Friends is one of the most loved and most remembered shows of all time. How could we ever forget the six attractive looking, yet awkward twenty to thirty-somethings who hung out in a coffee shop every day and never managed to have any relationship success? While the sitcom premise reflected many others of its time, Friends stands out in television history for its memorable jokes and characters. Despite being off the air for fourteen years, people still watch it on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen it before, following the lives of these six bizarre and questionable people is just as fun during the thirtieth binge-watch as during the second.
But the curse of being such a popular show is that the more people watch things, the more they begin to notice that things don’t add up. You don’t notice them when you watch a show once a week over ten years, but when you watch them all in one go, they become more obvious. Particularly with the show’s central character, Ms. Rachel Karen Green!
She may have become a success in the world of fashion and finally settled down with her lobster, but some things about this character and her backstory just don’t add up. As much as we love the Rachel haircut and this sweet but spoiled friend, she has raised our eyebrows on more than one occasion. So here are some of our favorite Rachel moments that don’t make any sense!
25 The One With Her Birthday
We all have that one friend who just loves their birthday. Maybe they like being the center of attention, maybe they like the presents or maybe they just like having a day where they get to do whatever they please! For the friends of Friends, that friend was Rachel. Rachel has several birthday parties dotted throughout the season, with her friends throwing her loving parties. Even going so far as to throw her a birthday party months in advance, even before Chandler’s birthday! Maybe it was a sweet gesture to make her birthday party extra surprising. Or maybe her closest friends just don’t know when her birthday is! None of the gang seem sure of when they were born. Ross, for example, gives two different months for his birthday during the show's run.
But for someone like Rachel, who apparently loves her birthday and getting presents, you’d think her birthday would be something she’d remember.
Regarding her birthday; she tells Gunther in season four that her birthday is in May, but later in season seven a police officer notes that she is an Aquarius, meaning her birthday is in January or February. Maybe she forgot her birthday, but perhaps this was all a ploy by Rachel to get more birthday presents!
24 The One Where She Can’t Spell Her Name
Rachel isn’t the brightest bulb in Central Perk, but one would think that she could at least spell her own surname! The waitress turned fashion executive’s full name is Rachel Karen Green, although the debate of how she should spell her surname still goes on amongst fans. Sometimes it is spelled “Green,” such as on the box for her daughter’s first birthday cake. But on other occasions, characters spell it “Greene,” most notably on her invitation to Ross and Emily’s wedding.
Some fans have theorized that this invitation was addressed by Emily, who didn’t know how to spell Rachel’s surname. Understandable, given that she hasn’t known Rachel for very long and wouldn’t have seen her name sitting down. While this may be a reasonable explanation, there are other times in the series when her name spelling changes. On her desk at Bloomingdales, it’s spelled “Greene” and both spellings are used on her office door at Ralph Lauren. Fans have also claimed that DVD subtitles have listed her as both spellings in different seasons. Although the spelling does change throughout the series, her official spelling is thought to be “Green” by fans as this is how she is listed in the credits.
23 The One With The Plane Ticket
This is something about Friends that has always bothered me a little bit. Whenever I’ve gotten on a plane they’ve checked my passport to make sure I am who I say I am on my plane ticket. Maybe this is something they just do for me, but everyone else before and after me in the queue seems to get their tickets checked as well. It’s always seemed to me that these rules apply to everyone... unless you’re Rachel!
Maybe things were different in airports during the nineties. Maybe I’m just showing my youth. I certainly didn’t travel abroad when I was a child and even if I did, I wouldn’t remember things like this. But I’ve never been sure how Rachel was able to get on the plane with Emily’s ticket!
After being abandoned by his wife for saying the wrong name at the altar, Ross waits for Emily at the airport. Rather tactlessly, he offers Rachel her ticket, only for Emily to turn up, see them getting on the plane together, and gets the wrong idea. But Rachel made it on the plane! Were the boarding staff in too much of a hurry to check her ticket properly? If that’s true, then how did she make it back with Emily’s ticket?
22 The One Where She Forgets Chandler
You know, maybe it’s perfectly understandable for her to forget as much as she does. So what if she forgot how terrible she and Ross were for each other. Maybe she doesn’t always remember that she has a daughter and forgets whether or not she knows how to sail. It’s certainly not the most notable time her memory has let her down.
