Even if you’ve never watched Friends, you’ve probably heard about it. One of the most popular sitcoms to ever grace American television, Friends ran for ten seasons on NBC and won over viewers’ hearts all over the world. The iconic show, centering around a group of friends in their 20s (and later in their 30s) in New York, is undoubtedly a hilarious one. Heck, we’re still tuning into Netflix to watch it for the second time (okay, it might be our twelfth time).
But watching Friends again now that we’re older, wiser, and have a different perspective on things, suddenly makes us notice things we never have before. We were too busy laughing to notice anything wrong with it, but it seems that some of our beloved friends have done some unfriendly things. Whether it’s plot holes and inconsistencies, or someone’s terrible behavior – the show isn’t quite as perfect as we remembered it. These are some of the major issues we’re only now noticing on Friends.
There’s no doubt Monica gave us some pretty hilarious moments, and we’ve always loved her type-A quirkiness. But when you really think about it, she can be a real jerk sometimes. She thought her maid was stealing from her simply because she’s a maid. She forced Chandler to spend all of his savings on their wedding, and then opened all the presents without him (if anyone did that to us, we would probably divorce them).
She also belittles Chandler after they’re married, even asking a soap actor to sign on her bra during Joey’s rooftop party. She’s too much of a control freak to let Phoebe play with her dollhouse, and the list goes on and on.
Joey gets dumber and dumber
Joey was never the sharpest tool in the shed, but did you ever notice how he kept on getting increasingly dumber? In the beginning of the show, he was at least capable – he wasn’t book smart, but he was street smart. He even managed to sneak in the occasional sarcastic joke. But as things progressed, he became mind-numbingly stupid.
We mean, what normal human being with proper hearing would think they are speaking French, when they’re just making stupid noises? He didn’t even know what air-quotes are, and when the fridge broke, he thought he had to eat everything inside. At some point, it stopped being funny as Joey pretty much became a caricature of himself.
Ross is totally possessive
Ross and Rachel are one of the most beloved TV couples of all time, no arguing there, but it doesn’t mean they have a healthy relationship. Rachel isn’t perfect herself, but Ross is downright terrible at times. He’s incredibly possessive, not trusting Rachel to even have lunch with another man that isn’t Joey or Chandler.
He surrounds her with an unnecessary amount of gifts when she starts a new job, to mark his territory. He constantly tells other men they’re “kind of a thing” to keep them away, or withholds messages from Rachel – yet when they had a fight and he slept with someone else, he forever repeated “We were on a break!”
Phoebe is actually a terrible friend
There’s a reason why Phoebe is most people’s least favorite friend. She’s unreliable, gets mad at everyone for no apparent reason, and has a sketchy past. During the show, she abandons every single moral principle she has – she eats meat, she wears fur, she works for a big corporate massage chain, she ditches her friends for men, and shops at Pottery Barn.
Not only does she not have an actual connection to any of the friends (except for mugging Ross when she was a teenager), but she’s also a pretty bad friend. She constantly spills their secrets and comes between them – like when she tells Chandler that Monica intended to sleep with Joey, not him, at the night of Ross’ wedding.
Rachel repeatedly sabotages other people
We have to face it, Rachel is kind of a mess when it comes to her love life. She can’t decide whether or not she wants to be with Ross, and even when she’s interested in other people, she constantly manipulates and sabotages other people to get her way. When she perceived Bonnie as a threat, she actually convinced her to shave her head – only to dump Ross again the moment they got together again.
She lied about Tag’s love life preferences to everyone, just so she could have him to herself. She gave Ross bad relationship advice to sabotage his relationship with Julie, and even flew to stop his wedding with Emily. It might be funny at times, but that’s pretty selfish behavior.
So much free time
The characters on the show are always hanging out – which makes sense. Otherwise, what would the show be about? But looking back at the show, the amount of free time these guys have seems pretty unrealistic. As people who have jobs, they have too much leisure time to spend in coffee shops, hanging out in each other’s houses, or taking incredibly long lunches.
This especially goes for Monica, who’s supposed to be a successful chef at a New York restaurant. Do those have a lot of free time on their hands?
In the category of not aging well, the subject of body shaming is another thing on Friends that wouldn’t have been so well accepted today. The gang is always making fun of Monica for being overweight in her past.
Even her own parents make remarks like, “Judy, you did it! She’s finally full.” Chandler hurts her feelings so badly back when they’re younger, she decides to go on a diet and change herself completely. And the worst thing is, she isn’t even that overweight.
