Over the course of 10 seasons, Friends had plenty of unthinkable moments. Some made the show better; however, others were detrimental not just for the characters involved, but for the series as well. In some cases, moments revealed in flashbacks contradicted what fans had already seen in the present and in past episodes. Sure, they added to the characters' history and connections, but they left fans questioning why certain events happened. In other cases, moments seemed to happen just for the laughs that resulted. Some were simply to be obstacles to the obvious endgame of the series, Rachel and Ross, but even that had its problems. Knowing it would end with the two of them together didn't excuse everything that happened building up to and including that moment.
Quite a few plot twists involved Rachel and Joey's relationship, which didn’t play out in the way it deserved. That was, in part, because of Rachel and Ross' inevitable reunion. However, there were some moments that definitely saved Friends. It's hard to imagine the show being as successful or popular without them. What if Monica and Chandler hadn't gotten together? What if Carol and Susan hadn't remained part of Ross' life (at least for some time)?
Here are 15 Plot Twists That Hurt Friends (And 15 That Saved It).
Originally, Rachel wasn't planning on attending Ross and Emily's wedding. She did change her mind, though, but she didn't go through with her plan to tell him she still loved him. However, she still ended up interrupting the ceremony in a way because Ross said her name instead of Emily's during their vows. Later, they tried to play it off as though that happened because he saw her.
What happened next was what hurt the series. Somehow, Emily became the bad guy, demanding Ross never see Rachel again if they were to be together. Soon, she was just “that girl he once married in London who became his second divorce.”
Monica and Chandler getting together was perhaps the best thing to ever happen on Friends. Their relationship was stable, loving, joyful, and entertaining. It was the perfect counterpart to Ross and Rachel's messy drama. It all started when they went to London for Ross and Emily's wedding. Fans were surprised that, in the morning of the ceremony, she was in Chandler's room.
She had turned to him for comfort and what was supposed to be “only in London” led to a relationship, love, and marriage. Fans watched them grow together and they (and the show) were better for it.
This was one of those moments played for laughs that just didn't make sense in the story. Joey somehow ended up down on one knee holding out Ross' mother's ring, which was given to Ross so he could propose to Rachel. Assuming Joey was proposing, right after she had Ross' baby, Rachel said yes.
In a way, it served as an obstacle that kept Ross and Rachel from getting back together, but what was the point of it? To bring up Joey's feelings for Rachel? To laugh about how Rachel shouldn't have been making any decisions after giving birth? They basically shrugged it off and the series would have been better for it if it would've never happened.
Phoebe and Mike broke up because he never wanted to get married again after his first marriage fell apart. However, when David planned to propose to Phoebe, Monica and Chandler meddled. Mike ended up flying to Barbados and proposing to Phoebe, but she turned him down. It was the right move — and not just because he was technically seeing someone else when he asked!
Phoebe just needed to know that a proposal was possible and her saying no gave them time to be together as a couple again. It also meant seeing Phoebe ruin Mike's future attempts to propose until he finally just asked.
Ross was upset Chandler kissed Rachel in 1987 because it was the night of his and Rachel's first kiss. He thought she was sleeping under a pile of coats on his bed, but Chandler corrected him. Rachel was instead sleeping on his bed and Monica was on Ross'.
Monica was Ross' first kiss with Rachel and Ross was Monica's first kiss ever. There was no need for Friends to add this detail to the siblings' history, especially since it was played for laughs. It could have easily been an unknown girl in Ross' bed that he accidentally kissed on the lips instead of the forehead. It didn't have to be his sister.
Going back to the first season, Monica wanted a family. She wanted to have kids, so it was heartbreaking when she and Chandler learned it would be difficult to have one. They considered their options and ended up choosing adoption. It wasn't until Erica was giving birth that they learned she was having twins. That led to some amusing moments, as Monica and Chandler questioned Erica not knowing.
It was also a nice callback to the couple's conversation about their future. Chandler had imagined them having four kids, including twins (though he had imagined twin girls).
Friends actually did a pretty good job of building up to Rachel and Joey's relationship. He fell for her, then she realized she had feelings for him and they finally got together after he briefly dated someone else. However, once they got together, that was pretty much it. They found they were better as friends after struggling to become closer.
Maybe this wouldn't have been such a bad move if it hadn't happened in the final season. It was obvious Rachel was going to end up with Ross and felt like the series was just getting Rachel and Joey out of the way.
Phoebe Buffay originally met Phoebe Abbott when she thought the woman only knew her parents. However, she soon learned Phoebe Abbott was her biological mother and the series made the right choice with that twist. This other Phoebe came into Phoebe's life just when she needed her. She was the only one who could give her advice about being the surrogate for her brother and his wife because she knew what it was like to give up a child.
Unfortunately, that was the last time Phoebe Abbott appeared. Considering everything in Phoebe's past, it was smart to give her a relative who became part of her life.
