It’s hard to believe that the cast of Friends first entered our homes via their couch at Central Park, over twenty years ago, but it’s true. Episode one (coincidentally, the only episode not named “The One With…” in the show’s history) debuted on September 22, 1994. It quickly became a hit, labeled as one of the funniest shows on television about twenty-somethings.
There is no questioning that Friends had (and still has, respectively) a fan base that most television executives would probably sever a limb for. Female fans of the show flocked to their hairdressers, clutching pictures of “The Rachel,” begging their stylists to work miracles and make them look like Jennifer Aniston, too. Coffee shops began popping up everywhere. And talks about Chandler’s funniest joke from last week or Ross and Rachel: will they, or won’t they? took place between men and women alike. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t a hundred different things that always seemed just a little off. People have long-since questioned how the crew could always get a spot at the couch in Central Perk if the coffee shop was always so crowded. One answer is that there was a “reserved” sign always set on the coffee table in front of them, which justifies how they nabbed their coveted spot. But that just leads into the next question of what coffee shop in New York City would ever take reservations. And it still doesn’t answer the question everyone has always wanted to know: Didn’t they ever have to work? Where did they find all this free time?
If those minor questions about the realism of the show bug you, then be prepared to tear your hair out over these 13 glaring plot holes in the show that can’t be explained by just simple hyperbole for creative purposes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
13. Barry’s Mysterious Name Change
Friends trivia 101: What is the name of the guy Rachel was going to marry in the pilot episode? Easy! Barry Farber. Right? Well, yes. If you watched almost every other episode of Friends in which Rachel’s ex was mentioned or made an appearance, his name was Barry Farber. But, if you rewatch the pilot episode again, the one where Rachel shows up in the wedding dress she was set to marry “Barry” in and walks into her brand new life of the best friends she’ll ever have, then you’ll be a little confused when “Barry” is never mentioned. Instead, Rachel talks about a guy named “Finkle” as the guy she was going to marry. Was Finkle so mortified that his bride-to-be was so reluctant to marry him, that she was willing to give up her trust fund life to wait tables that it forced him to change his name? Inquiring minds want to know. But, to cut some slack, this was only the pilot episode. The name of the show was even still called Friends Like Us. So, despite being a completely unnecessary change, it’s one that’s a little easier to let slide.
12. Chandler Is Shocked By Monica’s High School Weight Despite The Fact That He Knew Her In High School
The episode, “The One With The Prom Video” remains a favorite for a lot of fans. In fact, it even made TV Guide’s list of 100 Greatest Episodes Of All Time. In it, Monica and Ross’ parents drop off a box of their old stuff and in that box is a video from their prom. The crew sits down to watch the video and we learn that Ross secretly wanted to take Rachel to the prom back then. We also learn that Monica wore a fairly bigger size dress in high school than she does now. Chandler is completely shocked by this revelation. And we all were. Except, viewers didn’t know Monica in high school, so our shock is understandable. Chandler, however, did know Monica. It is revealed in the show that Monica meets Chandler at her parents’ house on Thanksgiving Day of 1987, as Ross’ guest. She even had a crush on him but then overheard him referring to her as “Ross’ fat sister” – an act which motivates her to go on a diet. So, theoretically, his shock at seeing her weight difference makes no sense.
11. Joey Knows What An Adam’s Apple Is, And Then He Doesn’t
Granted, Joey’s intelligence was never boasted as being his strongest quality. So, perhaps we can just chalk this one up to sheer dumbness. Or maybe all that “fried stuff with cheese” finally fried out his brain altogether. But, in season 2, Joey mentions that he once dated a woman who had a huge “Adam’s apple,” which is why he assumed that men and women both have one. However, several years later, he references his Adam’s apple by saying that he hurt his “Joey’s apple” and Chandler has to tell him that Adam’s apples are universally called Adam’s apples and aren’t named after each individual person. So, either Joey knew it wasn’t a Joey’s apple and called it that anyway for the comedic effect, or his I.Q. dropped a few points over the course the seasons.
10. None Of Them Know How Old They Are
One of the biggest inconsistencies of the show was the age of each cast member. Depending on which episode you’re watching or what season you’re in, ages can vary greatly and even the order changes. For example, Joey is said to be the youngest friend of the crew at the age of 25, while Rachel is the same age as Monica who is 26. And in the episode, “The One Where They’re Going To The Party,” Joey states that all three of the guys are 29 years old, which would mean that Rachel and Monica are older than they guys. But in the episode in which Rachel turns 30, the plot is set around the fact that she is the last one of the group to turn the big 3-0, and the friends have to cheer her up out of her depression over it, by flashing back to each time they turned 30.
9. Rachel Doesn’t Know Her Birthday Or How To Spell Her Last Name
Maybe Rachel doesn’t know how old she is because she just doesn’t know anything that normal people know about themselves, about herself. Because along with her age, Rachel also doesn’t consistently spell her last name the same way and she gives varying birthdays.
In various episodes, Rachel’s last name is Rachel Green. But, the plaque on her office door spells her name out as Rachel Greene. Now, this could technically be an HR issue that just went unresolved. But could HR also be responsible for fudging her memory of her own birthday? Rachel tells Gunther that her birthday is May 5. But in another episode, when a police officer sees Rachel’s driver’s license, he mentions that she is an Aquarius. The problem there is that Aquarius’ birthdays fall between January and February – nowhere near May 5.
