We’ve all got a lot of time on our hands right now to ponder life’s greatest questions, like “how long can I go without washing my hair?” and “am I only going to hang out with people through Zoom for the rest of my life?” But there’s one major question that’s been on all of our minds: “how would the characters of Friends handle quarantine?” And as someone who started watching Friends at six years old (was I way too young to be watching it? Yes. Did it make me feel 1,000 times superior to all the other first-graders? Absolutely yes), I feel particularly qualified to carry out this task.
For the sake of a consistent timeline, we’ll assume they go into quarantine sometime around season 6, after Monica and Chandler have moved in together and Ross is living in the apartment across the street from them, and we’ll also assume that they’ve decided to all quarantine together. But also, if the timeline doesn’t 100% line up let’s just all try to remain calm. This is an imagining of a TV show that ended 16 years ago, so maybe just have a glass of wine and keep that in perspective.
Rachel started dating a guy right before everyone went into quarantine and is freaking out that he hasn’t called her yet. She insists on keeping the phone line open at all times in case he calls, and to distract herself she has started trying on all of her clothes and asking everyone what she should get rid of (correct answer: nothing, Rachel Green is a fashion icon). After realizing she has such great taste, she’s decided she should start a fashion blog.
Phoebe has been reliably informed by her psychic that one of the Friends has coronavirus. In order to figure out who has it, she’s trying to read everyone’s auras because, according to her, that’s as good as an actual test. She’s also lighting an absurd amount of incense (it’s “healing”), putting crystals in every room, and writing songs about literally everything everyone is doing, and it’s driving them all absolutely insane.
Naturally, Joey is eating through all of the quarantine food like it’s Thanksgiving dinner and he’s got his eating pants on. And as we all know, Joey doesn’t share food, so this is kind of a big problem. He’s also always trying to break quarantine to go meet up with a girl, but because no one will let him, he’s instead trying to flirt with girls he can see in the building across from them or on the street through the window. To no one’s surprise, he’s so successful he has a new girlfriend every week.
Ross is the only one who didn’t make it to Monica’s apartment in time for quarantine, and as Monica’s already got the place on full lockdown, she’s refusing to let him in. Whenever he tries to call them, Rachel immediately hangs up the phone in case her date calls, so his only option is to try to communicate with them through their window.
Chandler only has two coping mechanisms: sarcasm and smoking. While his sarcasm is certainly no secret, the fact that he’s started smoking again definitely is. He keeps making trips to the hallway and the balcony for a smoke break but is ultimately caught because like, the smell, duh. Could he be any more obvious?
A global pandemic is Monica’s worst nightmare because it’s not something she has any control over. So obviously, she’s making everyone to wash their hands every hour on the hour and trying to clean the apartment 24/7. The only problem? Joey got rid of most of their cleaning supplies to make room for more quarantine food, and she already ordered Amazon’s entire stock of cleaning supplies. So instead, she’s baking constantly to relieve stress. She started the banana bread trend.
Devastated by the fact that he likely won’t see Rachel again for months, he’s started writing fan fiction about how she will eventually fall in love with him (as if he wasn’t already doing that).
Janice decides to serenade her neighbors from her balcony and ends up having dozens of noise complaints filed against her because of her voice.
Images: Giphy; Paul Smith / Featureflash via Shutterstock.com
Friends is turning 25 this month, which means it’s now roughly as old as its characters were (portrayed as) when it began. The success of the sitcom relied heavily on the fact that our mid-twenties are a tumultuous time for most of us, but the power of friendship prevails. Or, at least, a friendship between conventionally attractive people who are all sleeping together. In all of its studio audience laugh-tracked glory, Friends capitalized on the reality that being in your twenties in New York City (or a studio in Burbank, CA) would be a real garbage fire without friends—a concept apparently so unique for the 90s that its cast earned one million dollars per episode in the final season.
There’s a lot that I don’t understand about the success of Friends, partly because I started watching it in 2016 and I was largely confused about why there wasn’t a single man on the show who was wearing a suit that fit them. Then, there’s the fact that the pilot aired in 1994 and Jennifer Aniston hasn’t aged even slightly. How does Rachel make any money at that coffee shop? Why isn’t Monica and Rachel’s massive apartment mentioned in every single episode? How does Phoebe live on 92nd St, yet spend every moment commuting to Greenwich village to be continuously misunderstood by her so-called “friends”? I’m aware much of the dialogue relies on teasing banter, but Phoebe is, in my opinion, the most tragic character. While all of them bust on Joey’s overall idiocy and Monica’s former weight problem to their faces, Phoebe’s enemy is silence. After watching every season of Friends, my biggest fear is not entering a Ross-and-Rachel relationship, losing a sugar daddy over conflicts about children, or getting killed off of a soap opera—it’s becoming the Phoebe of the group.
