The One Where A Data Scientist Worked Out Who The Real Lead Character In Friends Is

Photo: Warner Bros.
Though some aspects of the show haven't aged so well, there's no denying Friends' enduring popularity. In fact, two-thirds of British people say they've watched at least a few episodes of the era-defining sitcom, which ran for 236 episodes between 1994 and 2004.
In 2018 a YouGov Omnibus survey revealed that Matthew Perry's character, Chandler Bing, is the most popular Friends character among Brits. But according to strangely fascinating research by a data scientist Yashu Seth, Chandler isn't the sitcom's true lead character.
Seth downloaded transcripts of every single Friends episode and analysed them extensively in a bid to work out the show's overall "lead". The outcome: none other than David Schwimmer's character, Ross Geller.
Across the ten seasons, Ross spoke about 9,000 lines, roughly the same number as Jennifer Aniston's character, Rachel Green. Lisa Kudrow's Phoebe Buffay only spoke about 7,400 lines, while Courteney Cox's Monica Geller and Matt LeBlanc's Joey Tribbiani were somewhere in between.
Chandler had the most screen appearances (1400), Seth found, using the rule that only a scene in which a character speaks a line counts as an appearance. Both Rachel (1370) and Ross (1330) were very close behind, though.
Rachel had her name mentioned most frequently in episode titles, with 27 episodes referencing her, but Ross was only three behind with 24 mentions.
However, Ross enjoyed considerably more individual scenes than Rachel, who only had the fourth most individual scenes behind Joey (second) and Phoebe (third).
Analysing the results to form a conclusion, Seth writes: "It is really close between Ross and Rachel. But, Ross beats Rachel by a significant margin in the individual scene appearances. Besides, there was very little difference between them in the other parameters. Hence, I will have to give it to Ross."
So, now that this matter has been settled, I think we can all agree that the Friends character who went on the biggest journey over the 10 seasons has got to be... Rachel. Right? Don't @ me.

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