Matthew Perry: The Loss of a Friend

Matthew Perry at Smarter Justice: Lessons from the American problem-solving court movement in 2013. Photo courtesy of Policy Exchange on Flickr.

An actor, writer, comedian and friend, Matthew Perry, passed away suddenly on Oct. 28 at the age of 54. Perry is most famous for his role as Chandler Bing on the hit 90s sitcom “Friends” where his sarcastic banter, awkward persona and witty comebacks made him an adored character people could laugh and relate with while watching the show.

Third-year biology major Amber Blair has seen the entire series of “Friends” multiple times and she said it became her comfort show.

“My favorite thing by far about his character was his sarcastic and poorly timed humor,” Blair said. “There is so much to love and appreciate about the show down to every little detail; the script, characters, decorations and outfits. This show grows with you in a way that makes one appreciate relationships, while also providing a sense of comfort in the experiences that may mirror ours as we go throughout different stages of our lives.”

With being such a devout fan of the show that Perry started out on, Blair took his passing as a hard loss.

“A death like this has not happened within our generation, so it’s eye opening to the kinds of things that can be taken for granted,” said Blair. “When I first found out about his passing, I was shocked, obviously, but was really upset thinking about how it would affect the rest of his co-stars from the TV show. With how close they became and the amount of time they’ve spent together, I can’t even imagine what it must be like to hear that news.”

Second-year psychology major Samantha Tucker is also a big fan of the show “Friends,” and her love for the show was passed down by her family. 

“My mom watched ‘Friends’ in the 90s with her mom, and when my older sister started

watching it we all binged it together,” said Tucker. “I think I watched it for the first time when I was 12 or 13, but I fell in love with it. You can find a sense of relatability with each character. My sister, mom and I loved watching it together and absolutely loved Chandler Bing’s character!”

Third-year psychology major, Grace Dilorenzo also watched “Friends” with her mom. 

“It brought me a lot of joy in some gnarly parts of growing up,” said Dilorenzo. “I knew when I turned the show on I would laugh. My mom and I would sit down and watch ‘Friends’ in bed quite often. I loved watching the stories unfold and the loyalty between the six friends.”

For Tucker, Chandler was a character that was always entertaining to watch. 

 “The laughter and fun energy Chandler brought to the show really made it the phenomenon it was,” said Tucker. “Any scene with Chandler in it was a guaranteed laugh. Similar to Matthew Perry himself, Chandler, despite whatever he was feeling, always wanted to supply the people around him with joy and laughter.”

Tucker is familiar with Perry because of his character on the show, but she has been able to learn more about who he is since his passing and the struggles he went through with addiction in the past.

“Matthew being gone is such a loss in this world,” said Tucker. “In his memoir that he

wrote, going into his story deeper, he states that when he dies he wants to be known as

someone who desperately tried to help people. I think it’s really important to acknowledge the incredible work he did on ‘Friends,’ but more importantly the work he did for others struggling with addiction.”

Third-year psychology major Natalie Bayrakdarian is another avid watcher of the show who admired that Perry helped people through their own battles with addiction, after going through his own.

“His addictions that arose during the show are well-known by most people which I think humanized him,” said Bayrakdarian. “It became something that he was always open about and even was able to overcome. He even used his position of fame to help others that suffered with the same addictions.”

Perry’s sense of humor translated into Chandler on the show and why he was beloved by so many despite his own hardships he was enduring at the time.

“His ability to make people laugh and to make their day, while struggling with his own battles shows why he was such a rare treasure to society,” said Tucker.

With Perry’s death being so sudden after a life of spreading joy and outreach, Dilorenzo said that makes it hard to believe he is really gone.

“Matthew Perry is someone so many of us grew up on and is someone who brought light and life to many generations,” said Dilorenzo. “He created a space in the show so many could find joy and comfort in.”