Phoebe is quirky, psychic, spiritual, and arguably the most charming member of the Friends clique. But alas, she’s terrible at music. In fact, “terrible” might be too kind. She’s painfully awful at singing, playing guitar, and songwriting. I understand her lack of musical skill is a running joke of the show, but the tragedy of Phoebe is not that she has no talent. Rather, the arc that will haunt me and every dream I’ve ever pursued is that nobody ever tells her! Phoebe performs regularly on Friends (we all know “Smelly Cat”) from the coffee shop to outside the coffee shop to schools, and yet, after every performance, the entire group praises her, cringing from afar. The camera pans across their distressed faces while she screech-sings to nonexistent guitar chords, only to greet her offstage with smiles and applause.
I started doing stand-up comedy around the same time I started plowing through every episode of Friends on Netflix. I used Friends to fall asleep, as background noise while I cleaned my apartment (which is in every way the opposite of Monica and Rachel’s), and eventually, for a deep analysis on why nobody gently tells Phoebe that music isn’t her path. I immediately asked my friend, a devout Friends fan, why Phoebe continues to play despite never receiving any real positive feedback.
“You’re completely misunderstanding the complexity of Phoebe,” she said. “Phoebe doesn’t want a career in music, she doesn’t care if people think she’s bad, she just likes being weird.” This momentarily made sense to me considering there’s an episode where Phoebe says “If I was in this for the money, I would be a millionaire by now.” Still, who makes art without wanting to be good? Protecting someone’s feelings is honorable, but at what point does the dishonesty make you a bad friend? What if all my friends are coming to my comedy shows, feigning laughter, and indulging my delusions for 10 whole seasons without a million dollar episode contract for my finale? Phoebe’s music “career” repeatedly sends me into an existential spiral.
I would be willing to trust my friend’s rebuttal to my Phoebe fears if it wasn’t for season 2 episode 17, where Phoebe records an album, makes a music video, and then learns they dubbed her voice with another woman’s. Phoebe shows the music video (of course it’s “Smelly Cat”) to the crew, only to not recognize that her voice has been replaced. She’s shocked by how amazing she sounds, and what do the friends do? THEY DON’T TELL HER. This is their moment! Instead, they all sit quietly in Monica’s massive, perfectly decorated living room, allowing Phoebe to believe that all this time, she’s had the voice of a professional recording artist. This moment is a cardinal sin of friendship. The show shouldn’t be called Friends, it should be called “Smelly Cat Enablers.”
Before you peg me as an irrational moron, I do recognize that Friends is a sitcom and that I’m clearly projecting my own career insecurities onto the music career of a person who doesn’t exist. That isn’t lost on me. But, if we can take anything away from looking back on the show after 25 years, the hill I’m going to die on here is Phoebe’s music. Aside from the glaring lack of diversity and casual 90s sexism, the show’s main problem is that the group was protecting Phoebe’s ego and passing it off as friendship.
That being said, if Phoebe was pursuing music in 2019, the hecklers at the coffee shop would be replaced with internet trolls and she probably would be too broken to even write “Smelly Cat” to begin with. Is it ok to separate passion from skill? Is Phoebe a genuine artist because she makes art for the sake of making it and not because she wants a career?
Americans are obsessed with attaching our passions to our careers as an identity. The mindset that Phoebe isn’t a musician unless she makes money off of it is engrained in our culture, and maybe Phoebe’s shameless rejection of that notion is admirable after all. Perhaps on the 50th anniversary of Friends, I’ll no longer fear being the Phoebe. In the meantime, I’m incredibly grateful all of my friends told me to quit soccer.
Images: Giphy (2)
It’s the 25th anniversary of everyone’s favorite 90s sitcom featuring over-plucked eyebrows, ultra straight hair, and a Greenwich Village apartment we would all gladly sacrifice our most prized possessions to live in for just a few weeks. Friends has remained an iconic series since its premiere in 1994, and its 2004 final season that famously won the cast a shudder-inducing one million dollars per episode. However, it’s 2019 now. Even the most loyal of Friends fans sometimes use the 10 seasons as nostalgic background noise to fall asleep to after we’ve watched too many true crime shows and need the soothing trance of rhythmic studio audience laughter. When we’re sick of rewatching The Office, Friends and all its mind-numbing Ross and Rachel “will they?/won’t they?” drama is always there.
