Ask anyone what they love the most about Friends – the answer will always be the same: the characters. Rachel Green, Joey Tribbiani, Chandler Bing, Phoebe Buffay, and Monica and Ross Geller were the funniest people on TV for an entire decade. It takes some seriously good writing to make a failed "traditional English trifle" that funny– but that's the thing. Rachel's inability to cook was 100% Rachel.
For most of the ten seasons of Friends, the characters stayed well within the confines of their on-screen personalities. If Monica (played by Courteney Cox) wasn't perfecting batch 27 of her cookies, she was mopping the ceiling. If Ross (played by David Schwimmer) wasn't delivering his mind-numbingly boring lectures on "sediment flow rate," he was sitting in that divorce lawyer's office. "I'm not great at the advice, can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?" Hi, Chandler. Phoebe (played by Lisa Kudrow) was just wonderfully and predictably unpredictable. Only Phoebe could search for gum in her purse, only to pull out a goldfish, an old tennis shoe, and an egg.
90% of the time, the "big six" were 100% spot-on as their characters. As Netflix airs the show to the newbies, and fans watch re-runs for the 1000th time, everyone is noticing the same weird things – those moments when the friends were completely out of character. The $1 million per episode salary definitely made a statement that these actors were the best people on TV, but what about all the times their characters came with a giant #fail? Here are 15 out-of-character Friends moments that left fans seriously confused.
15 JOEY'S RANDOM INTELLIGENCE
Joey Tribbiani (played by Matt LeBlanc) did four things really, really well: picking up women, eating his own body weight in food, being the world's worst actor, being the ditziest person we've ever seen. "It's a moo point," Joey explained to Rachel (played by Jennifer Aniston). "You know, like a cow's opinion. It doesn't matter. It's moo." Then there was the time Joey managed to showcase his stupidity live on a TV game show. Question: "It's white." Joey: "PAPER! SNOW! A GHOST!" If you could rely on Joey for anything, it was having a negative IQ – well, that and managing to miss every audition he ever had to attend.
Joey:" But it hurts my Joey's apple." Chandler: "For the last time, it's not named after every individual man."
When Joey's career isn't going too well, he ends up waiting tables at the coffee house. Calculating the coffee and muffin orders of his friends in lightning speed, even Chandler (played by Matthew Perry) is shocked: "This, from the man who couldn't split our $80 phone bill in half." Then there was Joey's remarkable ability to interpret poetry. "Who came onto who" was something Ross and Rachel needed to sort out with whole Europe story. Literally being a different person, Joey sits there and corrects them: "Who came onto whom."
14 ROSS BEING A LESS THAN PERFECT BOYFRIEND
The Ross and Rachel story came with a simple enough concept. Ross had pined for Rachel since high school, although his catastrophic flirting did prompt Rachel to remind him, "You know what? That's right. We met, you flirted, and then BAM! Nine years later, you had me!" Fans will forever be split on whether or not these two were "on a break." For all the "on-off" moments these two had though, Ross had enough "on" chances to be a decent boyfriend. And so he should be. Ross is a decent guy.
"Ditzy, just a waitress, too into her looks," are just some of the words Ross describes Rachel as. She is meant to be the love of his life.
Sometimes, however, he really drops the ball – the constant, persistent jealousy, the possessiveness, and most of all, his sabotaging every chance he has with Rachel. When Ross returns from China with Julie as his girlfriend, he listens to Joey and Chandler's advice – that being, make a Rachel vs. Julie list. The stuff Ross comes up with is really not cool. When they're actually dating and Rachel can't decide what to wear, Ross yells at her in front of everyone. He even lies about getting an annulment for their Vegas marriage. It's like watching a different person.
13 ALL THE TIMES THEY WERE NOT SO NICE
For a bunch of people who called themselves "friends," these six sure knew how to be not very nice. Take "The One With The Bullies," where Chandler and Ross are so intimidated by two bullies at the coffee house, they end up downing their caffeine at home. Talk about hypocrisy. Those six dominated the Central Perk couch. When other people even attempted to sit there, they would shoo them away. When Monica was dating "fun Bobby," they didn't encourage him to clean up his act. "Ridiculously Dull Bobby" was what they called him.
