The Instigator
Maikuru
Pro (for)
Winning
31 Points
The Contender
Marauder
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

Ross is the Main Character on Friends

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Post Voting Period
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after 7 votes the winner is...
Maikuru
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/6/2013 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 11,971 times Debate No: 28920
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (40)
Votes (7)

 

Maikuru

Pro

Full Resolution: Given the storyline, if one of the characters of the tv sitcom Friends is to be considered the protagonist, the most fitting choice is Ross Geller.

Friends is an ensemble comedy television series with six well-defined main characters [1]. That said, my opponent and I will both now argue in favor of a single character as being the most fitting protagonist, given their roles within the series as a whole.

The burden of proof will be shared equally. I will argue in favor of the protagonist being the character Ross and my opponent must argue in favor of one of the remaining main characters: Chandler, Joey, Monica, Rachel, or Phoebe.

Protagonist: the leading character, hero, or heroine of a drama or other literary work [2]

Rules (stolen from RoyLathem. You inspire me, sir.)

Both sides agree to the following rules, and that violating the rules is a conduct violation. Anything contrary to the rules is to be ignored by readers judging the debate:

1. I hate starting debates so Con will present their character choice and opening case in Round 1. Neither debater may present new arguments in their final speech, though they may rebut previous arguments using new evidence. For equality's sake, Con will pass Round 4.

2. All arguments must be made in this debate. Evidence may be cited or linked from the debate, but only in support of arguments made in the debate. Arguments made in Comments or elsewhere are to be ignored.

3. Source links and references must be included within the 6,000 characters per round limit of the debate.

4. No semantics. Any term not specifically defined before use is to be taken with the ordinary dictionary definition of the term that best fits the context of the debate.

5. DDO site rules always apply. Neither side may add or modify rules for the debate once the challenge is accepted. Any questions or issues with this debate should be addressed in the comments section before acceptance.

References

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://tinyurl.com...
Marauder

Con


I accept all the terms to this awesome idea for a debate without quarrel or conflict (I know you put that one rule in there for scum like me)



I must say if one had to answer who was the shows main protagonist I can see how it would be ‘tempting’ to call Ross the main star. And as someone who just wants to take up a debate about the show ‘Friends’ it was tempting for me to want to pick my arguments using my favorite character, Chandler. But honestly I honestly have the last few seasons to cite examples from that would make Chandler look as if he is at the shows center ongoing story.


But after giving it some thought, to compete against Ross for the title of the shows main protagonist, there is really only one clear competitor, and that is Rachel Greens character.



My Arguments:


The Show Begins with Rachel: The first episode is rather defined by the entrance of Rachel Green into the group of already established friends. Joining in she is as much a ‘newcomer’ to the gang as the audience is seeing the show for the first time, Thus the key character that makes us feel as if we are ‘becoming friends’ with the rest of the ‘friends’.


The Show Ends with Rachel: The Last episodes possible primary plot element that drives it is Rachel preparing to say Goodbye to all the friends forever. We are not given longwinded goodbye scenes with each character with each other, or with Ross and every character more importantly, they are all of Rachel, the Girl that brought us into this group of friends, saying goodbye to all of them for us.


The Show Builds with Rachel (A): Throughout the whole series we find as it builds, so does Rachel’s career. She starts out as nothing running away from her old life that was dependant on her wealthy family that almost led into dependency on a cheating husband. So as it begins with her on rock bottom, we see as her move up to a Waitress, later on to quite that job and pursue work related to her dreams in all the fashion business to were when the show is ready to end she is at the absolute peak of that dream, ready for one of two different adventures to follow from it, an even more interesting ‘scary’ career in Paris, or a stable but still high spot in ones career at home (as she ended up choosing) where the new adventure for her we assume she has is her relationship with Ross that we can only as Fans hope lasted them forever afterword (happily ever after).


The Show Builds with Rachel (B): Not only does it build with Rachel in terms of Careers in life but with relationships in her life. Central Perk the place the ‘friends’ always hang out is run by a guy who crushes on Rachel. And if that’s not enough lets take this season by season


Season 1) Ross is looking for when Rachel is finally available, keeping a secret crush on her


Season 2) Rachel now is in Ross’s predicament last season


Season 3) They are finally dating


Season 4) They split for good and while it looks like Ross is about too take off get Marriage serious with some stupid British chick that’s only been around a couple of episodes, Rachel has race to England to stop it doesn’t cause she has to much character in the end and Ross has to stop this from going to far himself with the use of Rachel’s name.


