‘Friends’ Existed in the Same Universe as Several NBC Shows

NBC had a pretty fantastic lineup back in the 1990s and early 2000s. Each week, TV viewers were given a chance to catch up with Jerry Seinfeld and his band of zany friends, a quirky married couple whose dysfunction was charming, and a group of 20-somethings who were all trying to figure out life in a major metropolitan area. As it turns out, those three shows all existed in the same universe, and Jamie and Paul Buchman of Mad About You served as the bridge between the other two shows, Friends and Seinfeld.

Kramer sublet his apartment from Paul Buchman

Paul, when he married Jamie, leased his apartment to Cosmo Kramer. While it doesn’t seem like Kramer should be able to afford an apartment in Manhattan without any discernible income, he somehow makes it work. Paul shows up at the apartment to try and retrieve some items he left when he moved in with Jamie, proving that the Buchmans exist in the same universe as Kramer, and his friends, by proxy.

That isn’t the only time the two shows would cross paths, though. Jerry showed up in a cameo appearance on Mad About You. In that particular episode, Paul recognized Jerry as a famous comedian and asked for his autograph, leading fans to assume Jerry moved into his apartment after Kramer sublet his unit from Paul since Jerry clearly didn’t recognize Paul as his former neighbor.

Phoebe Buffay’s sister waited on Paul and Jamie Buchman

Mad About You is the bridge that connected Friends and Seinfeld. Paul and Jamie enjoyed frequenting a restaurant where a ditzy waitress often served them. She could never seem to get their order right. Despite the constant struggle, they returned to the eatery time and time again. That waitress was none other than Ursula Buffay, Phoebe’s nemesis twin.

To make sure fans knew that Mad About You and Friends existed in the same universe, Jamie and her friend, Fran Devanow, show up at Central Perk to grab a cup of coffee. During their visit, they encountered Ursula’s look-a-like, Phoebe. The connection between the Buchmans and Phoebe, effectively bridged the gap between Seinfeld and Friends, even though the Seinfeld characters never showed up in Friends.

There were a couple of plot holes, though

It’s important to note that, while the shows appeared to share the same universe, there were a couple of glaring issues that are hard to explain. Courtney Cox, who is best known for taking on the role of Monica Geller in Friends, also appeared in Seinfeld, but she wasn’t Monica in that show. Instead, she played Jerry’s girlfriend, Meryl, very briefly. Perhaps Monica had a weird alter ego that was never explored in Friends.

Monica’s appearance as an entirely different person isn’t the only plot hole fans have noticed. George Costanza and his fiancée, Susan, enjoyed a great deal of TV together during their ill-fated relationship. One of the shows Susan, in particular, enjoyed was Mad About You. That seems pretty weird when you consider the fact that Paul was supposed to be a real person in the Seinfeld universe.