11 Weird Things You Notice When Binge Watching ‘Friends’

2 Feb


By Meredith Lee – Contributing Writer

On New Year’s Day, Friends finally became available on Netflix and fans everywhere rejoiced by not leaving their houses for a few days. They stayed in pajamas, drank pots of coffee and powered through eating unhealthy snacks in order to keep up momentum while binge watching every episode starring six fictional friends that fans know as well as they know their own. From those first moments when Rachel runs into Central Perk in her wedding dress after having left her fiancé at the altar to those final minutes when the gang leaves Monica and Chandler’s empty apartment behind to begin the next stage of their lives, not a second was wasted.


Yet through those binge watching moments, you start to pick up things. While you smile at the old-school telephones and VHS tapes, you start to notice plot holes and Matthew Perry’s drastic weight fluctuations. The time lapse between season six and season seven is really only supposed to be about an hour yet he looks about 20 pounds thinner from one episode to the next. Personalities also change drastically over time. People become less intelligent, they like to yell more and it somehow seems like they all become different people with no recollection of things that have happened in their lives.

 I shall now list those things because that is what people do to the things they love: try to ruin them for themselves and others… but in a fun way.

1. Monica and Ross


Monica and Ross are brother and sister. Monica and Ross are related. Let’s repeat that a lot. Monica and Ross are brother and sister. Let’s engrave this on signs and embroider it on pillows because clearly the show seemed to forget this a lot. Monica wanting to know every detail about Ross and Rachel’s first kiss? Kinda gross. Her wanting to watch Rachel and Ross’ sex tape to determine who came on to whom? Just….eww, like on every single level. In one of the final episodes of the series, it’s even revealed that Monica and Ross kissed. Okay, it was apparently dark and it was college and Ross thought he was kissing Rachel but he was actually kissing Monica…but no, just….no. Even if we try to ignore the fact that Ross could not recognize his sister, fans still had always thought Rachel and Ross’ first kiss was in the doorway at Central Perk in the rain. That was an epic scene, why did they have to make it now gross? Yes, there are close siblings and then there’s Monica and Ross who sometimes went from close to, well, stealing one of Monica’s earlier lines, to “cocktails in Appalachia”.


2. Ross


Just Ross. In the beginning, he was sweet and nerdy. He was caring and you felt for him when he got divorced from his lesbian ex-wife, Carol. In the first season, you learn that Carol was the only woman he had ever been with and now Carol was going to have his child and in the midst of all of this, he had this crush on Rachel that had begun in high school. It was all so sweet – but then that stopped. He became possessive and irrationally jealous. When Rachel finally got her dream job in fashion instead of acting supportive, he got upset that she was spending too much time at work and ended up setting fire to her desk after he showed up at her office on their anniversary. When they got married in Vegas, he told Rachel he had gotten it annulled when he hadn’t, just because he did not want to be divorced three times. He became this crazy, jealous, no-longer-sweet Ross. He was icky and creepy and stalkery and weird. In addition, they also forgot about his first time being with Carol because we find out that Ross hooked up with the school librarian in high school. He becomes a different Ross. He even hooks up with one of his students. I miss the old Ross. He was just better.


3. Phoebe


Phoebe also becomes a completely different person from the beginning to the end of the series. At the start, she is a free-spirit and is always honest, but never cruel. She cares deeply about her friends, yet at the same time is often in her own little Phoebe world. Something changed when she had her half-brother’s triplets. She became almost cruel to her friends. She’s especially mean to Chandler, even going as far as to introduce Monica (who was married to Chandler at this point) to a guy whom Phoebe believed was Monica’s soulmate. She seemed to have no respect for their relationship at all, even crashing Monica and Chandler’s first anniversary trip Vegas. It almost seems like she hates Chandler and it’s kind of uncomfortable. Before Chandler goes on a job interview, she tells him to not get his hopes up because he doesn’t make a good first impression which is really what everyone wants to hear before they interview for a job. Chandler is not the only friend she is mean to though, she openly mocks each one of them at some point or another and comes across like she is better than all of them. It becomes uncomfortable watching her interact with the other friends. There’s also a moment where Rachel and Phoebe are hanging out at a bar and Rachel tells Phoebe how she thinks a conversation with Ross will most likely go. Phoebe applauds Rachel on her Ross imitation but then says her “Rachel” wasn’t whiny enough. What happened to the sweet Phoebe who was out there but still kind?