Still, Friends is very much a product of its time. It’s nearly devoid of diversity, and the New York City it portrays is a fantasyland considering it was filmed in Los Angeles and it is repeatedly disrespectful to the harsh reality of NYC rent. We can forgive the starved eyebrows, but a world without being constantly attached to our phones? No dating apps? No Instagram? And why, for the love of Jennifer Aniston’s legendary haircut, are they always hanging out at that coffee shop?
Here’s the alternate NYC friendship fantasy timeline nobody asked for but we all need: Friends in 2019.
They all live together in a windowless Brooklyn basement.
In the original Friends, Rachel and Monica’s Greenwich Village apartment with a gorgeous skylight, balcony, living room the size of a school gymnasium, and a kitchen so adorable it looks like it was designed by hipster Keebler elves is the main hangout spot. Joey and Chandler live across the hall in an apartment they also couldn’t afford while Phoebe lives on 92nd St, and it’s never fully explained how she is constantly commuting downtown to sit on a couch with a bunch of fellow beautiful people who don’t understand her art. In 2019, though, they’re all together in Brooklyn, baby! Monica and Rachel’s rent-controlled dream is in Williamsburg, but it’s a windowless basement they share with Chandler, Joey, Ross, Phoebe, and a few mice. Luxury!
Chandler works at a startup and is constantly bragging about unlimited cold brew on tap.
Chandler has a standing desk, a ping pong table and a fridge full of Kombucha at his office, and he needs everyone to know. The app Chandler works for is vaguely dating-related, but it’s unclear what exactly he does there because he’s much more interested in talking about “the perks.” Despite his office’s open floor plan and craft beer fridge, he and Monica (a food blogger) never make enough money to move out of the basement.
Rachel and Ross have an open relationship, but they can’t agree on the terms.
Open relationships can get complicated for anyone, but for Ross and Rachel? What a mess. The entire “we were on a break” episode is a situation where Ross ends up getting emotionally attached to a woman from work that he and Rachel occasionally have threesomes with. Turns out, Rachel was also developing feelings for her and by the final season, their arguments about their influence on their baby daughter’s gender identity send them to a few productive sessions of couple’s therapy.
Every episode’s main conflict is their crippling student loan debt.
Regardless of what happens, every episode of 2019 Friends ends with the realization that none of them will ever own property or live a live similar to the ones their parents led. The only one who successfully pays off her student debt is Rachel, but the rest of the group resents her because her wealthy family fronted most of the tab.
Phoebe’s “Smelly Cat” goes viral on YouTube and it changes her forever.
Phoebe couldn’t resist uploading “Smelly Cat” to her YouTube channel, and it becomes an overnight viral sensation. Phoebe is immediately recognized everywhere she goes and she decides to monetize the song’s success with an America’s Got Talent audition that unfortunately flops. Still, her Etsy shop for healing crystals is a success.
Joey is a contestant on ‘Bachelor in Paradise’.
This one is obvious, of course. Joey is made for Bachelor Nation and instantly becomes a fan favorite, working his way from The Bachelorette to Bachelor in Paradise to eventually becoming the Bachelor. Does he find a lasting love on the shows? Nope. But he does have a series of popular reaction gifs and makes a decent living from nightclub appearances. In the 2019 Friends 10th season, Joey returns to Bachelor Nation as the bartender on Bachelor in Paradise, but he gets kicked off for flirting with too many contestants.
Rachel is an Instagram influencer.
In season one of the real Friends, Rachel’s boss at Central Perk tells her she’s a terrible waitress. Yet she’s able to keep that job for years! How does she make any money when these people sit there for hours with a check of two coffees and one muffin? Rachel is fired from waitressing her third shift in 2019 Friends and turns to Instagram for money instead. With her family connections, a social media manager helps her build a brand that focuses mostly on “wellness,” “positivity,” and most importantly, being hot.
Joey’s role as Doctor Drake Ramoray is the closest any of them ever get to health insurance.
In 2019, Joey does appear on a soap opera, but the majority of his acting gigs are in Bachelor Nation. Still, none of the friends have real health insurance because Chandler’s startup purposefully hires people under 26 so they don’t have to provide health coverage. Rachel receives free teeth whitening and dental care kits from her sponsored content posts, but otherwise the gang just uses WebMD and hopes for the best.
That coffee shop is definitely a bar.
