I was an introvert, growing up, still am. And when you don’t say much, people think that you don’t have much to say. So, expression comes in ways and forms that are mostly unknown to the rest of the world. Writing in a journal was one way for me. Then in class eleven, I watched my first American sitcom, FRIENDS. I was understandably obsessed – it was realistic yet aspirational, funny yet emotional and I, for some reason felt seen.


This was also the beginning of a phase (which is here to stay) – so I started binge watching shows when bingeing wasn’t even a thing. There’s something about fictional shows and films, they are an escape and you still come out of feeling something different for the real world. In my first year of college, I binged Brooklyn Nine-Nine. By then I knew that FRIENDS wasn’t perfect and in a spree of finding a good show I ended up getting Brooklyn Nine-Nine. After Chandler Bing, Amy and Raymond Holt became my favourite characters… favourite people.

Since expression to me meant writing, I started a cinema-centred Instagram page in the pandemic. All I did was, evaluate characters and write down about them. When people would relate, the introvert felt validated – which wasn’t the point, but it felt good. Weirdly and unknowingly, watching these shows and writing about them did more for me. Characters have that impact. They aren’t real people, but at times they are more than what most people can be. So we don’t even realize when they become more than just moving images on a rectangular screen.

Brooklyn Nine Nine

On days when the world feels hopeless and pointless, these characters say exactly what you want to hear. For someone like me, who doesn’t know how to socialize, or like it, for that matter, living through these characters feels like the perfect escape. This can easily sound weird, but it’s exactly how characters have an impact. So, they tend to leave with a similar kind of feeling. This year, for instance, hasn’t been very easy – in most ways. The news of the passing away of Matthew Perry and Andre Braugher understandably felt like a personal loss.

Chandler Bing

These were people we didn’t know or see closely. But these were also people who brought some of the most wonderful and timeless characters to life – just that effort feels like a lot. Of course we can easily go back to these shows and re-watch them, but knowing that there’s no possibility of a new occurrence for Chandler and Holt, is saddening. What they meant to the people in their lives is something we may not be able to comprehend. However, what they taught us and how they helped someone they didn’t even know, can be easily fathomed. A scene where Ray Holt talks to an employee, Rosa on coming out, comes to mind. He tells her that her decision to talk about her identity and sharing it with the world, will make it easier for someone else to do the same.

Raymond Holt

We find in shows and characters what we cannot find in the real world, and that’s okay. There is something more special to our favourite characters, which is why it’s nice to have witnessed Chandler and Holt do their thing. For me, it was a reminder that characters have a deeper impact than we know or think of.