Joey and Phoebe should be broke, but aren’t
Joey and Phoebe don’t have the most stable jobs. He’s an actor who struggles in getting any work (besides a short gig on Days of Our Lives), and her jobs vary from giving people massages to playing guitar in places like Central Perk.
These jobs don’t seem like enough to support them as it is, let alone in the famously expensive New York City. Yes, they do tell their Friends they can’t afford as many things as they do, but how can they actually afford rent?
Once a cheater, always a cheater
Don’t get us wrong, we like Ross. But if we’re looking at it objectively, he’s a terrible boyfriend – and not just to Rachel. To everyone. Not only does he cheat on Julie with Rachel, but he also says Rachel’s name at the alter when marrying Emily.
And remember the time he forgot about Mona when they were supposed to see a movie? Or gave her a key to his apartment, because he freaked out when she wanted to send out a Christmas card together?
Rachel wants to move to Paris with Emma
In the final season of the show, Rachel decides to take a job in Paris with Louis Vuitton. Ross becomes increasingly upset about her moving away, to the point of chasing her to the airport. But there’s no mention of one thing – is Ross even upset that Rachel is taking their child, Emma, to live in Paris?
When Emily wants Ross to move to England to be with her, he says no because of Ben. So why doesn’t he seem fazed about being away from Emma?
Janice is always mistreated
Janice is one person everyone loves to make fun of on the show, and at home. Her “Oh. My. God!” has become a well-known catchphrase with anyone who’s watched the show. But why are the Friends so mean to her, really? She has an annoying voice, sure.
But other than that, she’s a lovely and caring person who is massively under-appreciated by everyone. Yes, she cheats on Chandler with her ex-husband, but we’re not sure that justifies lying to her about moving to Yemen.
Rachel hires Tag because he’s attractive
When Rachel interviews people for the position of her assistant, she admits Tag is not the most qualified for the job, by far. But instead of giving the position to someone who deserves it, she decides to hire Tag simply because she’s attracted to him.
She also spends her time gawking at him and trying to make a move on him. Hiring a person because they’re “eye candy”, or because you’re hoping to get romantically involved with them is just wrong. It was inappropriate then, and it’s inappropriate now.
Their attitude towards femininity
By the way the people on the show handle boys liking “girly” things, you would think it’s the 1960s. We see it when Ross’ son plays with a Barbie doll, and he becomes obsessed with replacing it with a “manlier” toy.
When Joey wants to walk around with a bag, or enjoy activities that are considered “girly”, everyone makes fun of him. And when Rachel hires a male nanny, Ross is completely baffled, refusing to believe he could be straight because he’s a nanny.
Not enough diversity
We can’t think of any reasonable explanation why in 10 seasons of a New York based TV show, there are only two non-white people with significant roles on the show (Ross’s girlfriends, Charlie and Julie). The truth is, Friends just wasn’t diverse enough, and when it rarely featured people of different ethnics – they were very minor roles.
Today, more and more people are aware of this issue, and many shows today make it a point to have a diverse cast. These days, we’re pretty sure Friends would look a bit different, too.
Joey’s sleazy behavior
Joey is constantly referred to as a womanizer and player, but it’s so much more than that. Some of the things he did were actually sleazy, but were brushed off as cute – just Joey being Joey. But sleeping with countless women and never calling them back isn’t cute.
Constantly making innuendos at your female friends is worse. And turning up the heat in the apartment so Janine wants to walk around in her undergarments is just creepy. If he weren’t handsome, would he have gotten away with it? Probably not.
Chandler tells Monica he loves her for the first time, twice
We all remember when Chandler told Monica he loves her for the first time… or do we? There was that time when Monica dances around with a turkey on her head, and he blurts out, “You’re so great, I love you.”
And when Phoebe comes on to Chandler to make him confess he’s dating Monica, he says it again. But Monica steps out of the bathroom looking shocked as if it were the first time all over again. Did she already manage to forget him saying it the first time?
When did Chandler and Rachel meet first?
In the first episode of the show, Rachel appears in Central Perk in her wedding dress, after having skipped on her own wedding – that’s when she meets Chandler, according to their introduction. But later on, it appears that the two have met “for the first time” quite a few times.
When Rachel was in high school, Ross was already friends with Chandler, so the two met at the Gellers’ home. And in the episode “The One With The Flashback” they’re shown to meet at the bar that would later become Central Perk. Maybe they should get their heads examined, since they keep forgetting each other over and over.
Ross’ relationship with Elizabeth
We all remember when Ross started dating one of his college students, Elizabeth – or as he referred to her, “Cutie McPretty”. While they initially think their relationship is only frowned upon by the university, they soon realize it’s against the rules, but keep dating anyway.