The most significant difference from the original is that the 2019 version of Friends replaces Central Perk coffee shop with a neighborhood dive bar. Considering 2019 coffee shops are filled with freelancers on laptops fighting over the table with the outlets, a coffee shop isn’t a great setting for a sitcom. Also, it’s forever unclear how that coffee shop stayed in business when they have a five person staff for a total of 10 customers and a very limited menu.
Eventually, NYC becomes too expensive for all of them.
The basement landlord finally discovers that Monica isn’t an “87-year-old woman who doesn’t know how to work a VCR” and the finale of 2019’s Friends features our fearless crew at the bar, defeated. “Maybe Philly?” Ross suggests, but Rachel replies, “Perhaps Austin.” It fades to black while an acoustic version of the beloved theme song plays.
Images: Giphy (4)
There are few things in life considered timeless, among them are The Beatles, red lipstick, and, of course, Friends. Seriously, that show kept me alive during my junior semester abroad in a city that’s tied for least things to do and worst food. If you’re ever in Spain, be sure to not visit to Salamanca. Anyway, as an English major, I was trained to genuinely believe that characters live past the end of the story, so I’m really hoping that 15 years after the last episode aired, the Friends have all been promoted many, many times and can now afford their multi-bedroom apartments in one of New York’s most expensive neighborhoods.
That got me thinking, what are these guys up to in 2019? Not IRL, of course, but in Friends land aka
a set in L.A. the streets of Greenwich Village. Did Joey ever get cast again? Did Chandler graduate from his internship? Are they still spending 23 hours a day in a f*cking coffee shop? And more importantly, what are they actually earning in order to afford these multi-bedroom apartments in one of New York’s most expensive neighborhoods? Let’s find out!
Monica is my favorite. She’s loud, she’s pushy, and she’s clean af. Yep, she’s a Jewish mom, alright. In the last episode, she, Chandler and their twin babies moved upstate to Westchester County. If you’ve ever been there, you know that it is a beautiful place with absolutely nothing to do. Before she moved, Monica worked hard for her head chef position at a ritzy resto called Javu’s (fictional, I checked), and I’m guessing she didn’t just give that dream up to push a double stroller around the sidewalks of Chappaqua, New York. Nothing against moms—in fact, I hope to be one some day in the distant future—but Monica has always fostered a serious and not-to-be-f*cked with work ethic and I can’t imagine she’d work her butt off to throw her professional goals away just because she moved upstate. My guess is that, after a few years, the Bings moved back to Manhattan so that Monica could open her own French fusion restaurant on, like, the Upper West Side. To put things in perspective, a head chef at Union Square Hospitality Group, which owns Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe, makes between $53k and $96k. Given Monica’s extensive time spent in kitchens/diners all over the city, I’m guessing she’d make a salary closer to the right end of the spectrum. Good call saddling up next her, Chandy.
Good god, I hope he at least got tenure at NYU after what must feel like 75 years of studying fossils. Assuming he did get tenure, I’m also going to assume he’d be the director of the paleontology department at this point in time. Mostly because there prob weren’t too many people up for never getting laid as the most academic department’s leader. So the average salary of a department director role at NYU is $101k. Excuse me, what?! Are young Americans buried in student loans because their disgustingly expensive tuitions are being used to finance department heads’ six-figure salaries? As a young American who graduated from college, I think I speak for all of us when I say we need answers on this. Knowing Ross, he is spending his influx of cash money on more wannabe vintage decor from Pottery Barn and, like monthly Birchbox Man subscriptions. That’s honestly all I have to say about him because I refuse to discuss the least likable character for more than 200 words.
Rachel: Fashion “Executive”
I put “executive” in quotes because wtf does that mean? Whenever I’m swiping through Bumble and land on a guy with something vague af like “Associate at Company” as his job title, I just assume he’s unemployed and waiting for his trust fund to become available. So, in the last episode, Rachel gets an offer from Louis Vuitton for a “fashion executive” position in the company’s Paris office and she almost goes, but doesn’t because Ross’s whiney bullsh*t gets to her before the plane takes off. After Rachel decides to stay in New York, we don’t really get answers about what she does re: her job. I am guessing she just decided to work for LV’s New York office, but who knows? And given her experience in buying, I’m also going to assume that she’s a buyer at Louis Vuitton, in which case, she’s making around $40k. Sounds about right. Good thing she has Ross’ income to fall back on. As a survivor of the fashion world, I can confirm that it’s a terrible industry if you want to be able to enjoy simple pleasures of life like wifi or electricity.
