There's a reason Netflix decided to start streaming Friends. The most popular sitcom of the 90s remains one of the funniest shows the world has ever seen– could Chandler be any funnier?
Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc formed the core six who became household names overnight. Their hangout spot, Central Perk inspired Starbucks's furnishings, but nobody was tuning into Friends for the macchiato culture. Rachel Green was busy being the world's worst waitress, Ross was falling for her a little more every day, and it was only a matter of time before they got together.
Thinking of Friends and babies, most people immediately picture Ross and Rachel's somewhat-unexpected baby Emma. It might be worth remembering that the show brought other babies, though. Chandler and Monica eventually became parents to twins– "We only ordered one!" Phoebe carried her brother's triplets. Even Janice wound up having a baby.
Sitcoms have a way of making the most of terrible timing. Apartment doors get left open. People get down on one knee at the wrong moment. In reality, it would never work. On TV? Please. Pass the popcorn.
Pregnancy is a delicate one, though. It's also the one thing that TV seems to either get totally right (or totally wrong). It's time for Friends, the pregnancy approach. Here are 11 things Friends got wrong about pregnancy (plus 9 that were actually spot-on).
It may well be the greatest TV reaction ever. Ross and Rachel didn't exactly plan their pregnancy, but that's what you get for telling the Europe story, right? Rachel is definitely surprised to discover that she's expecting, but that's nothing compared to Ross' state of mind.
"I'm pregnant...." Giant silence. "And you're the father."
Yup. Rachel sits there and we join her in watching David Schwimmer deliver the world's most epic reaction. It's like time is standing still. Ross is already a father. He has a career and plenty of responsibilities. That reaction was just all kinds of wrong. At the same time, it was all kinds of hilarious.
Friends was actually pretty progressive– we had Carol and Susan as a couple (in the 90s). We had Chandler's father. We also had surrogacy (which now feels very #2019 with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West). Phoebe earmarked her quirky personality from day one. Her decision to be a surrogate for her brother was one she made willingly.
Frank Buffay and his wife couldn't conceive naturally. While Phoebe's triplets pregnancy made for an epic storyline, volunteering to go through that (for your own sibling) isn't exactly regular. "The father is my brother," Phoebe told the maternity staff at the hospital, almost expecting them to be on-board.
Friends did a pretty good job with Rachel's pregnancy. While other shows limit themselves to giant stereotypes (cravings, swollen ankles, nausea), Friends gave us something real. Rachel is close to her due date when she experiences unexpected pain, and it's enough to take her to the hospital. She has Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Of course, Ross has to come in and laugh it off– not cool. Ross: "Most women don't even feel them." Rachel: "No uterus, no opinion." And so continue the utterly epic one-liners that made this show so brilliant. "I got half a mind to contract that doctor's uterus," Rachel continues: "Mild discomfort. What's he talking about?"
Ross– for reference, a professor of paleontology, a guest lecturer at NYU, and the show's "adult" (well, compared to Joey, anyway). For a man in his 30s, this guy doesn't half know how to be a child. Ross winds up at the OBGYN with Rachel, and his feet wind up in the stirrups.
While this scene was definitely funny, there's also definitely something wrong with it– a grown man shouldn't be behaving less maturely than his own son (remember Ben?). Ross might have been childish at times, but let's remember that this guy adored Rachel. Fortunately, he was there for her in the end.
No sitcom on earth will ever top the wedding drama that Friends threw us. First, there was Ross' ill-fated wedding to E-M-I-L-Y. Chandler and Monica's wedding was a little more easy-going, but Chandler on that dancefloor will go down in history. This scene didn't throw us any marriage, but we did get three wedding dresses.
"Hey, you know what might cheer you up?" Phoebe tells a pretty depressed Monica. "What?" Monica replies. The camera then cuts to Rachel, Phoebe, and Monica eating popcorn on the couch. Phoebe was pregnant at this point. On what planet maternity wedding dresses become this readily available...? We don't know.
Phoebe's face could not be more #Casual here. The 100th episode of Friends saw Phoebe finally go into labor and give birth to the triplets that she was carrying for her brother and his wife. Phoebe is a tough girl. She lived on the streets. Giving birth isn't a street-smarts deal, though.
