15 Friends Storylines That Went Nowhere And Still Keep Us Up At Night

There is no denying that Friends was a great TV show. It had everything you could have possibly wanted – humor, drama, romance and great actors. In fact, it was so good that we still watch it today even though the show launched in the mid 90’s. That means it first aired more than 20 years ago! And yet it is still as relevant as ever.

The show had great writers and every episode was a treat. We didn’t know what to expect and we were always taken aback with the interesting stories and the amazing plot. And of course, the iconic lines were amazing too – some of them were so funny (and relevant) that we still quote them to this day.

But however good the writing was, there is no denying that it could have been better. Because the writers on the show changed so often, we were left with gaping plot holes as well as plot lines that went nowhere. Some plot lines were huge — take Phoebe’s biological mother and father, for example – and yet they didn’t take off. It’s a shame.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

15 Phoebe’s Biological Mother

Most of us were shocked when we realized that unlike Phoebe thought, Lily was not her actual birth mother. Apparently, Lily, Frank (Phoebe’s father), and another woman named Phoebe Abbott were all in a relationship. Then, Phoebe got pregnant and didn’t know what to do, so Lily and Frank decided to stay together and raise the twins.

We first meet Phoebe in season 3 episode 25 (The One At the Beach). Phoebe initially thinks that Phoebe Abbott is Lily’s friend, but then learns the truth. We last see Phoebe Abbott in season 4 episode 11 (The One With Phoebe’s Uterus) when Phoebe is asking for her birth mother’s advice on whether she should be a surrogate mother for her brother.

While it is true that Phoebe’s birth mother was mentioned later in the episodes (albeit very rarely), it still felt incredibly lazy on the part of the writers to completely exclude her from the show.

14 Chandler, Yemen, And Janice

Remember that time when Chandler could no longer deal with Janice so he told her he’s going to Yemen (The One With All The Rugby)? He thought that she’d simply wish him bon voyage and he’d be rid of her for good. But alas, that was pretty naive of Chandler! Janice was so in love with him that she took him to the airport and watched him get on the plane.

Naturally, Chandler tried sneaking back from the plane before it took off for Yemen, but Janice was still there. She wanted to see the plane take off. So Chandler had no choice but to actually get on the plane and go to Yemen. But did he really? Did he really go to Yemen? He was so scared of commitment that he must have, and yet he was there for Emily’s bon voyage party in the next episode (The One With the Fake Party).

Also, did Janice eventually find out that Chandler wasn’t in Yemen? She did after all go out with Ross in season 5 thinking that Chandler was in Yemen and weirdly never bothered asking Ross about Chandler.

13 Rachel and Joey’s Relationship

Remember when Joey and Rachel got together? The show’s fans had mixed feelings about this relationship – some thought it was great, others thought it was extremely weird and wrong. However, to the delight of the latter group, Joey’s and Rachel’s relationship did not last.

While the build-up to Joey and Rachel’s romantic relationship lasted a couple of seasons, it ended abruptly in season 10 when they were unable to get past kissing. The two decided that they were just not compatible romantically and decided to remain friends.

Interestingly, it doesn’t seem like either Rachel or Joey found spending time with one another after their attempt at a romantic relationship in any way awkward. It felt like once the writers decided to no longer pursue Rachel and Joey’s romantic relationship, the characters also completely forgot about it.

12 Relaxi Cab/Relaxi Taxi

Whatever happened to the Relaxi Taxi/Relaxi Cab business plan? Phoebe came up with the idea of a relaxi taxi/relaxi cab after she had agreed to be the surrogate mother for her brother's babies and was told that she was carrying triplets. Phoebe, being Phoebe, she mentioned to Frank and Alice that raising triplets will be financially difficult. Freaked out, Frank almost quits college.

Phoebe tries researching methods of financial income but has no luck. But then she comes up with the genius idea of a relaxi cab – Frank will drive people to their destination (when he’s off college of course) and Phoebe will provide massages to the passengers. Unfortunately, the idea never picked up. By the way, which name do you think is better – relaxi taxi or relaxi cab?