During the pilot episode, Monica introduces Rachel to Chandler as if they are meeting for the first time. But as the series progresses, we learn that they have met several times before this. In the season three episode The One with the Flashback, Rachel runs into Monica in a bar and is introduced to Chandler, even having a fantasy about him on the way home. While they could easily forget a chance meeting like that, later on, it is revealed that they spend not one, but two Thanksgivings with one another and Ross’ parents house. Then in the final series during The One Where the [Person] Cries, it’s revealed that they were at a college party together where they kissed! After all of that, how could they possibly not recognize one another in the pilot? How much were they sipping that night?
21 The One With The Baby Name
Speaking of Ross’ ex-wife, did you ever wonder why they decided to name their baby Emma?
Rachel is not fond of Emily after she and Ross break up. I ended up feeling a little sorry for her as the show went on. All the friends describe her as “crazy” and “possessive.” But can you really blame Emily? Imagine going through her wedding, deciding to forgive your husband, then seeing him going on your honeymoon with the woman whose name he used? Asking him not to see her anymore, him agreeing, then finding out he was hanging out with her behind your back? Regardless of what you think of Emily, I’ve never understood that if Rachel hated her that much, why she would name her daughter after her?
The name Emma comes from the shortening of Emily or a nickname for an Emily. The two names are the same and have the same meaning. It’s like if Rachel’s ex-husband was called Thomas, and Ross decided to name their son Tommy. Rachel even accidentally calls Emma “Emily” when ranting at her sister during Thanksgiving. While the name is inspired by Monica, as it was her chosen name for her daughter, it felt a little insensitive to Ross.
20 The One Where She Sails?
Rachel comes from a very rich family, so it’s understandable that she would have been on a boat or two in her time. When Joey needs someone to teach him how to sail in The One with Phoebe’s Cookies, she steps up and offers to help, only for the two to fall out over Rachel’s teaching techniques. She apologizes afterward, saying that her strict father had taught her how to sail a boat, so she had subconsciously copied his techniques.
But if you observe the series, you may start to question whether she actually knows how to sail a boat or whether or not her father taught her.
Early on in the series, Rachel recaps how she spent the Fourth of July with her family on her father’s boat. During these adventures, her father would “be upset that nobody was helping and then when we did help he would scream at us for doing it wrong.” If Dr. Green was so precious about his boat, then I doubt he would have let his daughter sail his boat at all or buy her one because her pony was sick. The most notable evidence against her sailing is during The One Where Ross Moves in. After telling Danny that she is going to a Regatta Gala, she says that she doesn’t sail, she just supports it.
19 The One Where She Already Kissed A Girl
Friends is well known for its many cameos and guest stars, including Bruce Willis, Charlie Sheen, Julia Roberts, Robin Williams, and Isabella Rossellini. One of the later guest stars in season seven was Winona Ryder, in the episode The One with Rachel’s Big Kiss. Here, Rachel confesses that she kissed her sorority sister Melissa Warburton. When hearing this Phoebe doesn’t believe that Rachel would do something that “wild.”
However, this conflicts with an earlier episode, The One with All the Haste. Rachel and Monica try their hardest to win their apartment back from the boys. While Joey and Chandler are out, they switch back all the furniture, making Chandler furious. To resolve the situation, Monica and Rachel agree to kiss for one minute.
Phoebe was present throughout all the apartment switching, even being the one to suggest trading apartments while the boys are out. So, she would have seen Monica and Rachel kissing, or at least knew that the kiss took place. Therefore, it makes no sense that she wouldn’t believe that Rachel would kiss a girl. Kissing your roommate to get your apartment back is a little less wild than kissing your friend at a party, but Rachel still kisses a girl. That’s some serious pregnancy brain, Phoebe!
18 The One Where She Forgets Her Baby
One of the most emotional moments in the series was when Rachel gave birth to her daughter Emma at the end of season eight. It’s a beautiful moment and reawakened Ross and Rachel’s affection for one another.
But as beautiful as the moment is, now and again you have to wonder if Rachel actually remembers that she has a baby.
