Courteney Cox delivered a great performance in Friends but was secretly very upset that Monica geller was once considered the sitcom’s worst character.
Courteney Cox spent ten years acting in Friends, but during this time she was secretly upset that nobody liked Monica. Despite being ever-present throughout the series, Monica has often been regarded as one of the weakest characters. It turns out that this perception had a negative impact on Cox throughout her time on the show.
Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, Friends aired on NBC from 1994-2004 and is regarded as one of the most popular shows in TV history. After years of public demand, the cast finally filmed a reunion special for HBO Max in 2021. Friends follows a group of six New Yorkers navigating their professional and romantic lives during a time when close friendships are considered family. Courteney Cox plays Monica Gellar, who is a chef and perfectionist and the younger sister of Ross (David Schwimmer). She eventually develops a relationship with Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), with the pair marrying and adopting twins by the end of the sitcom’s run.
Despite consistently giving a terrific performance throughout Friends, Cox was worried that viewers disliked Monica. She was the only core cast member never to receive Emmy recognition for her performance, which she has recently admitted she found upsetting. However, in a 2000 interview with Movieline (via Lebeau’s Le Blog), Cox revealed that, as far back as the show’s early seasons, she struggled with the belief nobody liked Monica. When a TV Guide poll ranked her as the worst Friends character, Cox struggled to separate herself from viewers’ negativity towards Monica.
When asked about the pressure to be liked while working on a hugely successful sitcom like Friends, Monica Geller recalled the public poll from four years previously and was deeply hurt by the thought of nobody liking Monica Geller. Cox stated, “I couldn’t make myself understand that they were rating Monica, not Courteney Cox. Man, it hurt me. I lived with that hurt.” Maintaining focus on the performance may have understandably been difficult at times, given her concerns about the character.. Cox wasn’t shy about confiding in her Friends co-stars, telling Movieline, “I’m not one to pretend I’m okay. I’ll tell anybody I’m hurt.” Working with a cast that shares a deep bond would surely help soften any doubts Cox had about Monica, but this didn’t stop her from trying to rationalize people’s dislike of the character. Referring to the 1996 poll, Cox believed that, before, she “had nothing going on“. She explained, “People weren’t relating to her because she was just a clean freak and no one cared.”
Monica didn’t have the most talked-about Friends storyline at that time, as much discussion surrounded the relationship between Ross and Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston). However, Monica did have an interesting story involving her romance with the older Richard Burke (Tom Selleck) and was always an amusing presence. Monica and Chandler’s relationship was a great development for both characters, but there wasn’t a strong reason to dislike Monica at the beginning. After all, her competitiveness and obsessive cleanliness were frequently addressed in humorous ways. Cox was admirably open about how her insecurities affected her perception of the character. Per Cox, “I’m so self-critical, I know I’m very lucky, but I see flaws everywhere.” She played one of Friends‘ most important characters, with many episodes set in Monica’s apartment, so it’s completely understandable Cox was upset by people not liking her.
However, Cox has no qualms about playing intentionally dubious characters and adored the sharp-tongued Gale Weathers in the Scream films. In the Movieline interview, she revealed, “I love the idea of playing a character that you love to hate. In Scream 2, I was booed by the audience, which made me happy.” Unfortunately, Courteney Cox never received the appreciation she deserved for playing Monica. She was one of the best Friends characters and Cox gave one of the greatest performances from an iconic ensemble.