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10 annoying things I noticed across 10 seasons of Friends

Watching 10 seasons of Friends makes you realize some things: Ross was a jerk, a minor character had the saddest fate, and no one seemed to own a bra.

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Even though I was too young to remember Friends in its initial 1994-2004 run, I grew up watching the reruns, so I knew the episodes pretty well. At least I thought I did, until I binge watched all ten seasons when the show became available on Netflix.

I finished “The Last One” at 3 am, and when I shut down my laptop and finally went to sleep, I realized that there are a lot of things off about Friends I didn’t notice the first time around. And I’m not talking about obvious stuff like how it’s impossible that Monica was able to afford that spacious two bedroom apartment in the Village even with her supposed rent control or how it’s ironic that Ross and Rachel were billed as the series’ top couple when they were only together for two out of the ten seasons. I’m talking about stuff you don’t notice until you sit down and watch all 236 episodes all in a row. Buckle up, kids. I’m going to point out some stuff that will blow your mind.

10. No one seemed to own a bra

We were sitting in our friend’s living room, slowly making our way through season 1. My friend Danielle had been living under a rock for the last twenty years, so it was fascinating to watch the reactions of a person watching the show for the first time. We were watching “The One With the Monkey” (Season 1, Episode 10) and enjoying it until Danielle turned around and asked, “Did no one wear a bra in this show?”

Then we looked back at the screen, and sure enough, you could tell how cold that studio was just by looking at Monica, Phoebe, and Rachel’s chests. And this wasn’t just limited to season 1 and the wackiness of 1994. In almost every single episode, you can totally see someone’s nipples at least once.

This is a family friendly-ish website so I took the liberty of censoring them in these screencaps, but they’re there, trust me.

I randomly took screenshots from S1:E10, S5:E5, S10:E11 if you really want to double check, pervs.

I can’t really figure out an explanation why the NBC censors allowed this to slide for ten years. Was this just a ’90s thing that was acceptable for the time? Were networks execs hoping that a little titiliation would keep the ratings high? Did Jennifer, Courteney, and Lisa blow all their money and somehow never have any left over for a Wonderbra? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

9. Paolo really wasn’t that good-looking

I remember watching Friends the first time around and thinking that Ross needed to chill out about Rachel dating this Italian Stallion. But then rewatching the show, I found myself agreeing with Ross: what exactly did Rachel see in Paolo? Because, uh, there really wasn’t much to look at.

I know, I know. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, and I know that in different time periods certain aesthetics are more pleasing than others. For some reason in the early ’90s, men with long hair who dressed in oversized baggy potato sacks slacks were in vogue, and this explains why long-haired, pleated pants-wearing Paolo was considered to be hot despite the fact that he looks like he stumbled out of a burlap factory. But I just can’t believe that Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, and any woman who was within a five-mile radius thought Paolo (played by Cosimo Fusco) was quote-unquote “yummy”. I mean, the guy isn’t ugly, but everyone was acting like he was the second coming of James Dean and Marlon Brando rolled into one.

Courteney Cox deserved an Emmy for this performance.

Maybe this was just a case of informed attractiveness or maybe Paolo just got lost in the parade of conventionally thin and beautiful people who were already on the show. Either way, I was glad when Paolo’s story arc finally ended and I didn’t have to pretend I thought he was as attractive as the gang did.

8. Ross was such a dick (Part 1)

Look, Ross. I get it: your wife, the woman you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with, turned out to be a lesbian and she decided to raise her baby with her new life partner/eventual wife instead of you. It’s an awkward, painful situation. But do you have to be dick about it? ‘Cause it kinda makes you look homophobic.

Ross couldn’t stop fixating on the fact that his wife was a lesbian to his friends, but when he was in public, he had a hard time admitting his wife’s sexuality to strangers, even though she had no problem with it. In “The One With Two Parts” (S1:E16), all three attended Lamaze class together and Ross tried to explain Susan as “Carol’s friend.” Carol clarified, saying that they were “life partners,” but Ross interrupted to claim that they were just very good friends.

Dude, they’re here. They’re queer. Get over it.

Ross got slightly better after the birth of his son where he and Susan seemed to find some common ground, but that all went out the window in “The One With the Lesbian Wedding” (S2:E11) where he actually complained about Susan and Carol’s upcoming nuptials, saying, “They already live together, why do they need to get married?”