Season 5) The Season is filled with tension between Ross and Rachel as there being friends is getting in the way of Ross doomed efforts to get back the British chick, and while Ross and Rachel’s relationship never get a fighting chance to start again this season, somehow it still ends with there marriage.


Season 6) Chandler and Monica really steal this season away but not without Ross and Rachel’s weird relationship wierding up for a good while a relationship with Bruce Willis and his daughter who is not acted out by a famous person.


Season 7) Rachel test positive for pregnancy and really nothing noteworthy happens with Ross at the end of this season


Season 8) Turns out its Ross’s baby though they weren’t dating last season, and they still do not get together. This season gets driven by Joey this time crushing on Rachel in secret. And finally Rachel gives birth to Emma as the finally


Season 9) Rachel tries living with Ross but that gets too weird so she moves in with Joey and it gets weird as she crushes on him and ends with there pairing


Season 10) Rachel’s dating Joey fizzles into nothing and as the season ends it has to come all the way back round to a permanent relationship with Ross finally, while Emma is still young.


All the Friends world is Explored with Rachel: besides the fact that she dates through 2 of the 3 guys in the show, Rachel I think is the only character to move and live in every single apartment at one point in the show throughout the series. She has lived in Pheobe’s apartment with Phoebe, in Joeys&Chandlers with Joey, in Ross’s with Ross, in Monica’s with Monica. The only other location frequented by the Friends is Central Perk and she worked there for a while.



In fact because of the unique nature of Rachel's character being used so strongly by the writers of the show to introduce us to the 'Friends'and to all of there homes, and to the Coffee House they all hang out at, that they began the show with her new life and ended it with her step into her next one, I think its clear she is the ONLY character who can truely be called the show's protragonist. Ross does not do that for us. Chandler doesnt do this for us, Monica dosent, Joey doesnt, Phoebe doesnt.


That is all the line of argument I plan on using this debate so far that I can think of, I will source any of what I said that you feel like challenging specifically, and will give my rebuttal to your PRO case for Ross you lay out next round.



Hope this will turn into a fun "Friends" fan debate and I look foward to your response.


Debate Round No. 1
Maikuru

Pro

Thanks to Marauder and the readers!

Affirmative Case

The Everyman & The Damsel in Distress

When we meet Ross, he has few remarkable attributes and is easily one of the least unique members of the group. At the same time, he is surrounded by absurdity; his friends are odd, his wife left him for another woman, and the love of his life, Rachel, shows up one day in a wedding dress. An otherwise normal character who is faced with unusual circumstances is known as an Everyman [http://tinyurl.com...]. Famous examples include Leonard (The Big Bang Theory), Jerry (Seinfeld), and Ted (How I Met Your Mother). These characters are protagonists; their normalcy in the face of insanity provides the audience with someone to identify with and use as a standard by which to judge the progress of the story.

Compare this with Rachel, who we first see alone, confused, and having just run out on her wedding. As we learn more about her, we discover that she is also rich, sheltered, cries constantly, and is ignorant of the world around her (she’s never done laundry, taken out the trash, etc.). Characters portrayed as helpless, attractive, and naive are known as Damsels in Distress [http://tinyurl.com...]. Famous examples include Penny (The Big Bang Theory, season 1) and Diane (Cheers). These characters’ quirks get them lots of laughs, but those same traits disqualify them as protagonists. Rachel, like Chandler, Monica, Joey, and Phoebe, is written to be a caricature and plays off of our “normal” hero, Ross.

A Hero’s Journey

Ross faces challenges and evolves throughout the series in ways indicative of a protagonist growing along with the audience. Ross’ primary struggles - his relationship with his ex-wife, raising his son, overcoming his difficulties in relationships, and his unrequited love for Rachel - are long-term plot points. Each of these elements are introduced in the first season and recur time and time again, showing slow but significant advances throughout. While Rachel’s personality traits last throughout the show, her areas of growth pretty much happen entirely in the first season; she gets a job, makes new friends, and finds her independence. Based on Con’s own synopsis, the rest of her involvement in the show involves primarily dating various people and occasionally changing jobs.

The Pursuer vs the Pursued

Consider the roles Ross and Rachel play in developing the show’s primary plot: their relationship. Ross has always loved Rachel and from the beginning he was the pursuer. He initiated their first kiss, sleeps with the copier girl and causes their first break-up, gets them back together, says Rachel’s name at his wedding, breaks up with both Julie and Emily for Rachel, breaks up Rachel’s relationship with Joey, and the entire final season is about him finally winning Rachel’s heart. Rachel, on the other hand, is passive in all this. Her one attempt at making an impact - flying to London to stop Ross’ wedding - ends with her hugging him and telling him good luck. Protagonists propel the story forward and she has done nothing of the sort.

