- Face Doodling:
- During an escalating prank war on the plane to Vegas, Ross draws a beard and moustache on Rachel's face. She doesn't notice until they reach their destination and discovers that it won't come off. Later on Ross suggests that she draws on him so she won't feel so self conscious. She gives him whiskers and writes 'Ross' on his forehead. They then get married and stumble drunkenly about Vegas together, calling one another Mrs Ross and Mr Rachel.
- Also seen in "The One At The Beach." The gang is on vacation at the beach, too bad they're trapped inside by the rain. Rachel wants to paint Ross's toenails, but he won't let her. A chase around the room ensues. They collapse into a chair and Ross grabs Rachel's hand to make her paint nail polish on her own face.
- From the same episode arc, Joey wakes up to find his body covered in sand and made to look like a particularly busty mermaid.
- The Faceless: Ugly Naked Guy, the only time we see anything of him.
- Face Your Fears: Joey advocates this.
...the way I see it, you face your fears same as anything else, you've got a fear of heights, you go to the top of the building. You've got a fear of bugs... get a bug. In your case you've got a fear of commitment so you go in there and be the most committed guy there was.
- In later season episode, it's revealed that Rachel suffers from a swing phobia and is afraid of letting her daughter Emma swing. Ross thinks it's ridiculous, but Rachel reminds him of his irrational fear of spiders. They both try to face their fear for Emma's sake at the end of the episode, but they are both extremely uneasy.
- Fallback Marriage Pact:
- Rachel suggests making one with Ross, who claims he already has one with Phoebe... who is the one who suggested it to Rachel in the first place, claiming she has one with Joey. By the end of the episode, they settled on Ross being Rachel's backup, and Joey being Phoebe's. At the end of Season 1, Chandler attempts to cheer up Monica by suggesting one with her.
Monica: Why won't I be married by the time I'm forty?
Chandler: No, no. I just meant hypothetically.
Monica: Okay. Hypothetically, why won't I be married by the time I'm forty?
- False Start: See early episodes and Ross' unrequited love for Rachel.
- Family of Choice: Friends was described by one critic as a show about a bunch of young adults finding a replacement family for their own, dysfunctional ones. Lampshaded by a Guy of the Week of Phoebe's whose minor flaw was his incessant psychoanalysis of the group. There are times where actions usually performed by a family member are taken over by the gang: Chandler walks Phoebe down the aisle, Joey officiates at her and Monica and Chandler's wedding, they all attend Rachel and Phoebe giving birth, everyone comes to Ross and Monica's grandmother's funeral and they spend Thanksgiving together.
- Makes complete sense when you look at their backgrounds: Phoebe parents basically abandoned her, Rachel's father cut her off, Joey's family disapprove of his acting career, Chandler's mom either ignores or humiliates him and Monica is hurt by her parents favoritism of Ross. No wonder they found support in each other.
- This even upgrades to legal family when Monica and Chandler get married, making Ross and Chandler Best Friends In Law, and Monica and Chandler later become aunt and uncle to Ross and Rachel's daughter.
- The cast of Friends could be considered as a Real Life version, too.
Courteney Cox: "They're like my family."
- Fashion Hurts: Monica insisted on buying a pair of expensive (and uncomfortable) boots over Chandler's objections. She quickly realized she couldn't wear them without wincing. Of course it didn't help when a party came up and he wanted her to wear them, using her own claim that they "go with everything" against her.
- Fate Drives Us Together: There's an episode where Phoebe comments on having run into this guy everywhere she goes, including the laundromat, coffee shop, and adult bookstore. She eventually decides to give him a chance after she reads her tea leaves and interprets them to mean she's about to meet a guy. He ends up being a total jerk, who makes inappropriate comments about her breasts over dinner.
- Faux Yay: The show toys with this trope on occasion. In season two, Joey and Chandler pretend to be a homosexual couple in order to retrieve Ross' baby from the transit authority. Later, Rachel and Monica "kiss for one minute" to win their apartment back from the boys.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Joey has little interest in a second date with one of Phoebe's friends because she took fries from Joey's plate (complete with horrified slo-mo and evil musical strings from Joey's retelling of the story). Turns into Hypocritical Humor when Joey eats her food while she's in the bathroom.
- First Girl Wins:
- Ross and Rachel. It's revealed in the pilot episode that Ross has been in love with her for years even though he moved on with his life. She didn't reciprocate and the entire span of the show follows them falling in and out of love with each other, often completely out of sync with the other, so they're never in the same place at the same time. After several failed attempts, they finally get back together for good at the very end of the show.
- A Season 5 Thanksgiving flashback to two Thanksgivings ten years before hand reveal that Chandler and Monica first met when Ross brought Chandler back from college for Thanksgiving two years in a row. Monica was immediately attracted to Chandler, but her attraction was killed when she overheard him calling her fat. She spent a year losing weight in a plan to get him back for calling her fat. The next year, he's completely bowled over by her new look, but her attempt to gain revenge for the previous year's insult results in a kitchen accident that leads to the loss of one of Chandler's toes and the death of his attraction to her. Unlike Ross and Rachel, however, once their interest in each other is rekindled in season 5, they become a much more stable beta couple than the alpha couple.
- First Kiss: Rachel and Ross's first kiss in 'TOW Ross Finds Out' actually won an Emmy award.
- In a another episode, however, it was revealed that Monica's first kiss was with Ross (it was dark, and he has mistaken her for Rachel). Pass the Brain Bleach, please.
- Chandler and Monica had multiple first kisses: Their first physical kiss was off-screen when Chandler was drunk in Season 3. Their first proper, mutual kiss was chronologically at the end of Season 4 but wasn't shown until a flashback in Season 7. And their first on screen kiss was at the beginning of Season 5.
- Joey starts as a slightly dim character who's good with the ladies, and becomes a food obsessed sex-god who can barely count.
- Monica shows none of her control issues for the entire first season, and the first time it shows up it's because of the stress of her mother visiting. Later, she eventually becomes a cold, severely-OCD neat freak who violently attempts to control her friends' lives.
- Phoebe starts as a sweet but ditzy hippie chick and later becomes a shrill, manipulative bitch. Her ditzy, odd nature also turned into outright insanity and stupidity.
- Ross's nerdiness gets played up after his issues with Carol and Rachel are put aside, and his pickiness and temper issues get extremely inflated.
- Chandler somehow manages to get both Character Development and this. As seasons go on, he slowly becomes more and more iffeminate and thought of as gay, something he was thought of only once in the first season. However, it wasn't as pronounced as the other friends' cases as he also became a lot more mature, secure and grounded.
- Recurring character Janice became increasingly more annoying every time she appeared on the show. In the case of Janice, it's unclear whether this was Flanderization or an Escalating Running Gag.
