Monica Geller

Monica Geller

We love our favourite and relatable know-it-all – and so do her closest 5 friends. I share how Monica Geller can teach us to connect with audience emotionally.

Published Jul 21, 2023
Reading time 4 min read
A photo about the author of Narrative Navigators

Hi, I'm Mariia 👋

This is Narrative Navigators speaking: Where we explore how to grow your creator brand, one character at a time.

And the story goes:

Another day in Monica’s apartment – everyone’s here, minus Phoebe. One thing leads to another, and now it’s Monica and Rachel vs Chandler and Joey who compete on who knows the other best.

Monica, ever the competitive perfectionist, doubled down, certain of victory.

A $10 bet escalates into $100, then $150 (Rachel’s slightly worried here). To keep it spicy, Monica ups the stakes further and agrees that if the girls lose, the boys will get her apartment.

And… lose they did. Bye-bye, Monica’s cosy and beautiful apartment – hello, the boys pad next door for the girls.

What Monica once said to Rachel, now came back to her, “Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You're gonna love it!"

Things don’t always go your way, even if you’re an ultra competitive perfectionist. Or dare I say, especially? Yet, in the moments of unpredictability, we see the real you – likeable, vulnerable, and relatable.

What’s in it for you? Drop your perfectionist mask. Connect with your people emotionally instead.

Behind The Character

Monica Geller – we loved her, laughed at her quirks and obsessions, and at times, found her “too much.” (I can never think of “I KNOOOW!” in any other voice than Courtney Cox’s, who played Monica in “Friends.”)

The show’s creators, David Crane and Marta Kauffman drew upon bits and pieces of their own lives and experiences for the characters, with Marta's passion for food coming alive in Monica's character. What also made Monica unforgettable from the comedic writing were her distinct traits of cleanliness and orderliness.

Unlike other 90s sitcoms, in “Friends” we get to be a part of every character’s story and daily life. And Monica, while initially written as the lead character, was the “glue” that held the group of six friends together.

What resonated with the audience is how realistic Monica was. We can relate to her trying to be a perfectionist know-it-all while in reality facing multiple struggles, from relationships to career and family.

I compiled a couple more takes on her character in this moodboard.

Mapping Out The Narrative

Beyond comedic traits and value, what’s so special in Monica?

My view is that she’s a perfectionist who loosens up and embraces life, as the show goes forward, and turns challenges into her strengths.

The creators set the stage for Monica as an incredible competitive and high-strung chef. Yet, what adds depth to her character is seeing her life unfold: Parents favoured her brother Ross over her, everyone loved her best friend Rachel at school, weight loss struggles, career challenges, relationship problems. It’s A LOT. And it gives context on why Monica is so competitive and tries so hard to beat everyone else.

But this is exactly what our lives are – complex, with multiple fires and low points, and our own struggles. And like Monica, we go through it and learn to loosen up along the way. Not alone but with friends and family alongside.

Monica’s vulnerabilities throughout these situations not only melt viewers’ hearts but allow her as a character to adapt to a new life. This is how she embraces the chaotic life with Chandler and all the forthcoming challenges! Season One Monica could never.

What others might see as flaws in Monica (remember, “too much” feedback from the audience?) is her unfair advantage. Passion for food, competitiveness, cleanliness, and control made for a great chef with a successful restaurant.

What’s more, she accepted her flaws. Monica had fun with it and played along. This is so endearing – to be yourself, laugh at yourself, and let people in.

I’m always a Monica girlie – with high expectations from yourself and others, endless perfectionism, yet on the path to accept life’s twists and turns. And that’s what’s so special and inspiring in Monica.

PIVOT! Now, onto your creator brand.

Like Monica shows, it’s okay to not be a successful know-it-all all the time. Yeah, it hurts – but is it even realistic to be oh-so-perfect all the time? I don’t think so.

What’s realistic is to build upon your challenges and create emotional touchpoints with your audience – through your content, tone of voice, and communications.

Grab your drink of choice and take the next 10-15 minutes to think of your audience and what kind of relationship you can foster:

  1. What makes them say, "Oh wow, I'm just like you"? (That makes for a good relationship-building – we yearn for connections and hang out with like-minded people)
  2. What makes them say, "Hah, I'm not like you at all"? (That's a good thing because this is what makes you stand out, that’s your unfair advantage)
  3. What makes them say, "Oh, I WANT to be like them"? (This is where you can inspire! No need to be a guru who talks at people all the time but there’s always something aspirational you can share from time to time)
  4. What makes them say, "I definitely want to learn from them"? (That's your authority – you’ve likely grown a skill or two that can help others)

What stands out to people is not your utter perfection but your voice and attitude in meeting challenges, head held high.

(And that’s on authenticity and accepting yourself – thanks, Monica!)

Seeing Through Stories

Navigate the world of brand strategy, every Friday

Every week, I will send you a TV or book character breakdown and what made them iconic – and how you can apply those insights to your creator brand.