Originally created 05/03/04

'Friends' Finale: A look back at Chandler

Ah, Chandler, that whipsmart guy hard-pressed to find the fast track on his personal roadmap. A look back at how this loser in love actually ended up a husband and father:

THE FRIEND: Chandler Bing.

HE IS: So smart - so why isn't he rich? Or even a hit with the ladies? Tough luck for Chandler, fated to make do with rapier-sharp zingers guarding his sensitive psyche and many insecurities. He spent much of the "Friends" run overqualified at work (whatever it was he did in that office) and underqualified in the bedroom (at least judging by his self-deprecating wisecracks). But all isn't lost: He has five friends who love him, and one of them, Monica, became his wife.

PLAYED BY: Matthew Perry.

QUOTE: "In the pilot, literally nothing happened to Chandler. But he sat there and watched things happen to other people, and commented on them. ... I thought to myself, this is a fascinating, funny guy even when NOTHING is happening to him."

WHY WE LOVE CHANDLER: He inspires every one-liner-spinning case of arrested development: You, too, can find happiness and love with a beautiful girl.

HIGHLIGHT: When he invented a betting game he could lose while playing with Joey, so he could give his cash-strapped friend needed money without injuring Joey's pride.

LOWLIGHT: When he stumbled naked in a steam room and landed in the nude lap of his future father-in-law.

HOOKUPS: Other than his eventual lovemate Monica, none too successfully. There's Janice, his awful former girlfriend who keeps returning like a rash. Victoria's Secret model Jill Goodacre, with whom he was trapped in an ATM booth during a blackout - but was incapable of making sparks fly. Julia Roberts played an all-grown-up former fourth-grade schoolmate with a score to settle. He clicked with one of Joey's eight sisters (but Chandler, drunk when he made out with her, and afterward couldn't remember which one she was). And preparing him for Monica, he fell in love with Kathy - but so did Joey.

TEN YEARS FROM NOW: Happily married with Monica and a couple of kids up in Westchester. And there, contented in the suburbs, he will wonder, every now and then, if the Central Perk down in Greenwich Village is still in business.


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