- Flashback: With the prom video and Thanksgivings past.
- Flashback Stares: One episode where Penn from Penn & Teller tried to to sell Joey encyclopedias based on the pitch "do your friends ever talk about something and you just nod along", cue the flashback stare. Penn got a little bit worried when Joey hadn't said anything for 2 minutes.
- Flat Character: Matt LeBlanc himself acknowledged that Joey was the least developed of the main characters, which was part of the impetus behind him receiving his own spin-off series.
- Flat "What.": When Joey tells Rachel he is in love with her.
Joey: Yeah, here we are. Uhh… I… I think I’m…falling in love with you...
- Flipping the Bird: As a kid, Ross made up an alternative gesture for the finger (banging the bottoms of his fists together) so he could get away with it in front of his parents. Other members of the gang also started using it.
- Food Slap: Joey has a Loony Fan who thinks he's his Days of Our Lives character, Dr. Drake Ramoray. When she gets angry at Ramoray and goes after Joey, the others save him by convincing her that he's actually Drake's Evil Twin, and splash glasses of water at him for various offenses, most famously leaving the toilet seat up.
- Foot-Dragging Divorcee: Ross and Rachel get married while drunk in Vegas. Ross makes preparations for an annulment, but delays signing the papers because he likes being married to Rachel, and because he's already been divorced twice. When Rachel finds out, she is none too pleased.
- Towards the end of Season 4, the groundwork is laid for Monica and Chandler's hook up in London. At one point, Chandler flirts with her in a mock English accent, quipping "I think you like it", and Monica confesses her favorite romantic fantasy is to get together with someone in a foreign country.
- A subtle instance occurs in Season 7's "The One with Ross and Monica's Cousin". At one point Rachel tells Phoebe, "I need to talk to you about something..", and Monica assumes they must be planning her bridal shower, which they were not. However, after that Rachel and Phoebe spend the rest of the episode focused on a shower for Monica, and the original reason Rachel needed to talk to Phoebe is left unresolved. Then cue the season finale where it's revealed Rachel is pregnant.
- Also mentioned in later episodes of season 7 but several episodes before the finale is Ross worrying about going through a dry spell that's lasted three-and-a-half months. It's revealed early in season 8 that one of the main reasons they got together was because Ross had experienced a six-month dry spell; it was the reason the event had been video taped and it was the reason why Ross thought Rachel was making a move on him and responded.
- The seventh season featured an episode where Rachel and Phoebe compete to be Monica's maid of honor. Rachel wins, but is overwhelmed by the amount of work Monica assigns her. Phoebe is initially relieved, until Rachel states that Monica will be hers. Sure enough, come Phoebe's wedding three years later...
- For the Funnyz: Chandler to the point that his friends made him make a New Year's Resolution to stop.
- Formally Named Pet: Mr Heckles pretends he has a cat named Mister Bob Buttons.
- Rachel bought a hairless cat she named "Mrs. Whiskerson" because she can't call her "Fluffy".
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Ross is melancholic, Rachel and Chandler are phlegmatic, Phoebe and Joey are sanguine, and Monica is choleric
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "The One After the Super Bowl" (Part II) when Ross' monkey Marcel cannot meet him at his apartment he goes out to eat with Joey and Chandler, the bonus is on the menus of the restaurant that say Marcel's on them.
- Freudian Excuse: Pretty much the subject of the play Joey stars in, Freud! (Not just Freud, but Freud!)
- Chandler has some serious issues with his mother, and describes her as "a Freudian nightmare".
- Judy's Geller's criticism of Monica is attributed to her not knowing any better because her mother also criticized her. The excuse is pretty flimsy given it's referenced in one scene, against a backdrop of ten seasons of incessant emotional abuse.
- Friendship Moment: The series is built on them. The page's quote even refers to Joey and Chandler peeing on Monica when she gets stung by a jellyfish.
"I'll be there for you..."
- It's even in the theme song!
- Friendship Trinket: When Joey gets his first windfall of money from acting, he gives a gift to Chandler as a token of his appreciation for all the things Chandler did for him while he was struggling. Unfortunately for Chandler, it's a very gaudy, woman-repelling gold bracelet; he mocks it but Joey overhears it. They make up when Chandler loses his and buys another to cover, only for the original to be found; Chandler passes it off as having bought one for Joey to match his.
Joey: Is this friendship, I think so! Check it out, we're Bracelet Buddies!
- "Friends" Rent Control: Trope Namer. Handwaved by Monica claiming that her place actually belongs to her grandmother: Monica is illegally subletting it. The superintendent is actually aware that Monica is breaking the law, and one episode centered on Joey trying to persuade him not to blow the whistle after his patience runs out. That being said, there was a chunk of time where Monica was unemployed, meaning the entire apartment's rent fell to the wages of a waitress. A particularly terrible, and therefore probably poorly-tipped, waitress. (Though in fairness, Monica borrows money from Ross and makes several references to her savings being quickly depleted, so clearly she was still paying some rent).
- Chandler and Joey's apartment directly across the hall is an aversion, as Chandler has what is implied to be a high-paying white collar job which would allow him to support both himself and the frequently unemployed Joey, and yet their apartment is roughly a quarter the size of Monica's and is sparsely furnished. By the end of the series, most of the characters ended up with jobs that would have allowed them to afford the apartments outright.
- This was Lampshaded by Chandler in the Grand Finale, by telling his newborn children of the apartment: "because of rent control, it was a friggin' steal."
- Played straight with Phoebe though, whose apartment was larger and nicer than Joey and Chandler's. Justified in early seasons as she was sharing it with her grandmother but is later living alone on a massuse's salary.
- Rent control aside, as the years wore on, there were a few hints thrown in that the building wasn't the nicest in the world. There were the thin floors that let Mr. Heckles constantly hear their footsteps and the crummy wiring that made a switch in Chandler and Joey's apartment turn on Monica's TV.
- Friends with Benefits: Monica and Richard attempt this after their breakup, but while he takes the new situation to the letter, Monica starts falling back in love. It culminates with her preparing a sexy surprise in his bedroom and him coming home with another sexual partner. Awkwardness ensues, and eventually Monica figures out it can't work.
- Also, Monica and Chandler's romantic relationship started as no-strings-attached sex (only in London, mind. Then... only while on London time. Then, just 'goofying around'...then a relationship...then...ok, ok safe to say it ends with them Happily Married. They are the poster couple for Sex Equals Love after all).
- Interestingly, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc wanted this for Phoebe and Joey with no intent to turn it into a relationship later on, but the executives backed out. There are, however, quite a few hints of sexual chemistry between the two, so it's not hard to imagine they're simply doing it offscreen.
