FRIENDS’ 25th Anniversary: A Closer Look at Monica and Chandler's Journey to a Family - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FRIENDS’ 25th Anniversary: A Closer Look at Monica and Chandler’s Journey to a Family

September 12, 2019 by  

Friends Monica Chandler Fertility Struggles

Credit: NBC/Getty

[On Thursday, September 22, 1994, NBC debuted the pilot of FRIENDS. The sitcom, about a group of six 20-something friends, went on to become a pop culture touchstone. In honor of the milestone, we’re doing 25 Days of FRIENDS, looking back at the show in big and small ways.]

Over FRIENDS’ decade on television, the show dealt with a number of serious topics: death, divorce, job loss. But its longest-running thread is also something that doesn’t often get tackled on television, especially in a comedy—Monica and Chandler’s struggles to start their own family.

Monica’s desire for her own family was established fairly early on in the series; heck, long before they coupled up, Chandler offered to father Monica’s kid if they were both single at 40. (She was offended he thought she might not be married at that age.) But once they officially coupled up and were married, it was clear they were heading toward expanding their family.

But it didn’t happen as they planned. After trying for a bit, the duo got tested and discovered they both had issues that would make it difficult to conceive. Instead of just glossing over it—or having a miraculous sudden pregnancy—the show committed: the duo explored a potential donor, explained why they weren’t interested in surrogacy, before ultimately realizing adoption was their best bet.

While the show did find occasions to make light of parts of the situation (Janice showing up at the testing facility, a paperwork mix up when Chandler and Monica met a prospective birth mother), the storyline provided some of the most grounded and emotional moments of the run.

Was every single aspect realistic? No. (No adoption agency is going to call and say a birth mother has chosen you ON THANKSGIVING.) And you’d think the agency would have warned Monica and Chandler that Erica was pregnant with twins…though this was also the place that gave her the wrong file, so it’s possible they all just picked an agency that was dropping the ball left and right.

At the end of the day, the show will likely always be remembered for its memorable episodes, moments, and jokes. But with the storyline, the show showcased a real struggle that is often not depicted on sitcoms.


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