Shut up, Ross. You got married to a woman you barely knew for two months and then while drunk in Vegas. I think the two lesbians in a happy, committed relationship can have a wedding too.

7. Rachel was such a bitch to Julie

Speaking of jerks, Rachel almost gives Ross a run for his money with her treatment of Julie in Season 2. Julie, if you don’t remember, was Ross’s college girlfriend whom he reconnected with when he went to China for a business trip. Julie was sweet, nice, and overall a likable character. Except she had one major flaw: “she’s not Rachel.” Being in the way of the Ross/Rachel-ship we all wanted was the only problem with her that anyone on or off the show could every find.

Rachel, who just realized she was in love with Ross, never missed a chance to try to sabotage Julie or her perfect good relationship with Ross. She made snide comments about Julie under her breath all the time, tried to prevent Julie and Ross from having sex in “The One With Phoebe’s Husband” (S2:E4), and got mad at Monica for shopping at Bloomingdale’s with Julie. Even when Ross was insanely jealous of Paolo, he didn’t stoop to this underhanded kind of stuff.

Julie even sensed Rachel’s hatred and tried to extend an olive branch to her in “The One with the Breast Milk” (S2:E2). I thought things would get better between them after Rachel admitted that Julie made Ross happy, but then once Julie left the room, Rachel pouted.

No, Rachel. That would be you.

Thankfully for Julie, she met the Ross knockoff Russ and presumably had a happy life with him where she didn’t have to pretend she didn’t hear Russ’s almost-girlfriend call her a bitch every five seconds, and probably never had to worry about whether she and Russ were on a break.

6. Ross was such a dick (Part 2)

You thought Ross being a dick was only going to be a season 1 thing? Buckle up, kids, and let’s go to season 3 where Rachel quit her waitressing job and got into her dream job of fashion merchandising. You’d think Ross would be happy that his girlfriend no longer screws up coffee orders for a living, but Ross couldn’t support Rachel’s dream because of the fact that a handsome, charming man named Mark helped Rachel get the job.

Ross was convinced that Mark was trying to sleep with Rachel, despite the fact that Mark had a girlfriend and Rachel wasn’t interested. Ross sent flowers, stuffed animals, oversized greeting cards, and a goddamned barbershop quartet to Rachel’s office just to remind her and Mark that she was in relationship.

“Shit, maybe I should have let Julie keep him after all.”

It was Ross’s irrational jealousy that caused their relationship to implode, but eventually the two moved past that and dated other people, accidentally got married, had a kid, etc. Seven years later, when Rachel was fired from her job at Ralph Lauren and bumped into an old acquaintance who offered her a job opportunity at Louis Vuitton, Ross was happy and supportive of Rachel until he realized that old friend was Mark and promptly tried to stop her from taking the job.

Seven years later. Seven years later, when he and Rachel were no longer in a romantic relationship and he wasn’t even interested in a romantic relationship with her, Ross was still jealous of Mark and tried to sabotage Rachel’s career over it. What a dick.

5. They were on a break, but Ross still messed up

Ah, the controversial episodes “The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break” and “The One The Morning After” (S3:E15 and S3:E16). Were Ross and Rachel on a break? Did he really cheat on her? Should she have been so mad at him? What even is a break? This topic has been debated many times throughout the ages, but I believe I have the absolute final answer on the situation.

You see, “the break” was a break up so Ross did not cheat, no matter what Rachel claimed afterwards. She admitted to Monica that she and Ross “kinda broke up” in “The One The Morning After,” so she or any other characters can’t say that Ross sleeping with Chloe the Copy Girl was infidelity. Yeah, it was a little sketchy how quickly he hopped into bed with someone else, but it still technically wasn’t cheating. However, Ross did make the mistake of lying about it and trying to hide the other woman when Rachel came over to make up.

No, don’t give yourself a thumbs up. That was a shitty hiding place.

This is pretty ironic considering that the reason for their break up was that Ross was afraid Rachel was going to cheat on him with Mark.

Anyway, this whole mess could have been avoided if Rachel and Ross actually managed to define what a “break” was before they went their separate ways for the night–was it a break up or just downgrading their relationship to something less serious? Could they see other people or was this just a time to take a breather and reflect on the relationship? Well, we got seven seasons’ worth of cheap jokes out of this situation and those two crazy kids did end up together, so I guess it all works out.