- The Friends Who Never Hang:
- Chandler and Phoebe rarely had plotlines together due to their personalities.
- Joey and Monica, which is ironic since they were meant to be the show's Official Couple.
- Chandler and Rachel, despite having a few storylines together in early seasons (mostly in season 4), almost never hang out from season 5 onwards, with the cheesecake episode in season 7 being the only exception.
- Despite being brother and sister, Ross and Monica rarely had stories with just the two of them after Monica begins dating Chandler. This is most probably due to the fact that they knew each other well having grown up together so there really wasn't much of a place you could take their relationship.
- Rachel and Joey in early seasons, but they become best friends (and roommates) in the second half of the show after their respective best friends (and former roommates) Monica and Chandler, get together.
- Ross and Phoebe is also an example, especially in early seasons. Later in the series they hang out more often, especially in season 9, while still being kind of Vitriolic Best Buds.
- Friend Versus Lover: It happpens a few times like Joey choosing between Phoebe (friend) and Ursula (lover) and Ross choosing between Rachel (friend who has still feelings for him) and Emily (lover who tells him he can't see Rachel anymore).
- Funny Background Event: Ross getting attacked by a cat in "TOW The Blackout".
- Fun with Acronyms: Chandler's job required him to pay attention to the Weekly Estimated Net Usage Systems, as well as the Annual Net Usage Statistics.
- Also, Joey gets cast on "Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.", where the latter is a Cybernetic Humanoid Electronically Enhanced Secret Enforcer. Joey fails to realize this isn't just a happy coincidence.
- Fur and Loathing: In one episode, Phoebe on got a fur coat as a gift and, being the hippie of the group, constantly complained about how evil it was - until she tried it on and decided it looked good. For the rest of the episode, she justified wearing it using very spurious and shaky logic, and eventually she gave it to a hobo when a squirrel made her feel guilty.
- Gag Boobs: During the second and third seasons of the show, Monica had to work at a 50s themed diner where she was made to wear huge fake boobs under her uniform.
- Gainaxing: The reason why Chandler and Joey love Baywatch. In "The One Where Eddie Moves In":
Joey: Hey, hey, they're running!
Chandler: See, this is the brilliance of the show. I say always keep them running. All the time, running. Run! Run Yasmine, run like the wind!
- Gay Moment: Chandler tells Ross, "I'd miss you if I broke up with you." Ross asks why he said that, and Chandler says he's just trying to be supportive. Ross says, "Well, be supportive like a guy."
- Joey and Chandler have a ton of these over the course of the series, including the time Chandler asks "hey, do we hug too much?" and the episodes in which Joey's decision to move out of their apartment was jokingly played like a romantic breakup. Ross and Joey also have one in "The One With the Nap Partners," for obvious reasons. Chandler even sort of has one with his father-in-law Jack when he accidentally sits on his lap in a really steamy steam room...while they're both naked.
- Gender-Blender Name: Charlie
- Sandy, the male nanny.
- Chandler, since Phoebe names the third triplet, a girl. Chandler asks her if the name might be too masculine, but she quips, "It wasn't for you."
- Gender-Equal Ensemble: Three guys (Ross, Chandler and Joey) and three gals (Monica, Rachel and Phoebe).
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Seeing that the show went for 10 years, tons. See Radar.Friends.
- Girl-Show Ghetto: In-universe example. In an episode of Friends Ross makes a comment about going to read a Superman comic and Monica immediately coughs "Wonder Woman" in an attempt to embarrass him.
- The Glomp: Monica glomps Chandler after he asks to move in together. As in literally catapultes off the couch and into his arms, (thankfully he responds with equal enthusiasm and catches her).
- Golden Mean Fallacy: The show was very guilty of this, which is expected given that maintaining a consistent group dynamic is such an important part of it.
- Go Look at the Distraction:
- In one episode, Phoebe uses the word "Crummies" to make Chandler flee the room.
- A slight subversion where Ross distracts Rachel, despite having nothing made up to distract her with. After a short time of Ross trying to think of a conversation, Rachel assumes that he wants to get back together with her.
- "Good Luck" Gesture: "The One Where They’re Up All Night": There is a beeping sound coming from the living room in Phoebe's apartment. She sleepily goes to investigate, crossing her fingers on both hands, saying: "Please don’t be a space ship. Please don’t be a space ship." It’s a broken smoke detector.
- Good People Have Good Sex: It was because their sex was so good that Monica and Chandler, two of the nicest most loyal characters on the show, upgraded from a one night stand to Friends with Benefits and then to a serious relationship. They risked a valuable friendship but the sex was just. that. good.
- So good that they considered doing it in the room next to her brother!
- It's also emphasized that sex with each other was better than with previous partners. (Which had been reasonable to bad). They both describe each other as the best they've ever had, with the implication its because they're better people with each other.
- They even went so far as to say that Chandler is better than Richard!
- Go-to Alias:
- Phoebe is practically guaranteed to use the name "Regina Phalange" whenever pretending to be someone else. In "The One Where Joey Speaks French", she gives her alias as a French woman as 'Régine Phalange'.
- Joey apparently uses "Ken Adams" from time to time, but we only see it in action in one episode.
- Grand Romantic Gesture:
- Chandler is in love with Joey's girlfriend Kathy but doesn't want to pursue it because of Joey, but suffers terribly. When it's her birthday, he buys her an old edition of The Velveteen Rabbit because it was her favorite book when she was a kid. When his friends tell him that this will be incredibly meaningful, screaming 'I love you', especially compared to Joey's present (he's got nothing, has idea for a pen with a clock, and later charges Chandler with a task of buying a present for her instead of him). Chandler ends up giving the book to Joey to give it to her, because he wants her to have it. She figures it out, though, because Joey fails to see what's behind 'an old and expensive book'.
- After a fight with Monica, Chandler decides to pull one of these. Of course he takes it a step too far and proposes. Thankfully Monica knows his neuroses well enough to see what's going on and talk him out of it.
Monica: Chandler, um, I want you to take just a minute and I want you to think about how ridiculous this sounds.
Chandler: Yeah, I'm kinda wishing everyone wasn't here right now.
- In Season 6 he attempts to make his real proposal as big and surprising as possible. Naturally this backfires but luckily Monica pulls one of her own, filling their apartment with candles and proposing when he arrives.
- On a smaller scale, Chandler cleans the entire apartment after he and Monica move in together.
- Monica performs a very touching one during their wedding organizing when a woman tries to get Monica's wedding dress by booking Chandler's dream band on the day of their wedding. Without telling Chandler, Monica gives away the dress so he can keep the band.
- Gravity Is Only a Theory: When Ross compares evolutionary theory with gravity, Phoebe states, "Lately I get the feeling that I'm not so much being pulled down as I am being pushed." It was never confirmed whether she was serious or just messing with Ross.