Rebuttals

The show begins & ends with Rachel

Countless series begin with the boring life of the protagonist being shaken up by the entrance of a potential love interest. Consider the pilots of The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. In both cases, the lives of our average protagonists (Leonard, Ted) are changed forever when a beautiful, available woman suddenly appears (Penny, Robin). Like Rachel, these women are main characters and pivotal in the story but they are not the protagonists. Rather, they represent the start of the protagonists' long-term relationship arc. As for Rachel leaving at the end, that is another example of my Pursuer vs Pursued argument. We see the entire ordeal through the eyes of Ross, which makes sense considering protagonists must be the one confronting and resolving conflicts, not simply experiencing events as they unfold.

Rachel’s career improves

Every main character on Friends showed significant job improvements throughout the series. Ross ended up as a professor, Rachel a fashion consultant, Joey a movie star, Phoebe a masseuse, Monica a chef, and Chandler an office worker. In terms of wealth and dream fulfillment, Joey attained the greatest career success.

Rachel’s relationships

Con mentions one of Rachel’s suitors: Gunther. Gunther pines for Rachel throughout the show and actively damages her relationship with Ross; he mocks Ross’ advances and even caused them to break up by revealing to her that Ross cheated. In literary terms, Gunther is known as an antagonist [http://tinyurl.com...]. Antagonists are directly at odds with protagonists and work to impede their progress and make their lives difficult. As Ross is the only target of Gunther's attacks and no other characters are faced with similar conflict, we can conclude that Ross is the show's protagonist.

Con's second point is that Rachel’s relationships are highlighted in the show. He does this by running through each season and relates them each to who Rachel was dating. What he does not seem to acknowledge, however, is that every single one of these relationships except one involves Ross! The one outlier - Rachel’s brief fling with Joey - ends because of Ross. Thus, if these relationships are a point in Rachel’s favor, they are a point in Ross’ favor, as well.

Rachel lives with the cast

Con mentions that Rachel lives with the other cast members. To start, this does not indicate that she is the protagonist. Daphne, the housekeeper on Frasier, lived with the other main characters and she obviously wasn’t the protagonist (that would be Frasier). Still, this point is irrelevant as Ross lived with the other 5 cast members, too. He lives with Monica during high school flashbacks (and visits her constantly at the beginning of the show), he moves in briefly with Phoebe, then with Joey and Chandler, and finally Rachel moves in with him at the end of the series.
Marauder

Con


The ‘Everyman’:


First I would argue that Ross is not an ‘everyman’ normal guy among his other character portrait like friends. He is as much a character as the rest of them. He is extreamly intellectual to the point of annoyance of his friends, and he is prone to wild overreactions throughout the show in Anger (put on sabbatical), Romance (got married to Emily way to fast), Jelousy (This apply’s to Susan as much as Mark), and from the very beginning Depression (his first words on the show was saying ‘hi’ with a deep sigh) Ross is not a normal average Joe. He is a Scientist and a Dork and maybe secretly ailed with bipolar depression.


Second though, even if he was an average joe, I would argue the main Protagonist is not always an Everyman. For sure sometimes they are, and the Everyman Jack Carter makes a great Sheriff of Eureka. But other times, like James Garners role in “Support your Local Sheriff” your leading protagonist is anything but a normal average Everyman.


Sometimes your main protagonist is anything but the everyman, he is ‘the amazing man’ that is the farthest thing from the normal and average guy. He is an impossible hero with an extravagant history who we are reminded at every turn just how impossible our hero Goku the supersayen is, training to have lifetimes worth of training in a matter of hours. In Literary terms this kind of Protagonist is called….


Mary Sue:


Mary Sue is a term for the protagonist that is a little unbelievable at times. They are usually very attractive or in some cases extremely ugly, and they are sometimes Captain of the Enterprise and get to cheat death all across the universe while bedding women on every planet and leaving them behind without consequence or a horrible break-up.


They are an unrealistic people all together and is usually a sign of poor writing, but sometimes they turn out to be the greatest characters ever that readers love the most. And We love Goku and Kirk and James Bond because they are impossible unrealistic amazing fantasies we enjoy to vicariously live. We love Batman because he can accomplish anything, and Goku because he defies what all the Mentors ever expect of him, and Kirk because he makes us believe that “there is no no-win scenario”.


