Are you a fan of “Friends”? This American sitcom aired from 1994 to 2004, lasting 10 seasons, and became one of the most popular television shows of all time. This series revolved around the six friends, played by Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, who live in New York City and often hang out at a coffee shop called Central Perk.
“Friends” definitely had a big cultural impact in the US, and probably worldwide. Remember Rachel’s hair style being so famous that people labeled it “The Rachel” haircut? Well, that was just one of them. Now, let's take a look at the cast and characters, see if their names make any difference for the parents back then.
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Rachel Green, played by Jennifer Aniston
Rachel was already a popular baby girl name before “Friends”. It ranked 14th in 1993, moving up to 9th in 1996, also when Rachel was the most popular, but its popularity slowly decreased after that, dropping out of the top 100 in 2011. Rachel however is still a common choice of name nowadays, ranking at 227th in 2020.
Jennifer was a very popular baby girl name in the 1970s. It ranked 1st for 15 consecutive years from 1970 to 1984. It then slowly moved down the chart and is the 434th top baby girl name of 2020.
Monica Geller played by Courtney Cox
Monica was most popular in the 1970s. It was at 86th in 1993, 88th in 1994 and dropped out of the top 100 in 1998. In 2020, Monica ranked 703th.
Courtney was the 20th popular baby girl name in 1993 and remained in the top 50 until 1999. The name moved down the chart since then, dropping out from the top 1000 in 2018.
Phoebe Buffay played by Lisa Kudrow
Phoebe was the average name before “Friends”, ranked 900th in 1993. It became the 580th most popular baby girl name in 1995 and got into the top 500 in 1999. Phoebe ranked 256th in 2020, also the year when Phoebe was the most popular.
Lisa was at its peak in the 1960s where it ranked 1st for eight consecutive years. It didn’t get into the top 100 in 1994, and was out of the top 1000 in 2020.
Joey Tribbiani played by Matt LeBlanc
Joey is more common as a boy’s name. Joey ranked 362th in 1993, 411th in 1994 and had been moving down the chart since then. It was the 895th top baby boy name of 2020.
Matt was not a common choice of name since 1989, where it didn’t get into the top 1000.
Chandler Bing played by Matthew Perry
Chandler was the other name that gained noticeable popularity other than Phoebe after the airing of “Friends”. It ranked 358th in 1993, 348th in 1994, moved up 171 spots to rank at 177 in 1995. Chandler remained in the top 200 until 2000. It is the 569th top baby boy names of 2020.
Matthew has been a very popular baby boy name since the 1970s. It ranked at 3rd consecutively for over a decade before moving up to become the runner-up in 1995 and stayed for another year. The name got removed from the top 10 in 2009, but still remained a favourite choice among parents till today. Matthew was the 30th most popular baby boy name of 2020.
Ross Geller played by David Schwimmer
Ross actually had a steady ranking from the 1900s until the 1990s, managing to stay in the top 300. The name didn’t have significant popularity changes after “Friends” was aired but it eventually dropped out from the top 500 in 2002 and was not in the top 1000 for the year 2020.
David is one of the top baby names of all time. The name had a steady popularity and was ranked in between 10th-16th from the year 1992 till 2010. Its popularity did slightly decrease after that, and it was at 28th in 2020.
It seems like Phoebe and Chandler are the only two names that had gained popularity after the airing of “Friends”. (Popularity based on the US birth chart)
The special onstage called “Friends: The Reunion”, also known as "The One Where They Get Back Together" has premiered on May 27, 2021, on HBO Max.