Friends is one of the most iconic sitcoms in U.S. history. It was on for ten seasons and the reruns are still shown on popular television channels today. Younger viewers have discovered the show on platforms like Netflix, so it only continues to grow in popularity even over a decade after the finale aired. It created iconic couples like Ross and Rachel and quotes from different episodes can be overheard in conversations between friends even today.
Despite the show’s popularity, though, not everyone is familiar with certain aspects of the show. Fans aren’t always aware of what went on behind the scenes and casual viewers may have particular expectations of the sitcom going into it that don’t actually exist. Because the show is such a major part of popular culture, even people who have never seen an episode have ideas about what the characters are like and it causes them to get a lot wrong. There are quite a few things that people misunderstand about Rachel, Ross, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, and Chandler. The show isn’t always what it looks like on the surface.
From misinterpreting character behavior to behind-the-scenes secrets, here are the 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Friends.
20 Ross And Rachel Aren’t Together From The Start
Even people who don’t like Friends are familiar with Ross and Rachel. They’re one of the most popular couples from television and are referenced as couple goals all of the time. Many people don’t realize, however, they aren’t together from the start.
Particularly if someone has only seen an episode here or there, they expect that the pair was a couple throughout the entire show. It actually takes forever for them to finally end up together, with lots of drama and ups and downs in between. It takes two seasons for Ross and Rachel to fully admit their feelings for each other. While it was clear they were endgame, many people think they get together much quicker than they actually do.
19 Joey Isn’t As Dumb As People Think
Joey is known to be the sweet, lovable, flirty guy in the friend group. Part of this is his rather naive comments and tendency to be confused easily. While he isn’t always the brightest, he isn’t quite as dumb as people believe.
His logic was often flawed but he had his own way of thinking about things. He would always eventually catch up to everyone else. He even bought an encyclopedia to try and learn what his friends were talking about so he could be more involved. That didn’t make him dumb, it made him sweet. He was also smart about his emotions when he actually cared about someone, like when he realized he loved Rachel. Even Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey, insists the character isn’t dumb. He just had a different way of thinking about things.
18 Janice Isn’t As Bad As Chandler Acts Like She Is
One of the biggest running jokes throughout Friends is how obnoxious Chandler’s ex-girlfriend, Janice, is. Most fans can hear her saying “oh my god” followed by an obnoxious laugh just at the mention of her name.
While the characters act like Janice is awful, she isn’t nearly as bad as they make her out to be. Chandler is typically the jerk in their relationship, particularly in the earlier seasons. Janice was cute, generous, and funny, but because of her nasally voice and loud laugh, that was all overlooked. Chandler has Phoebe break up with her for him, uses her so he won’t be alone on New Year’s, and sleeps with her on Valentine’s Day before breaking up with her yet again. If anyone is the bad person, it’s him. Janice is pretty great.
17 They Haven’t All Got Together
With a group of friends as close as the characters on the show are, a lot of people mistakenly believe they have all slept with one another. Even Janice asks the group if any of them ever have gotten together.
While they have all kissed at one point or another, they haven’t all slept together. Despite that, many people who haven’t watched the show all the way through assume that they have. Ross and Rachel and Monica and Chandler do pair up, but that goes beyond just being playful. A lot of people wanted Phoebe and Joey to end up messing around. Even Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow supported the idea, but the writers wouldn’t allowed it.
16 Chandler Isn’t Gay
Over the years, Friends fans have speculated that Chandler’s orientation is up for debate. While the show tries to confirm that he is straight, the jokes other characters make and some of his behavior’s leave some to believe he’s actually gay.
With an entire new generation being introduced to the show, there are also new perspectives. While it was meant to be progressive back then, a lot of the panic surrounding gay people on the show now looks suspicious. Some fans have always wondered if there was more to his and Joey’s relationship. Even the female characters on the show thought Chandler may be gay when they first met him. Despite the speculation surrounding Chandler’s orientation, he was in fact written as straight on the show.
15 Monica Having A Giant Apartment Is Actually Explained
One of the things people who watch Friends often point out is that Monica and Rachel shouldn’t be able to afford an apartment as big as theirs in the middle of New York City. With her chef’s salary, there’s no way Monica could live in such a spacious, cool place. However, they actually explain this in one episode.