And that’s why we love Rachel for all these same reasons too. She comes from a wealthy family and yet starts without there money a life of independence with the aid of Friends she has not spoken with in years. She will astonish and amaze at every turn giving Ross reason to want to pursue her, along with many other guys. She moves out of a dead end job purely because a guy thought she was cute at a bar (Mark). Phoebe is amazed when she tells her she never had to ask a guy out. She is ‘the only daughter’ her ‘dad is proud of’, she has date ‘moves’ that leave Joey amazed, Phoebe’s Canadian ex-husband meets her for just a few minutes and his mind is blown! If you enter in Data that matches Rachel’s on this site you should see she test positive as a Mary Sue at a whopping 42! http://www.onlyfiction.net...


Vicarious:


To restate some of my older points, she is the Mary Sue that gets to do everything the Audience wants to do and is enabled to vicariously through Rachel. So Ross may have got to live with each of the cast at one point I admit but my point was Rachel lived in every one of there apartments. Phoebe’s moved in with Ross, Ross never lived in Phoebe’s apartment though. And while he visited a lot you never vicariously get to live in Monica’s apartment through Ross. And Rachel does much more an Audiences might like to live out that are unreasonable turns of events. Through Rachel we raced across the Atlantic to stop a wedding, and then we get to feel noble and big when she accepts its better at this point to let Ross go, she missed her chance. Through Rachel we get to ‘hire ourselves a little treat’ at work, she gets married and drunk in Vegas and has an affair away in Barbados. I could go on but I don’t have the space. To put it short she lives out all the things a viewer might want to do but forbids themselves to do and is incapable of doing themselves all the time on the show.


The Pursued:


Your view on this as making Ross the shows star Protagonist and not Rachel I think shows your using a strictly male perspective. As Men we like to be the Pursuer and think very little of a man who is Pursued. Meanwhile it is the Reverse for the Women the way the look at Rachel. They would think very little of her if she did have to pursue her man, but think all the world when she can just be pursued.


Consider the movie “Cinderella”, or “Snow White”. Who do you think is the main protagonist in these movies? The title stars are without question supposed to be Cinderella and Snow White. But they do nothing but wait for there Prince to come find them and to match the slipper with there shoe. The Girl Hero is always pursued, but it does not mean they are not the story’s leading character.


Debate Round No. 2
Maikuru

Pro

I will continue to use the previously established debate format for ease of reading.

Affirmative Case

The Everyman & The Damsel in Distress

Con doubts Ross’ characterization as an Everyman because he is intelligent and has shown bouts of emotion in the past. To start, intellect is not sufficient grounds for disqualification in this respect. Of the examples of famous Everyman characters I provided previously, which Con did not dispute, Leonard (The Big Bang Theory) has a genius level IQ and Ted (How I Met Your Mother) is an architect. The key to preserving the audience-character connection in these cases involves regularly mocking or downplaying the intelligence while providing the protagonists with struggles that their smarts alone cannot solve. These both obviously occur with Ross; Con admits that Ross’ education is met with annoyance from his friends and no amount of paleontological knowledge ever seems to save his relationships.

As for Ross’ bouts of emotion, Con does not explain why they should be an issue. Remember, Everyman characters are meant to be personally unremarkable to an extent that the audience may easily identify with their actions in the storyline. Con’s emotion examples - anger at losing a job, jealousy at a romantic rival, depression at the end of a marriage - are each extremely relatable and do nothing to disconnect Ross from the viewers.

When it comes to Rachel, Con states that Rachel is something called a Mary Sue, which he describes as “the farthest thing from the normal” and “impossible unrealistic amazing fantasies.” At this point, I ask the audience to take a quick plausibility check. I argued Rachel is not the protagonist because, like Penny from Big Bang and Diane from Cheers, her quirky traits and often naive behavior make her a caricature to play off our more normal hero, Ross. Con argued that Rachel is the protagonist because, like Goku, Batman, and James Bond, she is so incredibly unbelievable and extraordinary that she defies all expectations and will “astonish and amaze at every turn.”

Remember, this is Rachel we’re talking about. From Friends.

