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8 Reasons Why ‘Friends’ Was Such an Unrealistic TV Show

by Edward John 2 months ago in tv

Hilarious, heart-warming, but completely unrealistic

Stuart Sevastos, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I loved “Friends.” Let me start with that. In fact, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was my favorite comedy show. Every week I would look forward to the latest episode, and I would record them and rewatch them many times.

But let’s face it, it wasn’t like real life at all. As hilarious and heart-warming as it was, it gave us unrealistic expectations about our friendships and life paths. Let’s take a look at the reasons why.

#1: An even number of attractive men and women?

In this friendship group, there just so happened to be an even number of men and women. To varying degrees, the women are all pretty, the men are all handsome with dark hair, and all six of them are a similar height.

Look, I know people like to watch attractive people, and I know it’s easier to film if they’re not wildly different sizes. But just think of how many more interesting plot points there would have been if there was a really ugly one, a short one, or one with a ridiculous ginger afro.

#2: The same group of friends for many years?

The same even-numbered group of people wouldn’t have stayed close friends for all those years. Some of them would have left, some other people would have joined. The group would have evolved over the years.

Not only that, not all of them would have been friends at the same time. Friendships are often complicated. Surely you must have friends who don’t like each other? Sometimes you have things in common with different people but they don’t have anything in common with each other. This brings me to my next point.

#3: They were too different from each other

Okay, I get why Ross and Chandler were friends. They were college roommates, and by sheer coincidence, Chandler ended up living right next to his pal’s sister. I get why Monica and Rachel were friends, for a similar reason.

But Ross and Joey wouldn’t have been close friends. They were too different. Joey’s baffling success with women despite being so stupid would have infuriated Ross, and Ross would have been frustrated at Joey’s total inability to find his way around a museum.

As for Phoebe, she was too weird to be long-term close friends with Rachel and Monica. In a throwback episode of season three, we find out that Phoebe used to live with Monica but had to move out because Monica’s obsessive tidiness drove her crazy.

I’m not even convinced that Monica and Ross would have been particularly close. It’s obvious they annoyed the hell out of each other growing up. As adults, I imagine them being mature enough to be reasonably well-behaved with each other to get through any essential family gatherings (birthdays, Christmas, etc.). But hanging out with each other every day? I doubt it.

#4: Monica’s big apartment

How could Monica afford that big apartment in Manhattan? According to this and this, renting an apartment in NYC costs about half of a chef’s salary.

I suppose technically it is possible, but look how they spend most of their free time. In their local coffee house, spending money on muffins and cappuccinos. This brings me to my next point.

#5: They hung out together ALL THE TIME

Since when does a group of six adult friends get to hang out every day? Most of them have full-time jobs, Ross has a son, and surely they must get sick of each other’s company eventually.

And who the hell has time to have breakfast at their friend’s apartment before work?

#6: Their ages are inconsistent

In season 3, Rachel is 28, but in season 7 she celebrates her 30th birthday. But it is Joey’s age that seems to vary so much throughout the show’s 10-year run:

  • Season 1: he’s 25
  • Season 2: he’s 28
  • Season 3: he’s 27
  • Season 4: he’s 29
  • Season 7: he’s 31 (according to Chandler) or 30 (according to himself).

#7: They’re all white

According to this, the population of Manhattan in the 1990s was more than 40% non-white. Surely, with 6 of them, at least one would have been black or Asian.

What does this tell us? That people with wildly different personality types, intelligence levels, and lifestyles, can stick together for years as a group of tight-knit close friends, just as long as they’re all the same race?

#8: Problems are neatly resolved in 22 minutes

Okay, putting aside the whole “we were on a break” saga, issues didn’t tend to drag on too long. Most of the time, whatever problems arose during the episode were dealt with by the time the credits rolled.

In real life, this isn’t how most issues between friends play out. If a problem is big enough for one friend to confront another friend about, it tends to drag on.

While “Friends” is hilarious and still warms the hearts of many people, the situations of its characters and their relationships are unrealistic and don’t properly reflect the lives of real people.


Edward John

Interested in health, self-improvement, the outdoors, and psychology. Mildly autistic, I sometimes get obsessed with strange things nobody else is interested in. Sometimes I write silly stories. [email protected]

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