's most touching and heartbreaking moments."[1] Additionally, Loiacono dismissed the fact that Cox has never received an Emmy Award nomination for her performance as Monica as "downright criminal."[1]

Despite her warm reception, some aspects of the character have been criticized. The second season episode "The One Where Dr. Ramoray Dies" sparked mild controversy in regards its subject matter; the episode features Monica and Rachel arguing over which of the two will get the last condom in their apartment in order to have sex with their respective boyfriends.[9] Author Lynn M. Harter defended the episode in her book Narratives, Health, and Healing: Communication Theory, Research, and Practice, arguing that it simply promoted safe sex. Rachel eventually wins the condom in a game of rock-paper-scissors, leaving Monica forced to abstain.[82] Monica's overweight alter-ego "Fat Monica" has often been criticized for being depicted as an offensive stereotype of overweight women, exploited in the show only for humor.[68] Emma Tarver of Feminspire cited Fat Monica among "many fat-woman-as-a-punchline examples in pop culture, but the one that stuck with me the most."[68] Tarver complained that Fat Monica "made me think as a child that I was unworthy of love, was going to be mocked relentlessly by my friends and family for my weight, and should never bother flirting because I would just disgust every man I looked at."[68] On the contrary, Kelsey Miller of Refinery29 received the character positively as "proof I could overcome my disgusting plumpness and be seen as lovable, too. True, I would always bear the shame of my inflated past, just like Monica did, but I was willing to live with that if it meant I'd be a person instead of a punchline."[55] Fat Monica proved so popular with audiences that the writers would resurrect the character for a total of four flashback episodes, each of which aired featuring Cox dressed as Fat Monica and eating a doughnut while dancing after the actual show had finished taping to the amusement of the studio audience.[69][55] Although she only appears in person in four, Fat Monica is jokingly referenced in approximately half of the show's total episodes.[55] Fat Monica has since been adapted into a popular internet meme.[55] According to Elle, Monica became an "icon for the 90s."[19] Complex ranked Cox 10th on the magazine's list of "The 25 Hottest Sitcom Stars of the '90s." Author Josh Robertson wrote that "At the start of Friends, in 1994, she was the only star, and we're pretty sure she would have ruled the show if not for two things: her character's anal-retentive personality, and Jennifer Aniston's hairdo."[83] Aniston was ranked first on the list.[83] Baby name books commonly associate the name "Monica" with the character.[84]

One of the show's primary sets, Monica's apartment ranks among the most famous television sets in history.

Established as one of the show's most frequented settings,[25] Monica's apartment has since become "one of the most famous sets in television history," according to Harper's Bazaar, which ranks it among the "12 Best Apartments on TV".[85] Chloe Daley of Refinery29 wrote that the apartment serves as either "a lesson in how to decorate with purple — or maybe a lesson in how not to."[86] Based on its total number of bedrooms, open kitchen, large living space and balcony, real estate agent Sydney Blumstein estimates that the apartment would be worth approximately $2.3 million in real life.[87] In terms of its size, cost and realism, the apartment has frequently been the subject of scrutiny, with critics questioning exactly how Monica, a chef, and Rachel, a waitress, are able to afford such a luxurious home based on their relatively low salaries, often dismissing the show's explanation that this is due to an illegal sublet courtesy of Monica's late grandmother.[88][89] Ranking the apartment second on the magazine's "Most Unrealistic Apartments in TV Shows & Movies" countdown, Lauren Otis of Complex concluded that "Despite the show's attempts to explain away Monica (Courteney Cox) and Rachel's (Jennifer Aniston) over-the-top living situation ... it's still baffling to no end how the duo, a waitress and flailing chef at the outset, were able to come home to a crib larger than those making three times their combined salary."[90]'s Abbey Stone ranked the apartment television's 10th "most ridiculous,"[89] while The Village Voice ranked it fourth in a similar article.[88]

As the role with which she "found fame,"[58] Monica remains Cox' most iconic role,[38] as well as the role for which she is best known.[91][92] IGN referred to it as "her most well known role."[93] In 1995, one year after Friends first aired, Cox appeared on the cover of People's "50 Most Beautiful People".[39] Us Weekly believes that Cox "made television history during her 10 year stint playing Monica."[94] According to Alabama Biographical Dictionary author Jan Onofrio, Monica helped "put [Cox] in the television spotlight and provided offers for more desirable roles."[95] Meanwhile, the Steve Weinstein of Los Angeles Times believes that both Cox and Monica helped change the common stereotype that "Pretty women aren't supposed to be funny."[43] The Daily News referred to Cox as "one of the more successful 'Friends' since the show ended" given her appearances on various popular sitcoms and films.[96] Early in the series, Cox and her female co-stars established a close friendship.[45][40] Cox and Aniston have remained close friends off-screen, with Aniston becoming godmother to Cox's daughter.[97]


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