This is another favorite Bumble job title. When I see “actor” on someone’s profile, it’s safe to say that he’s a Flywheel instructor. I honestly have no idea how much Joey made during the show, but considering he was, like always out of work, his typical income was prob close to zero. And because I’m a cynical New Yorker who’s seen everyone in film except for Emily Ratajkowski’s sneaky bastard of a husband get f*cked by the industry, I’m assuming the most prestigious work Joey has to offer is supporting roles in NYU student films. Since Joey clearly didn’t realize that he could be living rent-free in a beautiful Noho loft courtesy of the New York Multiple Dwelling Law (the only kind thing New York government workers have done for creatives), Joey is probably a bartender at a dive bar, where he’d be making a whopping $3/hour, not including tips. As a former waitress, I’m not totally shocked by this considering most people in the service industry earn their income through tips, and something tells me this Italian meatball is doin’ just fine.
After her failed massage van idea, I’d really hope Phoebe would get a stable job at a spa or something. The mystery of how she affords her apartment will forever be one of the best kept secrets to date, but maybe after she gets hired by a place like Red Door Spa, she can make her living situation more believable. Knowing Phoebe, though, she probably works at some parlor in Korea Town that offers happy endings after a mediocre rub down. Let’s hope not. Either way, she’d be taking home between $15-$35 plus tips. We know her music career won’t be taking off anytime soon, so I’m really hoping she put the guitar down and took on a few extra hours at the spa.
One of Friends‘ most famous plot lines is that no one knows what Chandler does for a living. I’ve seen the show at least five times since it ended, and I still don’t know what he does, even when I actually pay attention to the office scene. So after hours of research, I discovered that Chandler’s official job was data processing and statistical reconfiguration for multi-national corporations (???) before he became a junior advertising copywriter at some young agency. I don’t even know what to Google for his first job, so I am assuming he stayed in advertising and climbed up the ladder until he reached Don Draper boss status. Chandler is prob working at a mid-level agency that earns between $2-$6 million in revenue, but he’s a senior account executive, so he’s making around $100k. Not bad for someone who was an actual unpaid intern in his 30s. Good thing he and Monica are raking in the cash because, if my twin brothers taught me anything, it’s that twins are f*cking expensive. Lastly, I’m glad he finally got his sh*t together because he really hated being a transponster and no one should work at a job they hate, even if the money is good, and that is why I will never understand why people become traders on Wall Street.
Images: Netflix; Giphy (6)
In honor of Jennifer Aniston’s upcoming birthday, I’m here to celebrate one of TV’s betchiest characters: Rachel Green. If you have any idea what you’re doing in life, you watched Friends and immediately knew several things: you are the Rachel of your friend group; there’s no way she actually cut her father’s credit card in half; and she absolutely could have done better than Ross (or, like, at least gotten someone richer). That being said, Rachel dates who she wants, and I’m not here to make judgments on a certified player. I am here, however, to judge the caliber of the men she dated. Here’s a ranking of Rachel Green’s boyfriends from worst to best.
In Rachel’s defense, Barry was her fiancé before she really became Rachel (aka left the suburbs, got a job, and learned what rent is—all of which sucks but really frees up your dating options). Barry was short, sweaty, and a cheater, among other flaws like dipping his hands in children’s spit as a profession. (Picture the average day of an orthodontist and tell me I’m wrong.) Zero stars for Barry, one million stars for Rachel for figuring out that he looks like Mr. Potatohead and getting TF out.
Paolo is unfortunate, but forgivable. Rachel is still highly impressionable and new to the city when she encounters Paolo, and it’s easy to confuse a foreign accent for true love. (No? Tell that to the string of exchange students you hooked up with your freshman year of college). Of course, Rachel eventually figures out that he’s not all that into her when he grabs Phoebe’s ass, and she promptly ends her annoying but obligatory Foreign Boyfriend phase. Also, does anyone else think he definitely spoke English and was trolling all of them?
Danny, the downstairs neighbor Rachel mistakes for a Yeti (I love this show), is cuter than Barry but just as weird. Once Rachel discovers that he’s cute under the beard, she demonstrates her interest by talking about Danny’s giant, obvious crush on her every time he leaves the room. Since he largely ignores her, this is great insight into Rachel’s worldview. Ultimately, though, Danny was already sus for not asking her out and only got more so when he started wrestling with his half-naked sister. Ew.