4. The Rachel/Joey relationship was awkward

Amongst my group of friends, none of us never really bought into the Rachel/Joey ship. I could believe that Joey and Rachel had an unrequited crushes on each other, but when it came down to watching them kiss on screen and go on dates, it fell flat. It’s strange because on paper, Joey and Rachel do seem like an ideal couple. Someone even went through the trouble of listing all the reasons why: they’re compatible in terms of intelligence and temperament, they don’t have a complicated history like Rachel does with Ross, and they got along well as roommates. However,  it was still just so weird to see them together, especially since at this point Rachel and Ross had a child together. Even if Joey and Rachel stayed together, how were they going to fit Ross in their relationship?

Hopefully not like this.

Maybe it was because we had already been watching the Ross/Rachel dynamic go on for eight years so it was strange to uproot that in favor of a new pairing. Maybe it was because Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc didn’t have the right chemistry together. Maybe it was because fans, the writers, and even the actors thought Joey was going to end up with Phoebe. I mean, those two flirted a lot more than Joey ever did with Rachel and allegedly Lisa Kudrow and Matt Le Blanc wanted their characters to get together.

Thankfully the subplot for their relationship was quickly wrapped up.

3. Ross was such a dick (Part 3)

In season 9, Ross and Rachel had their baby Emma, and in “The One With the Male Nanny” (S9:E6), they, well, got a male nanny. Sandy (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) was kind and sensitive so naturally Ross’s first question to him in the interview was, “Are you gay?” Ross just couldn’t comprehend that there are guys out there who are fine with taking traditionally feminine roles so he spent most of the episode making snarky comments and complaining about Sandy’s sensitivity. Eventually, he demanded that they fire Sandy because he was so uncomfortable with a male nanny. Let me repeat that: Ross wanted to fire his nanny simply because the nanny was a guy instead of a woman.

“Man? Take care of baby? But-but-but that’s a girl job!”

Lucky for Ross, Sandy was an absolute saint and was completely understanding of Ross’s discomfort and even got Ross to admit that the reason he was so uncomfortable was because of Ross’s upbringing. He even made Ross cry! I would have been happier if Ross was crying because Sandy beat him up so bad, but I will take this too.

2. David the Scientist Guy is probably the saddest character ever

David the Scientist Guy (Hank Azaria) was introduced in season 1 as a love interest for Phoebe. The two were passionately in love, and unfortunately, their romance ended when David was forced to choose between pursuing theoretical research in Minsk or his relationship. Ultimately, Phoebe encouraged him to go to Minsk even though it broke her heart in the process.

Then David came back for good in season 9 after his research turned out to be a massive failure, ruining his reputation and caused him to lose a toe to frostbite. But hey, at least he and Phoebe could get back together and resume their wonder, grand love affair, right? Oh wait, except she was still in love with her at-the-time ex-boyfriend Mike (Paul Rudd). Even though David sensed this, he decided to put a ring on it and propose to Phoebe in “The One in Barbados Part 1” (S9:E23).

Except then Mike interrupted their dinner to pop the question first.

“Phoebe? I kinda had something I was going to ask you.”

So David watched the woman he had been in love with for seven years accept another man’s proposal, and to top it off, Phoebe admitted that if he had asked first, she probably would have said yes. David left Barbados, lonely and filled with regret. I just get so sad thinking about how terrible David’s fate turned out and I want justice for this sweet, awkward, lovable guy. If that Friends movie ever happens, I want just at least one throwaway line that mentions that David is now successful and happily married and maybe doing voiceover work on The Simpsons.

1. Ross was a (creepy) dick (Part 4)

Wow, Ross racked up some dickish behaviors in ten years, didn’t he? I mean, he’s not the only character who was a jerk but the thing that irks me is that Ross was supposed to be this neurotic and goofy but overall kindhearted “good guy,” and yet he pulled a lot of underhanded, manipulative stunts.

The most egregious offense was in season 10, when Rachel got a job offer in Paris and Ross didn’t want her to go. So what does he do? Talk to Rachel and tell her that he’s going to miss her and doesn’t want to lose custody of his daughter? Ask Rachel to see if she can get another job offer in New York? Nope, that’s too rational for Ross! Instead, he decides to secretly talk to Rachel’s boss at Ralph Lauren and convince the company to give Rachel her job back without her knowing. “Oh, and then we have see if she wants to come back,” he tells her former boss.