- Gray Rain of Depression:
- After Ross and Rachel break up in "TOW the List".
- Lampooned in "TOW Eddie Moves In" with Chandler and Joey.
- Green-Eyed Epiphany: In an unique example, Chandler and Monica are already sleeping together but Chandler is crushed when she dates another guy and realizes they're about more than sex. Played with in that he clearly felt more from the beginning, but it took jealously to vocalize it. (And Monica never wanted to go out with anyone else, she was set up).
- Green-Eyed Monster: Ross towards Paolo. Chandler towards Richard as he believes for a long time that he's still the love of Monica's life and is sophisticated, mature, an eye doctor and and able to grow a moustache. After they're married, Monica points out how silly this is given she chose him over Richard several times. As an Insecure Love Interest, he has trouble acknowledging this. Also worth remembering that all his previous girlfriends cheated on him, so his fears aren't exactly foundless.
- Rachel and Phoebe are also this towards Monica and Chandler's relationship, as they're depressed about not having anyone themselves. Lampshaded in Season 6 when Chandler's planning to propose and they say they're only 2% jealous...then 10%...then 20%...
- Ross is this repeatedly. When they begin dating, he is extremely jealous of Rachel's colleague Mark, despite the fact that Rachel shows no romantic interest in him. He is also jealous of Emily's burgeoning friendship with Susan (Carol's lesbian lover), believing she will steal Emily from him. Monica points out that his divorce from Carol must have really done a number on Ross since in high school, Ross was not a jealous person despite the fact that ALL of his girlfriends were cheating on him.
- Greeting Gesture Confusion:
- This happens to Ross and Mike when they meet just before the rehearsal dinner for Mike and Phoebe's wedding. Mike embraces Ross, during which Ross awkwardly says he was going for a handshake. Mike asks him if that's why his hand is currently pressed against Mike's crotch.
- A variant occurs in an episode in which Rachel is interviewing for a job at Ralph Lauren. At the end of the interview, the interviewer says goodbye and embraces her. Taken aback by this, she impulsively pecks him on the cheek. Comic misunderstandings ensue.
- Group Hug: Numerous times, but most memorably when Phoebe becomes pregnant, which Phoebe comments can't be good for the baby with her in the middle, so the others have a group hug for her without her.
- Grow Old with Me: The Happily Married Monica and Chandler discuss this.
Chandler: "You know what the worst part was? I got to see what my life would be like without you..please promise that you will never leave me, that we will grow old together, and be with each other for the rest of our lives."
- Hands Go Down: When Ross has begun teaching his class in a bad English accent, then admits he's not English:
Ross: Are there any questions?
(hands go up)
Ross: About paleontology?
(hands go down)
- Happy Dance: Chandler from has one after they had a heart-to-heart talk with Monica, reassuring each other that they feel serious about their secret relationship. When Monica leaves, she senses that he's doing it and she says without looking back: "Don't do the dance."
- Chandler does another one when Monica, in the secretive part of their relationship, says she's having the best sex she'd ever had in her life to Rachel and Phoebe, but they think she shouldn't tell "him".
Chandler: Really, because if I was the guy, I'd probably do something like .. this! *dance*
- Happily Married: Monica and Chandler in the last three seasons. They get a lot of crap thrown at them (a long-distance relationship, unemployment, infertility) but remain incredibly happy and adore each other.** Also, Ross and Monica's parents (as opposed to the parents of the rest of the gang).
- Has Two Mommies: Ross's former wife, Carol, and her partner Susan. Ross's son, Ben, splits his time between his dad and moms. In one episode, Ben refers to Chandler as "Daddy." Of course, at the end of the show, it's indicated Ben ends up with three when it's made clear that Ross and Rachel are back together, this time for good.
Ross: No no—one daddy, two mommies.
- Hash House Lingo: Monica is dubious that Phoebe can be a waitress. Phoebe gives the following demonstration of her abilities, too bad catering a funeral doesn't really require this kind of lingo:
Phoebe: I can be a waitress. Okay, watch this. Um, gimme two number ones, 86 the bacon, one Adam and Eve on a raft and wreck 'em, la-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la-la.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: A non-video game example, this is used word for word in TOW Rachel's Going Away Party between Rachel and Joey. No points in guessing who keeps winning.
- Heartbreak and Ice Cream: This practice is known on Friends, notably when the girls act as "relationship tutors" for Chandler when he tries a serious relationship with Janice. They also add another piece of advice:
Chandler: This ice cream tastes like crap by the way.
Rachel: Yeah, well that's that low-cal, non-dairy, soy milk junk. Well sort of... We save the real stuff for the truly terminal cases.
Monica: You know, when you start getting screwed over all the time, you gotta switch to low-fat.
- In a later episode, Joey has a female roommate and becomes concerned that living with her is causing him to turn more and more effeminate. When he confronts her about this fact, she notices that he is upset and immediately offers to get "a pint of ice cream and two spoons."
- Joey also describes the different 'Phases' of getting over break ups, 'Phase One' being sweatpants, food and watching TV.
- Rachel also discusses being screwed over by some many guys she has to switch to low fat ice cream.
- Held Gaze: Monica and Chandler do this frequently: When each of the other Friends find out about their Secret Relationship (TOW the Kips, TOW Everybody Finds Out, TOW The Girl Who Hits Joey) their immediate response is to look at each other, obviously appreciating they can use the Held Gaze without suspicion.
- Helium Speech: Chandler does this in "TOW Phoebe's Rats" at Rachel's birtday party after inhaling from a balloon.
Ross: Hey, where the hell are Joey and Molly? I asked you to watch them.
'''Helium!Chandler: I'm sorry, I got a little preoccupied.
Ross: Look, we have to stop them before something happens.
Helium!Chandler: (inhales more) Right behind you, big guy.
- Hell Is That Noise: In-universe, Chandler flinches every time he hears, "OH. MY. GOD!" and realizes he's run into Janice again.
- Ross's "sound," his term for the discordant music he plays on his keyboard, which everybody except Phoebe hates, in "TOW Chandler Crosses the Line":
RACHEL: "Oh, I can't believe I ever let him touch me with those fingers."
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Chandler and Joey. Roomates who do everything together, up to and including buying joint furniture and raising their chick and duck. Season 2 even has a 'break up' story. While Joey is quite happy when Chandler marries Monica (with whom Joey has a Like Brother and Sister relationship with), he's upset when they announce they're moving away...until Chandler and Monica show him his 'Joey Room' at their house. (Sort of extending it into One True Threesome territory).