11 Phoebe’s Submarine Guy

Whatever happened to Ryan, the submarine guy? We only ever saw him in season 2 episode 23 (The One With the Chicken Pox). According to Phoebe, he is a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy and thus spends most of his life underwater. However, he does resurface once in a while and always spends about three days with Phoebe. Thus, Phoebe calls him “my ‘submarine guy’”.

In season 2, Phoebe is ecstatic because Ryan has returned for two whole weeks as opposed to just three days. However, Phoebe catches chicken pox just in time for Ryan’s return. Then, Ryan catches chicken pox too. However, they end up having a great time together.

Unfortunately, we never see Ryan again even though he is supposed to resurface once in a while. Phoebe never mentions him again, either.

10 Gavin From Rachel’s Work

A lot of fans think that the storyline of Gavin from Rachel’s work also went nowhere. If you can recall, after Rachel left for maternity leave and briefly returned to her office during it, she found out that a guy named Gavin had taken over her job.

At first Rachel hates him but later on in the show the two end up kissing. However, Gavin is confused by Rachel’s and Ross’ relationship and thus the two never actually go out. Gavin just kind of disappears from Rachel’s life (even though presumably they still work together?) and the show.

9 The Mysterious Disappearance Of Ross’ Child

There is no denying that at the beginning of the show, Ben was quite an important character. For those who have forgotten who Ben is: he is Ross’ first child with his ex-wife Carol (who revealed that she was lesbian and ended up raising Ben with her partner, Susan). But then, as the show progressed, Ben simply disappeared.

Even though Ben is Ross’ child, he failed to appear in many crucial moments in the show. For example, it doesn’t seem like he was ever invited to Ross and Emily’s wedding. He was ignored at Monica and Chandler’s wedding. And he was never introduced to his half-sister, Emma.

While some fans believe that Ross might have lost his visitation rights (you have to admit, he went a little crazy towards the end of the show), it is more likely that the writers simply forgot about him.

8 What Happened To Phoebe’s Brother Frank?

We first learn about Phoebe’s younger half-brother, Frank Jr., in season 3 episode 18 (The One With the Hypnosis Tape). It is in this episode that he introduces Phoebe to his lover, Alice Knight. Alice turns out to be 26 years older than Frank and is his high school home economics teacher.

Frank and Alice end up marrying each other in season 4 episode 11 (The One With Phoebe’s Uterus). As Frank tells Phoebe the good news, he also asks her to carry their child. Phoebe agrees and has triplets in season 5 episode 3 (The One Hundredth).

Then, Frank and Alice disappear for almost five seasons. Once again, it seems like the writers have forgotten about them. Frank reappears in season 10 episode 2 (The One Where Ross Is Fine) and has a brief chat with Phoebe. But he doesn’t show up to Phoebe’s wedding... even though she had triplets for him!

7 Ross Saying The Wrong Name At The Altar

A lot of fans tend to think that Ross’ screw-up at his second wedding went nowhere. During the wedding ceremony, Ross said Rachel’s name instead of Emily’s name, which understandably angered Emily.

However, it was never explained why Ross said Rachel’s name instead of Emily’s name. Was it because he was still in love with Rachel? If so, why did he propose to Emily in the first place and then rush to marry her? Or did it mean nothing? And if so, why did Rachel’s name pop into his head during one of the most important days of his life? We never get an answer, just a cliffhanger that leads nowhere.

6 Phoebe’s Father

We first met Phoebe’s father, Frank Buffay, in season 5 episode 13 (The One With Joey’s Bag) when he showed up at Phoebe’s grandmother’s funeral. After the funeral Phoebe, having recognized her father, runs after him and tells him that she is the executor of Frances' estate and would like a word with him. Frank thus agrees to see her at Central Perk.

There, he asks Phoebe to pass on a letter to her mother Lily. Phoebe then tells him that Lily is dead and that she is in actual fact his daughter Phoebe. Frank apologizes for abandoning Phoebe and her mother and the two spent the afternoon chatting.

