These days, a show like Friends doesn’t produce much “new” information. We’ve all seen the show. At first, everyone loved it. Because it’s such an incredible show, many of us still do. But, the internet has a strange way of turning people into sour little gremlins. Over the years, it’s become more hip and trendy to claim you hate Friends. This is what happens when something gets too popular. It makes people into contrarians. Criticism is not the same thing as negativity, but people confuse this all the time. We are not part of that group. Friends was and is hilarious, and it changed the face of the modern sitcom. Just because we’ve seen it countless times does not mean the show’s content suffers.
Yet, as much as we’re head over heels in love with the show, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun at Friends‘ expense. In this piece, we will go through some of the things that Friends fans have been discussing over the years. Some of the entries in this list are little flaws that Friends has been accused of that we will try to explain. Some of these entries rely on fan theory as opposed to canon. We just want to discuss Friends. If you hate fan theories, you can roll your eyes all you like, but this is likely for you. We’re exploring all that is Friends and pointing out issues we have with other people’s issues. Here are 15 Things Friends Fans Have Been So Wrong About For Years.
15. Rachel Repressed Memories Of Chandler
Another flaw, they say. How does Rachel not know Chandler when they met a few times in their younger years? They even made out! Well, it’s simple. Rachel has repressed her memories of Chandler. But why? How do we know? Well, let’s think back. Remember when Chandler lost a toe? Rachel was there. It was an ugly scene. For whatever reason, this was traumatic enough that Rachel suppressed the memory. Why would we think that? Well, repressed memories sometimes surface in the form of fetishes. What fetish does Rachel have? That’s right. A foot fetish or toe fetish. Think about it. Rachel likes to paint Ross’ toes, sure, but remember when they were listing off a female’s erogenous zones? What was the one Rachel blurted out embarrassingly? “Toes.” It’s basic science, people.
14. The Reservation Sign
Fans and critics alike look at the group’s seating area always being available in Central Perk in two ways. Some people simply say it’s TV magic that makes the seats always available. Hell, the group even makes fun of this when they are bewildered by strangers daring to take the seats. Others point to the Reservation sign that is visible in a couple of episodes. As cool as that sign spotting was, it’s not always on the table. But there is another explanation. Gunther was the constant in Central Perk. Gunther loved Rachel, but he also loved the gang (maybe even Ross). It would make sense that he would reserve the table knowing the gang always comes by at the same time.
13. Ross And Rachel Are NOT The Worst
This is a claim that has become more popular as the years have worn on. Many so-called Friends fans have had the audacity to suggest that Ross and Rachel are not a good couple if only because they fight and have little in common. While the “will they or won’t they” storyline was frustrating at times, we all knew what the result was going to be and that’s okay. People are so quick to harp about the lack of things in common between Ross and Rachel and their fighting. This was a writing device to keep things interesting, but it is also, in many ways, true to life. Ross and Rachel fought because they were so comfortable with each other. They bickered and mocked each other like two kids on a playground with crushes. Both were immature and both pined for the other in their weird ways.
There was also a lot of love between Ross and Rachel. They were dedicated to each other and loyal to a fault. Simply because their storyline lacked originality does not weaken it. Not everything original is amazing. Ross and Rachel are one of the most iconic relationships in TV history and much of what is seen as unoriginal in their relationship is because they made it so damn popular on the TV landscape. Watching with a contemporary lens gives a unique perspective, but it does not mean the show should be condemned because it’s two decades old.
12. The Russian Dry Cleaner
In “The One Where Paul’s The Man,” we are introduced to a Russian dry cleaner with pictures of famous customers on his wall. When Joey tries to get his picture on the wall, the man says Joey’s movie was offensive to Russians. Now, when Joey asks about the Harrison Ford picture, saying that in Air Force One the “Russians were terrorists,” the dry cleaner says he never saw the movie. Most fans just see the Russian dry cleaner as just showing that he only cares about star power. But there is a joke here. The actor playing the dry cleaner is Ilia Volok, an actor who played one of the Russian terrorists in Air Force One.