After Emma’s birth, when living with Joey, Rachel would walk into Monica and Chandler’s apartment with a baby monitor in her hand. Sure, the baby was only across the hall and Rachel could easily go back to check on her if she heard anything, but she doesn’t keep the monitor in her hand the whole time. After walking through the door, the monitor is put down and not a peep is heard from Emma the whole time. She turns into a baby that is only there when it’s convenient. I guess that’s every parent’s dream!
The most questionable moment is when Molly leaves Rachel’s birthday party with Emma, not knowing that she is being followed by the guys, then is picked up by her girlfriend. Molly didn’t know anyone would be coming over to look after Emma, so why did Rachel let her take Emma if Molly had plans?
17 The One With Her Cushy Job
Rachel is a very lucky person. Firstly, she is a very conventionally attractive person who was born into a rich family. Letting go of her privilege is very hard for her when she breaks free from her family and struggles by as a waitress. She works hard to get a better job but eventually is helped by Joey to get a low-level assistant job. Rather than work her way up the career ladder, she coincidentally runs into Mark who helps her get a better assistant job.
Yes, she works hard, one of the things that strains her relationship with Ross, and it’s clear that she is very passionate about what she does. But given that we learn in the pilot that she is “qualified for nothing,” how did she end up with the cushy Ralph Lauren executive job?
Hard work is important, but even the nineties and early noughties job market was filled with hard working people with college degrees relevant to the fashion industry. It’s great that Rachel works her way to the top, but her luck isn’t a splendid example to others working hard in the harsh job market. How does being “qualified for nothing” land you a job in Paris?!
16 The One Where She Switched Bodies
Perhaps the most notable moment for Rachel was when she is no longer Rachel. We all know Jennifer Aniston’s beautiful face and charming smile. How could you not recognize Rachel Green, especially when she had the famous Rachel haircut? But it turns out, Rachel can sometimes be replaced.
During the episode The One with the Mugging in season nine, Rachel runs excitedly into Monica and Chandler’s apartment to Joey that he got the audition he wanted with fictional, famous actor Leonard Hayes (played by Jeff Goldblum). Later when Joey goes to sit back down, we see that Rachel is no longer there. In her place we see a completely different person wearing a completely different outfit! Did we get a glimpse into a parallel universe?
This isn’t the only time Rachel’s face has been swapped.
When Rachel goes to the airport during the final episode, we see her boarding the plane to Paris. There is a moment when we get a glimpse inside her passport and see that the photo inside is of a completely different person. Is this the same woman we saw in Monica’s apartment one time? Perhaps the stories of these friends run deeper than we could possibly know.
15 The One With Her Pregnancy
Friends is notorious for its lack of understanding of how pregnancy works. Carol was pregnant with Ben for well over a year, considering when she and Ross separated and that she gave birth at the end of the first season. Phoebe, however, was pregnant for a stupidly short amount of time. She finds out that she’s pregnant in season four, the same day as her in-vitro fertilization which is supposed to take weeks (and the hormones wouldn’t have shown up for the test if she had been pregnant for only a few hours.) Then, only three months later when Ross and Emily are getting married, she can’t come to the wedding as she is too heavily pregnant! This has lead to fan theories that the triplets are actually Phoebe’s babies which she gave up for her brother.
Later in the series, when Rachel announces that she is having a baby, her pregnancy timeline is just as bizarre.
Monica finds out that Rachel is pregnant on her wedding day, which took place in May. At this point, Rachel is presumably a few weeks pregnant. A few episodes later on Halloween, Rachel is still in the initial stages of pregnancy and isn’t showing. Then later in the series during The One with the Birthing Video, it is Valentine’s Day, Rachel is now heavily pregnant, but doesn’t give birth until the end of the series.
14 The One With Gunther
Gunther’s crush on Rachel is one of the sweetest aspects of the series. Part of me wishes that she could have ended up with Gunther instead of Ross. He’s a much humbler guy, he speaks at least one other language, and he takes care of his appearance, something that is important to Rachel. But the entire series, he watches Rachel from afar, too nervous to bring up his feelings. They do get a little disturbing at times, like his resentment towards Ross or kicking a guy out of the coffee house because Rachel asked him out. Even so, his love for Rachel is rather sweet. His confession to Rachel in the last episode is very sweet and it was very kind of her for letting him down gently.
