This guest post by Artemis Linhart appears as part of our theme week on Unlikable Women.
You can hear her presence from a distance. If it isn’t the laugh that tips you off, it might just be her nasal, loud voice – the stuff that Chandler’s nightmares are made of. As a viewer, you can also feel her presence from a distance. Is Chandler going somewhere, just minding his own business? Chances are that Janice is just around the corner. As Janice once put it, “You seek me out. Something deep in your soul calls out to me like a foghorn. Jaaa-nice. Jaaa-nice.”
This holds true for all 10 seasons of Friends. Just when you thought she was out… they pull her back in.
The thing about Janice though, is that she is more than a running gag. What is established early on in the first season as the on-again, off-again love interest and general catchphrase provider, the inescapable fate of Chandler Bing’s love life, is in fact a statement about our – the fans’ – loyalty and commitment to the characters of the show.
Clearly, it’s a Love Hate Thing. The character evokes in the viewer split feelings of sympathy with both Chandler and Janice herself.
Why We Love Janice
She may be whiny, but Janice is up for all sorts of fun stuff. Spending a day with her seems like a great thing to do – even though “Joey and Janice’s Day Of Fun” did nothing to change Joey’s feelings about her. Phoebe may be the only one to genuinely like her, but Janice truly cares about all six of the Friends and shows that she’s a fun person to be around.
Not only is Janice confident when it comes to her style – she pulls off bold fashion choices with ease and, while others might be amused by her outfits, she wears them with pride – but she also never fails to show how strong a person she is. Janice knows what she wants and is not afraid to go ahead and get it.
When she hears about Joey hating her, instead of being offended or shamed, she confronts him and wants to make things right.
She has a good heart.
Janice is loyal to Chandler despite all the pain he has caused her. She truly cares about him. Remember the customized candy hearts and the Bullwinkle socks she gave him for Valentine’s Day? Those were gifts that really showed how thoughtful she is.
Forget lobsters! – Janice is the Bullwinkle sock to Chandler’s pair of Rockys. She might get lost in the sock drawer at times, but she’s sure to resurface every once in a while for Chandler to mix and match.
When Chandler pretend-moved to Yemen, she helped pack, bring his luggage to the airport and, on top of it all, agreed to a long-distance relationship.
At one point, she did actually make Chandler happy.
And we love a happy Chandler.
It is always fun to see Chandler’s pitiful tries to break up with her.
New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, you name it. Chandler may be the worst breaker-upper there ever was.
Why We Love to Hate Janice
We feel the pain.
Empathy, folks. We’ve got it.
It’s not just Chandler who suffers.
Joey, Rachel and Ross also get their fair share of Janice-induced agony.
We are protective of Monica and Chandler’s romance.
For Monica, there might even be a hint of jealousy involved. After all, Mon/Chan is the One True Pairing.
It makes us part of the group.
We love our Friends. They hate Janice. We know Janice is awesome, but we love to be on their side and hate Janice together.
Oh… My… God.
Admittedly, she is quite a bit irritating.
In conclusion, this video pretty much sums it all up:
Artemis Linhart is a true Friends geek. She works and watches in Vienna, Austria.