Friends was on the air from 1994 to 2004 but it has remained in our lives even more than 14 years since its season finale. The show is arguably the biggest sitcom of all time, rivaled perhaps only by Seinfeld. The show holds up so well that the modern youth is still very well acquainted with it and calls for a reunion, despite the cast being in their fifties now, still run wild.
Most shows are somewhat of a one and done deal in that you watch a particular episode then move on to the next. But Friends has amazing repeated viewing value in that its fans have seen the entire series at least about five times over and again. Its jokes are some of the most quoted in sitcom history too with many people remembering the lines word for word.
Due to this overly zealous fan following for the show, these fans have taken to noticing many things that contradict some plot points established earlier on in the series. It’s natural for that to happen in a show as no one envisions a series to last ten years right from the start. Thus, there are more than several mistakes in the show, which don’t make sense, that can be noticed in repeated viewings. These are known to ardent fans but aren’t to those who haven’t watched the show more than once (hard as it is to believe there are some people like that out there).
With that in mind, here are 25 things about Friends that make no sense.
25 Ross Is Immortal
Ross is responsible for the most headscratchers in the Friends series. One of these is his supposedly perpetual age. Earlier on, judging by dialogue, it appeared Ross was the oldest friend of the group. He was already said to be Monica’s older brother and considering Rachel was Monica’s classmate in school he was older than her as well. But in Season 3 Ross established this by claiming he was 29.
He would remain 29 for the next three years.
In season 4 he repeats he is of that age and in Season 5, when his divorce with Emily is imminent, he is shattered with the possibility that he would be divorced for “the second time before (he) turned thirty.” For a genius, he isn’t all that great when it comes to math.
24 Rachel And Chandler's Memory Loss
Ross and Chandler were established to be college roommates earlier on in the series so it would have made sense that Chandler didn’t know of Ross’ life before they met – except he clearly did.
When Rachel first walked in the coffee house in her wedding gown, Monica introduced her to Chandler as if it were the first time they were meeting, but considering we clearly saw them interact in flashbacks multiple times they should have already known one another.
They first met at Thanksgiving in Chandler’s college freshman year and re-met on another Thanksgiving and a year before Rachel ran away from her wedding. To top it off, in Season 10 they even kissed when Monica and Rachel had visited Ross and Chandler’s college!
23 Joey's Intelligence
Joey was never the smartest friend even in the first season. But the guy could still hold his own and not considered a total dummy. As the show progressed so did Joey’s intelligence falter. In Season 2 Joey says he met a girl who had the largest Adam’s apple ever. It was pretty stupid of him seeing as women don’t have Adam’s apples.
Joey somehow became even more stupid.
Come Season 7 he would refer to his own as his ‘Joey’s apple’ with Chandler apparently having told him dozens of times it wasn’t named after each individual man. Joey would get so moronic that he wouldn’t even know he was speaking gibberish when attempting to speak French. He also couldn’t distinguish between left and right or do basic mathematics.
22 Ben, The Miracle Child
That kid Ben was some freak of nature, otherwise what else could explain his miraculous conception. Ben was born 9 months after the season 1 premiere when Carol revealed to Ross she was pregnant. That’s all normal, but what isn't is how he was conceived.
Apparently, Carol was pregnant for almost 2 years.
In a flashback from Season 3 that takes place a year before the Season 1 premiere, Ross realizes what his wife’s preference is and understands his marriage is over as his wife likes women. Then how could Carol have informed him of her pregnancy a full year later? In-universe, that’s some really freaky stuff going on for a woman to carry a child all the way from 1992 to 1994.
21 Phoebe's Runaway Father
Phoebe didn’t have the best childhood. Her mother ended it all when she and her twin sister were little girls, then apparently she moved to places like Prague and others where she got a disease when someone spat in her mouth, and according to her, she’s been stabbed before. When Phoebe grew up she found out her birth mother was someone else who had dumped the kids to her father and adoptive other.
She claimed numerous times her father had run off before she and her sister were born but when Phoebe finally meets her father he claims he left because he never was good at taking care of children. Evidently, her father used to sing to her in an attempt to make her fall asleep. Then what was all that about her father running away before she was born?