Sadly, Ross was unable to detect the sarcasm.

Thankfully, Ross gave up his manipulative efforts by the end of the episode and declared his love for Rachel like a normal person in the series finale. Lucky for him, Rachel never found out all the crap he pulled in an attempt to keep her in the country so the two could run off blissfully into the sunset.

Unless one of them declares another break.

So what about you? What annoying things did you notice in Friends?

Susan Velazquez

Susan is a recent college grad and writer who enjoys all things from the 1980s, snarking on dumb television, and reveling in celebrity gossip. Oh, and she has serious interests like reading historical fiction, getting involved in social issues, and consuming French fries.

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  • All this talk about Ross being a dick, and not one mention of The Sandwich? You know, the one with the “moist-maker?”

  • Lost In Ube

    Chandler Bing had the worst friends in the world. Sure, he was a smart-ass and liked to make jokes but good lord everyone was just mean to him non-stop, Phoebe being the worst. I’m probably wrong but it sure seems like there were always more instances of Chandler comforting/helping out his friends than any of them doing anything for him.

  • guenna77

    a) you can be wearing a bra and still have your nipples showingb) seriously? nipples under clothing are not really that unusual or salacious.

  • Deleted

    This post was deleted.

  • Mr. Blobfish

    I found none of the characters likeable. My wife, tho, watched all the time. I just looked at the boobs.

  • Joey, was the only character I couldn’t quite get into. His character was beyond stupid in most of the episodes he was in…. (especially the episode where he was “learning french”)

    • maarvarq

      And yet this was the character that they tried to spin off into his own show after Friends ended. Of course it crashed and burned.

  • B S

    I never watched this show when it was on TV, and now I remember why. I have been binge watching it on Netflix and have made it through season 5. How in the hell did this show become so popular?! Rachel is a selfish, whiny, spoiled manipulative witch! How did this show launch Jennifer Annistons career?! She is a good actress, but holy hell her character is obnoxious! The only one I find tolerable is Phoebe! Joey isn’t too bad, but the rest of them are horrible people!! Ross is just plain creepy. And annoying. And creepy.

    • Murry Chang

      It was like Seinfeld but without the funny.

    • Albo Kiparis

      Ha. Ha. Ha. Phoebe is actually the most manipulative and selfish main character in the series. It means nothing for her to lie or use someone just to get what she wants. And the worst thing she generally doesn’t even see it as bad. But I still like her 🙂

  • rpdavies

    This is still one of my sister’s favourite TV shows.

    I used to dip in but found it watchable, even the weaker episodes.

  • Thomas Stockel

    I only watched one episode, the one where Courtney Cox lied about her age and slept with a guy…to discover he lied about his age and it turned out he was a high school senior. The guys asking her what her new boyfriend’s favorite Power Ranger is was pretty damn funny, I have to admit.

  • Jesse J. Barboza

    Articles like these remind me why I’ve always preferred Seinfeld instead of Friends. All the characters on Seinfeld were dicks too, but at least that show was willing to admit it.

    Plus it didn’t bog itself down with all that hacky sappy “will-they-won’t-they” garbage that I’ve never enjoyed in sitcoms. It always feels like a manipulative audience-trapping trick used by writers who aren’t confident enough in their ability to keep a show entertaining for several seasons’ worth of episodes. I was more emotionally invested in Jerry trying to learn Mulva’s name than I ever was in Ross and Rachel arguing over alleged infidelity.

  • April Mcqueen

    In the 90s, padded bras weren’t a “thing” like they are now. So just the fact that you can see nipples doesn’t mean they weren’t wearing bras. Most of the time if you stop staring at their nipples you can see the straps and whatnot. Obviously some of the things they wear are sans bra, but throughout most of the series, they have bras on.

    Also, the show was popular because a lot of people could relate to the characters, Ross included. You have to remember that the show has to exaggerate the characters to make it enjoyable. Monica wouldn’t be as relateable if she wasn’t super crazy OCD and uptight. I have several friends that have some of the same characteristics as all of the other friends.

    Ultimately, it’s a show. It’s entertaining. Why nit-pick?

    • Brenda Harrison Rojas

      That’s right. It’s now that bras are all padded. I think the show was intended just to have fun, it doesnt have like a deeper meanig. Just relax and watch the nonsence happening. Regards!