But by her reaction, she seems to be surprised? Really, Rachel? You’re surprised?
Gunther was never exactly subtle. He watches Rachel a lot, gives in to her every request, and is a nervous wreck every time he tries to talk to her. Rachel knew that Ross had a crush on her in high school even though he never told her, so she understands how guys act when they like her. How doesn’t she spot Gunther’s affections?
13 The One With The Necklace
Rachel was always one step ahead of the fashion world. With a natural eye for fashion, Rachel always knows what looks good and won’t be seen with anything that was out of season or wait to wear something new. Sometimes, if something comes back in style, she’ll put it on before you even notice.
Keeping track of the script can be a tricky thing to do when a show goes on for ten years. Sometimes one simple joke can ruin a future plot line or contradict something that happened earlier. But the writers can’t be blamed for every mistake the show makes. Sometimes the editors need to take the hit. Particularly in the earlier seasons of the show.
In this shot, the friends are talking in the coffee shop like they normally do, Rachel waitressing away. But in the first shot, she is seen without a necklace, but is wearing it again just a few moments later. No one saw her put in on, and no one noticed her take it off. Even if she did it quickly when no one was watching, where did she put the tray? How was she able to balance the tray, take out a new necklace, and put it on before anyone was able to notice?
12 The One Where She Cooks
Rachel isn’t a great cook, especially when compared to her chef roommate. Rachel’s lack of cooking skills are shown in various episodes, such as when Monica is cooking for her date with Joshua and tell Rachel that if she complains about the food she can make Joshua her “baked potato and Diet Coke.” Perhaps the most memorable example of Rachel’s terrible cooking is during the season six Thanksgiving episode, when she ruins the desert. Instead of making a traditional English trifle, she accidentally makes half a trifle and half a shepherd’s pie when the pages of her cookbook get stuck together.
Trouble is, this conflicts a rude comment made by Ross later in the show. When Ross and Rachel accidentally lock themselves outside of the apartment with their baby daughter still inside. Rachel didn’t have her baby monitor.
Rachel begins to panic and tries to think of all the worst things that could be happening in the apartment, even asking if she left the stove on, to which Ross replies “you haven’t cooked since 1996.” But the Thanksgiving with the trifle took place in 1999. True, she didn’t cook the dessert in Ross’ apartment, but she hadn’t been living with Ross for that long.
11 The One With The Poor Relationship Choice
Ross and Rachel were one of the original “will they, won’t they” couples. They got together at the beginning of the series and then broke up, but still had many romantic interactions over the series run, one resulting in their baby girl Emma.
During the final episode, fans sat on the edge of their seats, wondering if these two would get their happily ever after: did she get off the plane?
But when you binge-watch the whole series, you ask yourself, was this really the best choice for them? After you’ve seen ten whole years of them proving how terrible they are for one another, you begin to wonder why Rachel did get off the plane for him. It’s the typical romantic comedy moment where the big romantic gesture doesn’t hide how hard this relationship is going to be. Ross looks down at Rachel and doesn’t see her as his intellectual equal, while Rachel shuts down Ross and makes fun of him every time he tries to talk about science or his job. Not to mention Ross’ insane jealously! These two may have a romantic connection, but given all she knows about her and Ross, Rachel taking him back in the end didn’t make any sense.
10 The One With The Old Dress
When Rachel is introduced to the series, she appears in the coffee shop after running out on her wedding to Barry. It’s a bold move on her part and sets her up as the character we all know and love. She’s the most relatable character, being thrown into the adult world with no clue what she’s doing or what to do. We’ve all been her, and we all admired her for her strength.
Trouble is, her running out on her wedding to Barry raises a few eyebrows in season four when we learn she still has her wedding dress!
In the episode The One with the Wedding Dresses, the women of the gang find hanging around the apartment in wedding dresses rather comforting. Here, Rachel is seen wearing the same wedding dress from season one. But why did she keep it? We know that her parents spend $40,000 dollars on her wedding (in 1994!). So, we can safely assume that the dress has to be worth a lot of money. Why as a financially struggling waitress would she keep that dress in her closet? Even secondhand, she could have sold it for a fair amount of money. What was she saving it for?
9 The One With The Engagement Ring
While I have no idea why she kept her wedding dress, I’m more confused as to why she still had her engagement ring.
