Hey, how you doin’?
It’s been 25 years since Friends first premiered (feeling old yet?) and the nostalgia is real. It seems like everyone and their dogs are reminiscing and the show’s rebirth in the realm of Netflix has only fueled its growing popularity. For the ardent fans who have already memorized every single line, Saul Austerlitz’s Generation Friends reveals tidbits that will surprise even the most knowledgeable followers.
For those who want to take a slightly different approach in honoring the show’s quarter-century, we at Audiobooks.com—as audiobook lovers and, more importantly, Friends lovers—brought the two beloved worlds together in a different way. We set out to imagine which audiobook each character would be if we could capture their big personalities in a singular piece of writing. Some were obvious while others took a bit of digging.
So, let’s take a trip down memory lane with our favorite gang and discover some darn good audiobooks along the way.
It’s tempting to default to either cookbooks or cleaning guides for Monica, but that feels a little like cheating since it’s too easy. And, besides, I feel like it’s doing her a disservice to reduce the essence of her character to just cleaning and cooking (even though much of her time revolves around both of those things). So, while I really really want Monica to have a Marie Kondo moment a la The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up so the secret closet can finally be decluttered, I think The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker is much more fitting because Monica is all about connecting with the people around her.
From making holiday treats for her neighbors to entertaining the gang at Thanksgiving, Monica always goes above and beyond as a host. The Art of Gathering is full of wisdom on making your gatherings (family or otherwise) more personally meaningful for everybody. If Monica excels at anything, it’s her ability to create a welcoming space for everyone.
If anyone were to accidentally get caught up in an elaborate lie at work, it would be Chandler (aka Toby), who has already lied on numerous occasions to get out of awkward situations. Much like Chandler, How Not to Die Alone’s leading man Andrew has also gotten himself into a similar predicament, only he’s invented an entire fictional family that his coworkers believe he returns home to every night. Both men are estranged from their families and are resigned to dying alone whilst also grappling with a desire for companionship. So much of Chandler’s fears and anxieties stem from his difficult childhood, and a large part of it informs his sarcastic pessimism. It’s not until he’s with Monica that he begins to confront his fears of commitment and being a parent. Both Chandler and Andrew just needed the right person to come along to push themselves out of the rut. Much like Chandler’s life, How Not to Die Alone is infused with equal parts humor and gloom so that you can’t help but love and root for the characters.
I think we can all agree that Rachel Green is literal #GlowUpGoals. Yes, she came from wealth, but she’s also a self-made woman who never used her family connections or money to pursue the career she wanted. Her courage to strike out on her own, breaking off from the cushy lifestyles her parents and would-be husband could have given her, shows she’s not afraid to embrace vulnerability. That’s why Rachel is the very embodiment of Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. Brown explains that opening ourselves up to vulnerability can bring fear and disappointment, but also joy, belonging, and add greater meaning to our lives. Rachel’s initial leap of faith definitely paid off as we watched her grow from an inexperienced, spoiled 20-something to a successful career woman and loving mother while looking absolutely bangin’. I don’t know about you, but I’m hella proud of my girl.
I’m utterly convinced that if Joey Tribbiani had been in his 20s in the content-saturated world we live in now, he absolutely would’ve ran a food blog on the side probably with occasional serious contributions from Monica. His passion for food is markedly different from Monica’s, who is more precise and theoretical, and primarily enjoys creating culinary magic for the benefit of others. Joey’s love for food, on the other hand, is deeply personal and stems largely from the joy he finds in the simple act of eating—something that’s shared by the entire Tribbiani family. If he ever gave up on acting, he’d likely find serious traction in a food blog, or even a YouTube channel of himself vlogging his food adventures (I’m only here for quality content, like watching a man eat six meals and a birthday cake).
Who better to serve as an inspiration for Joey than Ed Levine, who built a website for people who took everything edible seriously, but themselves not so much. In Serious Eater, Levine talks about the road he took to make his beloved website a reality and all the ups and downs he had to endure to keep it afloat. There’s more than a little bit of Ed Levine reflected in Joey, whose love for acting endured through countless failed auditions and years of struggles. Whether their love lies with food or acting (or both), both Joey and Levine are devoted dreamers who work hard to pursue their passions.
In a strange turn of events, Phoebe Buffay and Eleanor Oliphant may have already met. If rumors prevail and Reese Witherspoon, who had guest-starred on Friends as Rachel’s sister Jill Green, is cast as the titular character in the big-screen adaptation of Eleanor Oliphant, then the connection between Phoebe and Eleanor may be closer than we think.
So much of Phoebe’s story mirrors that of Eleanor’s. Both endured difficult childhoods and are marked by their painful pasts. Both are social misfits, albeit in distinctly different ways. But by far the most striking and poignant similarity is their desire—unrecognized, to some degree—for belonging. While Phoebe and Eleanor are content with solitude—the former due to the fierce independence she gained from living on the street, the latter having settled into a comfortable and lonely routine—both women begin to grow and change for the better as they find their tribes. That’s why Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a perfect encapsulation of the seriousness, warmth, sadness, and hilarity of Phoebe’s own life.
This one’s a no-brainer, especially considering Ross claims the idea for Jurassic Park was stolen from him. During that lecture on the blackboard where Ross outlined his original conception of Jurassic Park, he wrote: “Dr. Geller envisions using DNA from mosquitoes to clone T-Rex.” Let’s be honest, if given the resources and technology, Ross would totally go full John Hammond and create an amusement park of cloned dinosaurs. Although, whereas Hammond was really only interested in making a profit, Ross’ intentions would be much more benign since he is genuinely invested in the care and research of dinosaurs. And, who knows, as arguably the most responsible and mature one of the group, his version of Jurassic Park might just succeed (not to mention his sense of Unagi would warn him of any impending danger).
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