- Rachel and Monica count having been friends their whole lives but, unlike Chandler and Joey, they don't stay quite as close after Chandler and Monica get together. (Probably because Joey and Monica had a lot of affection for each other, while Rachel seemed more distainful of Chandler). They also drifted apart during their college years.
- Ross and Chandler seem to have been like this during their college years; spending holidays together, starting a band and making life-long pacts. Although Chandler's clearly closer to Joey by the time of the show, he still acknowledges Ross as his other best friend.
- Hide Your Pregnancy: Courteney Cox's pregnancy in the last few episodes, Monica's sterility being an important plot thread at that point.
- Helen Baxendale's pregnancy, along with her country of residence being England, meant that Emily was written out earlier than the writers had originally intended and mostly appeared in voiceover and under bedsheets.
- Hired for Their Looks:
- Rachel ends up hiring an inexperienced young man (Tag) as her assistant solely because he was cute.
- Rachel herself counts, as it seems that Gunther hired her only because he had a crush on her and she could have the job as long as she cared, even though she was not a competent waitress.
- Hire The Critic: In one episode, Monica writes a scathing review of an Italian restaurant. The owner comes by and demands a retraction, whereupon Monica defends her review and demonstrates how the dish in question ought to have been made. He promptly offers her the job as head chef.
- His and Hers: Played with. Ross buys Carol and Susan a matching set of "Hers and Hers" towels. They're identical, as a joke.
- Hit Me, Dammit!: When Joey wants Ross to forgive him for the proposal fiasco. Ross is reluctant at first, but after much goading from Joey he finally swings...and Joey instinctively ducks, causing Ross to punch a metal pole. Joey tries to explain that "when you see a fist coming at you, you duck!" and ends up punching Ross in the face to prove his point.
- In the final scene he tries to demonstrate this by swinging at Chandler, who ducks, causing him to hit Ross again!
- Holding Hands: Monica and Chandler did this a lot, even before they get together. Many scenes have them simply sitting together with their hands entwined. They end up Happily Married so its not a big deal though.
- A cyber-instance of the trope happens to Chandler when he's texting with a girl who texts "HH" to him. His friends ask what it means, and he tells them it's cyberspeak for "Holding Hands".
- Hold The Unsolicited Ingredient: The episode "The One the Morning After" when Rachel is very pissed off with Ross:
Yes, I'd like to order a large pizza. Ross:
No anchovies. Rachel:
With, uh, extra anchovies. Ross:
That's okay, I'll just pick 'em off. Rachel:
Yeah, and could you please chop some up and just put it right there in the sauce?
- Hollywood Dateless: Chandler, despite being good-looking and incredibly witty, is constantly knocked by himself and others for having very little in the way of a love life. Gunther and Ross also count if you really get down to it.
- One episode, a while after he became engaged to Monica, involved him not even being able to TALK to a woman because she was beautiful, only being able to bashfully mutter a few whispers, and the characters acting like this had always been the case with him. Over the course of the past six or so seasons, Chandler had been shown successfully making some of the boldest and most hilariously charming pick-ups anywhere on television, to complete, gorgeous strangers.
- Played with regarding Monica frequently vocalizing her aggravation earlier in the series over not being able to find a boyfriend. She looked like this at the time and was able to attract many men◊. Unfortunately, most of them just wanted to sleep with her because she was hot while she was looking for a committed relationship.
- Another time, Rachel mentions that Monica "stumbles down the hall and sleeps with the first guy she finds." It may be that she's having trouble finding a committed relationship.
- Of course, that was just in reference to the other holder of this Trope, Chandler.
- Hollywood Geography: Joey gets a part on Days of Our Lives. Days of our Lives has always taped in Los Angeles.
- Homoerotic Subtext: In multiple episodes, Joey and Chandler often have conversations about completely innocent subjects that sound exactly like those a couple would have.
- In one episode, Joey tells Chandler they should buy a new table for the apartment and Chandler worries is "too soon". He starts talking about how things went when he brought furniture with his old roommate Kip, agravating Joey ("I know all about Kip!"), who later asks Chandler if Kip was "better than me".
- In one episode, a conversation between Rachel and Monica about the fact that Monica has been shopping with Julie (Ross' girlfriend at the time) sounds exactly as if Monica has cheated on Rachel. Of course, From a Certain Point of View, it is true. She's done something meaningful with Rachel's rival.
- In the first episode of Joey, he frustratedly tells his sister "Chandler & me were not a gay couple!"
- Honor Before Reason: Several of the Friends cast display some shades of this trope. Monica would rather do everything she can to get people to like her and have her be the best hostess (or whatever she wants people to come over for) instead of accepting the fact that she doesn't have to be the best at everything. Joey refuses to accept Chandler's offer of loaning him money due to his pride. Ross refuses to admit he is wrong when he is actually wrong, which is one of the huge plot drives for the infamous break up between him and Rachel.
- Honorable Marriage Proposal: Joey proposed to Phoebe when everyone thought that she was the one that was pregnant. Once they find out it's really Rachel, he promptly asks the ring back from Phoebe so he could propose to Rachel. Played With in that Joey didn't do it to preserve their honors, but because he knows how hard being a single mother is and wanted to help them.
- Home Porn Movie:
- Joey and his date walks in on a set that Chandler and Monica had obviously put together for this purpose - she leaves horrified. This was while Joey was the only one who knew of their relationship. He berates Chandler for making it more and more difficult to keep their secret, and storms out in a huff. Then he sticks his head back in the door to deliver his parting shot:
"But let me just say: The camera? Nice!" *two thumbs up*
- In another episode, a tape Ross and Rachel made (by accident: Ross was trying to practice flirting) is discovered. Rachel managed to get pregnant from this exact encounter, and the two are arguing about which of them made the first move. The video contains the seduction, so the friends end up watching its clothed portion to put the matter to rest. As the episode's closing gag, Ross and Rachel watch the non-clothed portion in private...only to turn it off in horror when they see how bad they look during the act.
- In "The One with the Prom Video", Monica discovers that the end of said video is a Home Porn Movie, featuring her parents.
- It seems everybody in Friends made one. In yet another episode, somebody finds a videotape with Monica's ex Richard and another girl they assume to be Monica (They couldn't see her face clearly). Monica finds out and, on viewing the tape it turns out it wasn't her. To which Monica shouts, "That bastard taped over me!"
- Phoebe didn't make one, but apparently she had a career in porn...which was actually her twin, Ursula.
Hey! What’s up? OH MY GOD! What am I doing?!!
- Hyperventilation Bag: Rachel is show breathing into a paper bag during the pilot.
- And later Janice does this when Chandler reveals he saw her kissing her (supposedly soon-to-be) ex-husband. She also gags on the receipt from the large box of condoms Chandler had just purchased that was in the bag, just to be more ironic.