20 Chandler Can(t) Cry
There were many jokes in the series that were inserted for a singular episode. But due to these jokes, several plot holes and inconsistencies ended up presenting themselves. Clearly, the writers never considered, or perhaps didn’t remember, that Chandler had been portrayed as a whiner earlier on and in a Season 6 episode, The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry, Chandler claims he’s never cried in his life.
Except we saw him bawl his eyes out before that.
When Kathy left him in Season 4 he was brought to tears by Phoebe in a consoling session gone awry, while later on in Seasons 7 and Season 10 Chandler would cry at the most minute things like watching a woman get scammed by her mechanic on TV.
19 Phoebe's Relationship History
Phoebe and Joey’s love lives were never treated as too important by the Friends writers. It was mainly about Ross & Rachel and Chandler & Monica that they wanted us to remember. Phoebe had a number of relationships that petered out over the course of few episodes or in singular episodes even. That is why her comment in Season 9, where she tells Mike she has never been in a serious relationship before, might make us forget she totally had had serious relationships in the past.
As early as Season 1 she had been in love with David the Scientist Guy who would return in Seasons 7 and 9. In Season 5 she even moved for a brief time with Gary the Cop as their relationship had gotten to the next level.
18 The Friends' Ages
When the show had begun the friends all seemed to appear around their mid to late twenties. Even their jobs weren’t those people in their early twenties would have. Chandler was a senior executive, Ross had a great position at the museum, and Monica was a well-paid chef. But by the end of the show’s run we were led to believe they had been a lot younger ten years previously.
Their ages kept changing frequently. Joey said he was 25 in Season 1 only to magically turn 28 in the next season. Monica was 26 in Season 1 while in Season 7 she had just turned 30. Likewise, Rachel was 28 in Season 2 but in Season 9 she turned 32. In the spin-off Joey, Joey is said to be 35.
17 Apartment Number Changes
Odds are you were never confounded by this point as only keen viewers, or obsessive fans (which let’s face it, are in big numbers) had noticed this mistake.
In the first episode of Season 1, Monica’s apartment number was visible and was clearly numbered as Apartment 5. Later on, it can be seen her apartment number has changed from that to no. 20. Likewise, the guys’ apartment across the hall reflects the same changes. In-universe it might be explained that for some reason the building owner decided to change the apartment numbers.
But in a flashback, the changed door number remains. In the flashback, that took place in 1992, the number on the door was still Apartment 20 despite having taken place two years before the season premiere episode.
16 How Phoebe Met Frank Jr.
Friends had a knack for using the same actors again in different roles. If you’re a die-hard fan you’ve no doubt noticed that several background actors have been used in varying roles such as Mike’s parents’ friend who is seen as an unnamed doctor in earlier Season. That can be forgiven as the character was forgivable but when it comes to casting someone in a role that is bound to be noticed it’s an obvious fault.
Phoebe’s brother apparently met her before they knew each other.
In Season 3 she meets Frank Jr. who tells her he’s never been to the city but we actually saw him in an earlier season where he acts pretty much the same and meets Phoebe outside Central Perk claiming to have dropped something in her guitar case.
15 Chandler Has Heard The Sound
In college, Ross and Chandler were as lame as they were back in school. Still, these two found each other and became best bros for life. They were even part of the same band, which was appropriately lame as well, called ‘Way No Way’. Their music was never heard but the implication was it was some terrible techno funk style.
Considering that it doesn’t make sense why Chandler is so taken aback by Ross’ terrible music skills in Season 4. That was part of Ross’s ‘The Sound,’ which was more of ludicrous techno sounds. Then surely Chandler must have been aware of Ross’ music skills, or lack thereof. But we see him completely surprised hearing the strange music as if he’s never heard it before.
14 Phoebe's Mysterious Roommate
Of all the friends, it was Phoebe who remained somewhat at an arm’s length. We hardly ever saw her living with Monica save for a few flashbacks where she was in the process of moving out. Phoebe lived a good distance away from the rest who lived in close vicinity to one another. This was why it was a surprise when in Season 6 she claimed she had a roommate called Denise.
We never found out if Denise was her actual roommate or part of Phoebe’s imagination.