Phoebe: "I'm having my first contraction." Chandler: "Oh, no." Phoebe: "Ooh, it's not that bad." If you've been through the process, you'll know that contractions generally don't come with a #NotThatBad. Early contractions can be lower in pain, but by this point, Phoebe was about to give birth.
Oh, Joey. Not the brightest crayon in the box. Joey Tribbiani will forever be remembered for always being one step behind, although not with the ladies– "How you doin'?" Bear in mind this is a man who couldn't break down Ross' explanation: "1-10, where ten is the highest."
Joey was there for support when Rachel was pregnant (in fact, he was in love with her). "During pregnancy, your fingers swell up to twice their size and they never go back," Joey tells Rachel. Rachel is mildly freaked out over this. On the off-chance you're reading this and wondering if it's true, it is absolutely not.
Rachel's birth was one of the most moving episodes in the entire series. If you've watched the show, you'll remember that Rachel's baby didn't exactly come out quickly. If you know the show really well, you'll remember that Rachel briefly had to share her maternity room with Janice– "OH.MY.GOD."
After the birth, Rachel is overcome by emotions (completely normal). When Joey finds the ring Ross had in his jacket and awkwardly finds himself on one knee, Rachel assumes it's a proposal. She says: "Yes." While Rach didn't actually mean it, the "all over the place" hormones were an accurate portrayal of a new mom.
Ross isn't exactly Mr.Happy when Rachel breaks that pregnancy news. If anything, he's confused. Ross and Rachel had made an effort to prevent pregnancy during their intimate night, but as it turns out, their prevention method wasn't 100% effective.
Rachel: "You know, [they] only work, like, 97% of the time." Ross: "What? What? WHAT? WELL, THEY SHOULD PUT THAT ON THE BOX!"
Technically, Rachel's figure wasn't right. The preventative method that Ross and Rachel used is closer to between 98 and 99% in effectiveness. The overall idea was right, though. Ross then demanded that it be written on the box in "BIG BLACK LETTERS!"
Something about Rachel's sonogram here just made us want to melt. Ross and Rachel are still in the early stages of the pregnancy here, but enough time has passed for the fetus to be visible on the scan. Rachel, as it turns out, is having difficulty seeing the baby. First, she pretends to see it. Ultimately though, "I don't see it!"
"This tiny thing that looks like a peanut?" Ross tells Rachel while holding her hand. "Sweetie, that's it." Rachel's entire faces changes at this moment: "Wow...I can't believe that's our baby." In reality, most mommies-to-be see the baby, but it can be tricky!
Friends never ran out of ways to make us laugh. Rachel's pregnancy sees a touch of #Awkward as Rachel struggles to deal with Joey's feelings for her. In fact, the subject is so awkward, it's starting to affect Rachel's ability to just chat to Joey (like she used to). Rach's solution? To come up with a "problem" that Joey can advise on.
"My boss wants to buy my baby!" Rachel blurts out. It's off the cuff, so she didn't exactly have time to think ahead, but this may well be the least realistic scenario ever. Of course, Joey believes the whole thing and even goes to give Rachel's boss a piece of his mind.
Monica and Chandler's wedding comes with a lot of "sideline action." Everyone is rushing around to make sure everything goes smoothly, but Phoebe finds something interesting just before Monica and Chandler say: "I do."
Chandler to Monica: "Phoebe found your pregnancy test in the trash." Monica: "I didn't take a pregnancy test." Rachel was pregnant.
This was really well done. Rachel had just taken a pregnancy test, but she just wasn't ready to tell anyone. While most couples are stable in their relationship and happy to divulge the news, Rachel just wasn't in that place. Her face stays neutral as she holds on to the news in silence.
This scene comes shortly after Monica and Phoebe are both aware that the pregnancy test found in the trash does, indeed, belong to Rachel. Rachel is way too emotional to look at the result herself, so she asks Phoebe.