In the episode The One with the Sonogram, Rachel decides to return Barry’s ring to him. But if you watch the pilot, you’ll see that Rachel isn’t wearing her engagement ring when she comes into the coffee house in her wedding dress. It’s understandable why she isn’t wearing it. Maybe she didn’t intend to wear it to the ceremony; she would be putting her wedding ring on then, after all. Maybe she took it off before she left. Maybe she just didn’t like wearing it. But then why would she still have it and need to give it back?
I’m not claiming to be the wedding dress connoisseur, I’m sure a wedding expert like Ross could prove me wrong, but in my experience wedding dresses don’t tend to have pockets. Neither do brides carry purses on their wedding days; not that she had one anyway when she came into the coffee shop. I assume she went back home to get her purse and clothes later, but why did she take her engagement ring as well? Why not just leave it for Barry?
8 The One With The Large Shirt
Rachel likes to share her gift for fashion with her friends, such as in the episode The One with the Birth Mother. When getting ready for a date, Rachel offers to take her ex-husband shopping to help him find a fresh look. After turning down too many of her suggestions, Rachel sends Ross away, telling him that she’ll pick out something nice for him and give it to him later. Only when Rachel gets home, she realizes that one of her bags is missing and figures that she must have left it with Ross. Meanwhile, in a hilarious misunderstanding, Ross thinks a women’s shirt is for him and goes on his date wearing the shirt.
Now, this is all hilarious until you ask yourself, why would Rachel buy a shirt for herself in Ross’ size?
Ross is not the same size as Rachel. Even though the shirt is tight on him, he still gets in on. Earlier in the show, a shirt that’s baggy on Rachel barely fits Ross at all. Yet, now one she has bought to fit snuggly against her stretches enough to look pretty good on Ross. My guess is that the shirt was actually for Ross and Joey/Ross’ date need to work on their attitude.
7 The One With Her Fingers
The Friends creators were often very good at making the real-life conflictions of their actors meet with their characters. During The One with the Jam Joey falls off the bed while jumping on it, causing him to wear a sling for the next few episodes. This, according to LeBlanc was due to an injury he received during The One Where No One is Ready, when Joey and Chandler fight over a chair. The writers also wrote Lisa Kudrow’s pregnancy into the series, when Phoebe is pregnant with her brother’s triplets.
But whenever Rachel seemed to be sporting an injury, the creators just bandaged her up and hoped we wouldn’t notice!
In several Friends episodes dotted throughout the show's run, Rachel is seen with some plain band-aids around her fingers. Did Jennifer Aniston cut her fingers a lot? Did she break a nail and they didn’t have time to fix them? The most notable unexplained injury is when the gang head to Barbados in The One in Barbados Part 1, Rachel is seen with a skin-colored bandage around her left arm. There was no mention of an injury amongst the characters, so we are just left to guess what Rachel’s ailment was.
6 The One With Her Subtlety
Rachel isn’t known for being the smartest amongst the group of friends, and none of them are rather tactful. But this realization from early in the show's run shows the diva in a whole different light.
During The One with Chandler in a Box, Ross torments Rachel about returning gifts until she shows him a shoebox full of items that she kept from their relationship, showing how she really does care about the things that matter. Ever the jerk, Ross is quick to point out that the bone she took from the museum isn’t really something she should steal.
While he does have a point, I started to wonder: when did Rachel actually steal that bone?
As I’m sure you all remember, Ross and Rachel were together for the first time at the Natural History Museum, being hilariously caught by some bewildered children on a school trip. It’s a very romantic, heartwarming episode with a hilarious ending. But it begs the question: when did she steal the dinosaur bone? Did she steal it there in front of all those witnesses? Did she think to take it when she was hurriedly gathering her clothes to escape the embarrassing situation? It just doesn’t add up to me.
5 The One With Barry’s Name
I’m sure there will be people who’ll say that Rachel deliberately went back to retrieve her engagement ring, from wherever she left it, in order to give it back to Barry in person. While this would have been considerate of her, it’s a bizarre thing to do when she doesn’t even remember his surname!