It had seemed as if Phoebe had made Denise up in an attempt to prevent Rachel from moving in with her but only a few episodes later Rachel did move in with her so it is still a mystery if Denise ever existed or not.
13 Ross And The Cleaning Lady
Another example where a throwaway joke affected the continuity of the show’s timeline. This one is such where the joke literally lasts for a few seconds but changes a big part of Ross’ backstory in the process. In Season 7, Chandler tells an embarrassing incident which concerns Ross that starts a chain reaction involving Chandler, Ross, and Monica revealing embarrassing secrets about one another.
One of these secrets contradicts Ross’ earlier claim.
In Season 1 he says the first girl he had ever been with was his ex-wife Carol and even after the divorce she had been the only girl he had been with. However, in this episode, Chandler says Ross did something with a cleaning lady who cleaned their dormitory.
12 Ross' Ever-Changing Birthday
Earlier in this list, it was mentioned how Ross remained 29 for three years, well it might be that way because he can’t even recall the day he was born. In an earlier season, Gunther needs an excuse to be around Rachel and asks her when her birthday is, sensing he’d be up for a gift when his birthday comes around Ross begins to tell Gunther his birthday was in December before getting cut off. In Season 9 he chastises Joey for forgetting his birthday which was on October 18th, while Ross himself claimed back in Season 1 on an episode that aired on October 20th that his birthday was “7 months ago.” Someone should go out and buy Ross a calendar for a birthday gift.
11 Chandler Forgot Fat Monica
The inconsistency with which they treated Ross, Monica, Rachel, and Chandler’s flashback sequences deserves a list of its own. The only excuse might be that writers never envisioned the show would stretch so far out that they ended up contradicting themselves. Because this point is another headscratcher.
Chandler was amazed at Monica’s size in the prom video.
The events of that video took place when Ross was already in college and thus he had been friends with Chandler. Later on, it was revealed Chandler had seen Monica in her fat stage a few times. Then his amazement at seeing Monica in the prom video, where he asked “how many cameras are actually on (her)” when Monica defended her weight saying the camera added ten pounds, is unfounded.
10 Joey's Age
While it was never directly stated that Joey was the oldest of his siblings in Friends, it was understood as the appearance by his sisters in the show presented them as dim-witted girls who looked at Joey as a big brother figure. The sisters who did exchange dialogue with him made it clear that he was their older brother while the other girls looked around the same age.
In the spin-off, Joey, he is said to be younger than his sister Gina.
That doesn’t make sense as all his sisters were seen in Season 3 of Friends, with Gina being one of them, and Gina’s son, who had to be a little kid at the time, was nowhere to be seen.
9 Chandler's Endless Riches
If you think you’re a diehard Friends fan, then think again. Evidently, there’s someone on the internet who has calculated the approximate amount Joey owed Chandler over the years and it amounted to around $121,000! Chandler supported Joey for a long time and took care of the expenses too. But his finances took a hit during the show which makes it impossible for him to have as much money as he apparently did.
In Season 4 he uses his savings account to buy back all the stuff that had been stolen from their apartment. Then in Season 7, he paid his entire wedding fee that comprised of more than 250 people! We’ve got no idea what Chandler’s job used to be but it sounds like being a ‘Transponster’ really pays the big bucks.
8 Monica Wasn't Interested
Monica and Chandler’s relationship wasn’t intended to be in the original plans for the series. The show creators have confessed their original intention had been to pair Chandler with Rachel. This was why in Season 3 we saw an episode where the two were paired in a fantasy sequence to gauge the audience reaction, that ultimately came back negative.
And so Chandler and Monica were paired together.
Incorporating this into story meant some retconning as in Seasons 1-4 Monica scoffs at the very idea of ever being attracted to Chandler, with this irking Chandler in the Season 3 finale. However, in Season 5 it was revealed that the only reason Monica lost all her weight was to get back at Chandler for calling him fat as she had originally been attracted to him. So why did she laugh at the idea of being with him later on?
7 The Transponster
In high school, it is understandable to be unsure of which career path you want to take. Around that time it’s all about securing the right grades and heading off to college. In college, however, one does choose a career path and pick their studies accordingly. You would think said person’s roommate would be aware of all this but not when you happen to be Ross.
