A Data Scientist Found Out Who the Real Lead Character Was on “Friends”


In 2019, it will be 15 years since the last episode of Friends was released. This sitcom became a true cultural phenomenon that even scientists became interested in. Using Friends as an example, they researched the specifics of popular television and gender stereotypes. A machine-learning engineer named Yashu Seth conducted his own study showing the characters of the sitcom in numbers and graphs. Amazing!

When watching his favorite episode of Friends Yashu started thinking about the characters: “Who actually was the lead character on Friends? Was it Ross or Rachel? Was it sarcastic Chandler? Was it the clean freak, Monica? Was it the ladies’ man Joey? Or was it everyone’s favorite singer, Phoebe?” He decided to use data science to answer these questions. Yashu uploaded transcripts of 10 seasons into the special program. It converted the raw transcript files into a structured tabular form followed by an exploratory data analysis.

Ross and Rachel had more lines than anyone else.

The number of words said by each character

Ross and Rachel share first place, mostly thanks to their love story . Each of these characters said around 100,000 words. The least talkative was Phoebe who spoke 15,000 words less than those in the lead. In general, the dialogue between the characters was quite balanced and no one was prioritized.

 

Chandler had the biggest number of screen appearances.

 

As we can see, Chandler with 1,400+ scenes had the most number of screen appearances. Rachel and Ross are not very far behind with around 1,370 and 1,330 appearances respectively. Phoebe had the least number of appearances as usual. Poor Phoebe the last one again.

 

Ross has the biggest number of individual screen appearances.

 

For this parameter, Yashu considered scenes in which only one character among the 6 was present alone . Ross is a clear winner in this category who had almost 150 individual screen appearances. Rachel is not even close this time and came in fourth place. The second place went to Joey who had 130 scenes. Monica has the least screen time with around 50 scenes.


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