No one told you life was going to be this way: your job’s a joke, you’re broke, and you’re sitting alone at home watching Friends reruns like there’s no tomorrow. Maybe you’re even reading up on insane Friends fan-theories to keep the characters’ memories alive? Whatever it is, we’re not judging. Years after going off the air, Friends continues to be a major pop-culture phenomenon. And since it seems that there won’t be any kind of reunion down the line, all we can do is rewatch, rehash, and reminisce.
The show still has a solid fan base, so there’s been no shortage of Friends fan theories to choose from since the finale aired in 2004. Some being more plausible than others, as is usually the case when it comes to TV show fan theories, these speculations and assumptions sometimes help viewers see the show in an entirely new light. And while they're no doubt entertaining, they also get your imagination going about what was really going on with our favorite TV buddies. Was Phoebe on drugs? Was the whole thing a shared psychosis? Did Ross lose custody of Ben at some point? Unlike the overall tone of the series, some of the Friends theories out there get really dark, so tread lightly.
WTF TV fan theories are nothing new, but these Friends scenarios really take the cake. Here are some of the best ones that you can analyze and, ultimately, decide for yourself if they’re totally absurd...or not.
The One Where Monica Develops OCD After Struggling With Weight Issues
This fan theory, composed by one Reddit user, claims that Monica developed OCD tendencies after high school, when she struggled with weight problems:
“During flashbacks when Monica was overweight, it was never shown that she was obsessed with cleanliness and organizing everything. When Ross and Rachel talk about the past they have mentioned how fat and competitive Monica was but never said anything about her obsession with cleanliness. Maybe at the fat camp she was experimented [on with] a drug that helped her lose weight but it messed up her hormones [and] resulted in OCD (Google hormones + OCD) and infertility. Maybe that’s why she wanted kids so badly & even considered artificial insemination."
This one could also hold up, although it’s very sad to think that she traded one addiction/compulsion for another. We’re glad she got her happy ending.
The One Where Phoebe Is Actually A Genius
Slightly better than the theory about the show being part of Phoebe’s imagination, this one claims that Phoebe was actually a laid back genius. One Redditor writes:
“In one episode, Phoebe almost convinces Ross that evolution is flawed. When he goes away befuddled, she laughingly says 'That was fun. Who's hungry?' My wife watches a lot of Friends. I started watching episodes I'd seen a million times already with the assumption that Phoebe was a laid back genius with almost zero ambition. She amuses herself by playing one off the other, not unkindly, but for her own amusement. It works in many of the situation she is in.”
Phoebe may be portrayed as ditzy, but she’s often much smarter than the others give her credit for. After Rachel gives birth, she even admits to thinking of herself as the puppet master of the group. Plus, she often tries to manipulate the others. For instance, she and Joey come up with a plan to get Ross and Rachel back together by setting them up on horrible dates. Or, how about when she and Rachel trick Chandler into admitting he’s seeing Monica? And let’s not forget that she can apparently speak Italian (even though she claims she never learned it) and French, but she never went to college or anything. She’s an enigmatic character for sure.
The One Where The Entire Show Is A Figment of Phoebe’s Drug-Induced Imagination
When it comes to dark fan theories, it doesn’t get much bleaker than this. According to one Twitter user, they would have ended the show by “revealing it was all the meth-addled fantasy of a homeless Phoebe as she stared through the window of Central Perk.”
The even more disturbing thing is that it could have actually made sense. Phoebe was always the odd one out, with her quirkiness, dark past, and limited ties to the rest of the group. As Rachel even says at one point, “You're not related, you live far away. You lift right out.”
However, Marta Kauffman, one of the creators of the show, rejected the theory, saying “That’s the saddest thing I ever heard.” We can’t really argue with that.
The One Where Gunther Always Reserves The Central Perk Table For Rachel
Back in the day, there was a lot of confusion over how the six friends always seemed to be able to sit on the Central Perk couch. Until Friends hit Netflix, that is, and someone noticed the "Reserved" sign that had been sitting on the table all along. But one Redditor takes things a step further, suggesting that Gunther was the one who had always reserved the spot for them, due to his infatuation with Rachel. The Redditor writes:
“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. Since it’s a busy neighborhood, Rachel might not always get a table so he left the couch open all the time for her and her friends.”