In the very first episode of Friends, Monica Geller reconnects with her childhood best friend while getting ready to go on a date and wearing a pale yellow jacket with suspenders and khakis. In the final episode of the series, she's getting ready to move to the suburbs with her twin babies and husband and wearing a jean jacket, black wrap dress, and boots. And what happened in the time in between? Well, the '90s ended and everyone stopped wearing ridiculous stuff. But also, there was a lot of change for Monica.
During the 10 years that viewers followed her, Monica's life evolves. Her career has ups and downs, her relationships with her friends shift, she stops dating Tom Selleck. The Monica that we knew at the beginning of the series isn't gone by the end, but she has grown and taken on some new roles in her life while leaving others behind.
Below are nine ways Monica changed from the first time we saw her to the finale. They'll help you realize just how much went on and also remind you of just how many haircuts the Friends cast went through.
She Stops Taking Care Of Everyone So Much
In the beginning of the series, Monica is the one who seems to most have her life together. She has an amazing apartment, she's employed, she's out and about in the dating world. It's not like the other friends don't have jobs or homes (well, some of them do, at least), but Monica really holds everything together.
But, as the series goes on, the other friends grow up, which means they don't have to count on Monica quite as much. This especially applies to Rachel, who gets a career of her own and learns what it means to be an adult; the contrast between her and Monica's maturity stops being as great.
She Makes Career Moves
Monica goes from being a sous chef to unemployed to a roller skating cook with giant fake boobs and a wig to a head chef. There are a lot of ups and downs for her career-wise, but things work out for her in the end. Well, actually, who knows what happens after she moves to the suburbs. Does she keep commuting into the city? It's hard to see Monica on public transit — so many germs.
She Falls In Love With Chandler
Monica and Chandler get together at the end of Season 4, and it takes the show in a new direction that allows for another wedding, more talk about having kids, and the "they don't know that we know they know" scene that no one will ever forget.
She Gets Over Richard
Of course, to get with Chandler, Monica has to get over Richard. Richard is her most serious relationship outside of Chandler, and for a while he is the one she keeps wanting to go back to. Maybe making all that jam didn't actually help her get over him, but it did happen eventually.
She Becomes A Mom
Monica breaks up with Richard because she wants to have children and he doesn't want to have any more since he already has kids. And, in the end, she does end up having children. In Season 10, Monica and Chandler adopt twins from Anna Faris. Not real life Anna Faris, but, you know.
She Switches Up Her Style
All of the characters' style changes with the times during the show's 10 seasons, and it's really something to see how far they come. Just look at those suspenders Monica's rocking in the pilot.
She Chills Out In One Major Way...
Monica is not a chill person. From the very beginning, she is a neat freak and is very particular about how she keeps her apartment and how people act when they are there. (She loves a coaster.) But, when Monica and Chandler decide to move in together, she has to give in to someone else's needs and tastes at least a little. So, yeah, Chandler got to keep the white dog.
...But Becomes More Of A Caricature
Monica's obsession with keeping her apartment clean, being high-strung about her preferences, and being super competitive all exist throughout the series, but storylines and jokes revolving around it pick up more and more as the show goes on.
She Moves Three Times
The show is centered around Monica's apartment, but she actual does move out of it. The first move is during Season 4 when Rachel and Monica lose a bet to Chandler and Joey and have to switch apartments. The second is when they switch back. And the third is at the very end when she and Chandler decide to move out of the city. (Are you thinking about all the keys being placed on the counter? You should be.)
While it should be clear from this list that Monica changed, the only way to know for sure how she compares over the seasons is to keep watching the episodes yourself. You've only seen them three times each so far, you might have missed something.