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Matthew Perry, The Friend We Lost

Friends' actor Matthew Perry dead at 54


Matthew Perry, The Friend We Lost

Matthew Perry’s passing last year has marred the show for me and it will never be the same.

Friends' actor Matthew Perry dead at 54

Friends’ actor Matthew Perry

As promised, I’m diving into a beloved classic; the series Friends. I’m a 90’s baby so I grew up watching Friends and using the sitcom as a guide to Adulting. Adulting waits for no one, and unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a guide so we’re all out here trying to find ourselves, our purpose, our partners and most importantly our reason for being. “Friends” brings up warm and fond memories of childhood. Matthew Perry’s passing last year has marred the show for me and it will never be the same. This is my homage to him, Matthew Perry the friend we lost.

Friends was always relatable as it honed in on the harsh realities of growing up. It also featured varied characters with lovable quirks and charm, from Monica’s OCD tendencies and control freak vibes to Joey’s many amorous trysts, Rachel’s self-involved chaos and Phoebe’s happy-go-lucky fairy vibes, Chandler always stood out as comic relief that brought joy to the madness.

It strikes me as sad that in his personal life, Matthew Perry was troubled. His portrayal of Chandler was riveting and relatable; he was the character everyone loved and cherished. Even within the Friends dynamic, he was the glue that held a group of misfits together, always bringing a smile to our faces, and yet he is the friend we lost. I will not speak ill of the dead, or try to make sense of the many versions of who he was, as well as accusations levelled against him post-mortem, but I will lament the loss.

Even in the series, Chandler reminded me of the strong friend who always seems to have a joke up their sleeve, and never seems to have a bad day, but who secretly struggles more so than most. We’ve heard this so many times but check on your strong friends. It has been alarming to note that individuals lost to suicide usually show no outward signs of inner turmoil, which makes it harder to assist. And yet, we should, because more often than not, we lose out by virtue of their absence.

Matthew Perry brought a beloved character to life while sharing heartfelt lessons about the harsh realities of growing up and for that, for him, for Friends, I am eternally grateful.

Friends was a constant on my Golden Oldies rotation, from Modern Family, to Dharma and Greg, hits like Fraser and How I Met Your Mother to name a few. I learnt about the anxiety of unemployment when Monica lost her job due to accepting gifts from a client. I learnt about the harsh realities of karma in the classic Mjolo game when Joey eventually fell in love with someone who didn’t love him back. I learnt that sometimes your greatest enemy is a family member from Phoebe and Ursula’s constant bickering and most importantly I learnt the true value of a friend; someone who always shows up for you even when its inconvenient for them. Ross was the classic example of this when he blew off a show on National Geographic in order to help Rachel get medical attention even though they had already broken up.

The most pertinent lesson I’ve taken from Friends and the world at large is that not everyone is your friend. It strikes me as odd that so many allegations have been levelled against Matthew Perry posthumously and yet he no longer stands on earth to defend or clear his name. In the grand scheme of things, it seems the world will build you up only to tear you back down at a later point. I’m not saying he didn’t have his faults, who could possibly know the inner workings of another person? My question still remains though; why would anyone go out of their way to besmirch someone’s reputation when they can no longer stand to defend themselves? Is it the desire for 15 minutes of fame at someone’s expense? Could there be truth to the allegations? If so, why not stand for the truth earlier? It breaks my heart to think he had friends and family as well as loved ones that had to deal with the abrupt loss of him, as well as the rumours and allegations he could never stand for.

It begs the question of our humanity and moral conduct as the demise of others is fast becoming the fast-food outlet of the seedy underbelly of humanity. Cannibalism; feeding on the carcasses of others for momentary sustenance or blissful ignorance of our own mortality.

I did warn you; this one isn’t all fluff and roses. It’s a hard look at our society and who we are.

How much of the fame and publicity caused him to struggle mentally? What inner horrors did he battle with while continuously smiling? We will never know, and it’s really not for us to know, but today I will lament his loss, because when I went through particularly dark times, Chandler was the Friend who brought a smile to my face and a spring to my step. So, rest well Chandler, dear friends of Friends, you will be missed but the joy you brought to the world will forever remain as your legacy.

To the Friend we lost.

We’ll brighten up, dear Buttercup!

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