Rachel decided she needed a break from her relationship with Ross. He took that and the fact that Mark was at her apartment that night to mean they'd broken up. In his mind, he thought it was okay to be with someone else — that same night. Really, that action would have hurt the series if not for the words "We were on a break." For some unknown reason, Ross played it off like a joke a couple years later and again when they reunited in the series finale.
Ross and Rachel were the main couple of the series, yet actions like this made you wonder why you were supposed to root for them.
When Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe visited a museum, they learned people got married there. Monica put down her name on the waiting list and Chandler overheard the message that there was an opening. Everyone assumed he'd be freaking out about it because Chandler didn't do well with commitment, as he even told Monica he wasn't ready yet.
However, he was ready and was planning to propose, he just needed a ring. He was no longer the guy who thought proposing was a good idea as an apology. It was a great moment not just for Monica and Chandler's relationship, but for his character.
While Ross was in China, Rachel learned about his feelings for her and realized she might feel the same way. The only point of having Julie was to be an obstacle to Ross and Rachel dating; however, her presence turned Rachel into a jealous woman who took it out on innocent Julie. Plus, Ross had no reason to think Rachel would have feelings for him.
Julie was the one who lost out and really the innocent party in everything. Yet, fans were supposed to be rooting for Rachel and Ross to get together, so she wasn't supposed to matter. The problem was that she was really nice and deserved better.
Chandler accidentally agreed to move to Tulsa for work when he fell asleep during a meeting. Though Monica was originally supposed to go with him, she couldn't turn down a new job in New York. Then, to everyone's surprise, he joined them in New York on Christmas. This was the right move and not just because Monica and Chandler shouldn't have been kept apart too long.
Friends made fun of Chandler's career for so long that it was about time he got a new one. Not only was advertising something he enjoyed, but they could no longer have everyone not know what he did.
In season 3, Ross was extremely jealous of Mark, to the point that he interrupted Rachel's work day. He wanted to make sure the other man knew Rachel had a boyfriend and filled her desk with gifts; he even sent a barbershop quartet to the office. Mark did have a crush on Rachel, but imagine how much better it would've been if he didn't. What if he'd just been a good guy who helped her get a job when she needed one?
His crush didn't justify Ross' jealousy and actions, nor did the crush go anywhere, so it was pointless.
The series established in season 1 that Monica wanted to have children, but she and Chandler learned they couldn't have kids and turned to adoption. In season 10, the adoption agency called them in, but it turned out they mixed up their files. Once Monica and Chandler admitted who they were, it looked like Erica wasn't going to choose them.
However, that led to one of the best speeches in the show's history as Chandler convinced Erica to pick them. That was the only scene you needed to see to understand how much Chandler loved Monica.
For the most part, Joey only had casual relationships, but instead of sending Erin away after she'd spent the night with Joey, Rachel and Phoebe befriended her. They liked Erin, so they wanted Joey to keep her around. Though he was hesitant, he soon began to want the same thing, but Erin didn't want that and asked Rachel and Phoebe to let him down gently.
This could've led to some real character growth for Joey, instead, every time he said he wanted something more, it only lasted for one episode.
Before Monica and Chandler's wedding, Phoebe found a pregnancy test in the couple's bathroom. She incorrectly assumed it was Monica's and Rachel let her. However, Rachel was pregnant, but she tried to keep the father's identity a secret. Then, Joey remembered a guy leaving a sweater in their apartment. Ross claimed the item of clothing and Monica, Phoebe, and Joey realized he was the father.
Ross and Rachel having a baby together kept the two of them connected when they weren't dating. Also, if someone else had been the father, he would've had to recur on the show, take care of the baby off-screen (like Carol) or not be in the child's life at all.
In a season 5 episode, Chandler learned why he lost a toe at the Gellers' Thanksgiving dinner years prior. After calling Monica fat one year, she decided to get back at him the following year by embarrassing him. The end result was that she accidentally dropped a knife on his foot while he was wearing wicker shoes.
It was an honest mistake, but it was pretty much forgotten about, as was the aftermath and her apology. No one ever mentioned it again, so what was the point? To have Chandler apologize for name calling? To play the humor of his shoes and Monica bringing a carrot instead of the digit to the hospital?
Ross and Rachel were always going to end up together, but if Friends had decided to change the endgame plan, Joey would've been a great choice for Rachel. Fans watched their friendship deepen when she moved in with him. Then, they went on a (platonic) date and he realized he was beginning to have feelings for her. He struggled with what to do and fans saw how the others reacted to the revelation.
He even summoned up the courage to tell her how he felt, even though it didn't go anywhere at the time, it showed great growth in his character.
Monica and Chandler got together in London the night before Ross and Emily's wedding. However, before their own wedding, she revealed she had really been looking for Joey that night. Sure, it was great for laughs, like what it would've been like if they dated, but it was unnecessary.
Friends didn't even bother showing Monica and Chandler talking after the revelation. Instead, Chandler spoke with Joey and his and Monica's conversation took place off-screen. They had resolved the issue by the time they had rejoined their friends. What should have been about Monica and Chandler's relationship became about Chandler and Joey's friendship on-screen.
