Friends is one of those shows that everyone knows and almost everyone loves. Because of that, the show has been probed, dissected, and defended in great detail for many years. There isn’t much that true die-hard fans have yet to discover about Friends. Most of you know it all. Most of you also know that Friends has a decent amount of continuity errors. Things like ages, memories, and character quirks seem to change throughout the years. We don’t like to nitpick, but if we’ll be honest, there will be some of that here. We don’t do this to mock Friends. In fact, we truly believe that Friends is the best sitcom ever made. But we want to talk about the show, and looking at things that don’t quite make sense is a fun way of doing that.
Rather than take the entire show and view it generally, we decided to make this a Joey Tribbiani special. Over the course of 10 seasons, Joey was involved in a number things that didn’t make much sense. Some of these examples are simple inconsistencies while a couple are editing mistakes. None of these things take away from the character of Joey at all. But, in your quest to know everything there is to know about Mr. Tribbiani and Friends, you might as well know the things that don’t really add up. Here are 15 Things About Friends’ Joey Tribbiani That Don’t Make Sense.
15. How Many Sisters?
In the very first season of Friends, specifically in “The One With Mrs. Bing,” Joey, at one point, says to Ross, “You think it’s easy giving birth to seven kids?” Now, for whatever reason, this number of children was changed later on. At a later point in the show, we meet everyone in Joey’s family, and we learn that he is the only boy in a family of eight. His sisters are named Gina, Tina, Dina, Mary-Therese, Mary-Angela, Cookie, and Veronica. Maybe you could say that one of these children were adopted and his mother only birthed seven of the eight or something like that, but it seems that the writers just forgot what the original number was. Or maybe they changed it to make it a nice round number.
14. Joey Doesn’t Recognize Estelle
We all remember Joey’s agent, Estelle. Joey ends up being one of her closest friends. He even says a little something for her at her funeral late in the series. But it doesn’t really make sense that Joey doesn’t recognize Estelle when she first becomes his agent. They had met before. Back in “The One with the Birth,” Estelle is actually the nurse that works with Joey’s new friend, Lydia (Leah Remini). Estelle and Joey have an exchange and then she even walks Joey through a breathing exercise. Obviously, we recognize that the actress, June Gable, is likely playing two different characters here. Since the character is credited as “nurse,” it’s unlikely that this was meant to be Estelle in a different career. What likely happened was that Estelle was meant to appear in the episode in which Joey plays Al Pacino‘s butt double. Unfortunately, the role of Estelle was left on the cutting room floor. The showrunners probably liked her and Joey’s dynamic, so they cast her as the nurse. Later, they decided to bring Estelle, the agent, on as a recurring character. That’s our guess. Either way, it’s fun to notice things like this.
13. Where Does Joey Work?
Throughout the series, Joey works on and off on the set of Days of Our Lives or The Days of Our Lives as Joey calls it. This is curious because the real Days of Our Lives show is taped in Los Angeles. Since Joey lives and works in New York, we’re not sure how he gets to the set each day. You could argue that the Days of Our Lives that Joey/Drake Romano is on is not the same Days that we watch on television. But then, how would you explain the characters on Joey’s show that are also on the real show? You see, there is no explanation. Maybe the writers of Friends thought that Days was filmed in New York or maybe they thought we would think that. Then again, maybe they just didn’t care.
12. Joey’s Changing Shirt
Editing mistakes happen and wardrobes tend to change slightly from time to time. But, in “The One with Rachel’s Inadvertent Kiss,” Joey’s shirt does some major changing in-between cuts. This change is so dramatic, it’s crazy that we missed it in the first place. In this episode, Joey is searching for the hot girl across the street in Ross’ new building. The gag is great because every time Joey tries a door, it’s Ross that answers it. Even when Joey finds the right door, Ross is there visiting the girl and answers the knock, confusing the hell out of Joey. While the laughs in this scene may distract from Joey’s wardrobe, something peculiar happens. When Joey knocks on the hot girl’s door, he’s wearing a purple button-up shirt. When Ross answers the door, however, Joey is in a black zip-up. It must have taken Ross a while to get to the door.
11. Joey And The Changing Drinks
Now, Friends was well-known for their shooting process. They would shoot the same scene a few different times and then splice them together to get the best possible shot and audience reactions. Sometimes, as in “The One With The Mugging,” the scenes are spliced together in a way that causes continuity errors. Most are very easy to miss, but when Joey grabs a couple of handfuls of drinks in this particular episode, the differences between cuts is noticeable. In one shot, we see Joey with five drinks, two orange juices in one hand, and three sodas in the other. The next time we see Joey, which is only a second or two later, he has one soda in one hand and four or five in the other. This is not a big deal, but it is one of those things that you can’t unsee once you’re aware of it.
10. Joey And The Adam’s Apple
One of the funniest scenes in Friends came in “The One Where They All Turn Thirty.” In this episode, Joey complains that his bowtie is too tight and hurts his “Joey’s apple,” revealing to us and Chandler that Joey thinks that the Adam’s apple is named for each individual person. This is a hilarious bit but it does go against prior character development. In an episode from earlier on, Joey tells a story about when he first moved to the city and met a great girl who was a “great kisser” and seemed perfect, but “she had the biggest Adam’s apple.” Now, obviously, this is meant to be a cross-dressing gag, but it shows us that Joey knows the proper name for an Adam’s apple, even if he doesn’t know who has them and who doesn’t.