They were also impossibly mean to each other. "I'm Chandler, could I be wearing any more clothes?" might have been the funniest line Joey ever delivered, but the situation was straight-up mean. Ross needed to get to an event. Between Chandler stealing Joey's "essence" and Phoebe changing dresses 10 times, no one actually seemed to care about Ross.
Think they were any nicer to Ross when he didn't have a place to stay? "Keep the noise down" might have been annoying, but Chandler and Joey's "hosting" of Ross was basically them kicking him out. When Joey chose his sandwich over Chandler in "The One With The Ride Along," at least he was staying in character.
12 PHOEBE TAKING BACK CHARITY MONEY
Decades before we were hash-tagging our Instagram with #vegan, Friends had its own planet-saver. She came as one blonde, vegetarian, animal-loving Phoebe Buffay. To be fair, Phoebe's charitable streak was pretty consistent. She chose to spend the holiday period collecting money for charity (although it did turn aggressive). She even donated $200 of her own money to PBS when Joey was hosting their telethon. When Phoebe agrees to marry Mike (played by Paul Rudd), she says that having a "fancy wedding" isn't something she wants.
Phoebe: "We're here to make a rather sizeable donation to the children." Two hours later: "The donation we made earlier, we... we want it back."
Phoebe is definitely "in character" when she decides to ditch the fancy wedding, donate the money to the New York City Children's Fund, and get married at City Hall. Marching back to the charity's desk after donating, though, Phoebe straight-up asks for the money back. "See, that money was for a big wedding, that we thought we didn’t want, but it turns out we do." This reminds us that Phoebe also ate meat while she was pregnant with the triplets. The babies were "craving meat," though. The charity thing made fans raise their eyebrows.
11 MONICA'S MYSTERIOUS CLUTTER CLOSET
The most organized, neat freak we've ever seen, Monica is a woman who has 11 types of napkins, a label-maker as her emergency item, and an ability to flip out over a ribbon drawer.
However, this is also the woman who hides a closet of clutter from her husband. It was complete and utter shock for Chandler in The One With Monica's Secret Closet – Chandler is the one with "secret" stuff by his bed that Rachel and Phoebe politely lie about knowing about. Chandler and Monica are married by this point, but the "married couples share everything" is missing one major component. That locked closet door that Chandler finds, cannot open, and just has to find out about. Fans were really disappointed to find out that the woman who vacuums her own vacuum (and voluntarily cleans other peoples' apartments) is, in fact, a giant slob. "You want to put the marshmallows in concentric circles," being one of Monica's lines. This storyline was completely out of character.
10 JOEY THROWING OUT A HALF-EATEN BURGER
Joey had one love above all others: food. In The One With Phoebe's Uterus, Joey does the unthinkable. He throws out half a burger. There wasn't much in the way of social media when Friends was airing between 1994 and 2004, but the response would likely have been one giant slam. When Joey finds Rachel and Chandler eating stolen cheesecake off the hallway floor, he just pulls out a fork and joins them. Joey's "Fridays" are marked by two pizzas. "Don't put words in peoples' mouths," he told Monica. "You put turkey in peoples' mouths." Joey, you do not throw out burgers.
9 CHANDLER CROSSING THE LINE
The gang did some pretty less than nice stuff to each other. Any Friends fan will know that Chandler and Joey were the ultimate BFFs. They hung out for hours in those giant chairs. They played foosball. When Chandler moves out to live with Monica, Joey sits by his weird indoor fountain to basically cry in the rain. In season four, Joey starts dating Kathy, whom Chandler is immediately attracted to. Staying in character as Joey's best friend, Chandler really goes out of his way to help Joey. Buying a first edition of Kathy's favorite book, The Velveteen Rabbit, is something Chandler does because his adorable, dim-witted buddy is just too ditzy.
Kathy figures out that Chandler had something to do with it. "Well, uh, when Joey gave it to me, he said, 'This is 'cause I know you like rabbits, and I know ya like cheese.'" While British fans (who don't know what Velveeta is) never got it, Americans did. Then Chandler does the unthinkable. He gets together with Kathy – "Joey's my best friend," being words Chandler had just said.
Oh, Chandler gets his punishment, all right. Sitting in that box "doing some thinking" is what Chandler is subject to (if he wants to resume the friendship), but Joey had a point. Chandler didn't just cross the line. "The line is a dot to you," Joey says. Every Chandler fan on earth felt betrayed by that moment.