  • Jonny Edworthy

    Comedy Central airs Friends in the UK, and four things became apparent when they show episodes in a random order:

    1. Matthew Perry was clearly in a bad place and only getting worse throughout the show’s run, going from svelte and healthy-looking in season 1 to slightly bloated and permanently crimson-hued around season 8.
    2. The cast will not stop shouting their lines in the later episodes, making them quite tiresome to watch.
    3. Yes, Ross is a dick. The show keeps trying to present him as being lovably apprehensive, but his behaviour is so petty and so hysterical that he ends up looking faintly sociopathic, and I wonder why the rest of the gang don’t just tell him to fuck off.
    4. Friends overall is watchable, but not particularly memorable, to the point at which even after having watched several dozen episodes I can barely recall any lines, plots, gags, supporting characters, etc.
    Except for “we were on a break!”, obviously.

  • 333 SC

    I know that usually Phoebe is cited as being the most decent one of the bunch but she keeps referring to “not going back to jail” and no one seems to notice. And she wanted to steal an airplane which, as we know, doesn’t usually seem to end well.

  • Felix

    If it weren’t for the over-the-top antics of Joey & Chandler, I never would have watched the show anyway, but articles like this get under my skin.
    Nipples are showing? Who cares? And why am I a pervert for looking. If you stripped off in front of me do I turn away lest I become a pillar of salt or do I look because “hey why not”?
    As for the characters, despite all of them being nothing more than 2 dimensional caricatures, Rachel & Monica were nothing but bitches, end of story. I hated them then and nothing has changed.
    If Ross was uncomfortable with a male nanny then that’s his business and none of us gets to vote. If my wife was uncomfortable with a female nanny, she’d be gone in a heartbeat and we wouldn’t decide until we were both happy. A guy crying over feelings being trusted to look after my child? No thanks.
    And no, singing a Sir-mix-a-lot song is not inappropriate as a baby would have no idea. It’d be laughing at the rhythm, not the content. Grow up Rachel.
    And yes they were on a break, there was no cheating. I agree it was very quick however it was nothing more than rebound sex. Both men AND women do that.
    Phoebe was just a self-righteous pain in the arse and every time she opened her mouth I tuned out.
    I hated the Susan character. Carol being a lesbian had nothing to do with Ross but he was still the biological father. Susan gets no say in how Ben is raised. It has nothing to do with homophobia, it’s just common decency. It’s not your kid so stay out of it. No you don’t get to name him, no you don’t get to judge how Ross is supposed to feel. As Ross once said “Every day is lesbian lover day”.

  • Sanya Alfarsii

    why dont u use pictures from friends in the article about friends?

  • Lana

    Sorry but Susan was awful and it has nothing to do with the lesbian story- line. She treated Ross as if he was just some sort of sperm donor who entered into her and Carol’s relationship. Whenever she appeared in an episode she was always some rude and snarky. Especially when she wanted to remove Ross’s last name entirely from his and Susan son as if she automatically had the right. Even after Ross walked Carol down the aisle because the parents refused she still tried to shut him out and insulted him every step of the way. There was nothing likable about that character.

    • Rose Black

      Have to agree. You can understand Susan being insecure over the fact that Ross will always be Ben’s father, but it didn’t seem to ever occur to her just what a cold-hearted bitch she was being by insisting that Ross’ child would not have his name. She took Ross’ wife, and then finds out that she’s taken his baby too, and proceeds to act as though she and Carol planned to have this baby all along and Ross was just the sperm donor.

  • Moystafa Aliogloy

    ross was a dick? are you fcking kidding me you dumb fucks?

  • Lala Benn

    This actually is a lame obvious list. Also other than the bra thing these aren’t things you “noticed”. They are more just your personal opinions.

  • Syd

    God, the title makes it sound as if fans of the show never noticed any of this. DUH, the obnoxious character defects are part of the comedy. Have you ever watched Seinfeld? Same premise. Selfish yet relatable characters who are of course unrealistic at the same time. It’s a sitcom. Also, WHO CARES IF THEY WERE’NT WEARING BRAS?! For someone who claims to be interested in “social issues”. I’d expect you guys to be less offended by the outline of a nipple. Well I’ve said all of this without cursing since it’s a “family friendly” site. Blah blah.