Jokes aside, Con’s representation of this argument is actually entirely incorrect. Mary Sue is a fan fiction term referring to characters meant to represent the author [http://tinyurl.com...]. They are a means of wish fulfillment for the writer, not the viewer, so all of Con’s statements about Rachel being the protagonist because she’s living out all these incredible dreams for the audience is completely wrong. If anything, I’m guessing the audience would rather be a soap opera star (Joey) or sleep with Tom Selleck (Monica) than just change jobs or run out on their wedding. As a side note, the term Mary Sue originated in Star Trek fan fiction, which may explain Con’s dubious comparison of Rachel to Captain Kirk.

A Hero’s Journey

Con completely ignores this argument. Please consider it a point in my favor.

The Pursuer vs the Pursued

In response to my argument that Ross was more active than Rachel throughout their relationship, Con states that I am viewing romance from a male perspective. Aside from being baseless, his rebuttal ignores the role of a protagonist in a narrative. The main character differs from secondary characters in that the story is based on and propelled by their actions and choices. In conceding that Rachel is passive in her relationship with Ross, which is undoubtedly the primary storyline of the entire series, Con essentially concedes any possibility of her being the protagonist. As for Con’s claim that “The Girl Hero is always pursued,” I can think of a few female protagonists who might disagree: Carrie of Sex and the City, Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dharma of Dharma & Greg, Christine of New Adventures of Old Christine, etc.

Gunther as the Antagonist

This point was originally a rebuttal of one of Con’s arguments, but my analysis revealed that Gunther acts as the antagonist to Ross’ protagonist. Con completely ignores this argument. Please consider it a point in my favor.

Rebuttals

The show begins & ends with Rachel

Con completely drops this argument. Please consider it defeated.

Rachel’s career improves

Con completely drops this argument. Please consider it defeated.

Rachel’s relationships

Con continues to mention Rachel’s dating history throughout his round, but fails to address my counter-argument that the intertwined nature of Ross and Rachel’s relationship makes this contention meaningless. Please consider it defeated.

Rachel lives with the cast

The only one of Con’s original arguments that made it to Round 2 involves Rachel living with the cast, though he does tweak it a bit. Considering both Ross and Rachel lived with all the other friends at some point, Con now claims that the important aspect is that only Rachel lived in every apartment. Again, why does this matter? As I said last round, Daphne from the show Frasier lived with every main character on the show at some point and she wasn’t the protagonist. An entire episode of The Big Bang Theory involved Sheldon living with (and being subsequently thrown out by) each main character, but that doesn’t make him the protagonist. Unless Con can explain how a character’s residence rather than their personality, struggles, or story arcs makes them the protagonist, this point is moot.

Closing

At this point, Con is in a precarious position. As the rules dictate that he must skip Round 4, this next speech is his last and no new arguments can be introduced. However, he has already dropped two of my affirmative arguments and three of his own. All that remains in defense of Rachel as the protagonist is the fact that she's lived in different apartments and may or may not be like Goku. As it stands, I believe I have shown the flaws in these arguments and explained why Ross' characteristics and plot points make him the far more fitting choice as protagonist.

I look forward to the final round.
Marauder

Con


To begin, I have said nothing on your examples because I don’t have the character space argue against who is the true protagonist in every show out there, I’ve only got the space to argue this show. Also it would be pointless to voice my contention of either of those shows when I don’t contend the “everyman” is never the protagonist. What I contend is the protagonist is not always that way. A point which you have so far left unrefuted so I assume it is left to stand.


Isnt Mary Sue a fan fiction term?


The term may have been coined by fan fiction writers but that does not mean it does not equally apply authors of real cannon fiction scripts. Because the non-fan writers can write ‘Mary Sues’ just as well as than fan-fic writers. Wesley Crusher from Star Trek is an often cited example of a ‘Mary Sue’ but he is not a ‘fan-fic’ character. Gene Rodenberry himself created that character.


Rachel is like Goku?


It’s a fallacy to think because she is not as amazing as Goku that she is not a Mary Sue. By that logic than neither can Batman or Kirk be called extraordinary protagonist when there power levels cannot reach 9,000. Goku lives in a universe were that is the bar for amazing, Kirk lives in a universe were beating a Vulcan at chess is amazing, and Rachel lives in universe where there are not space federations, magic balls, or costumed crime fighters. For her world getting to chat with a soap opera star is amazing, Getting a wedding or having a kid is a season ending accomplishment. I bring up Goku for the pure purpose of establishing what a Mary Sue is in principal and to disprove the ‘everyman’ is always the protagonist.