8 MONICA AND CHANDLER'S LESS THAN IDEAL BEHAVIOR
Yes, that's Anna Faris, and yes, you totally forgot she was ever in Friends. When Chandler and Monica realize that they can't conceive naturally, they go down the adoption route. Traveling all the way to Ohio in this episode, they're meeting their adoption mom, Erica, in the early stages of an interview process. It wouldn't be great TV without giant misunderstandings, but that's not what makes no sense. The adoption agency mixes up the paperwork, leaving Erica thinking that Chandler and Monica are a vicar and a doctor. The wholesome, good people we know as Monica and Chandler just vanish into thin air.
Erica: "Reverend, can I ask? Does the Bible say anything about adoption?" Monica: "It says: Do it. 'And behold, she did adopt unto them a baby.. And it was good.'"
Realizing that there's been a mix-up, Chandler begs Monica to do the right thing. To come clean. "This woman is giving away her baby," Chandler explains. "She deserves to know who it's going to." Instead of doing the right thing, Monica just takes the lie even further. "I mean, as a chef, I serve God by feeding the hungry and poor." Chandler pretty much loses it, here. "Your veal chop is $34.95!" Monica dragged herself out as a "loving mother" for nine seasons... and then this?
7 JOEY ACTUALLY BEING IN LOVE
Joey falling in love with Rachel was like Joey having a brain transplant– something he is, of course, silly enough to think can happen over on Days of Our Lives. Joey established himself from season one as Manhattan's biggest player. Even the biggest Friends nuts have lost count of just how many women Joey dated. Joey's romances were always casual.
Joey had 17 casual girlfriends throughout Friends. Never once did Joey "fall in love." When Joey fell for Rachel, it was like watching a different person.
The most that Joey was in character during "The One Where Joey Dates Rachel" was ordering the entire dinner menu. Filet mignon and lobster aren't the first things that Joey would order, but at least he opted for both. "The soup or the salad? Always get both!" he had reminded himself in a separate episode. While some fans found the whole Rachel and Joey story weak, one thing stood out most of all. Joey falling in love is just not what Joey does.
6 THE TIME ROSS "PULLED A JOEY"
"WE WERE ON A BREAK!" While that one has been dividing us since the moment it aired in season three, fans weren't bugged about the plot. That was decent enough. Rachel was getting super into her career, Ross was doing what he does best (being jealous), and it did not end well. "I'm tired of having a relationship with your answering machine," Ross tells her. The solution? A "break" – and not the "frozen yogurt" Ross assumed that it meant.
Dating has rules. If you're a decent person, they apply to your entire personality. Ross getting together with the girl from the copy place may have been "entirely within his rights" – he did, after all, think that they were "on a break." Actually doing it, though? That's got Joey written all over it.
To make it worse, a peace-making Rachel arrives at Ross' apartment the next day, and the girl from the copy place is still there. Instead of being an up-front guy, Ross does everything he can to hide the fact that this girl is even in his apartment. Rant all you like over what "the break" meant. What Ross did was completely out of character.
5 PHOEBE BEING COMPLETELY OKAY WITH THIS
Phoebe stepped out of character more than the rest of them put together. In "The One With All The Thanksgivings," the great genius that is Joey has managed to get an entire turkey on his head. Fans will also remember the "I love you" moment when Monica totally outdid this and added shades to the turkey for Chandler. Since you lucked out with a Friends expert, here is the exact script from that scene. Joey has literally just walked out the bathroom with a turkey on his head. Phoebe: "Oh my God!" Joey: "I know! It's stuck! Plus, it smells really bad in here."
Vegetarian and unable to own a fur coat, Phoebe is totally unfazed by being near a turkey. She even suggests pushing Joey's head on the table to make it look less conspicuous.
Fans were on the fence with that one, but they really lost it in the "what if" episode that showed Phoebe working at Merrill Lynch. It was funny enough to show us a stressed-out Phoebe getting a heart attack from all the investment banking stress. But it wasn't Phoebe. Phoebe is a kooky masseuse who thinks other peoples' nicknames are "Pheebs."
