As part of their fascinating series of deconstructing the individual personalities of the characters on Friends, hosts Debra Minoff and Susannah McCullough of The Take take a look at how the twin characters of Phoebe Buffay and Ursula Buffay and how they truly embody the “Evil Twin” concept.
In a previous episode, Minoff and McCullough examined how Phoebe’s layered enigmatic eccentricity made her care so much about others, particularly her friends. Ursula, who came from the very same childhood, borders on sociopathic, shutting out everyone and everything with a shocking lack of apathy. It’s this radical personality dichotomy that makes it appear as if the twin sisters are really just shadows of one another, particularly since actress Lisa Kudrow played both roles to absolute perfection.
The protagonist and their evil doppelgänger are two parts of the same person is reinforced by the common practice of one actor playing both roles in so many stories. The monster is a dark mirror of the hero. An inversion of the hero’s value system which must be defeated. …Ursula the shadow defines Phoebe’s bright light and we might all ask ourselves what does my shadow look like what is the version of myself I’m most afraid of. …while we can applaud Phoebe for choosing not to be like Ursula that also means Ursula has the potential to be more like Phoebe if only she were willing to give in to the goodness she’s repressed deep within