Watson and Holmes:


On another note, in some cases even, the ‘normal’ relatable guy is played off your star unrelateble guy. Sherlock is clearly the star of every book and movie he is in, yet he is extraordinary and usually has a Watson to stand next to him being normal and to show amazement at his genius. To think of some Television show examples of this I would point to shows like ‘The Glades’, ‘The Mentalist’, or even ‘Get Smart’.


Ross is a caricature


Should you maintain Ross is a normal ‘everyman’ than I will hold he could be Watson to Rachel’s Holmes, a character to remind us she is awesome by pursuing her because she is awesome frequently.


But I maintain my attempt to discredit Ross is an everyman. He is as much a caricature as any of the others are. You realize on the big bang all the other cast are super smart too? His I.Q. is not a standout attribute on that show. (I’m too ignorant to speak on How I met you Mother), Ross is full of the same quirkiness any of the others have. Whether the trait is downplayed enough to keep him from being a Mary Sue is irrelevant. The point is it makes him quirky thus erasing the distinction of being the ‘unquirky’ one among the Friends. The need to steal from Hotels is just as quirky as hating Pottery Barn or risking your life over a Sandwich. Its without a doubt the man that fights with his pet monkey and has a loud ‘air purifier’ is a caricature, not an everyman. I would also argue as far as being ‘relatable’ goes, he is no more relatable than Chandler or Joey, they have similar challenges and dramas they overcome.


Also generally speaking, Rachel is ‘in distress’ way less than Ross is throughout the series, so you can hardly call her a damsel in distress.


Pursued Protagonist


I’ve never watched any of those shows you listed and can only assume there sponsored by Femi-Nazis taking over the media. Even if there are some modern examples of Women protagonist that have to chase there men, This doesn’t change the classic examples I gave. Do you really think Snow White is not the main character on ‘Snow White”? Because normally is real life it’s a Mans Job to man up and chase the girl, a male hero is a pursuing character, and normally is a Girls job to girl up and make that made go through a decent chase if she is a Girl Hero character. A Prince had to hunt Cinderella down, and one had to go slay a dragon to get to Sleeping Beauty.


While they don’t Pursue there princes, there choices are still driving the story, choices to trust the wrong people or to make sacrifices for there kingdoms or there fathers. Flynn clearly has to chase after Repunzlle yet it’s largely her sets of choices that drive the story.


Rachel’s choices are possibly the main factors in all of Ross’s chase. They are not together in the end until She chooses to get off the plane, she makes the choice to let Ross go through with the wedding, she makes the choice to take Ross after he left Julie in the wrong way. All the first season Ross is got to patiently wait for Rachel to choose to ditch her guys. Clearly its Luke that Pursues Lorlie on the Gilmore Girls yet he is not the shows protagonist, its Lorlie.


Living in every apartment


I cant believe I’m wasting this space but, your crazy if you think anyone other than Sheldon is the main character on that show. That out of the way I’m not going to contest the Fraser reference. My point though is not moot. Those shows as you argued the protagonist is an ‘everyman’. But in this show the protagonist is a Mary Sue. And while living everywhere does not build off of an ‘everyman’ protagonist, it does for a Mary Sue protagonist. You don’t relate to James Bond, you vicariously live through him. Personally living in every environment the show has to offer builds on that argument.


Dropped Arguments:


Do keep in mind there’s just 5,000 character limit for this debate. I have dropped no arguments, I have only not had the space continue to harp on them all. If an argument did not make it to another round it was because I rephrased my attack with its general point all together and focused my time on rebutting your specific case. The show still clearly begins and ends with Rachel, that argument is better supported when I uphold my Mary Sue case. Your rebuttal to the point was on its relevance but not its facthood.


Debate Round No. 3
Maikuru

Pro

In this round, I will conclude all open arguments and briefly review issues Con dropped throughout this debate.

Affirmative Case

The Everyman & The Damsel in Distress

Friends follows a standard sitcom format for ensemble comedies: provide the audience with an assortment of eccentric characters surrounding a more normal, “Everyman” protagonist with whom they can identify. Chandler and Phoebe’s eccentricities regulate them to comic relief duty, while the writers explain that they intended Joey and Monica to be more sexualized characters [1, see: Writing]. That leaves Ross and Rachel as potential protagonists.

Ross’ lack of unique or overwhelming personality traits, coupled with being surrounded by absurdity, fits the definition of the sitcom Everyman perfectly. I defeated Con’s first rebuttal about Ross’ intellect and emotion, so now he argues that Ross is a caricature because he likes taking free things from hotels and owns an air purifier. If these are Con’s best examples of absurdity, I’d say he’s greatly helping my case. These character traits are about as boring and Everyman as they come. Compare them to believing your mom is a reincarnated cat (Phoebe), saving your sandwich from a shootout (Joey), or crying when you’re asked to take out the trash (Rachel) and the show’s most normal character comes jumping out at you.