Before Monica moved in, her grandmother lived there. Monica technically isn’t paying the correct amount for the apartment because she is illegally subletting it from her. While it may seem like lazy writing to explain a plot hole, it does somewhat make sense. Apparently some fans missed this explanation and still act like it’s an unexplained plot hole.
14 The Guys And Girls Don’t All Live Together
It’s easy to see how people are confused about who lives where when they watch their first episode of Friends. Everyone is always in and out of different apartments and they all seem to have keys to each place.
People who don’t know the show as well often think all of the guys live in one apartment and all of the girls live in another. While that’s partially true, Ross and Phoebe actually have their own places in another building. They do move in and out at times, and most characters were roomies at one time or another, but they don’t all live together like a lot of people believe. All of them are just strangely close and have no problem being in one another’s personal space.
13 Ross Isn’t A Good Boyfriend
Despite Ross and Rachel’s popularity among television couples, their relationship isn’t perfect. Ross, in particular, isn’t the best boyfriend. He’s actually quite terrible a majority of the time. A lot of his behavior towards Rachel is possessive and controlling. His jealousy of Mark, who was always just a friend to Rachel, is a major reason they break up the first time around. Ross tends to let jealousy get the best of him.
Not only that, but he also is totally unsupportive of Rachel’s career and belittles what she does. For a couple that is supposed to be romantic, he treats his girlfriend pretty terribly. Sure, he has his sweet moments, but he isn’t as great as most people believe.
12 They Always Get The Same Couch Because It’s Reserved
Throughout the ten seasons of Friends, the group always manages to sit at the same exact spot at Central Perk. Fans who don’t know trivia about the show tend to wonder how those seats aren’t ever taken by other people.
While there were a couple episodes where the couch was taken as part of the plot, in most episodes the gang sits in the same place. It turns out, the table was reserved for the friend group all the time. In some episodes, fans can see a small reserved sign on the coffee table. Some people have a theory that Gunther reserved it everyday because of his crush on Rachel, hoping she would sit there everyday.
11 Phoebe Isn’t As Ditzy As She Seems
Because of Phoebe’s upbeat and quirky demeanor, many people assume she doesn’t have a lot going on upstairs. Despite how aloof and strange she can act, though, she is actually smart and even manipulative at times.
Half the time she’s messing with her friends just because she can and will manipulate them for fun. When Ross gets so upset she doesn’t believe in evolution, she drives him crazy to discount his own beliefs just because she knows it will mess with him. She’s also fluent in multiple languages despite the fact that she didn’t finish high school and survived living on the streets alone as a teenager. She’s a lot more intelligent than most people who have watched Friends give her credit for.
10 The Characters Aren’t All Rich
When people first watch Friends, they have a lot of questions about how this group of twenty-somethings is able to afford their lifestyle. While Monica and Rachel’s spacious apartment is explained, people still think all of the characters much be rich.
There are a few times, however, when episodes focus on the money issues certain friends are having. Phoebe, Joey, and Rachel clearly don’t make as much as Chandler, Monica, and Ross. Half the time Monica and Chandler are paying rent on behalf of their roommates. While a few of the characters seem to be pretty well-off in terms of money, not all of them are. Though the show certainly doesn’t accurately depict New York life, it does dive into the economic differences among the friend group.
9 It’s Pretty Homophobic Despite Having LGBT Characters
When Friends first came out in the ’90s, it was actually considered progressive in regards to LGBT representation. Including lesbian characters in a relationship was a big deal. Nowadays, however, it’s considered to be fairly homophobic.
The show does include gay characters, but they are typically mocked or ridiculed as part of a punchline to a joke. Characters like Chandler panic at the thought of someone thinking they’re gay. Of course, times change and jokes that were acceptable for television back then aren’t acceptable now. It depends on the time period in which the show was made. The bottom line is Friends isn’t as inclusive as people would like it to be.
8 They Aren’t All Coupled Up Together By The End
Most of the friends end up coupling up by the end. Ross ends up with Rachel and Monica ends up with Chandler. Because of this, a lot of people mistakenly believe they all end up paired up. Joey actually doesn’t end up married to anyone and Phoebe ends up marrying Mike.
While Joey and Phoebe always had a flirty vibe between them and did kiss, it didn’t mean anything more. The two were always just really good friends. They wouldn’t have made sense as an actual couple, and it would have felt like lazy writing. Phoebe and Mike were so great together, it’s a good thing she didn’t end up pairing off with the only single friend left in the group.