4. Joey and Rachel


Can we just ignore this plotline? Can we just forget it ever existed? It never made sense and seemed so out of character from what we had learned up to this point. Rachel had always seemed to find Joey to be a bit of pig. She liked him as a friend but that was it, those sudden feelings for him just seemed to come out of nowhere. I didn’t get it and neither do most fans and the romance was dropped and quickly forgotten. There was no need for this relationship because it went against both of their characters and we all knew they were never going to end up together. Honestly, if they were going to have a “third couple” on Friends it should have been Joey and Phoebe. They could have rocked as a couple and that would have made sense.


5. Chandler


What did they do to him? He began as a funny guy who liked sports and he was kind. Sure he was a little awkward, but then he turned into this weird mess. They had an entire episode devoted to how he hates dogs yet, we’ve seen the character around dogs and he had no fear or hatred towards dogs at all. Then there was an episode about how he doesn’t cry but he has cried. We’ve seen him cry. He cried when Ross asked both him and Joey to be the joint Best Men at his wedding to Emily.  They completely changed him. No, he was never a macho man guy like Joey but he wasn’t this wutzy guy who didn’t like sports and couldn’t figure out how to work tools. He had a lot going on and the fact that he was the only character that was never fired and held a pretty high paying and, seemingly, complicated job until he quit says something about his character. Then once he landed in advertising, he moved up the ranks pretty quickly which shows once again, he was pretty smart. There’s also the fact that while living with Joey, he paid the rent for both of them pretty much the entire time they lived together.  He’s good with money, he’s good with his career and yet he seems to become the object of intense mocking from the rest of the group. It doesn’t make any sense….of course, I might be biased because he is my favorite male friend, but still!


6. Joey


Joey was cute. Joey was sweet. Joey was dim-witted but he was still pretty hot. He was able to function like a normal person in society until, one day, he wasn’t. Somewhere along the line, he switched from being “not the smartest guy in the room” to “he might need adult assistance in order to live.” It also crossed over to creepy when they gave him a Cabbage Patch Doll and a stuffed penguin that he refused to give to Rachel’s baby. Now, let’s go back….what grown man has a stuffed penguin that he is so attached to that he won’t even give it to an infant and admits that he got the penguin because he stole it from a child. First season Joey would not have a stuffed animal and I highly doubt an adult male with stuffed animals and Cabbage Patch Dolls are getting as many dates as Joey apparently was. He also knew very little about acting which was his job. In an episode where he stumbles into a beginning acting class, he doesn’t know basic stage directions and he is on a soap opera. He would know that stuff. There’s a line between dim-witted and just over the top moronic and they crossed it with Joey Tribbiani.


7. Ross and Rachel


They got together in the end and fans everywhere rejoiced but really Rachel ultimately gave up the career she had wanted for 10 seasons in favor of an unhealthy relationship. When she had gotten that job in Paris, Ross tried to sabotage it in order to get her to stay and ultimately she stayed. Nothing really changed in their relationship and she killed her career. Yes, Ross and Rachel needed to get together but couldn’t they have done it in a way that didn’t make us all go, “Wait, what?” Also, in the finale was in 2004 and the way they stalled Rachel when she was leaving for Paris was for Phoebe to tell her something was wrong with the plane. Then another passenger overheard, got scared and everyone got off the plane because he panicked. Yes, it was ridiculous but there will never be anything remotely funny about something being wrong with an airplane. Ever. Even if you use funny words.