Rachel, on the other hand, perfectly epitomizes the sitcom archetype of the Damsel in Distress: helpless, naive, beautiful, and love interest of the hero. Con never addresses my arguments here, aside from last round where he essentially said “No, she isn’t.” Instead, he insists that Rachel is the protagonist because she is the most “amazing” character on the show. How does he prove this? By pointing out that Rachel got to meet a soap opera star (Joey), attended a wedding, and became a parent. Con has just described half the cast, including Ross. These events are not incredible or amazing, they are just things that happened. Add in the fact that Con does not understand the concept of Mary Sue characters, or provide a single example that isn’t a superhero or action star, and Con has no coherent case.

A Hero’s Journey

I argued that Rachel’s struggles all end in Season 1, whereas Ross’ struggles see series-long growth and evolution. Con drops this point completely. This is a significant point in Ross’ favor and works to affirm the resolution.


Pursuer vs the Pursued

The fact that Ross is the active agent in his relationship with Rachel, is responsible for the majority of its progress and drama, and that the audience views this relationship from Ross’ perspective are all indicative of how a protagonist propels major storylines. Con ignores this argument completely, as well as my numerous examples, which he labeled the result of “Femi-Nazis taking over the media” and not representative of real-life dating. Rather than providing examples from Friends or a similar sitcom, however, Con looks to Disney movies, which are themselves bastions of gender stereotypes, for support. What he continues to ignore, however, is the fact that protagonists have a certain responsibility of story advancement that his explanation completely disregards.

Gunther as the Antagonist

I argued that Gunther serves as an antagonist to Ross and is the only such antagonist of the series, indicating that Ross is the protagonist. This is a very significant point in my favor and Con never once addresses it.

Rebuttals

The show begins & ends with Rachel

Con believes that Rachel bookending the show implies she is the protagonist. In reality, many shows see attractive love interests enter at the beginning of the show to jump start the protagonist’s journey and relationship storyline. Her leaving at the end of the series allows the audience to once again live through Ross and the actions he takes to rekindle their romance and wrap up the series. Con dropped this point entirely, weakening his case and strengthening my own.


Rachel’s career

I explained that all main characters on Friends see significant career improvement and Rachel’s history is nothing special. At that point, Con dropped this argument.


Rachel’s relationships

Con believed that Rachel’s relationships show some significance, but I pointed out that each of those relationships were either with Ross or relate to Ross in some way. Con drops this argument.


Rachel lives with the cast

Con continues to drop my counter examples of non-protagonists living with entire casts as irrelevant. Only in this case, it seems, where Rachel is meant to represent an amazing, out of this world character, does where she lives matter. As I have already proven that Rachel is not a Mary Sue character, and that Con uses the Mary Sue concept completely incorrectly, this point can finally be dismissed. Changing settings does not a main character make. The label of protagonist is reserved for the story’s hero, whose actions and reactions shape the direction of the plot. At no point in this debate has my opponent shown this characterization to fit Rachel.

Conclusion

It may seem intuitive that Rachel is the most fitting protagonist of Friends; she comes in like a whirlwind and her odd behavior earns her a lot of laughs. Those same qualities, though, disconnect her from the audience and parallel the oddities of the rest of the cast. Only Ross, with his quiet, lackluster presentation, stands alone as the “normal” character in the bunch and the one that the audience can look to as a normal gauge by which to judge the actions of the others. Only Ross is faced with numerous and varied character struggles that he battles and grows from throughout the series. Lastly, as we would expect of a protagonist, Ross plays the pursuer in the show’s primary romance, and it is through Ross that we in the audience experience its highs, lows, and eventual resolution.

