Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) is one of the main characters from the hit TV series “FRIENDS,” was born April 8, 1968. His parents Nora Tyler Bing, an erotic novelist, and Charles Bing, a crossdressing, homosexual burlesque star, provided an unstable home for young Chandler, they finally got divorced on Thanksgiving when he was nine years old. (Marta Kauffman,David Crane, 2009)
After college, Chandler moves to New York where he meets his best friend, Joey Tribbiani. Chandler and Joey live across the hall from Monica and Rachel Monica’s brother Ross, Chandler’s college roommate, and Phoebe, Monica’s previous roommate, are also a part of the gang. The show follows these six as they live their lives in New York City.
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Chandler is usually the comic relief of the show, with his inability to talk to women, frequent sarcastic comments, and general anxiety about everything. While his friends may accept his personality for what it is, the concepts and approaches of Freudian, Freudian, and Trait theorists can help us understand how Chandler’s personality was formed. First, let’s use the ideas of Freud to analyse Chandler’s character. Freud believed that on our way to adulthood, we each went through certain Psychosexual stages of Development, if one were to struggle with a specific stage, they may develop a fixation up of psychic energy that leads to the inability to function normally. It is my belief that Chandler may have fixations in two of Freud's stages of Psychosexual development. Firstly, the oral stage. This stage is during the first 18 months of life, during this time, the primary erogenous zones are the mouth, lips, and tongue. Traumatic experiences during this stage have led Chandler to develop an oral personality, in that he is dependent on others and possesses an need for oral satisfaction. He satisfies this need through excessive smoking and frequent touching of the mouth. (Fiksenbaum, 2019)
Next comes the phallic stage, this is when the primary zones are the genitals. Chandler probably struggled to connect with his father, who was homosexual and frequently dressed as a woman when he would pick his son up from school. A fixation in this stage can lead to a person exhibiting qualities generally displayed by the opposite sex. This helps us explain why Chandler is the most effeminate of the men on “FRIENDS”. For example, during season 6, once Chandler and Monica have moved in together, he does “girly” things with her like taking long hot bubble bath and organizing CD’s that end with the other guys making fun of him. (Fiksenbaum, 2019) (David Crane, 1994-2004)
Chandler’s ego uses many different kinds of defence mechanisms to protect itself, some of these include intellectualization, projection, and denial. An example of his use of denial would be the first time he tells Monica he loves her. Chandler says, “You’re so great, I love you!” then realizing what he has said, denies having spoken after saying she was a great person. Through his rough childhood, Chandler seems to have developed an inferiority complex, or a general feeling of inadequacy. He often compares himself to his friends and has relentless anxiety about not being good enough. This is most often shown in Chandler’s romantic relationships, he has trouble accepting that any woman could love him and, even after he and Monica are married, frequently brings up her past partners.
Considering the psychosexual stages of development, Chandler most likely has difficulty in adolescence, during the stage of identity versus role confusion. Chandler had a troublesome relationship with his father during his teenage years, which lead him to lack a strong sense of identity. Though he is highly successful in occupying the important role of executive specializing in statistical analysis, he frequently complains about how much he dislikes his job. This being said, he often mentions his unworthiness of his career, he refuses to quit and move on to something he might enjoy. Chandler is rarely sure of himself and is often anxious about others ideas about him. He attempts to act like a loner but unconsciously craves social contact and love.
Lastly, the trait theory describes the basic dimensions of personality as the degree to which a person possesses five specific traits, these are neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Chandler would rank higher in neuroticism because he is anxious and unstable. Also high scores in this trait are due to the experiencing of frequent emotional distress, which appears in many Chandler centred episodes. Chandler is closer to introverted because he doesn't like to go out and meet new people, he always hangs out with the same friends, has difficulty talking to new people especially women. This is shown through his relationship with Janice. Chandler and Janice date on and off for several seasons, a trait theorist may say this is due to his anxiety about meeting new people. Chandler lacks openness, seeing as how he prefers the familiar over the new. He would rate lower on agreeableness. Due to his rocky childhood, Chandler is conscious and untrusting, often requiring valid proof before believing something. Chandler is easily distracted and frequently careless, giving him a low conscientious score. For example, when his boss complains about the large pile of paperwork on his desk, Chandler suggests he simply throw it in the shredder and claim he never received it.
Benefits of theoretical perspective: observing the behaviours of an individual over time and in varying circumstances provides evidence for the personality traits categorized in trait theories. (srestha, 2013)
Drawbacks of theoretical perspective in personality trait: observing the behaviours of an individual over time and in varying circumstances provides evidence for the personality traits categorized in trait theories. The trait theory uses group results to judge individuals, which can cause people to appear different than they are because they are being judged compared to others. The trait theory also generalizes by putting people into groups based on their results in personality inventories. These tests are often to general for a full understanding of the person and their traits. (srestha, 2013).
- David Crane, M. K. (1994-2004). Friends TV show. New York.
- Fiksenbaum, L. (2019). psycology core concepts. Retrieved from slate: www.slate.com
- Marta Kauffman,David Crane. (2009). wikipedia. Retrieved from www.wikipedia.com/friends.
- srestha, p. (2013). google. Retrieved from psychestudy: www.psychestudy.com