As any Friends fanatic can tell you, part of the magic of that sitcom was the combined power of six wildly different character types, all of whom had a specific set of idiosyncrasies, pet peeves, habits, and lifestyles. The characters were so iconic by the end that it was often difficult for the actors to break out of the types that they had been playing with for ten years. Still though, the Friends actors' post-Friends roles have usually tried to mix it up; some roles have been almost exactly like their sitcom counterpart, and some have been polar opposites.
In fact, audiences have seen a wide variety of characters — particularly where the women of Friends are concerned. Thanks to Phoebe, Lisa Kudrow has played the ditzy one a lot, but has also taken on some conniving, ruthless, hyper-intelligent roles as well. Courteney Cox gets stuck playing uptight and neurotic quite a bit thanks to Monica's obsessive compulsive tendencies, but that hasn't stopped Cox from also playing foul-mouthed career women or a day-drinking lush. Jennifer Aniston, who probably has the most varied career of the three, has played everything from a depressed Midwestern housewife to a sex-crazed doctor.
Of all the characters we've seen these three women play, which ones have been furthest away from their Friends alter egos, and which ones have clearly been the result of type casting? Let's find out.
Most Like Phoebe Buffay: Michele Weinberger From Romy & Michele's High School Reunion
While Michele certainly likes fashion a lot more than Phoebe, both see the world through slightly ditzy glasses. Plus, both spend an awful lot of time with the same people.
Least Like Phoebe Buffay: Fiona Wallice from Web Therapy
Not only does Fiona Wallice not believe in anything even remotely otherworldly or spiritual, she's also a die-hard Republican. The only thing she and Phoebe have in common is they're both therapists (psychological and massage, respectively).
Most Like Monica Geller: Jules Cobb from Cougar Town
I love Cougar Town, but it's basically Friends with wine. Jules, like Monica, is uptight and controlling of the people around her, spends literally all of her time with the same friend group, and likes to shout... a lot.
Least Like Monica Geller: Gail Weathers from Scream
Monica and Jules might yell a lot, but it's rare that they're legitimately cruel or spiteful. In fact, both characters are known for their generosity and devotion to the people in their lives. Gail Weathers, on the other hand, is a maniacal, backstabbing looney toon who will literally shoot someone in the face to get what she wants.
Most Like Rachel Green: Kate in Picture Perfect
One of Aniston's first films came out just a few years into the Friends hysteria. It's no surprise, then, that "Kate" — an advertising executive in her mid-20s who is just looking for love — is basically Rachel with a different name. Even the plot, in which a young woman pretends to be engaged to impress her boss, sounds straight out of Season 6 of Friends.
Least Like Rachel Green: Justine Last in The Good Girl
Oh, Justine Last, why are you so, so sad? Aniston plays a poor cashier at a grocery store who starts an illicit affair with a stock boy (Jake Gyllenhal). The whole movie is extremely understated, and Aniston brings a whole new level of subtlety to her performance (as in, she barely moves her face or talks above a murmur the whole movie).
All three of the actresses who portrayed these iconic characters have played many roles over the years since the last episode of Friends — some that harken back to the sitcom and some that really, really don't. Whether or not you'll always see them as Phoebe, Monica, and Rachel, however, is entirely up to you.
Images: Giphy (6); 20th Century Fox