A Data Scientist Figured Out Who the Real Star of Friends Is
Who of the star-studded "Friends" cast is the main character? A data scientist figured it out, and the answer might surprise you.
Friends may have gone off the air more than 14 years ago, but that isn’t stopping people from being totally and completely enthralled with the ensemble comedy. (Said in our best Chandler voice: Could we be any more obsessed with Friends?)
The show is still available on several television channels–including in full on Netflix–and still brings in plenty of views thanks to its loyal and dedicated fans around the globe. But, rewatching the show does beg one major question: Just who is the main character, anyway? Thankfully, Yashu Seth, a data scientist, figured out the answer for us.
Seth, who wrote up his findings on his blog, calculated who the main character is by analyzing transcripts of every episode from all 10 seasons, which he found on a handy fan site. Using a complex algorithm you don’t really need to understand (frankly, the science flew over our heads, too), Seth found that there is indeed one character who outshines all the rest.
As Seth discovered, both Rachel and Ross had nearly an equal number of lines—about 9,000, to be exact—throughout the show, while their friend Phoebe had the fewest lines at 7,400.
Both Ross and Rachel also spoke the most number of words in those lines.
But, surprisingly, for the number of screen appearances, Chandler takes the cake. He had more than 1,400 scenes, according to Seth, while Ross and Rachel had 1,330 and 1,370 appearances respectively.
If you had your money on Rachel being the leading cast member, there is one area where Jennifer Aniston's character reigns supreme. Seth revealed that Rachel is in the most episode titles with 27 mentions, while Ross is referenced in 24. Monica, on the other hand, is only mentioned eight times in episode titles.
So, who does Seth believe to be the main character? The answer is clear: This show is all about Ross.
“It is really close between Ross and Rachel,” Seth wrote in his conclusion. “But, Ross beats Rachel by a significant margin in the individual scene appearances. Besides, there was very little difference between them in the other parameters. Hence, I will have to give it to Ross.”
Now that you know how the entire show shakes out, it’s time to go back and re-watch it from the beginning with the new perspective that it’s all about Ross.