"When I got pregnant with the triplets, I took that test, like, three times just to make sure," Phoebe says. Monica chimes in with: "Yes! Maybe it's a false positive." Phoebe initially gives Rachel a "negative" result, after which Rachel starts crying. She really did want to be pregnant. Seeing her reaction, Phoebe then reveals the truth. The emotions that Rachel show are 100% how things are IRL.
Something about this setup is just a little off. Yes, when you're in the final trimester, you're going to be accumulating a fair amount of baby gear. With many women having baby showers these days, the piles of blankets, hats, bottles, and cutesie stuff are often there before there's a baby. With Ross and Rachel though, organization wasn't exactly their forte.
Ross and Rachel aren't far off becoming parents, here. Their apartment? It looks like they're already looking after a newborn. They do go to the baby store (where Ross flirts with the store assistant). Ultimately though, this much baby gear when there's still no baby is a touch too much.
The Ross and Rachel pregnancy arc threw us something that isn't "conventional," but it definitely happens in real life. Ross and Rachel weren't together at this point. Ross was dating Mona (although he kept forgetting about her). Rachel was sort of living in Ross' apartment, but there was no relationship, so to speak.
Ross might have reacted to the pregnancy with disbelief, but he was there for his baby momma. In fact, Ross was pretty upset to find that he wasn't there "enough." When Rachel experiences Braxton-Hicks contractions, Ross is visibly upset that the doctor assumes Joey to be the father. Being there for his pregnant baby momma– thumbs-up to Ross.
TV shows have a way of showing us perfect lives. Couples fall in love, they move to a house in the suburbs, and the kids just "arrive." Friends took a different route. Monica and Chandler are in love, they do buy a house in the suburbs, but the babies don't come so easily.
Monica had wanted to be a mother forever. "I'm always the hostess!" was the closest to motherhood that Monica could get, but deep down, she wanted one of her own. The fertility struggles that we see Monica and Chandler experience take them from exasperation to sadness, to the eventual joy of adoption. This was spot-on.
The fact that Phoebe is a vegetarian (as opposed to a vegan) kind of shows how Friends has aged. Ariana Grande, Ellen DeGeneres, and Miley Cyrus are all vegans. Phoebe was the vegetarian pizza order of the show. During her pregnancy though, Phoebe craves meat so badly, Joey winds up preparing her salami and pastrami sandwiches.
"The baby's craving meat!" Phoebe exclaims. While going against her beliefs upsets Phoebe, she does give in to the cravings. Cravings are one of the most common symptoms a pregnant woman can experience. In the same way the show nailed nausea and hating some foods (Rachel's pickles), it nailed the whole cravings subject.
Pregnancy doesn't come as easily to Chandler and Monica as it does to Ross and Rachel. After trying all possible avenues to have a baby, Chandler and Monica opt for adoption. They fly to Ohio to meet the pregnant Erica (played by Anna Faris), and she picks them.
Just one more example of the guest stars on Friends– Anna Faris playing Erica (and thinking that "both heartbeats" meant hers and the baby's)
Erica, unfortunately, isn't too bright. She is carrying twins, but it's Chandler and Monica who have to figure it out. Another hilarious, but ultimately, very unrealistic moment.
Phoebe's pregnancy is a triple-whammy of the triplets she is having for her brother. The birth itself comes with the usual (contractions, emotions, actual babies), but there's an unusual addition. He comes in the form of one, Fonzie-obsessed doctor.
Phoebe: "Just get me another doctor! One who is not crazy and who is not Fonzie!"
Phoebe accepts her doctor's quirks at first, but it all becomes too much. While doctors can have a personality, hands up who thinks it would be realistic to have your delivery doctor actually watching his favorite TV show during the delivery. Chandler did remind us, though: "Ohh, you know, Fonzie dated triplets."
All's well that ends well best sums up Ross and Rachel. Their beautiful baby girl arrives, Rachel kinda steals Monica's baby name (Emma), but it's all worth it. That said, we can't help but notice that Rachel is lying there after the labor, and there isn't a hair out of place.
The look isn't Kardashian-style. No false lashes or extensions, but Rachel's dewy complexion and neatly parted hair don't exactly say: "I just gave birth."