- On a third-season episode, Carol expresses disapproval when she finds out that Ross cheated on Rachel (although Ross insisted that it wasn't cheating because they were "on a break" at the time). This, despite the fact that Carol actually slept with Susan while she was still married to Ross. Ross calls her on this:
Carol: I can't believe you slept with another woman.
Ross: You're one to talk.
- Rachel in many episodes. She dumps Ross for sleeping with someone else while they were on her poorly defined 'break', (which he fairly enough thought was a break up). When he gets a new girlfriend, she kisses him and tries to have sex with him.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: Monica and Chandler when they're having photo's taken.
Monica: "Chandler what is wrong with your face? It's meant to say Geller and Bing to be married, not local woman saves drowning moron!"
Monica: "Hey! Don't laugh at him, he's my drowning moron."
- Hypocritical Humor:
- In "The One With The Evil Orthodontist", the gang is disgusted by a woman who is looking at them through a telescope (Chandler says he feels "violated, not in the good way" and Joey looks worried at this) and then they go back to do their Ugly Naked Guy watching.
- When Monica and Rachel are mad at Phoebe for calling them high maintenance and a pushover, respectively.
Rachel: I cannot believe her.
Monica: I know. Where do you wanna go eat?
Rachel: Oh, oh, I love that Japanese place.
Monica: I’m sick of Japanese. We’re not going there.
Rachel: All right, wherever you wanna go is cool.
- I Am Not My Father: Both Chandler and Monica are determined not to end up like their parents, who are a wonderful combination of Abusive Parents, Parental Neglect, Parental Favoritism and in Chandler's case, Awful Wedded Life. As they establish the healthiest relationship on the show, act as the rock of the gang, and finally adopt baby twins, they suceed on all counts.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
- Most likely because the fans will probably refer to the episodes this way anyway, most episodes follow the pattern "The One with... _____" or "The One Where _____". The only exception is the finale ("The Last One"), and to some extent, "The One That Could Have Been" (the what-if ep) and "The One Hundredth".
- There was actually an interview somewhere in which the writing staff explained that they "wanted to name them what people were going to be calling them anyway".
- This was a joke referencing how viewers rarely knew the titles of individual episodes of a television series. Arguably now a case of Aluminum Christmas Trees, as the rise of DVRs (which give the episode title when recording) and internet discussion forums with individual episodes makes The One with... trope less true.
- The French translators of the show decided for some reason to give up the original kind of Idiosyncratic Episode Naming and replaced it with another one : each episode is named "The One With [insert description of the actions of one character in this episode]". For instance, "The One with Monica and Chandler's Wedding" is translated as "The One Who Married Monica" ("Celui qui a épousé Monica"). It is unknown whether they thought it was a more clever way to do things or missed the point with the first couple of episodes and then thought it was too late to change.
- Idiot Ball: Every now and then, a character would usually have to pick this bad boy up and run it into the endzone for a off-kilter subplot to work. Some of these, though, were probably just Played for Laughs.
- Case in point: "TOW The Sharks", in which Monica thinks Chandler gets off on shark shows after catching him in the act of "molesting himself", instead of thinking that, you know, he changed the channel away from his porn when he heard her come in.
- Or when Joey was trying to learn French from Phoebe, but couldn't even repeat simple words, instead spouting a stream of pure gibberish. Doubly wall-banging considering he's an actor and had shown exceptional memorization skills from that job elsewhere in the series, including memorizing Ross's detailed information for the works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in order of the layout (although he messed it up by walking in the wrong direction). Even if he didn't know a lick of French, he should at least be able to parrot four monosyllabic words from Phoebe.
- Monica and Chandler frequently grabbed this when they first started going out. There were countless times where they almost got caught. While it is partly justified in how it would be difficult to keep a relationship like that a secret in such a tight-knit group, they were really careless most of the time. Such as having sex against an open window after Ross decided to check out and live in the apartment opposite. Twice. The rest of the cast grabs this too when it takes them so long to figure it out, despite the rather big clues right in front of them.
- In "The One With Ross's Sandwich", Joey is forced to help cover up Monica and Chandler's affair. None of the gang seems to figure out that anything's wrong, even when it makes no sense, such as when Joey claims what is actually Chandler's underwear in Monica's couch. Or when Joey finds a naked picture that Chandler took of Monica.
- Also the one where Chandler believes Monica wants plastic surgery.
- Plots in the last couple of seasons increasingly relied in characters holding the Idiot Ball.
- Ross and Rachel spent ten years playing Idiot Ball hot potato.
- In addition to being one of the most cynically blatant examples of Product Placement in sitcom history, the entire Pottery Barn plot depends on Rachel grabbing this: if she'd simply asked Phoebe if she liked the apothecary table before ordering it (a fairly considerate thing to do given that they're sharing a flat and Rachel wanted to put the table in their living room) the entire plot would have never happened.
- There are many smaller examples, too. For instance, in 'TOW The Handcuffs', Monica is a professional chef...but doesn't realize how bad of an idea it is to wear fake fingernails while working with food.
- I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship:
- Done twice with Chandler and Monica. The first time the viewers see it is the first episode of season five the day after they slept together for the first time. Having agreed to meet up again, Chandler tells Monica he's thinking they should back out of it because he's worried about what it'll do to their friendship. She agrees with his concern, then they abandon the worry anyway. It's later revealed that they also discuss this after they first see each other naked just before sleeping together for the first time.
Well, I think it's safe to say that our friendship
is effectively ruined.
- They have a similar exchange even earlier in the series. The phrase isn't stated outright but clearly implied. Chandler asks why Monica won't date him and she says she loves him but he would always be the guy who peed on her. In other words, their friendship is too close to gamble with, dating would make it weird. They end up Happily Married. Yeah...
- Used by Phoebe when Monica, falsely, tells her Joey has feelings for her and after considering the possibility for a moment states this.
- I Drank What?: In "The One With the Race Car Bed", Rachel admits to adding body fluids to the drinks she serves to people who don't tip her sufficiently.
- Joey sometimes experiences this (such as when he drank from a glass of fat).
- Averted in "The One That Could Have Been," when Joey annoys Chandler.
Joey: You're gonna throw that juice at me, aren't you?
Chandler: It's not all juice!
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Subverted, Ross tells Chandler before his wedding to Monica that if he hurt her, he would "hunt him down, and kick his ass"... to Chandler's great amusement and laughter. Which is interesting, considering that, in a later episode, the others find it laughable that Chandler could beat Ross up.
- Of course, then in another episode, Ross and Chandler are stuck in an arm wrestling match due to being "equally weak". For the joke is that neither of those guys is remotely violent or physically threatening. Monica herself though...
