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Do the names of Friends have implied meanings and connotations?

 
 
Reply Thu 20 Nov, 2008 10:36 am
I m gonna write my bachelor's thesis on this topic, which I don't even believe if it is true or just my subjective suppositions. So I m here to consult you native English speakers.


Do you think implied meanings are applicated in naming the protagonists in this show? (Rach, Mon, Pheebs, Chan, Joey and Ross) If so, do you think these meanings and connotations of the names has a certain connection with characters' characteristics and the development of the plot?

I m here waiting~~~ A gillion thx to you all
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 3,495 • Replies: 27

 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Thu 20 Nov, 2008 11:37 am
@Feliciachoi,
Joey is a prototypical Irish-American name.

Other than that, I don't know.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 20 Nov, 2008 11:50 am
@Feliciachoi,
Chandler (I don't remember him being called "Chan") is a typically buttoned-up, WASP-y name. (WASP= White Anglo Saxon Protestant.) It fit the character well. He was supposed to be kind of un-cool, in contrast to the cool Joey.

Phoebe is a sort of flowery bohemian name, which also fit her character.

Monica, Ross and Rachel are all pretty normal names though. I think Rachel was supposed to be sort of a Jewish American Princess, and "Rachel" is a very common Jewish name. Monica and Ross (the names) are pretty featureless. (They were sort of the center of the series.)
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Nov, 2008 01:18 pm
(Rach, Mon, Pheebs, Chan, Joey and Ross)
Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, Ross

Ok, I've never watched more than 3 minutes of that show, maybe twice, so I have no idea who the characters are.

However, based on the way the way the nicknames where presented, and then soz supplying the full names, I pick up connotations from all of them.

Rach? That sounds like the noise someone makes when vomiting. Makes me think the person is a witch.
Rachel however, sounds elegant to me.

Mon? First thing I thought of was mons pubis.
Monica sounds French Canadian

Pheeps sounds like pleebs, aren't thoses the new guys in military school? Or it sound like you're calling her a feeb, as in feeble (maybe stupid)
Phoebe? That name always brings to mind Holden Caulfields little sister "Good Old Phobebe"

Chan? Chandler? Either way sounds like some douchebag.

Joey? Italian-American guy.

Ross? Someone with a stick stuck up their ass.

Just my thoughts.
Feliciachoi
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Nov, 2008 10:43 pm
@chai2,
you really hate Friends. don't ya?
Feliciachoi
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Nov, 2008 11:05 pm
@sozobe,
Janice always call him "Chanchan" with her annoying voice..

You sure Chandler is a name of Anglo-Saxon origin? I thought it was supposed to be a Surname rather than the First name, because if I recall, there was a wirter whose surname was Chandler.

Pheobe is a godess in Greek myth and perhaps it sounds a little bit bohemian or "hippie".

Monica in Latin means "Advisor", which of course fits her character.

I just wanna know if you think names of these characters have been applicated with implied meaning according to your culture, or they were just randomly named.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 05:15 am
@Feliciachoi,
Phoebe is definitely meant to be more New Age-y, which is how the character originally started out, until they made her into the archetypical dumb blonde. Rachel and Ross were Jewish (her name is of Biblical origin) and I'm sure the relationship was already decided on when the pilot was made and the characters were being named, so the alliteration was probably intended to evoke the feeling that they belonged together.

Monica is Ross's sister but they are children of a mixed marriage so she ended up being the more Christian of the two (you see her with a tree, and making nonkosher food, plus she ends up marrying a gentile, whereas Ross, while he does date and marry gentiles, is the only consistent intellectual in the group, and also a bit of a shlub -- look the word up). Joey, the stupidest of the group (if Joey were a real person, he'd be too dumb to survive on his own, and Phoebe is not much better), is also meant to be straightforward Italian. He's getting by with acting because he has looks, because if he didn't, he'd be mixing concrete. He's the male version of the dumb blonde.

Chandler is meant to be tightly wound so he has a very formal name. Plus he also comes from some money and he's not supposed to be ethnic in any way, so that all works together.

The backstories (probably except for the eventual Chandler-Monica romance) were, I'm sure, mainly written by the end of the first season or even earlier. I'm not saying that all of the plotting was done by then, but writers for sitcoms, because they have to pump out a lot of product, need a detailed framework. The characters have to be well-known to the writers, even if the details are not known to the audience (yet) as that makes the writing easier and helps to keep it more consistent.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 06:27 am
@Feliciachoi,
Like I said, I've never watched more than a couple minutes of the show.

I don't know a thing about the show, the plot, or it's characters. No opinion on it either way.

I was just telling you what the connotations of the names are for me.

I thought it might be helpful, since I'd be an unbiased contributor as to what the names bring to mind.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 06:37 am
@Feliciachoi,
I don't remember Janice calling him that (I believe you though). Generally his name was Chandler rather than Chan. (As opposed to Phoebe, who lots of people called Pheebs.)

There is a writer named Raymond Chandler, yes. Chandler can be a first name too, though.

The site "Baby Names" says the name is of English origin:

http://www.babynames.com/Names/name_display.php?id=335

I don't think they were randomly named. However I'm not sure if there's a bachelor's thesis worth of meaning behind their names, either. (For example "Monica" = advisor [as a purposeful thing] seems a little bit of a stretch to me. I remember reading articles about how Courtney Cox's personality kept leaching more into the show, and that was one aspect that was very her -- the nurturing, advisor role.)
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 06:52 am
@sozobe,
Quote:
I don't think they were randomly named. However I'm not sure if there's a bachelor's thesis worth of meaning behind their names, either.


Soz brings up a good point here.

