Sunday, December 19, 2004

Phoebe Buffay

Phoebe has a rather strange past, and an equally strange present existence. Her father left when she was young, her mother killed herself leaving Phoebe and her twin Ursula in the care of their stepfather who, for unknown reasons ended up in prison. Here Phoebe's past becomes hazy. By the age of 16 she was living on the streets, spending some time living in a Gremlin with a man called Rudy who talked to his hand, she had an Indian friend called 'Albino Bob', entered into a marriage of convenience with a gay ice-dancer who later "came out" as straight, wrote songs as part of a musical duo and at one point wrote a letter to Sesame Street, but was disappointed when they sent her back a key-ring, as she was homeless and therefore had no keys.
She also complained that pimps would spit in her mouth at night. To impress her friends, she told the story of the time when she stabbed a cop; when her friends were shocked, she retorted, "But he stabbed me first!"
Somewhere along this road she 'found' aromatherapy as well as massage, which became her profession and moved in with Monica. She could have been a stockbroker upon a massage client's urging, but she believed that she would have to live in a box and only eat lox, as well as have a pet fox, because she thought the things that happened to her had to rhyme with the stocks she had to sell, and it was this reason that made her decline the job offer. Phoebe later moved into her grandmother's apartment, and inherited her yellow taxi after her death.
Phoebe's somewhat dubious musical skills were a popular source of entertainment. Her stunning array of songs include The Double-Double-Double-Jointed Boy, Sticky Shoes, Little Black Curly Hair, and most famously Smelly Cat, which became both a jingle for a kitty litter commercial and a serious commercial release.
Phoebe had somewhat peculiar relationships with the three boys. Chandler acted as something of a little brother, on several occasions he demands "Phoebs! Play with me!" The conversations between the two, which ranged from why Donald Duck wears a towel when getting out of the shower, to why there isn't a superhero called 'Gold-Man', were another highlight of the show. Whilst Phoebe and Joey had a similar relationship, it emerged that Phoebe had a secret crush on Joey. However, this was rather playful and was never acted upon. Phoebe and Ross on the other hand had a rather different relationship. Ross' scientific beliefs and Phoebe's self devised beliefs led to conflict over the theories of evolution, gravity and whether or not Phoebe's dead mother had been reincarnated as a cat. However, the two always remained firm friends and it later emerged that they had almost slept together during Ross' divorce.
During the series Phoebe continued to uncover bits of her past including meeting her real mother, her half-brother Frank Buffay Jr. (played by Giovanni Ribisi), and finally her real father (Frank Buffay Sr.). Along the way she also carried and gave birth to her brother's triplets, with whom she aimed to be "Fun Aunt Phoebe".
Phoebe's famous pseudonym/alter ego was Dr. Regina Filange. The first references to Dr. Filange were used in the episodes set in England, in the run up to Ross' marriage to Emily; Phoebe was at home because she couldn't fly overseas pregnant, and she persisted in calling Emily's family in an attempt to warn Ross that Rachel was coming to break up the wedding. When Emily's family became weary of calls from "Ross' friend Phoebe", she invented Dr. Filange and a disease for Ross to explain his odd behavior. Dr. Filange later re-surfaced when the group traveled to Las Vegas, and Phoebe was kicked out of a casino for stealing an old lady's jackpot. She tried to convince the security guard that he kicked out Phoebe and that she was Dr. Filange. Dr. Filange is recognisable by the odd pronunciation of certain words, most notably her own name (it is pronounced Pha-LAN-gee, with strong emphasis on the second syllable).
Towards the end of the series, Joey - somewhat inadvertently - introduced Phoebe to Mike Hannigan. The two were married in one of the final episodes, in the street outside of Central Perk after a blizard. Monica and Rachel were bridesmaids, Joey officiated the wedding (he had been ordained over the internet for Monica and Chandler's wedding), Chandler gave Phoebe away and Ross, for his sins, held Mike's childhood dog.

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