- Part of the point was that if Chandler screws up, Monica can and will kick his ass before Ross even manages to punch Chandler hard once. Though there is that whole "My Sandwich" incident...
- Also played for laughs because Chandler absolutely adores Monica and would probably throw himself off a building to avoid hurting her, whereas Ross by this stage has three failed marriages and isn't in the position to tell anyone (especially a boyfriend as sweet and faithful as Chandler) not to mess up a relationship.
- But it's played very straight in the wedding episode—when Chandler disappears for a second time (although this time he WASN'T making a run for it), Ross flat-out tells him he won't let him run out on Monica.
- I Got You a Drawer: Chandler, who was always trying to fend off Janice in their earlier encounters, now has feelings for her but paralyzed by his fear of commitment. When Joey tells him to face his fears, he goes all in, and the gift of a drawer is only the first in a series of increasingly over the top commitment-filled gestures that backfire badly. In this case, it's literally the gift of a drawer—he gives her some contact paper, and then hands her the actual drawer itself.
Chandler: Well, wait there’s, more. See, the contact paper is to go into your brand new drawer. (gives her a drawer) See, the drawer actually goes in my dresser.
Janice: Oh, you didn’t have to do this.
Chandler: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because, you’re my girlfriend, and that’s what girlfriends should, should get.
Janice: Well, I gotta buy a vowel. Because, oh my Gawd! Who, would’ve thought that someday, Chandler Bing would buy me a drawer.
- Ignored Confession: Before Ross and Rachel first started dating - being whacked out on painkillers gives Ross the courage to admit to Rachel that he's in love with her. Her response is basically pat him on the head and say that she loves him too, in the way one would reply to a small child (or someone obviously too under-the-influence to take seriously). Ross quickly becomes frustrated with his inability to convince her that he's serious.
- One episode features the following dialogue between love-struck Chandler and Joey, about Joey's girlfriend, after Joey asks Chandler to at least pretend to get on with her.
Chandler: I could tell how much I've been thinking about her; that I haven't stopped thinking about her since the moment we met; that I'm so fantastically, over-the-top, wanna-slit-my-own-throat in love with her, that for every minute of every hour of every day, I can't believe my own damn bad luck that you met her first!
Joey: Yeah, well, that's pretty good. But you might want to tone it down a little.
- I Have This Friend: Regarding to Ross, Rachel and Julie's love triangle.
"He must decide / He must decide / Even though I made him up, he must decide!"
- I Know You Know I Know: In "The One Where Everyone Finds Out", Phoebe and Rachel find out about Monica and Chandler's secret relationship, and something of an arms race begins regarding whether or not "they know we know they know we know!" Joey gets caught in the middle (since he's known for a while), and eventually throws up his hands when he can't keep track of who knows what. When Rachel and Pheobe order him not to tell Chandler and Monica, he exclaims: "Couldn't if I wanted to!".
- Parodied in the same episode, when Monica walks into the apartment and dramatically says, "They know." Cue the confusion.
- I Like Those Odds: In one episode, the guys buy many lottery tickets as there is a lot of money on the jackpot, Ross says he won't join, because they have a better chance of being struck by lightning 42 times. Chandler answers that, as there are six of them, they would each only have to be struck seven times. Joey says the trope name verbatim.
- I'll Be in My Bunk: Rachel and Monica lose their apartment in a bet with Chandler and Joey, but finally get it back when they agree to kiss for a minute. The two guys then go into their rooms as soon as that is over.
Chandler: Good night!
Joey: Good night!
- Occurs in another episode where Chandler asks Monica and Rachel for sexual advice. Monica's advice becomes... rather enthusiastic.
- When Monica finishes she races off to her bedroom, Rachel races off to her own bedroom and Chandler races off to the bathroom.
- The "I Love You" Stigma: When Ross dates Mona, they have the talk about moving forward in their relationship. They evaluate symbolical value of (not) sending holiday cards together, giving a key to their apartment and getting locks changed. Mixed signals much? Finally, Ross tells Mona he loves her (though he doesn't feel it) and Mona tells him she loves spending time with him too (which was deemed to be a slap in the face by Monica and Phoebe).
- Chandler says it to Monica twice. The first time he blurts it out and then takes it back in panic. (Thankfully Monica knows him well enough to realize he's not ready). Ths second time he yells it out in front of all their friends and refuses to revoke it. She happily says it back. This is an odd case because they were incredibly close before they got together, she'd casually said she loved him in previous episodes and he'd taken it in a routine manner. Presumably after they got together they stopped saying it.
- Imaginary Love Triangle: Chandler in both the season 5 and 6 finales thinks Monica is going to leave him for her ex-boyfriend Richard. Both times Monica has no intention of doing anything of the sort, first feeling nothing for Richard and the second time when faced with two proposals not only choosing Chandler's over Richard's but actually proposing to him as well.
- Chandler falls for this again with her so-called soulmate Don and 'the funniest guy she's ever met' Jeffrey. Monica is completley oblivious as it's based on throw away comments she can't remember making.
- Impersonating an Officer: Phoebe finds a cop's badge and pretends to be a cop. This works well until she tries it on the cop to whom it belongs.
- Improbable Food Budget: The gang is the living embodiment of this trope. Joey and Chandler especially, as they seem to eat takeout every night, and they all drink at least five bucks worth of coffee a day at Central Perk. Chandler has a well-paying job, and Monica's a chef when she's working, but still.
- There is one episode when this becomes an issue (Phoebe and Joey, at this time the poorer members of the group, talk about the strain this lifestyle puts on their finances). After that episode, it's never mentioned again, despite no visible change in their habits.
- The entire gang also eats most of their non-restaurant or coffee shop meals at Monica's, even when she's unemployed. There's even mention of being too broke to tip the mailman and superintendent at Christmas time, yet she bakes cookies for all of them, without explaining how she buys all the ingredients (which would likely cost nearly the same as a small cash tip and a card).
- Their coffee bill in the early seasons was Handwaved after Rachel quit her job at Central Perk and Chandler wonders how they're going to get free coffee in the future.
- Incurable Cough of Death : During "TOW The Ring" Phoebe pretends to be dying...by coughing. Even lampshaded by Chandler.
- Incoming Ham: Janice: OH. MY. GOD.
- Inelegant Blubbering: This happens with Monica and Rachel in Friends when they are saying goodbye because Rachel is moving to Paris. Her blubbering becomes so unintelligible that Monica can't understand what she's saying.
- Informed Ability : Joey's roommate Janine is supposed to be a professional dancer, yet when we see her dancing, there's no indication she's any better than Monica and Ross.
- Informed Attractiveness:
- In season 7, Rachel chooses to hire a handsome male assistant instead of a more experienced woman, risking her job because he's just so pretty! Rachel, Phoebe, and even Chandler gush about how good-looking he is.
