Most television shows are nothing like real life, even if they make it seem like they are. The iconic NBC comedy Friends was unique, hilarious, memorable, and timeless — but it wasn’t realistic. And maybe it wasn’t trying to be
Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane have come under fire in recent years for their handling of sensitive issues on the show, from transgenderism to fat-shaming. But that’s not all. The showrunners were also questioned for certain elements of the series that bore almost no resemblance to reality.
The ‘Friends’ crew spent way too much time together
Yes, Rachel and Monica lived together in the early seasons, and Chandler and Joey lived across the hall. But even with their close proximity, these friends had way too much time to spend together compared to most twenty-somethings. Even roommates.
In the real world, adults spend time doing things like going to work, running errands, doing laundry, visiting family, and so many other mundane tasks. They don’t have endless hours to spend together like Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe seem to.
The couch is always free at Central Perk
Even the Friends cast members make fun of themselves for this inconsistency. During one episode, they walk in and see other people occupying the famous orange couch where they always sit. But that was an anomaly, which was of course the point of mocking it.
Most of the time, the six Friends always had a spot on “their” couch and surrounding chairs, no matter what time they arrived at Central Perk.
The ‘Friends’ don’t spend much time with their families
The show Friends is supposed to be about friends, not family, which explains why most of the cast members rarely saw their parents and siblings.
Some adult relationships are like that, but it’s rare to find six adults who seem completely disinterested in spending holidays and other important milestone events surrounded by the people they grew up with.
They forgave each other for everything
Friends castmates went through some serious drama, from Ross allegedly cheating on Rachel (“We were on a break!”) to Chandler stealing Joey’s ex-girlfriend. In real life, some of those friendships would have naturally ended after big betrayals, which would in turn fracture the friend group.
But on the show, everyone was magically able to make up and move on every single time. As anyone who ever lost a friend knows, it’s just not how the world works.
No one ever went to work
In one episode of Friends, the gang starts wondering why their bosses hate them so much. “Maybe it’s a universal thing,” Ross wonders. “Or maybe,” Joey retorts, “It’s because you’re all hanging out here [at Central Perk] at 11:30 on a Wednesday!”
There are mentions of careers and even some scenes of the show that take place at various offices. But for the most part, the six friends spend their time at home or in the coffee shop, which is very unrealistic for people who allegedly work 40 hours per week or more.
The ‘Friends’ apartments would have been way too expensive for them
The story behind Monica’s spacious 2 bedroom Greenwich apartment is that she inherited it from her grandmother. But even so, there’s little chance that a waitress and a chef could afford to live there. The same goes for struggling actor Joey and office worker Chandler across the hall.
All six Friends had apartments well beyond their means, and fans who were familiar with New York City rent prices knew it.
Friendships didn’t change after children
Along the way, Phoebe, Monica, and Rachel all become mothers in different ways. Meanwhile, Ross has a son as well. Even though these cast members go through the life-changing event of having kids, it doesn’t seem to affect their socializing much at all. And as any parent knows, that’s wildly unrealistic.
In Friends, children are treated like accessories that can be trotted out for convenience and hidden from view when something more interesting is happening. And that’s just not accurate in real life.