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 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 Joey Pretends To Have His Heart Broken Just To Get Pancakes
Sure, this isn’t one of the more serious theories out there, but it’s definitely entertaining. In a Season 7 episode, Joey has a one-night stand with a girl named Erin and asks Rachel to get rid of her, suggesting she makes some pancakes to cushion the blow. Rachel ends up befriending the girl and convinces Joey to go on a second date with her. He starts to really like her, but then Erin decides she doesn’t want a relationship after all. As a result Rachel makes Joey pancakes to cheer him up.
According to one Redditor, this entire subplot was manipulated by Joey as an attempt to get pancakes:
“I have multiple strands of evidence.
1) Joey loves food. I mean, seriously, he loves it. He shouts at dates for taking a single fry from his plate. Joey doesn't share food - and he is practically in love with food. Two pizzas on Friday? Seriously?
2) Joey can't cook. Not only is most of his fridge/freezer contents completely expired, but he even admits in an episode right after that his oven is broken - and the only source of his food seems to be an endless stack of takeout menus (although Monica and Chandler's food is never off-limits for this glutton). So clearly, if Rachael cooked for him, he would be able to circumvent the issue of why he couldn't just make the pancakes himself.
3) The girl, Erin, when asking Rachael to get Joey to end things with her, used Joey's exact words; stating she did not want a serious relationship. Given his reputation in the show - hell, it's JOEY, nobody could say that about him with a straight face. If this isn't a sign that she's in on it, I may as well burn my box-sets.
4) He's relatively rich enough. At that point in the show, he had just gotten back onto Days of Our Lives - giving him enough disposable income to pay Erin off.
5) Joey said 'Finally!' when Rachael finally offered him pancakes. While this may seem like Joey just being food obsessed and secretly hoping she would make him pancakes regardless - isn't it just a tiny bit possible that he had been orchestrating the entire thing, and he just couldn't contain his excitement when it came to fruition? Maybe Joeys smarter than he looks... he turned the tables of the entire subplot effortlessly.”
Does it make any sense? You can be the judge of that.
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 They Are All Actually In A Mental Asylum
Another popular Friends fan theory suggests that the six characters are actually living in a mental asylum and suffering from a shared psychosis. Due to their mental disorders, they indulge in fantasies together to distract themselves from reality.
“The reasoning went that they spent most of their time in two places, either the coffee shop (which caters to their every need) or somebody's apartment. The two places represent both their respective rooms and the cafeteria/food hall,” one Redditor writes.