In the pilot, Rachel refers to her fiancé as “Barry Finkle.” One would think she would know his surname having just run out of his wedding and all. But when we see him again in the next episode he is referred to as Barry Farber and Doctor Farber. Later, at Barry’s wedding, he is referred to as Barry Farber and his new wife Mindy changes her name to “Mindy Hunter-Farber.” So, we can all agree that his surname is actually Farber? So, where did Finkle come from? We’re sure that Rachel would have been disorientated running out on her own wedding, but how could she forget his name? Was it too painful to say his full name so soon after running out? I suppose whatever it takes to get through that tough time. I just hope she wasn’t planning on taking his name. That might have been awkward.
4 The One With Her Magic Skin
Rachel and Ross do a lot of questionable things to one another, but one of their most immature fights comes in season five. After mistaking Rachel’s walking around her apartment by herself as something a little more intimate, Ross tries his best to embarrass her in public. The two get into an immature prank battle the ends with Ross drawing a mustache and beard on Rachel’s face with permanent marker.
After discovering the marker, Rachel is mortified to find out that it doesn’t come off. Ross even calls the company who makes the marker but can’t find anything that will remove the silly doodles. In revenge, Rachel draws a cat face on Ross, complete with his name on his forehead. But the very next morning, after their impromptu wedding, the permanent marker is smudged but still on their faces. When the two of them go down to breakfast, it’s nowhere to be seen!
The memories the two of them have of that night are rather sketchy, not being completely sure what happened and not remembering that they get married until their friends remind them. But apparently, somewhere along the line, they found a magical cure to the magic marker.
3 The One With Her Age
The ages of the Friends gang have been a running joke with fans for a while now. None of the gang seem to be sure of when their birthday is or how old they actually are. Ross is probably the most notable example, as he says that he is twenty-nine for three whole years of the show, with various Christmas and Thanksgiving episodes. But Ross isn’t the only one guilty of lying about his age.
In season seven during The One Where They All Turn Thirty the gang celebrate Rachel’s thirtieth birthday while recapping their own. This implies that Rachel is the youngest member of the group. However, in the earlier seasons, we are led to think that Joey is the youngest. He says he is twenty-five in The One with the Birth while on the phone. At this point in the series, we know that Monica is twenty-six. Given that Rachel and Monica were in the same year at school, fans assumed that the two were the same age, making Rachel older than Joey. Given how reluctant Rachel and Joey were about turning thirty, maybe they held fake birthdays and rock, paper, scissor-ed who had to go first! No one likes getting older!
2 The One Where She Locks The Door
This is probably one of the plot conveniences that occurs in the earlier seasons of the show. During the gang’s first Thanksgiving together in the first season, The One Where Underdog Got Away, the gang all get locked outside the apartment to run up to the roof and see the escaped balloon. Unable to get back in, Rachel misses her flight to go skiing with her family and Monica’s whole Thanksgiving dinner is ruined. It’s a great episode and bonds the gang together for the rest of the series, showing how important their Thanksgiving is to them.
The only problem is Rachel did nothing special to lock the door. After a misunderstanding regarding the keys, Rachel shuts the door on her way out. But she doesn’t turn the locks, the door just automatically locks behind her. This is the only point in the season where the door locks automatically, as people come and go throughout the series, never having any issues getting in, rarely using keys. Chandler even says in season six that the door hasn’t been locked in years, further implying that it can’t automatically lock. So how did Rachel lock the door behind her without a key? What exactly did she do to the door?
1 The One With The Time Travelling Key
It appears that Rachel has powers with doors that our tiny human minds cannot possibly comprehend. This is shown once again in season ten.
In The One with the Late Thanksgiving, Monica and Chandler do lock their door from the inside after everyone fails to turn up on time for a Thanksgiving dinner they were persuaded into making. After arguing through the locked door for a while, Rachel decides to end the situation by going to get her old key, from when she used to live with Monica, to unlock the door.
But how can she still have her “old key” in season ten when the locks to Monica and Chandler’s apartment were changed in season eight?
After being locked out of the apartment while Monica and Chandler are on their honeymoon, Phoebe and Joey report a fake gas leak to get it, leading to the door being broken down and the locks changed. To make matters more interesting, Rachel gave her key back to Monica during their emotional goodbye in season six’s The One with the Last Night. Even though the gang still can’t enter the apartment because of the door chain, the “old key” still unlocks it, which makes no sense!