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Charlie Wheeler
Portrayer Aisha Tyler
First seen The One With The Soap Opera Party
Last seen The One With Ross's Grant
Duration 2003
Profile
Date of birth {{{DOB}}}
Occupation Paleontology Professor
Family {{{Family}}}

Charlie Wheeler (Aisha Tyler) — an attractive paleontology professor whom Ross falls for in "The One with the Soap Opera Party" (Season 9, 2003). He plans to ask her out, but is too late when she gets together with Joey instead. Initially angry, he helps Joey come up with intelligent places to take her on dates in "The One with the Fertility Test". At Ross's conference in "The One in Barbados", Charlie tells Joey that they have nothing in common and breaks up with him. She and Ross then get together. In "The One with Ross's Grant" (Season 10, 2003), she is reunited with her old flame, Dr. Benjamin Hobart (Greg Kinnear). She introduces him to Ross, who bemuses both Charlie and Benjamin with daft comments throughout the conversation. Eventually, Charlie realizes she and Benjamin still have feelings for each other, and she breaks up with Ross.

The character of Charlie was created to specifically counter criticism the Friends production staff had received for featuring too few characters played by ethnic minority actors. Aisha Tyler was only the second major supporting character to be played by a black actor, following Gabrielle Union's appearance in "The One with the Cheap Wedding Dress" (Season 7, 2001).[39] The role was not specifically written for a black actor. Tyler told the St Petersburg Times, "I hope (people's) frustration over (the lack of diversity) is tempered by the fact that when they wrote this role, they didn't wimp out. They wrote her so smart and sexy and elevated, she wasn't just the black girl on Friends."[40]