4 THE SHEER CHAOS OF MONICA'S WEDDING
Considering that Monica had been planning her wedding since her childhood (while picking macaroni off the jewelry box), you'd think that her iron fist would have made the big day go without a hitch. Monica's wedding to Chandler was disorganized before it even began. Monica was the one to get down on her knees and propose – before making Chandler join in, "There's a reason girls don't do this!" On her actual wedding day, when Chandler freaks out about being "The Bings" and does a temporary runner, Rachel is set with "stalling" Monica's prep. Fans picked up on Monica saying, "I have one hour to get ready." One hour? For someone like Monica?
The ceremony itself was no better. Monica is not one to go "off script." What does she do? She kisses Chandler before the "you may kiss the bride" statement. She forgets the ring exchange (technically making them kiss before they're married). Even her wedding dress was a giant, unplanned mess. Monica had braved the Brooklyn bridezillas to get her dream dress cheaper, but she managed to mess up owning it. Fans also felt that Monica's choice to have Joey as minister was well-meant, but totally out of character. And yes, Joey messed it up. He arrived late in a World War II costume from filming, and his opening words were: "Dearly beloved, I know I'm a little late..."
3 JOEY READING A FULL NOVEL
The most Joey ever voluntarily read was the pizza delivery menu, or his box of Frosted Flakes. Joey actually agreeing to read Little Women may well have made fans do the biggest double take ever. Joey mostly kept ice-cream in the freezer, although that was where he stored his copy of The Shining – scary books belong in the freezer. When Rachel agrees to read The Shining, she challenges Joey to read the entire copy of the novel, Little Women.
Joey kept his copy of The Shining in the freezer. He agreed to read Little Women – but kind of missed the point. "Now, Rach, these little women, I mean, are they like, scary little?"
That whole episode showed fans a Joey they never knew existed. "Haven't you ever read the same book over and over again?" Joey asks Rachel. What? And Joey isn't skim reading. Yes, Joey is actually quoting one of the greatest novels of all time. Well, there was that moment where he thought that a female character was a guy, but still. Joey also read Rachel's secret bedside book, although presumably, the plot was more up Joey's alley...
2 RACHEL'S PERSONALITY SHIFTS
It just doesn't make sense. Rachel started out insecure, dependent, and spoiled to the point where she could casually reference the boat her dad bought her – "What? He was trying to cheer me up? My pony was sick!" Rachel fans really loved watching her transition from a reliant brat into a self-sufficient woman, not to mention being "the only daughter that daddy is proud of." One minute, Rachel is showing her co-workers at Ralph Lauren that she's sassy, knowledgeable, and totally right for the job. The next minute, Rachel is back to being a whiny, insecure pushover.
Rachel is such a pushover, that an entire episode revolved around it. After deciding that Phoebe is "flaky," and not inviting her to lunch with Monica, Rachel suggests that "Japanese place she loves." "I'm sick of Japanese," Monica replies. Rachel basically crumbles into a doormat. We see it again when Phoebe tells Rach,"You're in my seat."
Rachel does a lot to prove that she has evolved into a confident woman. She has a baby that she is prepared to raise alone. She shows her "courage, and a little more courage" during her Ralph Lauren interview. For someone so career-driven, Rachel turning into putty at the slightest confrontation just doesn't make sense.
1 ROSS BECOMING A TOTAL DOORMAT
Ross was bad at controlling his divorce rate, but he did control his women. Possessive and controlling towards Rachel, even if it was out of love, Ross ended up being almost too much to bear. The writers didn't name an entire episode "The One With All The Jealousy" for nothing. Then, along comes the very domineering and British E-M-I-L-Y (for future altar references). What does Ross do? He turns into a complete doormat.
"I take thee, Rachel" was pretty funny. The formerly controlling Ross turning into a complete doormat with Emily was not cool.
Ross turns into a different person from day one with Emily. If Emily says "we're going to Vermont?" Ross goes to Vermont. If Emily says that Ross can never speak to Rachel, ever again, Ross does it. In just one episode, we see Ross get rid of all his furniture and even move apartments because all of his actual possessions are "tainted" by Rachel. It takes the entire group to make Ross see clearly. To be fair, it cost Ross another marriage, although he does get to be "Ross, the Divorce Force."
Our estimation is that at least 50% of your Facebook friends watched Friends. For those of them who think they know the show so well, hit share and let them see this. If they get mad or lash out, you can always make them sit in a box for Thanksgiving. It is, after all, where one goes to "do some thinking..."