Naturally, after this episode we assumed that we’d see more of Frank and that we’d get to learn more about Phoebe’s past. Alas, that was not the case – the writers seemed to completely forget Frank.

5 Monica Used To Like Chandler When She Was Fat

Back when Monica was fat, she clearly fancied Chandler. In fact, it was his hurtful remark about her being fat that led Monica to change her lifestyle and lose an incredible amount of weight. But then, once Monica lost all that weight, she suddenly lost all interest in Chandler, at least in a romantic sense.

Remember how in season 4 episode 1 (The One With the Jellyfish) Chandler kept asking Monica what it would take for her to consider him as a boyfriend? And even after Chandler asks her if she would be with him if he was the last man on earth, she seems iffy.

Why’s that? Is it because he hurt her so much once by remarking on how fat she was? Did that completely put her off him? Surely not, because then she wouldn’t have wanted to be his friend, right? Once again, the writers did nothing with the ‘Monica used to fancy Chandler’ storyline. Chandler doesn’t even joke about it.

4 What Happened To Phoebe’s Twin Sister?

You have to admit that Phoebe’s twin sister, Ursula, is a rather interesting character and it would have been fun to see more of her. While we do see her in a few episodes, she is not really a major character and it is quite obvious that the writers rarely thought about her.

Naturally, Ursula’s rare appearances could be attributed to the fact that it couldn’t have been easy on Lisa Kudrow to play both Phoebe and Ursula. In addition, according to the storyline, Phoebe and Ursula hated each other and had no interest in maintaining a friendship.

Still, it is rather odd that we don’t hear more about Ursula, especially since both Phoebe and Ursula live in the same city. Surely they are bound to run into each other once in a while?

3 What Happened To Phoebe’s Boyfriend Jake?

Throughout the series, Phoebe has many boyfriends but few are special. In fact, toward the end of the series we learn that Phoebe has never had a serious relationship. However, while none of Phoebe’s flings are special, most of the guys we see on screen usually get some kind of ending.

Unfortunately, Jake never got an ending. Who even is Jake, you might ask? Jake was Phoebe’s boyfriend in season 7. He first appeared in episode 18 (The One With Joey’s Award) where he kept looking over at Phoebe in Central Perk. Phoebe tricked Monica into thinking that he was looking over at her which resulted in Monica telling him that she is flattered by the attention but is engaged.

In episode 22 (The One With Chandler's Dad), Joey and Jake are hanging out when Joey notices that Jake is wearing ladies underpants. Phoebe tells him that she is wearing Jake’s briefs and that the reason Jake can wear her underpants is because he is secure in his masculinity. However, while Jake and Phoebe seemed like a great fit, we never saw Jake after this episode.

2 Rachel, Ross, And Emma

We can all remember that episode where Ross slept with Rachel and Rachel got pregnant. It was probably one of the most shocking episodes (and in consequence, seasons) in the whole show. But then, weirdly, we rarely ever see Emma.

But the biggest thing that bugs most fans is the fact that Rachel seems to have completely forgotten that Ross is Emma’s father when she decides to move to Paris in the last season.

You’d think that the writers would have shown Ross and Rachel discussing this pressing subject, especially since it might have legal implications. But instead, the only thing that Ross seems to be concerned about is the fact that he doesn’t want Rachel to leave because he loves her too much.

1 Phoebe’s Previous Marriages

How many times has Phoebe been married? The answer: 3 times - Once to a guy in Las Vegas, once to a gay ice dancer, and once to Mike. However, fans are still bothered by Phoebe’s second marriage. You can probably recall the episode (The One After Vegas) – Ross and Rachel get married while drunk and are shocked by reality the next morning. Phoebe thinks that marriages in Vegas exist only in Vegas, but is told otherwise. She gasps, worried. It seems like she has gotten married in Vegas before, too (and, in fact, the crew later said that Phoebe did indeed marry in Vegas).

However, we never meet the guy whom Phoebe met in Vegas, even though he’s quite important. Because if you think about it, if Phoebe’s first marriage was in Vegas, that means that she was married only once and all the other subsequent marriages are invalid.

More in Entertainment