Friends pretty much forgot about Ben in the later seasons, especially once Ross and Rachel had Emma. However, his existence kept Carol (and Susan) in Ross' and the others' lives, and that was the right call. At times, they were more entertaining (and better characters) than Ross. If not for Ben, the gang would've maybe mentioned Carol and Susan every once in a while, as Ross' first divorce.
The series was able to explore the three of them trying to figure out how to raise Ben together. It was messy at times, but the show was better for it.
Over the years, Friends revealed more and more about the characters' pasts, including kisses. In fact, Rachel and Chandler once were together in a flashback. However, the series had the two of them meet (seemingly for the first time) more than once. The more revealed about their past (like spending the same holiday with the Gellers), the more obvious the plot holes became.
It was never mentioned again, nor did Rachel ever address it. The only point seemed to be to set up the reveal of the truth about Ross and Rachel's first kiss.
Once the series had both Joey and Rachel having feelings for one another, that had to go somewhere. Their friendship and scenes together showed they could be a good match. But first, they had to take that step. Once Joey and Charlie broke up, they had their chance. Joey saw Charlie and Ross kissing and had nothing holding him back from making a move on Rachel, and while their relationship wasn't handled in the best way, that first moment was.
Rachel and Joey's feelings for each other had to be explored and going to her hotel room in Barbados was the beginning of that.
Ross didn't want Emily to return to London, so he asked her to move in with him, but her life was in England. She said it would be different if it was “way into the future” and they were getting married. So, he went with that and proposed despite only knowing each other for six weeks.
That moment was the beginning of the end for Ross and Emily — and of Emily as a good character. It led to Rachel intending to stop their wedding and Ross saying Rachel's name instead of Emily's. It would've been best for everyone involved if Ross had never proposed.
As everyone recalled celebrating their 30th birthdays, Phoebe's included finding out she was really 31. Her twin sister, Ursula, didn't think it was such a big deal when she told her, but Phoebe had had a list of goals she wanted to accomplish by the age of 30. Later in the episode, Joey followed her out of the coffee shop and kissed her. Because of that, she was able to cross off two things: the perfect kiss and meeting someone who was Portuguese.
It was a sweet moment that highlighted Phoebe and Joey's friendship. Plus, it was the perfect way to have them kiss and mean something, but not lead to more.
Joey realized he had feelings for Rachel in season 8, but she didn't feel the same at the time. Then, the following season, she realized she liked him, just in time to see him and Charlie begin to date.
She was obviously jealous and she wasn't the best person when she was. For example, she let Charlie think Phoebe liked Joey when the other woman mistook Rachel's voice for Phoebe's. She got catty, which wasn't a good look on her, especially since it wasn't Charlie's fault she took too long to say something.
In season 10, Monica and Chandler decided to move out of the city once they had their baby and Joey had the most trouble dealing with them leaving. He even tried to convince them their new house wasn't as great as it was, but they then revealed the one part of the house he hadn't seen yet: the Joey room. Yes, he had his own room in their house.
Chandler and Joey's friendship was one of the best parts of the series. This was a perfect way to show that friendship wouldn't change, even if their lives did.
For the longest time, it seemed like David was the only likely choice for Phoebe's romantic endgame. Then, he had to move to Minsk for work. But every time he returned to New York, there was obviously something between him and Phoebe. She even saw him when she was dating Mike. Then, when David returned permanently, she started dating him again. The problem, though, was that she was still in love with Mike.
David's time in Minsk did make for some amusing moments, especially between him and Mike. However, it wasn't the best move for Phoebe's character because she kept falling back with him whenever he was in town.
Chandler's plan to propose hit a snag when Richard showed up at the restaurant. In order to keep Monica in the dark, Chandler made her think he didn't want to get married. At the same time, Richard told her he wanted that future with her and things became complicated. Just as Chandler planned to tell her the truth, Joey told him Monica left, but when Chandler entered their apartment, Monica was waiting to propose to him.
He ended up taking over to finish the proposal, but it was a sweet moment and was fitting for their relationship. While Rachel and Ross were messy, Monica and Chandler's problems tended to be solved within an episode.
It was inevitable that Ross and Rachel would end up together and because that was simply a fact, despite the many reasons why they shouldn't have, the series didn't bother putting much effort into their reunion. Both were in other relationships at the beginning of the final season and there was no real build-up to their reunion. There were a few moments near the end of the season before they got together and before she had to leave for a new job in Paris, but that was it.
Furthermore, that ending didn't feel earned. Rachel gave up a great job in Paris and Ross got what he ostensibly always wanted, despite not really deserving it.
Everyone joined Joey in Las Vegas after his movie failed. While Monica and Chandler kept seeing signs they should get married, they weren't the ones who tied the knot. Instead, Rachel and Ross got married while Monica and Chandler were waiting for their turn at the chapel. A Las Vegas wedding wouldn't have been the right move for any of the Friends couples' actual wedding, but it worked for one that wasn't going to last.
While Ross was wrong to keep the lack of an annulment from Rachel, the marriage itself did lead to quite a few laughs.
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