Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Celebrating a comedy legend

Capturing the moments, laughter and timeless legacy of Matthew Perry

As a devoted fan of “Friends,” I write this piece with a heavy heart, grappling with the sudden and unexpected loss of Matthew Perry. 

On Oct. 28, the world lost the brilliant 54-year-old actor who brought the iconic character Chandler Bing to life was found unresponsive in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home, according to the Los Angeles Times. News of Perry’s passing felt like losing a friend I had known for years.

The world grieves the unexpected passing of Matthew Perry, fondly reflecting on his time in “Friends. (Photo collage by Helen Tam)

First aired on Sep. 22, 1994, the NBC hit series “Friends” is a popular American television sitcom that follows the lives, relationships, and comedic adventures of six friends — Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe — in New York City. The universal themes of friendship and love, coupled with witty dialogue and a memorable cast contribute to its global popularity.

Having watched “Friends” since childhood, the show is not just a series, but a part of growing up. I feel like I know the characters personally because of their relatable struggles as they navigate friendships, relationships, and the uncertainties of adulthood. The humor, often laced with sarcasm and quick wit makes the show engaging and I always find myself laughing at the episodes I’ve rewatched multiple times. As an avid viewer, ‘Friends’ has become more than a sitcom; it’s a nostalgic time capsule, a comforting escape into the lives of friends who feel like companions of my own. 

For ten years, Perry portrayed the iconic character Chandler Bing, the wry wingman turned leading man in “Friends.” The chemistry among the cast members extended beyond the soundstage, creating a bond that felt more like family than colleagues.

Perry’s impeccable comedic timing and sarcastic wit made Chandler my favorite character on the show. Growing up with “Friends” gave me a constant source of joy in my life, and as I revisit certain episodes, I am reminded of the countless times his humor lifted my spirits. Whether it was his awkward dance moves, unforgettable sarcastic remarks, or his classic moments in Central Perk, Perry’s performance infused these scenes with enduring charm. 

Reflecting on Perry’s iconic portrayal of Chandler Bing, series co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, along with executive producer Kevin Bright, conveyed their surprise and sadness. They reminisce about Perry’s unique ability to make the role his own and remember him as the funniest person in the room with a giving and selfless heart, according to an exclusive statement to PEOPLE.

The “Friends” cast, including Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer, expressed profound grief over the loss of their co-star Matthew Perry. Part of the statement from PEOPLE read, “We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family.”

This sentiment extends beyond the screen, underscoring the deep, enduring bond they shared. While the statement offered few words, it is within reason that the cast members need time to grieve and process this significant loss before saying more. 

As a viewer, the bond between the “Friends” characters and their actors is truly special. The chemistry among the cast members feels genuine, making the characters more than just fictional creations but rather friends of our own. As the characters navigate life’s highs and lows, viewers become emotionally invested in their journeys. Whether through public appearances or behind-the-scenes moments, the real-life friendships among the cast also enrich the viewing journey, turning “Friends” into a cherished connection to a group of friends whose camaraderie has left a mark on the hearts of viewers like me.

Maggie Wheeler, who portrayed Chandler’s on-again-off-again TV girlfriend, Janice, shared her sorrow on Instagram, emphasizing the loss the world feels. “The joy you brought to so many in your too-short lifetime will live on. I feel so very blessed by every creative moment we shared,” she said.

Despite the tragedy, I can reflect on the joy he has brought to millions, myself included, through Chandler’s legendary humor. The universal appeal of “Friends” has created a shared experience, connecting individuals worldwide through laughter and relatable moments.

As the world bids farewell to Perry, I too say goodbye to an era: a time when “Friends” was not just a show but a shared experience that brought families together. Although he is no longer with us, the laughter he gifted us lives on in the timeless episodes I will continue to revisit. In the words of Chandler, “Could this be any sadder?” I will forever remember Matthew Perry as the friend who made growing up a little more fun.

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About the Contributor
Helen Tam, Sports Editor
Helen is a junior and a Sports editor for The Epitaph. Being a second-year staffer, she is excited to continue writing for the paper and covering events. Outside of journalism, Helen plays volleyball and is an officer for the HHS health and fitness club. In her free time, Helen likes to get Starbucks, go shopping and hang out with friends.

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