I'm curious, what type of degree are you earning? Also, since you mention native english speakers, I assume you are not from the U.S., England, Australia, etc. Where are you from?

The reason I ask some of these questions is that there seems to be an assumption that anyone reading your thesis, i.e. the professor, would know all about the small details of the show and its characters.

For instance, when I read Jespah's post, it was interesting (because it was Jespahs), but there was no way I could follow her explanations, or decide if I agreed or not.

Is this some kind of class where everyone is an expert on this show? If not, how do you know you are going to reach your audience.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 07:06 am
@chai2,
oh, I forgot....

I don't really get your comment that I must really hate friends.

I reread my initial post and see that I said I thought Rachel was an elegant name; that the name Phoebe made me think of Holden Caulfield sister (Good Old Phoebe is a wonderful character); and that Monica sounded French Canadian to me. Also, saying Joey sounded Italian American is a personal result of where I was raised. Italian Americans rock.

I don't think seeing the word "mons" reminds me of mons pubis, or if rach to me sounds disgusting sound or a witches name has anything to do with the show.

Those 2 guy names? Chandler and Ross? Again, they just sound like stuckup names to me.

As far as you thesis, maybe this will be helpful to see that depending on the listeners background, the names could bring forth different ideas.

Please take my contributions in the spirit they were given....trying to answer your question from where the individual stands.
Feliciachoi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 07:34 am
@chai2,
Thank you anyway, I think I got you wrong before and I m sorry.
0 Replies
 
Feliciachoi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 07:41 am
@chai2,
Thank you for you two's consideration.. Yep my mother tongue is not English but from quite a different language system. I think you can tell by my grammatic mistakes~

The topic of my thesis haven't been finalized yet, I m just trying to give a case study on Friends. My thesis is on socio-linguistics and anthroponomastics.
0 Replies
 
Feliciachoi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 07:45 am
@chai2,
To be frank when I saw the word "douchebag" after Chandler , I feel uncomfortable coz I am a super fan of Matthew Perry...

But it's Ok now, never mind. And apologize again to you~
Feliciachoi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 08:09 am
@jespah,
You helped me a lot from a socio-cultural point of view, thank you~

Except for this sentence,"Plus he also comes from some money and he's not supposed to be ethnic in any way" . Excuse my unpolished English, I don't quite understand what you mean by it.

PS, don't you think Chandler's name (Chandler Muriel Bing) is weird? I still remember how sad Monica was when she noticed that she s gonna be "Mrs Bing". So I find his name strange or funny rather than formal.


OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 08:12 am
@Feliciachoi,
chandler seems pretty intellectual as well, IMO jespah.

him and joey seem to be opposites to me.

joey and phoebe - ditzy

ross and rachel - average

chandler and monica - quirky

i think their names are just picked, like yeah that sounds good..

pheebz is the oddball, really random

joey and chandler are the opposites always together

ross is the leader

monica and rachel are opposites. one laid back, one uptight
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 08:18 am
@Feliciachoi,
I'm not Jes, but to take a stab at it...

WASPs have famously weird names. Not "ethnic," mind you, but weird.

I just Googled "waspy names" and came up with these examples:

Quote:
Brantforth Covington-Fordham

Jermery Yardsworth IV

George Fortescu Maximillian de Winter


"Saxby Chambliss" (an American senator) is another of that type that comes to mind.

Chandler's name is definitely meant to evoke a sort of effete, moneyed, over-educated doofus and so the whole name is out there -- weird -- but not incompatible with "formal."

OK so "ethnic" in this context means identifiably Jewish, Italian, Mexican, Indian, etc. "Joey" is identifiably Italian. "Rachel" is identifiably Jewish. Meanwhile, "Chandler" is identifiably WASP. "Phoebe" has connotations (but only connotations) of a bohemian free spirit. "Monica" and "Ross" are relatively featureless -- some connotations, but nothing clear-cut.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 08:20 am
@Feliciachoi,
Feliciachoi, I think you are looking for deep meaning where there is only fluff. Friends was never meant to be more than light entertainment to frame commercials. Do you need to pick an English language topic and seek deeper meaning in it? I'm sure there are better topics for your thesis.
Feliciachoi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 09:09 am
@Green Witch,
Thx, as I said above I m just trying to make Friends a study case. What I m gonna write is about socio-linguistics and anthroponomastics

So I m not aimed to conduct an in-depth research here about names of friends and their origins. What I need,like my question goes, is yes or no, from native English speakers.

But I ll considerate your advices~
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 09:24 am
@Feliciachoi,
Quote:
To be frank when I saw the word "douchebag" after Chandler , I feel uncomfortable coz I am a super fan of Matthew Perry...


HA! See, you're letting your personal feelings for an actor get in the way of the question, which was "what connotations the names have for you?"

Believe it or not, I have no idea who Matthew Perry is. I wouldn't know him if he walked into the room right now. In fact, when I read Matthew Perry, the first thing I thought was "isn't he that teeny bopper singer?" Then I realized I was thinking of the name Luke Perry. I'm not even sure if Luke Perry is a singer or not. That's how much I know...I'm beginning to think LP is an actor too.

What greenwitch said, I'm starting to think this is all about fluff. I mean to me personally, it's just a TV show.

ok, I'm sincere when I ask if the show friends was supposed to have been some watershed moment in history, worthy of writing a thesis on it? To those that watched the show, did it, or was it supposed to have some lasting impact on you, or society or something?

Not trying to belittle the idea, or criticize, I really don't know.

Feliciachoi, can you share more as to why you chose this subject?

That would be interesting.

0 Replies
 
 

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