None of the friends knew what Chandler’s job was. However, Ross had been with him for four years through college and it seems impossible he would have no clue what Chandler did for a living. This also brings into doubt what his answer had been for the quiz that he had prepared as this question stumped Monica and Rachel, causing them to lose their apartment to Chandler and Joey.
6 All For Nothing
The final episode of Friends, aptly titled The Last One, featured Joey and Chandler breaking apart their beloved foosball table to rescue Chick Jr. and Duck Jr. It was to highlight that this phase of Chandler and Joey’s life was ending, with the foosball table symbolizing that.
But they didn’t actually need to destroy the table at all.
In Season 4, when Chandler and Joey move into Monica and Rachel’s apartment, the foosball table is brought in by the guys in pieces. This means the table can be reassembled together and it would seem the guys simply forgot all about that. Ruined a good table for no reason at all. The table was destroyed to such a degree that basically none of it was left by the time it was busted open.
5 Nana's Ring
In the Season 8 finale, Rachel mistakes Joey picking up the ring, that had fallen from Ross’ jacket pocket, as a sign of proposal and ended up accepting. In the Season 9 premiere, the ring is seen on Rachel’s finger with Monica resentful of the fact that it was bigger than her own wedding ring. Monica’s eyesight still seems to be failing, though, as she should have recognized the ring as the one that belonged to her grandmother.
Ross had said the ring was a family heirloom.
In Season 4 he said the ring had been passed down to generations and every bride that had worn it had lived a happy and full life. This should be reason enough for Monica to remember what it looked like and seeing it on Rachel’s finger would have ended the confusion much sooner.
4 Farber Or Finkle?
Rachel ran out of her own wedding in the Season 1 premiere and started a new life in the city after moving in with Monica. We saw hints of doubt beginning in her mind in a flashback from Season 3 where she expressed dissatisfaction with spending her life with Barry. Perhaps the real reason she didn’t marry him was that she knows nothing about the guy.
In the premiere, she calls Barry and refers to him as Barry Finkle. Later on, in every other reference made to Barry, he is called Barry Farber. We have no idea why this name was changed by the writers but in-universe it makes Rachel appear like a bit of a dunderhead who can’t even remember the name of her soon-to-be husband.
3 Ross' Love-Hate Relationship With Ice Cream
In Season 7, when Chandler’s fear of dogs is made known to the gang, Joey reveals Ross doesn’t like ice cream. Chandler’s irrational fear of dogs isn’t well maintained in continuity either as Ross says he owned a dog when he was a child. But even worse is Ross’ dislike of ice cream.
We’ve seen Ross eat ice cream the most out of any other friend.
He was seen enjoying it with his Marcel when the monkey had spent an idyllic day with Ross upon his return to the city and later on he was seen eating ice cream with his student Elizabeth, whom he was in a secret relationship with. Therefore, his reasoning that ice cream is too cold for his liking doesn’t convince us in the slightest.
2 Phoebe Sous-Stands French
Phoebe’s life is a big mystery. Even after ten seasons worth of stories we never got to know perhaps half of her secrets. Evidently, she had lived in Prague for some time, and even spoke to Joey’s grandmother, who could only understand Italian, in fluent language. In Season 10 we find out Phoebe is fluent in French and the episode is based around that.
However, only a couple seasons ago she had come across Monica’s sous-chef and struck up a flirtation with him. Part of the banter involved the word ‘Sous’ that Phoebe didn’t understand. But it doesn’t make any sense why she wouldn’t understand what the word means as it forms part of basic French. Either she lied or her years in Prague had wiped some of the French out of her system.
1 Absentee Son
In Season 1 Ross’ main storyline involved the imminent arrival of his son and him becoming a father. Over the next few years, Ben wasn’t seen as much as one would think considering Ross was said to be a good father who involved himself in his son’s life.
Once Emma was born it was curtains for Ben.
The character was never seen after Emma’s birth and neither was he ever mentioned having even met his little sister. In fact, Ben’s last appearance was in Season 8 and he was referred to only a handful times since then. Ben’s absence was noticeable before that as well seeing that the boy wasn’t even at his own father’s wedding. In Season 5, when Ross was about to be married to Emily, Ben was nowhere to be seen.