Joshua, the recently divorced client whom Rachel hooks up with a new wardrobe, was good on paper but that’s about it. He takes forever to ask Rachel out, then handles her Ross-induced crazy with all the humor and emotional depth of a paper towel (I’m not saying he should have married her, but he clearly couldn’t keep up with her). There’s not a single moment where Joshua thinks to himself, “Hey, how would an adult man handle this?” and that includes when Rachel goes to dinner with his parents wearing nothing but lingerie.
I’ve never totally understood the raging Joey v. Ross controversy. They offer two completely different things, and if this show were set in present day then Rachel would be dating them both at the same time and thriving. As two conventionally hot people who have never let intellectual standards hold them back from proving that they’re cooler than you, it was inevitable that Rachel and Joey would hook up at some point, and just as inevitable that they would recognize they’re better off as friends. Joey was an itch Rachel needed to scratch, and my only regret is that it turned into a tortured love story rather than a series of drunken one-night stands.
Paul initially seems like the best catch Rachel’s ever landed. He’s hot (young Bruce Willis, who knew), he’s a lawyer, and he’s excellent at making fun of Ross. But because Rachel is used to dating
whiny little girls Ross, she pushes him to open up about his emotions. She’s hit with a tidal wave of tears and very unsexy childhood grievances, and discovers a sad truth. Behind most “strong and silent” types, there is a screaming baby who will expect you to fix him. Rachel isn’t on board and jumps ship back to the Ross type: guys whose neuroses are right on the surface.
Honestly, I wanted to put Tag as #1, but he has to be demoted for the fact that Rachel can’t remember his last name a year later. For those of you blasphemous enough to forget, Tag is the uber-adorable assistant Rachel hooks up with and proceeds to dump because she’s turning 30 and needs to focus on a long-term plan, which I guess never involved him. Is he a little simple? Sure. But is he also sweet, devoted, and an endless supply of eye candy? YES. Again, a more modern Friends would have let Rachel freeze her eggs, focus on her love of fashion, and live happily ever after with Tag the house husband.
While Ross’s paranoia knows no bounds, he was actually dead-on with his Gavin suspicions and should have been afraid. Gavin was sexy, charming, shared Rachel’s interests, and handled himself with confidence. Even though Rachel’s first impression here was yelling at Gavin for “stealing her job,” he doesn’t let her failure to understand how companies work, or the father of her child standing next to her, prevent him from forming a crush on her and pursuing her—proving he has good taste and the game to back it up. Gavin would have pushed Rachel to become the best version of herself, starting with that job in Paris.
I know. I came in heavy with the Ross hate and I stand by it, but this is a list of Rachel’s best love interests, and Rachel ultimately gets to decide. In her defense, Ross did have almost a solid decade of crushing on Rachel before they ever got together. It’s hard to find that kind of devotion somewhere else. For this reason, he can never be accused of not knowing what he has in Rachel. (Though obviously, he handles every chance with her terribly.) Ultimately, their new parent moments later on are undeniably cute, and they do kind of improve each other. AKA Rachel becomes more responsible and Ross becomes less of a loser. If Rachel’s happy, I’m happy.
That’s it for me—happy birthday again to the incomparable Jennifer Aniston. May we continue reading fictional accounts of your reunion with Brad Pitt for years to come.
Images: Netflix; Giphy (9)
Everything I’ve learned in life, I learned from Friends. No, not my core group of Comm-majoring-drunk on-a-Wednesday-afternoon-losers—I’m talking about the six greatest people you will ever meet on the single greatest sitcom you will ever see (except for Ross and don’t @ me on that). Like, I’d never survive my 20s had I not learned that counting Mississippily when spray tanning results in borderline blackface, “meat sweats” are a legit medical condition, and being “on a break” apparently doesn’t mean I have a free pass at drunk-dialing my ex.
But out of everything, this is hands down the most valuable piece of info I’ve learned:
JK, that one I actually did learn from my own friends’ mistakes. But something I was forced to learn the hard way was that spending weekday afternoons in a coffeehouse bitching to my friends about being ghosted doesn’t result in me coming home to my comfy downtown loft with takeout (the ‘90s term for Seamless) every night. Not that shacking it in a studio apartment with three other people plotting ways to divvy up the remaining $12.35 balance on my debit card isn’t my definition of fun, but it’d be cool if someone gave me a heads up that life was gonna be this way, ya know? Anyway, I know your job’s a joke, you’re probably broke, and your love life… wellppp… but the Friends friends would’ve been much worse off had their apartments been IRL-priced, so grab a bottle and chill the fuck out.