11. NOT Lazy Writing For Joshua’s Dad
Honestly, “Friends fans” might be a bit of a stretch here because most Friends fans couldn’t even pick Joshua’s dad out of a police lineup, but we’ve had people claim that the writers really struggled to create original characters for supporting characters and cameos in general. The one example we’re using here is Joshua’s dad because he sounds so much like Chandler. You might remember that Joshua’s parents walk in when Rachel is wearing lingerie. The dad, flummoxed, then invites Rachel and Joshua out for dinner. Well, people have accused the writers of simply giving Mr. Burgin Chandler speak for his lines. It turns out, there’s a reason why Chandler and this man seem so similar. The actor playing Mr. Burgin is John Benett Perry, Matthew Perry‘s father.
10. Joey’s PIN
In “The One in Vegas: Part 1,” Joey is living and working at a casino in Vegas by himself. To show how helpless he is when alone, he calls back to New York and speaks to Phoebe on the phone. He tells her that he forgot his pin number. It’s impossible to miss the first joke. Joey asks Phoebe if she can run down to the ATM on the corner because he forgot his PIN number and it’s scratched on the side of the machine. Phoebe then says, “Oh, so you’re 5639.” We laugh, and the live studio audience laughs, but there is another joke here that we all miss. The PIN number, 5639, actually spells out “JOEY,” which makes him forgetting it even more of a dumb move.
9. The Show Didn’t Forget About Ben
Maybe you’ve heard this fan theory, but it goes a long way to describing what happened to Ben, Ross’ son, on Friends. If you’re against having fun, you’ve probably looked at the actors playing Ben, saw their acting schedule, and realized they just got busy and had to leave Friends. But we like fun. We’re looking for answers within the Friends universe, and the only one that makes sense is that Ross lost custody of his son. Look at the signs. Ross’ entire side of the family has neglected Ben. Ross doesn’t even invite his own son to his wedding with Emily. When Emma is born, Ross’ parents forget Ben even existed. At Chandler and Monica’s wedding, Ross sits at the kid’s table with Ben and doesn’t say anything to him. It’s like Ross forgot that Ben was his kid. Maybe he lost custody or maybe Ben just felt unloved.
8. NOT An Editing Mistake
Of all the Friends mistakes, most of which are continuity errors, one of the big ones that people pick on is the not-so-naked Chandler in “The One After the Superbowl.” In the episode, after Chandler is stranded naked in the washroom, he is forced to take the bathroom stall door off its hinges and walk out of the restaurant with the door covering him. When he walks out, however, you can notice for a split second that Chandler is actually wearing boxers behind the door. He’s not even naked! The critics shout. What a sham! But, if you would have listened and watched carefully, you wouldn’t expect him to be totally nude. In the bathroom, Chandler asks Joey or Ross to give him their underwear. When the two dressed men leave the bathroom, we, for whatever reason, assume they never gave them up, but why are we so sure? It’s very likely that one of them did give Chandler their boxers. Chandler still took the door off because he didn’t want to be seen in them.
7. Monica Bing Not Monica Bang
When Monica is babysitting, she smashes Ben’s head into a beam in her apartment. This, we’re led to believe, causes Ben to repeat “Monica bang” over and over again. Fearing that Ben will rat her out to Ross, Monica ignores all the signs. But it’s as clear as day. The head injury Ben received gave him the sight. He wasn’t saying “Monica bang.” He was trying to say “Monica Bing,” as if he were looking into her future. Later, when Ross comes home, we’re again fooled. We think that Ross is just having a laugh with Monica when he tells her that Ben is messing up the “Alphabet Song,” but it seems obvious that this again is a sign for Monica. He’s getting his vowels mixed up, just as he was accidentally replacing “I” with “A” earlier.
6. Ross Did Like Ice Cream
We know that Friends had continuity errors as most sitcoms tend to have. One of the biggest ones that Friends fans point out is Ross and ice cream. We’ve seen him eating it, so why does he say that he hates it later on? Remember? He said it’s “too cold.” What a flaw, people scream with rage tears in their eyes. But there is a perfectly reasonable explanation. Think about when we see Ross eating ice cream. We saw him eat it with Marcel and Elizabeth. Ross lost both of these people, people he cared about. Way back in the first episode of the show, Joey also uses ice cream flavors to describe all the different women in the world, urging Ross to “grab a spoon.” Perhaps Ross saying he doesn’t like ice cream is another way of saying that he only has eyes for Rachel and that or he doesn’t like women.