7 Joey Isn’t Always A Womanizer
Joey is known as the flirt in the group. His iconic pick up line — “how you doin?” — is ingrained in pop culture and is quoted all the time. Despite his womanizing ways in the start of the show, though, he does actually fall for a few women throughout the series.
He likes to put on a playboy act, but Joey is fairly sensitive and when he falls for someone, he falls hard. When his play co-star, Kate, left New York, he was genuinely upset because he actually felt a connection with her. His feelings for Rachel were also very real and led to some serious heartbreak for him. While Joey definitely can be a womanizer, he isn’t always the handsome heart-breaker he wants to be.
6 They Aren’t Always Good Friends To Each Other
While the show depicts the group as a solid group of people to hang out with, they all have their bad moments. There are times when they’re even terrible friends to each other and don’t have one another’s backs like they should.
Sure, every friend group will have it’s issues, but sometimes they seem to be downright mean to each other. Phoebe and Joey purposefully plan bad dates for Ross and Rachel. While they said it was so the two would realize their feelings for each other, it was an awful way to do it. Ross was stood up, which is one of the worst feelings in the world. Joey and Chandler also try to trick Ross into moving to a crappy apartment so they won’t have to deal with him anymore. It’s clear the friends aren’t always very good friends.
5 Not All Of The Cast Members Want A Reunion
There has been speculation surrounding a Friends reunion for years now. As soon as the show ended, people wanted more. While there have been rumors, a reunion episode has never been confirmed, disappointing some viewers.
Most people assume the entire cast would be on board for a Friends revamp, but that actually isn’t true. Not all the cast members are game for a reunion. Apparently, all of the women are down with the idea, but the men aren’t so sure. Matt LeBlanc simply stated that he wasn’t interested. Reunions do not always go so well for older shows, like the Gilmore Girls revival, so it may be for the best that they leave Friends alone.
4 Phoebe Was Supposed To End Up With David
Phoebe and Mike ended up being such a great couple on Friends that a lot of fans don’t realize she wasn’t supposed to end up with him. The writers originally planned on her marrying David, the scientist who moved to Minsk.
Hank Azaria, who played David, revealed in an interview that the plan was always for the scientist to return to New York so he and Phoebe could live happily ever after. Apparently, once Paul Rudd came along to play Mike, though, he was so charming they changed their plans. While David and Phoebe had their cute moments when they were together, Mike ended up being the guy who fit the character the best in the end.
3 Chandler And Monica Weren’t Planned From The Start
While people didn’t necessarily see Chandler and Monica’s relationship coming, a lot of people would argue they are as iconic as Ross and Rachel. Viewers weren’t the only ones who didn’t expect the two to pair up. Apparently, the writers didn’t plan them from the beginning.
Monica and Chandler’s romantic relationship wasn’t seriously pitched until season three, when the show had been established for a while. They didn’t actually get together until season four, once the writers felt it was the right time. When Monica popped up in Chandler’s bed after Ross and Emily’s wedding, it was definitely a shock to most. That makes sense considering the writers hadn’t been trying to build the pair up for years like they had been with Ross and Rachel.
2 The Cast Didn’t Want Joey And Rachel Together
When Rachel and Joey attempted to get together in the later seasons, everyone was confused. Fans didn’t understand why the two would be a couple and the storyline came out of nowhere. It was as if the writers ran out of ideas and just threw them together.
What a lot of fans don’t realize is that the actors didn’t agree with the story line either. Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc didn’t want Joey and Rachel to be together. Aniston even said she thought Rachel’s attraction to Joey was merely physical. It seems like no one was really a fan of the couple and their entire “relationship” was one of the worst concepts on Friends.
1 Gunther Wasn’t Supposed To Be A Reoccurring Character
Gunther’s weird crush on Rachel and quiet, funny comments are a staple part of Friends. He just appears out of nowhere and does something odd to make audiences laugh. While it seems like he was written to be a part of the show from the beginning, he wasn’t supposed to be a long-standing character.
The actor who played Gunther, James Michael Tyler, only received the role because he was the only extra who could work the espresso machine on set. His eye-catching, incredibly blonde hair was also an accident. His friend was a stylist and had dyed it the day before filming. It seems one of the show’s most recognized characters only existed because of a few minor coincidences.
Can you think of any other common misconceptions about Friends? Let us know in the comments!