Joey & Chandler’s (& Rachel’s) Apartment
Address: 90 Bedford St., #19 New York NY
I won’t discredit the size of Joey and Chandler’s apartment located across the hall from Monica’s, but I will discredit Joey’s acting career, which was comparable to gas station sushi. After being killed off Days of Our Lives early on, he went flat broke (as do most acting wannabes). Luckily, Joey had Chandler to save him from being a full-time dumpster diver, but Chandler was forced to provide for Joey and two farm animals on a
transponster whatever-the-fuck-he-does’s salary for at least five seasons, which makes no sense.
A 2-bed/1-bath apartment in West Village that’s big enough to fit a foosball table and two Barcaloungers isn’t as shocking as the $4,200/month rent Chandler put down, which is like $2,850/month 18 years ago (yes, you’re old af), and that’s on the lower end of the spectrum, assuming the place hadn’t yet been tampered with during a game of “Hammer Darts” or “Extreme Fireball.” That rent also doesn’t include the utility bills and other shit Chandler had to pay for, like Joey’s health insurance and will to live, but honestly thank god for Joey, or Chan would prob still be half a virgin by now.
Ross’ (& Rachel’s) Apartment
Address: Somewhere across the street from Monica’s place
If it wasn’t for Ross pulling the No. 1 fuckboy move and
mixing up his hoes in different area codes almost marrying that British bitch with a scone up her ass, he’d still be living in a typical NYC shithole. Instead, he found an apartment with a bird’s-eye view of his sister’s and best friend’s sexcapades every night (EW). But out of every Friends character’s living situation, the only believable one just so happens to be Ross’s, thanks to his career as a doctor paleontologist/college professor who sometimes fucks his students.
A 2-bed/1-bath, 700-square-foot apartment in the same West Village neighborhood as Monica averages to about $4,500/month, which would’ve been about $3,054/month back in ‘99. And considering Ross threw a bitch fit (when tf did he not?) about his fucking apothecary table that one time, I’d assume his bougie dino cave was equipped with an updated interior and (prob) fossilized foliage preserved in the wood flooring or some shit. Therefore, it’d likely be at the more expensive end of this rent spectrum.
Monica’s (& Rachel’s & Chandler’s & Phoebe’s) Apartment
Address: 90 Bedford St., #20 New York NY
Monica illegally subletting her grandma’s old apartment for 10+ years is the kind of savagery I strive to reach one day. But you seriously have to be a verified idiot to think that a ‘50s diner cook with flame-retardant boobs and a barista with waitressing skills as abominable as Blake Lively’s acting career would live comfortably in a 1,500-square-foot apartment, and not to mention while also feeding four other mooch-y parasite friends who apparently enter and eat and leave as they please.
She and Rachel were only paying $300/month living in their 2-bed/1-bath open floor plan apartment with a balcony that’s been rent controlled since apparently 600 B.C. Yeah, I said $300, like one pair of Khloé’s stupidly priced denim line, or a weekend bar tab. I already mentioned that 700(ish)-square-foot apartments in West Village average $4,200/month, so just double the rent for double the floor plan and maybe pop a Xanny immediately after.
Phoebe’s (& Rachel’s) Apartment
Address: 5 Morton St. # 14, New York, NY
Actual Rent: $3,400/month
First off, I’m calling bullshit on Phoebe and this whole freelance masseuse thing which, looking back, was def a fancy term for the upscale West Village prostitute, Regina Phalange. You heard it here first. This brings me to my next issue. Phoebe might’ve also inherited her 1-bed/1-bath apartment from her grandma, but I’d rather believe the blatant lie that is Trump’s latest tweet than believe that a freelance masseuse, who literally cancelled on and fucked over 90% of her clients every episode, made a comfortable living in Manhattan.
Her decent-sized 1-bed/1-bath pad, which was later turned into a 2-bed when Denise lived with her (K WHO TF WAS DENISE?!), was located four blocks from the rest of the friends’ apartments with an average monthly rent of $3,400 ($2,300 in the ‘90s), but there’s still no fucking way she’d be able to make rent while also doing this thing called LIVING. And do NOT even think about bringing the loose pocket change and occasional condom tips from Phoebe’s open mic days into this equation. #ItsNotSmellyCatsFault
Phoebe’s Rundown Buick LeSabre
Address: Probably some alleyway in Hunts Point
Ok, so we never really saw Phoebe’s life pre-friends (or we did if you count watching Shameless), but we do know that she lived a fucking badass/hard-knock life by living in a rundown Buick LeSabre on the streets of New York growing up. I mean, she mugged prepubescent goober Ross who collected rocks instead of Hot Wheels, and that in and of itself is iconic.