8. Ross Doesn’t Know How Old He Is, Either
The character of Ross seems to have the most plot holes of all of the characters on the show for some reason. And, much like Rachel, he has no idea when his birthday is. The first time you hear Ross mention his birthday, he tells Joey it’s in December. Years later, he says that his exact birthday falls on October 18. Maybe that’s why he has no concept of his age, considering that he claims to be 29 years old, three seasons in a row. The show is filmed in a chronological timeframe, too, considering that the cast celebrates Thanksgiving dinner together every year (except one) and we see cast members go through pregnancies and other distinct timing factors. So, there’s no explanation for why Ross would be 29 years old in seasons 3, 4, and 5, other than the fact that he’s a liar, maybe.
7. The Mysterious Moving Hinges Of Joey’s Refrigerator
Joey’s refrigerator was always a fun, random running joke in the background of the show. But there’s something about the ‘fridge’ that never quite fits. If you pay careful attention over multiple episodes, you’ll realize that it’s not always the same refrigerator. Sometimes it opens from the left-hand side, other times from the right. This could be chalked up to one of those random directing mishaps that every show and movie has, except for the fact that the ‘fridge’ does have a running story line about it. There’s even one particularly funny episode where it breaks and Joey tries to con each one of his friends into replacing it for him. He makes mention to the fact that his parents gave him that refrigerator and that it’s the only one he’s ever had. If that’s the case, then what’s up with door hinges always switching?
6. Their Apartment Numbers Randomly Change
More random trivia you can take with you to quiz night at the bar, is that Monica and Rachel’s apartment number was 20… Or was it? Nope. Not always. In the first few episodes of the show, their apartment number was 5. The writers changed it when they realized that a number 5 would infer that their apartment was on the first floor of the building. And since the cast was frequently shown walking up stairs to get to their floor, this was clearly not the case. So, it was changed to apartment 20. Of course, this meant that Chandler and Joey’s apartment had to be changed, too, taking them from apartment 4 to 19.
5. Chandler Can’t Cry …Except When He Does
If you’re wondering how it’s so certain that Chandler can’t cry, it’s because there’s an episode specifically named “The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry.” It goes into detail on the subject, with highlights including the fact that Chandler doesn’t have a normal range of human emotion and hasn’t cried since he was a child. Of course, this sparks a chain reaction of all of the friends trying to intentionally make him cry, just to see if they can. The problem is, in season 3, they talk about a memory in which Phoebe made Chandler “cry like a baby,” which means that Chandler has, in fact, cried since he was a child, rendering the entire plot of “The One Where Candler Can’t Cry” pointless.
4. The One Where They Never Had To Break The Foosball Table At All
The series finale was an emotional time for everyone, so maybe the history of the foosball table just completely slipped their minds. But, in the final episode of the series, Joey buys Chandler and Monica a chick and a duck, as their new housewarming gift. But then, they somehow get stuck inside their precious foosball table and the guys have to break apart the entire unit in order to get them out again… But, did they really have to shred the table like they did? Let’s rewind back a few years to the time when Chandler kicks the foosball table and breaks it. Not only did it break incredibly easily, but it also magically reappears in the next episode with no mention as to how or why. Either someone has mad craftsman skills or they just bought a new one. But, in the episode where Chandler moves in with Monica, they show Joey and Chandler moving the foosball table out of the apartment easily because it breaks down into two parts. So, it seems as though the duo destroyed their beloved table for nothing. Of course, without tearing the table apart, we wouldn’t have been able to witness the symbolism of the guys saying goodbye to their bachelor days.
3. Does Ross Actually Hate Ice Cream?
Here we go with Ross again. As it turns out in “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs,” Ross lets everyone know that he doesn’t like ice cream. The reasoning, though, isn’t because of an allergy or intolerance or even a simple case of not liking the taste. He says he doesn’t eat ice cream because it’s too cold. That’s not the weird part, though, as everyone is entitled to a few strange behaviors. But when he starts dating Elizabeth, the two are shown eating ice cream together. Okay, maybe Elizabeth wanted ice cream and Ross was just trying to be a good date. But that doesn’t explain why when Ross is in his apartment having flashbacks in a later episode, he’s eating ice cream with his monkey Marcel. It sounds more like the writers just completely forgot that they once made Ross hate ice cream.
2. Could Chandler BE Any More Forgetful?
It’s well established in the pilot that Rachel, Monica and Ross are all friends from high school. But, in the first episode, Rachel and Chandler have to be introduced to each other and Chandler doesn’t recognize her. Perhaps this is a sign of a rather serious memory disorder for the funny guy, because over the course of the show, there have been sequences which have shown Rachel and Chandler meeting in high school for the first time on four separate occasions. Once is in the pilot. Two of the first meets took place during two different but consecutive dinners and Monica and Ross’ house on Thanksgiving. And the fourth is when the two of them are shown making out with each other at a party during a flashback in season 10. But they still don’t recognize each other in the pilot episode? Really?
1. Chandler Tells Monica He Loves Her For The First Time Ever… Twice
Another case of Friends deja-vu happens between Chandler and Monica. After the jig is up on the Chandler and Monica secret affair and everyone is in an uproar about it, Phoebe pretends to seduce Chandler to try and cover for them. Chandler grows frustrated and professes his love for Monica in front of everyone, a gesture which Monica is smitten by. But enter in those horrible memories again. Fast forward to the next Thanksgiving episode. You know, the iconic scene where Monica puts her head inside a turkey? Well, while her head is in there, Chandler slips and tells her he loves her while he’s laughing. But she’s just as shocked as she was the other first time he says it and responds by saying “I can’t believe it… You love me!” Well, if you don’t believe it the second time, Monica, it’s a miracle you ever got married.