9. Joey’s Fridge Door
Joey’s fridge is a prop that gets a lot of screen time in Friends, if only because Joey loves food so much. But this prop is interesting because of how often it changes. While it’s not the only prop that changes on the set of Friends, it is one that sees perhaps the most frequent changes. In the first few seasons, the handle on the fridge door changes sides every few episodes. There is really no rhyme or reason as to why this happens, but we can assume that the showrunners just didn’t think it mattered much. Honestly, it doesn’t matter all that much, but it’s one of those interesting Friends facts you can share with your pals.
8. Joey And The Cookbook
Remember “The One Where Ross Got High” when Rachel makes that disgusting trifle? Well, there are two things in this episode that are troublesome—things that don’t make a whole lot of sense. For one, when Rachel is listing off the ingredients for the trifle, Joey’s face looks grossed out, but there’s no way he would act that way. We watched Joey spend an entire episode putting jam on everything and loving it. If anything, he should have been intrigued by Rachel’s trifle. Now, in his defense, he ended up loving the dish and he did complain that there was only one layer of jam, but his facial expressions said otherwise early on. The other issue we have is when Ross reveals that the cookbook pages for Rachel’s recipe were stuck together, Joey accuses Chandler of being responsible. If anything, using the cookbook in that way would be a Joey thing to do.
7. After The Jellyfish Sting
We know the story. Monica was stung by a jellyfish and she needed someone to pee on her. Joey tried to do the job but he was unable to get the job done. He got stage fright and needed Chandler to complete the task. The problem with this story comes when Chandler defends himself. He says that Joey was yelling at him, “Do it! do it now!” He then says that he can still hear those cries late at night. Joey then laughs and says that’s because he yells that through the walls at night to freak Chandler out. But wait, this event only just happened earlier that morning. At the very most, it happened the day before. To say that Joey “sometimes” yells those words through the walls would be greatly exaggerating.
6. Joey In Love
When Joey is talking to Ross about Rachel late in Friends’ run, he explains that this is the first time in his life that he’s been in love with someone. Sure, it’s completely possible that Joey has revised his thoughts on his feelings from earlier, but we at least need to recognize that he’s revising history a little. Joey has been in love before. Remember Kate? She was the one who Joey did that play with. They butted heads at first, but then they both fell for each other. In the end, things didn’t work out because Kate had to move away. But to say that he wasn’t in love with her wouldn’t be fair to Kate. It sure sounded like he was.
5. Joey And The Foosball Table
In the final episode of Friends, Joey gives Chandler a new baby chick and duckling as a gift. Unfortunately, both of these little animals get stuck in the foosball table and Joey and Chandler are forced to dismantle it completely, symbolic of their former connection and living situation. It’s strange, however, that neither Joey nor Chandler remember that the table can easily be taken apart in two pieces. This would have freed the birds without ruining the table. If you think back to when Joey and Chandler won Monica’s apartment from her in the trivia game, they moved the table over in two convenient pieces without destroying the table forever. Work smarter not harder.
4. Baby Joey
In “The One with the Blind Dates,” Joey catches Chandler and Monica sneaking away to try and make a baby while they were supposed to be babysitting Emma. Joey then uses this knowledge to his advantage. He takes Emma and takes care of her himself and promises not to tell Rachel what Chandler and Monica did if they do something for him. In exchange for keeping a secret, Joey makes the hopeful parents promise that they will name their first child Joey. This, in Joey’s mind, will continue on his “family name.” Even though Monica and Chandler accept this deal, they sadly renege on it in the end. Rather than name their baby boy Joey, they name him Jack, adding salt to Joey’s wound by choosing a name so similar.
3. Air Quotes
Joey’s misuse of air quotes in season nine is one of the funniest scenes in the entire series. At first, he uses them around words that they shouldn’t be used around. After being told he’s doing it wrong, he changes the distance between his fingers and hands, thinking that was his mistake and not with what words he used them. This is hilarious, but it’s strange that Joey doesn’t know how to use them because in season six’s “The One That Could Have Been,” Joey uses air quotes when referring to himself as a “star.” This is perfect usage and shows that there was a time when Joey knew exactly how to use these magical air quotes. Still, this writing oversight is totally forgivable because of the greatness of the scene.
2. Joey Sharing Food
Joey loves his food and everyone knows it. He is constantly shown eating or talking about eating. In “The One with the Birth Mother,” Joey even breaks up with Phoebe’s friend because she took food off his plate. He screams at her, “Joey doesn’t share food.” But is that true? In the episode “The One Where Rachel Goes Back to Work,” Phoebe asks Joey if she can have a bite of his muffin and a sip from his coffee. Joey allows her to without even thinking about it. Now, you could argue that Joey and Phoebe have a very close relationship and we can buy that, but you would think that he would at least hesitate if sharing food was such a big deal.
1. Joey’s Intelligence Degrading
The process of a character becoming an extreme version of himself over the course of a show’s run is common on sitcoms. This is called Flanderization, clearly referring to Flanders from The Simpsons and his descent into the depths of “hidily-ho” land. Well, Joey went through a pretty dramatic evolution as well. In season one, he was fully capable of carrying on a conversation with the group. Over time, his intelligence took a major dip. Now, this was always part of Joey’s shtick. In fact, Matt Le Blanc has pretty much made a career of this dimwit act beginning with Married…with Children. But, in the later seasons, Joey is really dumb. There may be no other place that Joey’s dimwittedness is as evident as when Phoebe tries to teach him French. This scene is one that many point to as the series’ low point, if only because Joey seems to have a newfound crippling learning disability. There are times, even late in the series, where Joey shows an ability to learn, so this scene doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
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