Based on the cost of gas to keep her car warm in the winter, the medical costs from getting Hepatitis after a pimp spit in her mouth, the shared funeral costs for her mom who killed herself, and the priceless cost of living to tell it all, Phoebe is a fucking legend and a probable alien, but mostly a complete mystery that I will dedicate the rest of my life to cracking the case on.
When it comes to Friends, I was definitely a late bloomer. I only just watched the entire series this past year on Netflix. IDK, my parents repressed me as a kid, what can I say? So I’m not going to be one of those people who pretends to know everything there is to know about Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Ross, and Rachel. But like, I know things. Or at least, I thought I did until I read about this Friends fan theory about Monica and Joey. This fan theory comes from us courtesy of, where else, Reddit. It was posted like, a year ago to the r/fantheories subreddit (of course there is a fan theories subreddit), but in my defense I only saw Brobible post about it yesterday. No, I cannot in good conscience answer what I was doing on Brobible, but I can tell you I immediately took 12 consecutive showers afterwards.
If you’ve ever wondered WTF Joey does all day and how he manages to be an adult who doesn’t live under the care of his parents or a legally appointed guardian when he acts borderline mentally handicapped, or why Monica acts so crazy all the time and why she doesn’t let Chandler into the closet by the big windows, buckle the fuck up because this theory might explain everything. Straight from Reddit user lolalodge, here we go.
“Alright, so Monica is a restaurant chef, usually a Sous Chef or even head chef most of the time in some rather high end restaurants in NYC. First, most people that work in the restaurant industry tend to gravitate towards some sort of substance since the job is very high stress. But that’s not even my reasoning. See, head chefs and sous chefs in high end restaurants in NYC tend to get paid a lot, like $50-$100 dollars an hour a lot. Monica also lives in a rent controlled apartment that she illegally sublets from her dead grandmother, she even has a roommate to share the bills with. She doesn’t own an obscene amount of clothes or anything, doesn’t go out to bars regularly, so where exactly does her money go?”
Well, first of all, if restaurants and sous chefs today make $50-100 an hour, you’d have to adjust for what they would have been making back in the 90s. But that’s a good point; I never thought about it. On the one hand, Monica seems like the kind of obsessive saver who could retire by age 30 because she’s been putting money into her 401k since she was 11. On the other hand, she probably also spends a lot of cleaning products. But those explanations don’t come close to the theory, which is, wait for it:
“Cocaine, which she stashes in the closet by the big windows, which is why when Chandler opens it in the last season, she flips out because she doesn’t want him to find her cocaine stash. It also explains why Monica is so high energy and high strung. Monica doing cocaine also explains her rapid weight loss back when she was a teenager.”
Wow. Game, set, and that’s match. I can definitely see this. This explains so much. Maybe that’s why Monica likes everything so clean—she doesn’t want anyone to know about her habit. And it’s why she’s always yelling. Wow, everything makes sense. I am shooketh.
But that’s not all. The theory continues, “As for Joey, Joey pretty much smokes weed all day. That’s why he’s always hungry, can eat a ton of food and is constantly napping and is kind of spaced out and a lot of what other people say goes ‘whoosh’ right over his head.”
Okay, I mean, this is less shocking because this is obvious and I feel like Joey was purposefully written this way to kind of allude to this possibility. But also, to quote the Queen Mona Lisa Vito, this theory does not hold water. Number one, eating a ton of food, constantly napping, and being kind of spaced out are literally my M.O. and I don’t even like weed. Show me someone who fits those criteria and I’ll show you your average millennial. Also, and more importantly, Joey like, doesn’t work. Sure, he had that Dr. Drake Ramoray money, but is he really living off that money if he can’t even afford to pay for half of a new fridge? Or like, his share of rent for a significant portion of the show? If there’s a weed man in NYC who’s handing out free weed to the poor, even if he’s fictional, kindly let me know his name and contact information. I know I said I don’t like weed, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have friends.
In conclusion, Monica was definitely a coke fiend, and Joey is just the OG millennial. Honestly, Rachel probably did coke too, working in fashion. And Ross too, now that I think about it—it would explain why he became so erratic towards the end and always blew up other nothing. Fuck it, they were all probably on coke; this show was set in Manhattan in the 90s. Except Phoebe—she was definitely on some harder shit.