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Is it possible that Friends and Parks and Recreation exist in the same universe? The shows didn’t occupy the same time frame, but they did call the same network home. Friends, which premiered in 1994, wrapped filming in 2004. Parks and Recreation premiered five years later in 2009. Even still, fans noticed a potential overlap. It’s possible that Rachel Green once slept with Ben Wyatt, or, at the very least, she slept with someone named Ben Wyatt.

Monica suggests that Rachel hooked up with a guy named Ben Wyatt

In Season 7 of Friends, Rachel claims she’s never slept with anyone on the first date. That kind of lie flies if you haven’t known some of your friends for decades, but Monica and Rachel go way back. Monica was so well acquainted with Rachel’s partners, that she quickly rattled off three men that Rachel slept with on the first date.

According to Mental Floss, Monica noted that Rachel had slept with Matt Wire, Mark Lynn, and Ben Wyatt after just one date. No one is sure who Matt and Mark are, but some fans think Ben could be the same Ben from Parks and Recreation. Both series did air on NBC, and the network isn’t against crossovers. The network ensured that Mad About You and Friends were in the same universe, so it’s possible that Parks and Recreation would exist in that universe, too, regardless of geographical distance.

Rachel and Ben are close enough in age to have hooked up

Rachel’s birthday is May 5, 1969. When Monica mentions that Rachel hooked up with someone named Ben Wyatt, she would have been about 31. Ben, who was born in 1974, would have been about 26 at the time. While there is an age gap, it’s not a large one, and, in theory, the pair could have met and briefly dated.

Monica never mentions when this hookup happened, though. It’s possible that the Ben Wyatt referenced was from before the series started. If the date happened pre-Barry, the age gap is a bit more problematic. Rachel was just 25 when she left her fiancée at the altar. Assuming she dated Barry for just two years before the wedding, she would have needed to hook up with Ben when she was 22 or 23, and he was just 17 or 18.

While it wouldn’t be the first time a member of the gang dated someone much younger than them, it still seems unlikely. During the duration of the series, fans never see Rachel with anyone named Ben, nor does she ever mention him, so it’s safe to assume the hookup was probably pre-Barry.  

Friends exists as a show in Parks and Recreation

The evidence that Rachel could have hooked up with Ben, at some point, seems somewhat compelling, but there are a couple of problems. Ben is based in Partridge, Minnesota. He never suggests he spent any significant time in New York, so it’s pretty hard to imagine he spent enough time in the city to woo Rachel. After all, he was elected mayor of Partridge at just 18, so he would have been a little busy during the timeframe he potentially would have dated Rachel. Geography isn’t the only problem with this theory.  Parks and Recreation also references Friends during its run. In fact, one Reddit user points out that Leslie acted out an episode of the famed series.

Since Friends existed as a television show in Parks and Recreation, that means Rachel is a fictional character in that universe, not a real person. If that the case, it would be impossible for Ben to hook up with Rachel, which surely made Leslie happy. Still, the theory is fun.