It’s not wonder Elizabeth’s dad (hilariously portrayed by Bruce Willis) doesn’t like Ross, he’s a professor dating his 19-year-old daughter! We thought it was cute at the time, but is it really ethical or moral for a professor to be dating a student?
Monica thought Chandler liked sharks
This episode still manages to annoy the fans, even until this very day. In season nine, Monica visits Chandler in Tulsa, and catches him in an intimate moment with himself. But since he quickly changed the channel, she thinks what excited him was… sharks. We mean, really?
Who, in their right minds, would assume their partner was into something like that and not even ask? She continued to freak out for the rest of the episode before realizing her mistake – which makes for a particularly irritating episode.
Ross doesn’t like ice cream… or does he?
During that episode when we learn Chandler dislikes dog (really?), we also learn that Ross doesn’t like ice cream. He says it’s just too cold, which we guess some people might find reasonable. But does he really not like ice cream?
There are two specific cases in which he enjoys a cone of ice cream just like as everyone does – once while on a date with Elizabeth, and once with his monkey Marcel. So what it just a phase, or did he just pretend to like ice cream all along?
We know the series starts with all the friends being in their twenties. But there’s a lot of confusion surrounding their actual birthdays. Rachel once tells Gunther her birthday is in May, but later says she’s actually an Aquarius (January or February).
Ross’ birthday is supposed to take place in October, but one he says it was seven months ago from October – which means it’s in March? Their ages are also unclear, as Rachel is the last “friend” to turn 30 in season seven, but Joey is said to be the youngest of the gang in season one. Either the friends were secretly time traveling, or it’s all one huge mess.
Janice can’t be that pregnant
Janice is one of those characters we’ll never get tired of seeing – especially as she tends to pop up in the worst moments possible. It was pretty funny when Rachel was getting ready to give birth and a very pregnant Janice suddenly became her hospital roommate. But how was she that far along?
When Janice has dinner with Monica and Chandler before their wedding (meaning Rachel should’ve already been pregnant), she mentions her date stood her up. In the hospital, she says she met Sid a year earlier. Something doesn’t add up!
Is Phoebe bilingual?
When Phoebe tried to teach Joey some French for an audition (which, as we’ve mentioned earlier, was a total disaster), many were surprised that she even knew French. Seeing as she grew up on the streets and had no formal education – nor was she ever really that bright – it seemed a bit weird for her character.
But it was even stranger when she didn’t even know what ‘sous chef’ was. Plenty of people who don’t speak French know what it means, but Phoebe, who’s supposed to be fluent in it, doesn’t?
Ross and Rachel’s ink disappears in Vegas
Rachel gets pretty mad at Ross, after the latter draws a mustache with a permanent marker on her face, during their flight to Vegas. Don’t get us wrong, we would get pretty angry too – especially since they called the company and realized there was no way to remove it.
There was only one thing left to do – drink up the whole minibar, go out on the town, and get married in an Elvis church. But the next morning, the ink was totally gone. If it only took one night to disappear – how permanent was it, really?
Chandler is funny
Chandler is known for using his sense of humor as a defense mechanism, making sarcastic jokes throughout the show. But in many cases, what makes us viewers laugh till we’re out of breath (which literally happened to us), doesn’t even make his friends smile.
His jokes are funny most of the time, but no one ever seems to actually laugh at them. It’s even implied that he’s annoying, rather than funny. Do these people have no sense of humor?
She’s not Rachem
Ross had been pining for Rachel ever since junior high (which doesn’t make him seem less obsessive), and when they finally got together the fans were excited. He decides to pick Rachel over his girlfriend Julie, but moments after he tells Rachel it’s always been her, she finds the list he made with both women’s pros and cons (nice one, Ross).
The shortcoming he found for Julie is “she’s not Rachel” but since Chandler printed it with a typo, it read “she’s not Rachem.” Rachel immediately thought it was some kind of rock, but did it never occur to her it could be Rachel? We mean, come on. It’s one letter.
When Chandler kisses other women
If Ross is the jealous type, Monica seems to be the complete opposite. We mean, have you ever noticed how many other women Chandler kisses (for different reasons) while he’s with Monica? He kisses Rachel and Phoebe repeatedly when he accidentally kisses Monica in front of them after London, and he kisses Phoebe again when she tries to get him to confess to dating Monica.
He also kisses a strange woman to hide the fact that he lost their wedding photos, and kisses Janice to stop her from purchasing the house next door to the one Monica and he want to buy. And yet, Monica never bats an eye.