5. Joey Didn’t Love Erin
At first, Erin was just another girl that Joey dated. Yet, after Rachel and Phoebe convinced him to go on a second date with her, Joey fell for her. Or so we thought. One fan suggested that Joey just wanted Rachel to make him pancakes. The evidence is presented as such: Joey loves food, but he can’t cook. He plants the seed with Rachel on that Chandler used to make his one-night stands pancakes and then break up with them. Joey would come back afterward and eat the leftovers. This time, when Joey comes home expecting pancakes from Rachel, he discovers that she never made them nor did she break up with Erin for him. This leads Joey to take extreme measures to get his pancakes. He and Erin make a plan. Joey pays Erin to go out with him again. He asks her to tell Rachel that she “doesn’t want anything serious.” Isn’t it odd that this is Joey’s exact line? After this, Joey plays sad. When Rachel feels bad enough, she offers to make Joey pancakes, to which he breaks from his sadness and exclaims, “finally!”
4. 9/11 Did Happen
After the events of 9/11, fans were pretty critical of Friends for not addressing the tragedy in any clear way. In fact, the show awkwardly had shot (and removed) scenes of Chandler making bomb jokes in the airport in the episode that was to air directly after September 11, 2001. They canned these scenes and re-shot some replacements. Yet, while Friends never did make an episode that directly spoke about the attacks, they did have a couple of subtle tributes. In one of the episodes close to the events, Joey wore an FDNY shirt and the Magna Doodle read “FDNY.” After that was an “I Heart NY” doodle. Then, in “The One Where Chandler Takes a Bath,” Joey wears a shirt with the name “Capt. Billy Burke” on it, the name of one of the firefighters who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center.
3. Phoebe Is NOT A Basketcase
There are a few different theories about Phoebe possibly living a lie of some sort. Though the evidence can be confusing, it does seem that Phoebe is less understood than many think. For one, she seems to have many adventures that we never see. She also seems to have more money than she should. While many see her as a brainless ditz, it’s possible that this is all an act. Some point to the money she got from Ursula making adult films under Phoebe’s name as being the cause of some of her mysterious adventures. Some even suggest that her apartment was burned because of this. All we know is that Phoebe has something going on in the side. In “The One with the Blind Dates,” she says to Joey, “By the time anyone’s figured out what we’ve done, we’ll be in sunny Mexico. Oh wait, that’s the end of a different plan.”
2. Ross Is NOT A Men’s Rights Activist
One of the things that revisionists like to criticize Friends for is how its characters are flawed people in the modern world. First of all, folks, looking back on older works of fiction with modern sensibilities is not a reasonable position. Sure, there was more fat-shaming 20 years ago than there is today. Okay, Ross wasn’t a feminist as all men are now either. But, once again, this does not and should not weaken the show. It was not made for this generation. But to say Ross is a men’s right’s activist is silly. So what if Ross hid phone messages from Rachel? Rachel convinced Bonnie to shave her damn head. They both messed with each other. It isn’t mansplaining if you talk down to someone who doesn’t “believe” in gravity. Ross should have talked slowly to Phoebe. She was demonstrating signs of severe mental degradation.
1. Why Judy Is So Hard On Monica
There have been theories about Monica being the black sheep in the family because maybe Jack isn’t her real father, but that doesn’t have any evidence to support it. There may, however, be evidence to suggest that Jack is neither of the kids’ dad. This is what we know. Judy was thought to be barren. Somehow, however, Ross was born. He was a medical marvel and was beloved. Then came Monica and Judy was especially hard on her. This treatment bled into Jack’s relationship with Monica. But what if Jack was the one who was infertile? What if Judy went elsewhere and then blamed the dog for eating her diaphragm (a diaphragm which would have been pointless if she were, in fact, barren). With Ross, Judy was thankful. For Monica, Judy went back to her sperm donor, her mystery baby daddy again. This time, however, she resented herself. She became especially hard on Monica, particularly when it came to finding the right man (possibly regretting her own decisions). This is why she’s so strict about the biological clock. She doesn’t want Monica to have to go to the same extremes she did to make a family.
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