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The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken

I discovered FRIENDS when I was a teenager and was suffering from debilitating undiagnosed clinical depression. I was channel surfing when I discovered an episode right before bed, it was The One After I Do. The obsession was instant.

By now, I have rewatched FRIENDS so many times that you could randomly put on any episode and I could recite it word for word. The show has been my happy place for many years; I hid all my darkness in the pockets of laughter that the show gave me. My memory isn’t always the best , so the only way to mark moments of my life is to remember the things in the entertainment world that kept me distracted during that time. FRIENDS, “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz, and Britney Spears are just some of the things that have helped push me forward. Which is why, even through the discovery of it’s often problematic jokes, I still find that FRIENDS is my happy place.

The show created some of my loudest laughs and I look back at that depressing time in my life with fondness because I remember just how happy that show made me. It wasn’t until many years after the show ended that Matthew Perry’s truth started coming out. The reality was that while he was making us all laugh, he was dealing with drug addiction and alcoholism. In an interview he did while promoting his book, Diane Sawyer had him rewatch some FRIENDS clips and he admits that it’s difficult for him to look back at those episodes because he was struggling so much. Though a sad reality, there’s something so necessary about this charismatic, comedy genius being able to come out and admit that none of it was easy.

Matthew Perry passed away on October 28, 2023. Which is a sentence that I am truly struggling to make sense of. Not only because his comedic timing helped my own struggles, but because he was loudly trying to be a better person for himself. His book, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, was released about a year ago and in it he detailed his struggle with pills and alcohol. He did countless interviews about the matter and used his addiction to try to help save lives. Not only did he share his story but he also created Perry House in Malibu, which is a sober-living facility for men. Matthew Perry gathered all of his pain, he accepted the help to make it better (no matter how many times he had to try) and he used the tools he learned to try to help others. Matthew Perry was iconic in many ways and Chandler Bing just barely makes the Top 5.

Here’s to a man that created so much joy and healing in the world. Matthew Perry left behind a legacy and he left us with a character that will continue to make us laugh for many years to come. I hope he’s at peace now.