8. Phoebe’s Background and the Problem With Unagi and Muggings


Lisa Kudrow perfectly played Phoebe with such blind optimism that you almost didn’t feel sorry for her except when Ross was concerned, apparently. In the episode where Phoebe and Rachel take a self-defense course, Ross tells them both that they really could not take care of themselves if faced with real danger. Okay, I can give him Rachel but Phoebe? Phoebe spent almost 10 years homeless and living on the street.  She not only survived but ended up living in a fancy apartment in the village. So it seems like it would be a given that she would be able to take care of herself if faced with real danger. In another episode, it was revealed that Phoebe had unknowingly mugged Ross when they were kids and everyone got mad at Phoebe. Okay, you shouldn’t mug people but once again, she was homeless. I’m guessing Phoebe didn’t mug Ross to buy a pretty outfit. I’m assuming it was to buy stuff like food and to keep herself alive.


9. Ben, Emma and The Triplets


Ben mistakes Chandler and Ross as his dads and has to be reminded he has two mommies and one dad. Really? Come on, but it’s okay. He eventually vanishes from Ross’ life all together. Emma is fairly sufficient for a one year old, often being left alone for long stretches of time while her parents figure out their next move or Rachel goes after Joey which we just won’t discuss and will pretend never happened. Phoebe gives birth to her half-brother’s triplets and we see them twice. I understand that it is difficult to work with babies or children but you’ve gotta make it just a tad more realistic.


10. Ages and Birthdays


Clearly, the producers really liked celebrating Rachel’s birthday because they did it a lot and at different times of the year. One time, it was Chandler’s birthday and they celebrated Rachel’s instead. Ross was 28 or 29 for three years and that episode where they celebrated Rachel’s 30th birthday? They celebrated her 30th birthday in 2001 which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if she was 25 in 1994. They were very forgetful when it came to birthdays and ages. Although it did seem like they just had them regress in maturity as they aged. At least they stayed consistent in that regard.


11. Monica


She was the hub at the beginning. She was the glue that kept them all together. She was the calming force amongst all the crazy she was surrounded by until she apparently fell victim to the crazy and became even more insane than the rest of them. She became screechy, loud and in an episode where Chandler got her a housekeeper, she stuck her head between the housekeeper’s legs to see if the housekeeper had stolen her pants. Monica said the way she could tell would be because there was a stain on the crotch. Here’s the problem, Monica likes things neat and clean. No way will she have a pair of pants with the stain on the crotch. They took her competitiveness to insane levels and you wanted her to calm down or give her a valium.  Also, for someone who is supposed to be a great chef and runs a tight ship, she sure did let a lot of people hang out in the kitchen of her restaurants and she really couldn’t bake or could only bake when the plot called for it.
Just a few things to notice when watching the show I love and I will keep watching it because –  much like our real friends – these fictional friends are far from perfect but you can’t help but love them anyway!

Meredith Lee is a born and raised Valley Girl who watches way too much television and has seen every episode of “Friends” at least ten times. She always looks up the spoilers to reality shows before watching so she can prepare herself for the outcome, enjoys eating brunch and exploring Los Angeles, and also likes shopping, sitting and napping. She recently began blogging, and can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.


3 Responses to “11 Weird Things You Notice When Binge Watching ‘Friends’”

  1. Annie February 2, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    This is why binge watching shows is both awesome and traumatizing at the same time. I’ve done it with many, including Supernatural, which is my to-die-for favorite show and often leaves me laughing and crying and all out needing valium or wine to make it to tomorrow. But not Friends (yet). Having said that, I loved the early seasons when they were all charming and quirky and goofy, and just a tiny bit naive. And then somewhere something changed and they became bigger, louder, more obnoxious versions of themselves. Which was a shame. Because I dearly loved the show. Still do, I have to confess. But it’s the earlier seasons I remember fondest.

  2. LA July 12, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. The show was on for ten years; why wouldn’t the characters change over the span of 10 years? Please let real fans focus their energy into writing “Friends” articles. This is ridiculous.

  3. Chris Jones June 7, 2021 at 10:00 am #

    I’ve thought the exact same thing. The last 4 or 5 years became irrating to watch for reason’s listed. The characters simply became disfutional. I think changing charters personalities makes writing new episode’s easier.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: