Emily From FRIENDS Might Not Be The Best Person But She’s Certainly Not The Villain We Think She Is

Manya Ailawadi

The first ‘cool’ thing that our generation does, is watch FRIENDS, and hence there’s an undeniable influence of the show on us. I mean, all the merch, everywhere, is proof. Right or wrong, good or bad, we’ve picked a lot about adulting from the show – or at least hoped that our lives become remotely similar to what they had. Eh, socializing is too exhausting, we’re better off.

Source: Pinterest

Given all this impact and the fact that a lot of us draw comparisons between life and sitcoms (I know, I do), there are some plot points that, if we think hard enough, seem unfair. For one, the entire “Emily is a controlling evil woman” narrative is actually not very plausible. Of course, she wasn’t perfect, and it’s good that the two didn’t end up together, but to blame Emily and declare her a villain is unreasonable. For starters, she wasn’t the only one who made mistakes in that relationship.

Source: Netflix

When we watch shows and movies, we mostly develop a soft corner for the main characters, that’s pretty much how content works. We are supposed to empathize with the characters in order to invest in them, and hence watch the thing. And most often than not, we forget that they’re just as flawed (sometimes more) as the side characters or even the antagonists. We like them so much, that we end up convincing ourselves that they cannot do anything wrong. This is exactly what happened here – with Ross being treated as the only victim.

Source: Netflix

The start of Ross and Emily’s relationship, and even the introduction of her character showed her as someone who was likeable. And even though the marriage didn’t make all the sense, it looked like a passionate act of love. So, to change her from someone who was so likable that we were expected to look forward to the wedding, to someone so controlling, doesn’t sit very well. Clearly, she was not all wrong.

Sure, giving up on friendships and changing your entire lifestyle for someone is wrong – and expecting someone to do it, is wrong as well. But, so is taking the wrong name at the altar and going on THE honeymoon with the person you just confused your fiancé with. Again, Rachel had feelings for Ross which is normal, and maybe, there should’ve been a discussion post the wedding about everything that happened to address things between Emily and Ross. But, we cannot entirely blame Emily for a reaction, right? Her ultimatum wasn’t entirely justified, but imagine getting married to someone, moving to a whole new country for them, only to be unsure if they’ve moved on from their ex.

Now, exes being friends isn’t the problem. Even not wanting to do everything that Emily expected, makes some sense. But, that doesn’t justify treating her like a possessive woman who’s only identified as a nightmare. Before we started hating her, she actually looked like a pretty fun character who had a strong personality – certainly more than just an insecure girlfriend. So, it can’t just all go away. And since a lot of it is about Ross, how can we forget about the way he reacted to Mark, during his relationship with Rachel?

Of course, they’re all characters and we were supposed to move on from Emily to ship Ross and Rachel again, but she deserved a better storyline – something where we wouldn’t place all the blame on that one person. Because for the longest time, I hated Emily. And every time someone gossips about a terrible person in their life, they cannot help but compare them to Emily. Plus, every woman who points out her insecurities in a relationship is deemed an Emily (in the worst possible way). This is one repercussion of leaving us with a character who was misunderstood, just because of how little she got to share about her side of the story.

Source: Netflix

Emily wasn’t the worst person in that equation, certainly not a villain, because it was all about flawed people who unintentionally hurt other flawed people. And we cannot always label characters as black and white, specifically when there’re feelings involved. But hey, we always need the side characters to like our protagonists more. If anything, she made a lot of us like Ross’ comic timing – thanks to the storyline, we got “my sandwich” and more.

Whatever, Joey was right, they got married too soon.

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