These will make you re-watch carefully


To celebrate New Year, Netflix UK has acquired Friends, all 10 seasons of which are available to stream now. As the former E4 and Comedy Central mainstay finds its new home on the streaming service, here are 11 amazing wacky theories about the show to mull over while re-watching.

1. Phoebe is a genius

Phoebe has a mysterious backstory, and is the most unpredictable character on the show. She grew up on the streets after the suicide of her mother, during which time she battled a bout of Hepatitis. Despite her situation and lack of formal education, she still managed to learn a couple of foreign languages (Italian and French).

This theory contends that Phoebe Buffay is a genius with “zero ambition” who plays her friends off against one another “for her own amusement”. A perfect example of this is when she spends a couple of days toying with and ultimately checkmating Ross – a university lecturer – in an argument about evolutionary theory. Immediately after this she casually says: “That was fun – who’s hungry?”

Another episode that typifies Phoebe’s casual but benevolent genius is when she and Joey plan to set Ross and Rachel up on terrible blind dates so that they’ll realize they are meant for each other. “By the time anyone’s figured out what we’ve done,” she says, “we’ll be in sunny Mexico. Oh wait, that’s the end of a different plan.”

2.The whole of Friends is Phoebe’s meth fantasy

At the opposite end of the Phoebe-verse is this bleak re-imagining of the show by Twitter user @strnks, which suggests that throughout the 10 seasons she was “projecting herself into the lives of the other five” and that “all she ever wanted was… friends,” using every “kooky aside” as evidence that she didn’t belong in the group.

Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman has responded to the theory, saying: “That’s the saddest theory I’ve ever heard,” adding: “That’s a terrible theory. That’s insane! That’s, like, that’s like crazy alt-television theory. Wow. I’m fascinated. I just think that someone needs a life. Someone needs a life, that’s all I’m saying.”

3. Gunther always reserved the Central Perk table for Rachel’s friends

This theory tries to find an explanation for the gang’s permanent occupation of Central Perk’s best seats. Supposedly, Gunther was so in love with Rachel that he let her and her friends have the couch and armchairs whenever they wanted them, by leaving a Reserved sign there permanently. He never told her, because he never had the guts – meaning the friends just assumed it was reserved for them because they were regulars of the coffee shop.

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