Most of the characters in Friends are surprisingly complex for a 90s sitcom, with each of them given a detailed backstory that goes far in rationalizing the decisions they make in the course of the show.
In the end, though, all of them can, in essence, be filtered into a core aspect — Ross is high-strung, Monica is fussy, Joey is a dumbbell, Phoebe is a kook, Rachel is posh, and Chandler is emotional pain masquerading as sarcasm, not to mention the other important characters that populate Friends. As such, which Avatar: The Last Airbender element would they be most likely to bend?
10 Ross Geller — Fire
Ross has a hot temper, that much is clear from the way he constantly seems to blow his top at everything, no matter how minor the incident. For instance, he gets so caught up in the fact that his daughter is taken care of by a male nanny, that he ends up firing the guy even though he’s the best.
Firebending seems most suitable for Ross because practitioners of this art possess an “inner fire” that usually leads to turmoil and difficulty forming close relationships.
9 Phoebe Buffay — Air
Phoebe Buffay can’t be anything but an Airbender — her personal ideologies match those of the Air Nomads. In other words, she prefers to be free (for the most part), unbound by earthly conventions or tethers.
Phoebe almost always says what she thinks, not because she is unable to hold herself back from blurting out her opinions, but because she believes that nothing good can ever come out of burying emotions deep inside one’s consciousness.
8 Janice Hosenstein — Water
For all her annoying features, and they are limitless in number, Janice is surprisingly down to earth and humble about most aspects of her life. She is an ideal Waterbender, as she doesn’t exactly hold grudges (certainly not like her ex-boyfriend), and is given to a more relaxed outlook towards life.
Ironic, because she stresses everyone else out with her presence, but this factor is irrelevant. Janice embodies the larger scope of the Waterbending philosophy, although not on a small scale.
7 Chandler Bing — Fire
Chandler’s sarcasm is nothing more than a weak shroud (metaphorically speaking) to hide away from the judgment of the world. At his core, he is insecure, lonely, temperamental, and, believe it or not, he has a few atypical rage issues that would benefit from some proper treatment.
In any case, these components of his personality make Chandler an incredible Firebender, at least in theory, since his struggles reflect those observed in most people of this kind.
6 Mike Hannigan — Water
Mike is introduced to the story by total fluke, as Joey desperately attempts to cover up his own mistake by pretending that he had a friend with that name. He is an excellent counter to Phoebe’s breezy life, as he anchors her to a fixed point, so to speak.
This is why he is a Waterbender: while the term “anchor” refers to a specific location, suggesting that he keeps her grounded, the fact is that Mike allows her to explore her visions as much as she wants to (but helps her realize when they are unfeasible or ridiculous.)
5 Gunther — Earth
Gunther, the bored barista, would find himself aligned to the spiritual as well as physical facets of Earthbending, especially in manifesting the neutral “jin”. To put it simply, he knows how to wait and listen (specifically if the conversation has anything to do with Rachel), rather than burst into the fray, guns blazing, as a character like Joey is wont to do.
In fact, Gunther has the patience of a saint, when it comes to the Friends, as shown by his constant willingness to join in their activities, and acceptance when things don’t pan out for him.
4 Rachel Green — Air
Rachel has always been the unfettered type, in part due to her wealthy upbringing and relative independence in comparison to Monica or Phoebe. As such, she exemplifies the qualities of Airbending, largely in her refusal to be tied down to any one thing, be it a career or a relationship.
This obviously doesn’t mean that Rachel has no care in the world whatsoever, as Emma’s birth and early infancy are strong indications to the contrary.
3 Ursula Buffay — Fire
Ursula is nowhere near as nice as her identical twin sister; in fact, one might even refer to her as the classic “evil twin”. She is a pain to be around, both due to her bloated sense of ego as well as her total disregard for Phoebe’s feelings (or anyone else’s for that matter.)
Interestingly, Ursula’s character is an eerie echo of Azula, as they behave in almost exactly the same manner. Therefore, there is no doubt that her chosen art would be Firebending.
2 Monica Geller — Earth
Monica is a sweetheart, but some of her actions contradict the general nature of her character. She is a typical Earthbender in that she has a strongly defined set of goals that she works to accomplish, even if it means overlooking her husband in the process.
Monica clearly enjoys order and organization, implying that she expects her universe to be in harmony with itself, explaining why she gets so upset when others interfere in her idealism.
1 Joey Tribbiani — Air
Joey’s Airbending skills may not be great, considering his penchant for slapstick antics, but then again, Aang is the same way. He takes to heart the words of Guru Laghima, “Enter the void. Empty, and become wind”, although his interpretation is probably going to be too literal.
Joey doesn’t share food, but he shares his home and his heart to each one of his friends; they are the only constant in his life (aside from the endless stream of nameless characters pouring in and out of his bedroom.)
NEXT: Friends: 5 Reasons Why It Was The Worst Show Of The 90s (& 5 Why It Wasn’t All That Bad)
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