After 10 seasons of love, laughter and plenty of coffee, the Friends saga came to an emotional end on May 6, 2004. But in the nearly 14 years since Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Joey and Phoebe left the purple apartment for the last time, fans have continued to watch and re-watch the series, leading to some pretty crazy conclusions about what was actually going on in the universe of Smelly Cat and the Holiday Armadillo.
Here are six of the most mind-boggling Friends theories floating around the Internet.
The One Where It Was All In Rachel’s Head
When one eagle-eyed Friends enthusiast pointed out that Rachel was the only character with her eyes open in a picture of all six mains sharing a bed that was featured on the season four DVD box set, jokes began to fly about the artistic decision. But when a Twitter user suggested there could be darker meaning behind the photo, things quickly got real.
Basically, user Phil Dunne hypothesizes that the entire show was actually just an stress-induced dream Rachel had the night before her wedding day—a.k.a. the day the series began.
“She created a fantasy in her mind and the five other Friends characters as a way to escape her spoilt, trapped future life,” he wrote. “And also the trauma of her getting married the next day. This cover is her partially waking up from that dream at 5am on the morning of her wedding day. The whole entire series was her anxiety dream.”
The One With Phoebe’s Drug Addiction
Phoebe frequently made references to both growing up on the streets and having a drug dealer mother. And if Twitter user @strnks had his way, the final scene of Friends would have revealed that she never found a way out of that life.
“I’d have ended Friends by revealing it was all the meth-addled fantasy of a homeless Phoebe as she stared through the window of Central Perk,” he wrote. “All 10 seasons were merely her fevered imagination, projecting herself into the lives of the other 5. All she ever wanted was…Friends.”
Fortunately for those not on board with such a depressing conclusion, this theory was recently shut down by co-creator Marta Kauffman, who called it the saddest thing she’d ever heard. “I’m fascinated,” she told Entertainment Tonight at the 2017 ATX Television Festival. “I just think that someone needs a life.”
The One With the Reserved Table
We all know that Gunther spent the entirety of Friends pining over Rachel, who was utterly clueless to his feelings. However, according to one Redditor, that crush may have been the reason the gang was always able to snag the best table at a bustling Greenwich Village coffee shop.
“At Central Perk, he always left the ‘Reserved’ sign on the table in front of the couch for the gang to hangout so that he could see Rachel often,” Reddit user Theluckygal speculates. “Since its a busy neighborhood, Rachel might not always get a table so he left the couch open all the time for her & her friends.”
The One With the Parks & Rec Crossover
Who should Rachel have ended up with: Ross, Joey or…Ben Wyatt? We know what you’re thinking, wrong show. But this may not be as out there as it sounds.
When Rachel tells Monica she doesn’t sleep with people on the first date in the ninth episode of season seven, Monica shuts her down by listing a number of guys she has done just that with, including one Ben Wyatt.
Naturally, Reddit has since come to the conclusion that she could have only been referring to Leslie Knope’s future husband in Parks and Rec.
“After doing the math, at the time of season 7 of Friends (2000), Rachel is 29 years old. At the same time, Ben would be 26, slightly younger but still within the range of a relationship,” wrote Reddit user Phefflin. “During this time in Friends, Rachel is dating her assistant, Tag, [whose] butt she often mentions she finds ‘cute.’ Leslie often says the exact same thing about Ben’s butt during their relationship. So in conclusion, I think at some point after Ben left Partridge, Minnesota, in shame after his failure as mayor, he went to NYC for a brief time, met Rachel, and either had a one night stand, or a relationship.”
The One Where Ross Was a Bad Dad
It’s hard not to notice that Ross’ son Ben disappears without explanation midway through season eight, especially after Emma, his daughter with Rachel, is born. But while this probably had to do with scheduling conflicts for Cole and Dylan Sprouse—the twins who played Ben—some fans have come to believe that it was actually because Ross lost custody of his son.
Citing a number of instances in which he acted inappropriately throughout the series—including trying to make out with his first cousin and sleeping with one of his students—one blogger speculates that Ross’ ex-wife Carol became so fed up with his antics that she got a judge to grant her full custody of Ben.
“Think about everything we know about Ross,” D. F. Lovett wrote. “He’s very jealous. He’s possessive. He’s arguably emotionally-abusive. He believes in the friend zone and has symptoms of a Men’s Rights Activist. And as the seasons unfold, narrowing down to the ending where he and Rachel end up ostensibly [happily ever] after, he seems to be coming completely unhinged. Did Ross’s insanity hit a breaking point with his ex-wife?”
The One With Phoebe and Joey’s Fling
They may have never officially been a couple, but Joey and Phoebe’s chemistry was definitely undeniable. And according to Matt LeBlanc—who played everyone’s favorite sandwich-loving friend—it’s possible that Joey and Pheebs were hooking up from the start.
“Towards the end we actually pitched the idea that Joey and Phoebe had been having casual sex the entire time,” LeBlanc told People in 2015. “We’d go back and shoot all the historical scenes and just before a moment that everyone recognizes, there’s Joey and Phoebe coming out of a broom closet together. But they were like, ‘Nah.'”
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