Note: Con will pass Round 4. I suggest simply thanking the audience rather than forfeiting completely.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Marauder

Con

Well then I guess in all fairness my time to debate is done. Thank you Maikuru for starting this fun debate, thanks for being an amazing challenge to debate against, and thank to all the voters who have gave this debate and attention and posted in the comment section.
Debate Round No. 4
40 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
But but but...if you had to choose? =D
Posted by JeebusReebus 4 years ago
JeebusReebus
I would say in the world of F.R.I.E.N.D.S everyone is the main character.
Posted by Marauder 4 years ago
Marauder
the movies make us think that Robots are smart, yet time and again the love scam bots prove on this site they are as stupid as one can get.
Posted by babyy 4 years ago
babyy
Hello dear, my name is Teresa, i came across your profile now.So I decided to stop by an let you know that I really want to have a good friendship with you. Beside i have something special i want to discuses with you, but I find it difficult to express myself here, since it's a public site. I will be very happy, If you can get back to me, through my e-mail(teresa.edmond (at )ymail.c o m)
Posted by Marauder 4 years ago
Marauder
@jimloyd: please read debates before voting from now on. and also vote each set of points based on the thing it asks you to vote on, arguments, sources, Spelling, conduct. Not all seven to one person for just no reason.
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
Are you saying my detailed, poignant arguments didn't convince you, Lithi? What is this, I don't even...
Posted by Lithi 4 years ago
Lithi
I agree the main character is Rachel. She is the base of the storyline and the show would be nothing without her.
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
Hi BornOk. Welcome to the site!

Thank you for voting, but it is customary to only award 3 points (the More Convincing Argument box) when you agree with a debater's arguments. Anything more than that, unless adequately explained, will be considered unwarranted and will rightfully be countered by other members.

Thanks in advance!
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
Yeah, Mary Sue was an unusual argument. Of all my debates, I think that was the first argument ever that I completely did not expect.

There were two main issues with the Mary Sue claim. First, I don't think Rachel is a Mary Sue lol. They tend to be larger than life, idealized characters who go on wild adventures, generally alongside the main character. Because of that last part, I don't think Goku and James Bond and all of Con's other examples are actually Mary Sue's, but I thought leaving those comparisons in helped my case so I didn't say anything.

The main issue, though, is that Mary Sue's are meant to represent the author or writer within the story. That's why this is a fan fiction term; fans would write themselves into their favorite stories, usually as a love interest to the main character who saves the day and then dies a glorious death. Con argued that Rachel was a Mary Sue because she provided wish fulfillment for the audience rather than the writer, which isn't correct.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 4 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
@ Maikuru, I agree that it is interesting that some people tend to be more famous because of a show than others though I can't really figure out why.

Also, the confusion about Mary Sue, I checked Tvtropes and I found that it fit the description that was mentioned so no idea what the conflict was about: http://tvtropes.org...
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Xerge 4 years ago
Xerge
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Reasons for voting decision: counter jimloyd
Vote Placed by jimloyd 4 years ago
jimloyd
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Reasons for voting decision: ross is the main character on friends
Vote Placed by BornOKTheFirstTime 4 years ago
BornOKTheFirstTime
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Reasons for voting decision: I agree.
Vote Placed by MochaShakaKhan 4 years ago
MochaShakaKhan
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Reasons for voting decision: I like Pro's "every man" argument. Pro shows that Ross is the neutral(ish) character among a host of wackiness, making him the logical main character. He also shows that Rachel's character is meant to act as a sort of goal for Ross, since her struggles basically end in season 1 while his arch is just getting started.
Vote Placed by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
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Reasons for voting decision: If either side presented any sort of list that showed which episodes focused on particular characters, and then showed how many episodes total focused on a specific character, then it would have been insurmountable evidence for ones case if it favored their side. Con statrted out strong with his case showing that the show starts and ends with rachel, but to me pro suceeded in showing that this shows that rachel is only a pivotal character, while the show revolves primarily around Ross. It was very close, but i give arguments to the pro in this debate which will surely be hall of fame material.
Vote Placed by tvellalott 4 years ago
tvellalott
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Reasons for voting decision: Great debate guys! It started out close, but Pro's everyman argument stood strong and wasn't sufficiently rebutted by Con's Mary Sue counter argument, so he gets arguments. He also provided more and better sources to support his arguments, so he gets sources. 5 Star debate guys.
Vote Placed by DoctorDeku 4 years ago
DoctorDeku
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Reasons for voting decision: This debate was just as satisfying as I'd hoped it would be. Great job to both debaters! I give Pro grammar as con consistently uses the word 'there' when he should be using 'their'. Con also phrases some of his arguments strangely making it difficult to understand them. Arguments go to Pro for two reasons: First pro drops the contention that the show begins and ends with Rachel in favor of the Mary Sue argument in the third round, and second because he incorrectly frames the term 'Mary Sue'. Pro also gets sources both for his sources on the different types of characters a show can have, as well as his analysis in refutation of Con's source on Mary Sues.