Why Phoebe Buffay was one of the most revolutionary character in sitcom history? (2024)

Why Phoebe Buffay was one of the most revolutionary character in sitcom history? (1)

WARNING : The article below contains spoilers about show named “Friends” for those who did not watch it.

Phoebe Buffay, also known as Princess Consuela Banana Hammock, was one of the characters in a sitcom named “Friends”. According to screenwriters of the show David Crane and Marta Kauffman, Phoebe was struggling the extreme life conditions since her life started on streets. She lost her mother because of suicide, her step-father was locked up in jail and lived with strangers without even a roof. Her twin, Ursula Buffay, was already seperated from her destiny. (At that point Phoebe indicated her twin was too weird to live together, even more than herself!) Although her life seems gloomy and devastated, those hard memories she had faced were not the exact reason of her amusing way of thinking and odd behavioral expressions.

Until season 2, fiction of “Friends” was not eager to show decisions of its six characters which can have an impact on their lives. Their daily problems, boyfriends and girlfriends, divorces ( Generally for Ross though) and the turkey on dinner table of thanksgiving day was primarily serving to be comprehended as a long-time scheduled fiction that represents its characters with a realistic story line in the end. Moreover, Friends did not use severe monologues to emphasize the importance of friendship. Instead of that, the screenwriters have created a character for this purpose: Phoebe Buffay.

Phoebe’s weird attitudes, different jokes, eccentric creation and old fashioned wardrobe might be seemed a little bit artificial at first glance. But in fact, those descriptions becomes her naturality after episode by episode which implies the general idea of what is a friendship for “Friends”. Lisa Kudrow, herself, explains how she directed the appearance and existence of Phoebe Buffay in an interview:

“I decided, well, the only way this is funny is if … okay, that reminds me of my friend from college who had to leave school because her parents thought it was making her irreligious, and they didn’t want to pay for it anymore. And she had to work in a nursing home. And she never got down about it–ever. It was always like, ‘It’s so funny where I work, there’s this one woman who’s so funny because she can’t think straight anymore, and it’s very funny.’ She found things to love about working in the nursing home. What an attitude! I always admired that, and it stuck with me. And I thought, ‘Okay, that’s what this person needs to have–that attitude. Doesn’t feel sorry for herself at all.’”

But why Phoebe Buffay differed from the all characters in sitcom history? Why she was always hopeful about the future and things that happened to her ? Was she living in a balloon where she defined herself free ? Actually the answer is obvious.

Why Phoebe Buffay was one of the most revolutionary character in sitcom history? (3)

In Season 5 Episode 14 “The One Where Everybody Finds Out”, Phoebe and Chandler tries to seduce each other. But on a deeply analysis, this is the one of the most influential moments of Phoebe Buffay which it finally solves the commitment problem of Chandler — which it is implied several times during the show — and makes Chandler&Monica as an inseparable couple.

Why Phoebe Buffay was one of the most revolutionary character in sitcom history? (4)

Remember the time when Rachel exposes that she is pregnant ? In that scene, Phoebe asks to Rachel whether she is comfortable and ready for that decision. But to do this, she convinces her that she is not pregnant and considers her feelings as an exact reason to raise the baby. Despite the bravery and dedication of Rachel, Phoebe’s support and tricky mind during that time were rather efficient to make this decision plausible.

Why Phoebe Buffay was one of the most revolutionary character in sitcom history? (5)

Also in last episode, Phoebe was playing a huge role for the relationship of Ross and Rachel. Although it seems like Ross did not give up Rachel, the one who encouraged him to stand for love of his life was Phoebe herself.

Her quirky behaviors,stories and great weirdness can be the most salient personality treats for Phoebe. But in a different sense, she is the one who motive the life train into the right path, the one who owns and loves his friends as family, especially the one who represents the meaning of true friendship just with her entity. Thus, she becomes one of the most revolutionary character in sitcom history,being created for changing the scenario of “Friends” as an predominant factor.

Many thanks to David Crane, Marta Kauffman and particularly to Lisa Kudrow for creating such an amazing character like Phoebe Buffay.

Be sure to have friends like Phoebe and keep them alive!

Why Phoebe Buffay was one of the most revolutionary character in sitcom history? (2024)


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