- Ross and Monica's cousin is so attractive that Ross forgets that he's related to her, and Phoebe temporarily turns gay.
- Brad Pitt shows up in an episode that basically revolves around the main cast mentioning how attractive he is.
- Likewise, the first season episode with Victoria's Secret model Jill Goodacre. Chandler is nearly hypnotized by her hotness.
- Chloe, the girl Chandler and Joey constantly fawn over (before we're even introduced to her!) and Ross eventually cheats on Rachel with. This one had the slight justification that, since she was referred to frequently as "the girl with the bellybutton ring," her attraction might have been less being astoundingly beautiful and more about her aforementioned navel ring and short, punk haircut might have made her seem "exotic" to the somewhat vanilla Friends.
- Informed Flaw: Joey and Chandler's apartment supposedly being "small." While not as big as the others' apartments, it was still fairly big. Also, their apartment being a dive. While it might not have been quite as fancy as Monica and Rachel's, it was still a pretty good looking and decently kept apartment.
- Chandler's commitment phobia can fall into this. While he goes through a Minor Flaw, Major Breakup in one episode, and considers it in another, many of his breakups are for reasons completely unrelated. For example, he breaks up with a woman in the sixth episode because he wants more than she does, his next two major relationships (Janice and Kathy) end because they cheated on him, and while he has his scared moments with Monica, there are other times when he is counseling Monica through issues in turn.
- Him being 'bad with women' is even worse. Fair enough in early seasons when he struggles both chatting up girls and managing a relationship. (In contrast to Joey's one night stands and Ross's steady girlfriends). But its weird that everyone acts like he's still the one whose bad with women, when he's the only guy who is married, in the most stable, functional relationship on the entire show and blissfully happy with a beautiful woman, while Joey and Ross are single, divorced or pining for someone they can't have.
- Likewise, Monica being OCD about cleanliness. From the way the others act, she clears up crumbs from under them and they're all forced to sit upright to avoid messing up cushion arrangements. Except basically every episode has the gang sprawled across the couch, eating all over the place and hanging out in a relaxed manner. Her OCD only ever comes up to create specific plot points, like Chandler trying to clean for her. Most of the time she seems neat but certainly not enough to make the others uncomfortable with spending time in her apartment. And Chandler and Rachel, both relatively messy people, are happy and unstressed living with her.
- Phoebe is known to be a horrible singer by her friends and strangers, but her singing voice would be considered average or below average in a real life setting and not as horrible as the bad singers you would see on American Idol. Phoebe in one episode gets sick and her voice gets deeper and more raspy when she sings, which makes everyone think she actually sounds better this way.
- Internal Reveal: The multi-episode Season 5 arc ending with "TOW Everyone Finds Out" in which first Joey, then the others find out that Monica and Chandler have been secretly dating.
- Insomnia Episode: The episode titled The One Where They're Up All Night. It's the one where no one sleeps. They start looking at some comet, then Joey and Ross become trapped on the roof, Chandler can't sleep and keeps Monica up, Phoebe is disturbed by a beeping fire alarm and Rachel and Tag went to the office to see whether they had mailed some papers. What a night!
- In Spite of a Nail:
- Played with in the episode "The One That Could Have Been". It takes a look at the lives of the main six characters had each one had one significant change in their life: Ross never got divorced, Monica never lost weight, Chandler quit his job, Rachel got married, Phoebe became a stockbroker. In the end, by the time it's over most of their lives resemble their ones from the "real" world: Ross realizes his marriage is over while Carol gets together with Susan, Monica and Chandler have fallen in love and got together, Rachel's left her husband, Phoebe's lost her job as a stockbroker and is now performing her usual bizarre songs at Central Perk, etc. The directors commentary lampshades this:
Kevin Bright: It would have been different, but ultimately it would have been the same.
- Joey's case is an inversion, as his main "what if?" scenario as he was never fired from "Days of Our Lives" back during the events of the second season, and he's still happily employed as one of the regular cast members by the end of the episode. In the following season after "The One That Could Have Been" after learning some humility he's able to successfully appeal to the creator of the soap and is brought back. Notably, one episode that features a very brief clip from a "Days of Our Lives" episode is actually reused from the one shown in "The One That Could Have Been."
- Also, the commentary reveals their opinion that in no matter what timeline, Chandler and Monica will end up together.
Kevin Bright: What it says is that these two were destined to be together. That it doesn't matter if they were skinny or large, or successful or not, these two had something in fate that was meant to be.
- Instant Birth, Just Add Water: Averted with every on screen labor. Both Phoebe's and Rachel's waters break suddenly, but both have ample time to get to the hospital and have normal labors (very lengthy in Rachel's case). Phoebe is in labor long enough for Joey to be diagnosed with kidney stones, Monica getting set up, Chandler freaking out, an Operation Jealousy, the triplets' parents to arrive and Rachel asking if Phoebe can keep a baby. Rachel's labor lasts 24 hours and a double-length episode.
- While Carol is giving birth, the gang also have time to fall into various mishaps and problems.
- Insult Backfire: When Ross is dating a gorgeous woman (played by gorgeous Rebecca Romijn), Rachel tries to find a way to make fun of him for it:
Rachel: Well, maybe she and her friends are just having a contest to see who can bring home the biggest geek.
Ross: Fine by me, hope she wins.
- Insult Friendly Fire: Ross and Rachel are having a fight in front of everyone. In an effort to attack Ross, Rachel refers to a previously raised issue by saying, "And just so you know, it's not that common, it doesn't happen to every guy and it is a big deal!", at which point Chandler jumps forward and says, "I knew it!"
- A few lines before, she tells Ross that his grammar tips he gave for her letter will come in handy when he's spending Saturday nights playing Scrabble with Monica, who responds "Hey!" in return.
- In another episode, Joey attempts to criticize the life choices of his pregnant, unmarried sister while not offending the also pregnant, also unmarried Rachel. Eventually, after going back and forth between the two, he gets frustrated and shouts "One pregnant lady at a time!"
- Interrupted Declaration of Love: Played with. Chandler gets out "I love you" but Monica is interrupted from replying. Subverted in that he immediately took back his declaration (due to his committment issues) and Monica was wise enough not to say it back until he was ready. So technically it was Interrupted Revoking of Love.
- Interrupted Intimacy: When Chandler and Monica first get together in London, Joey walks in on them. Monica hides under the sheets leaving Chandler to be forced to pretend to have A Date with Rosie Palms to throw Joey off. This trope then happens to the couple on several occasions over the next few months while they're trying to keep their relationship secret. Even after their relationship is official, they can still sometimes be victims of this trope. After they're married and decide to try having children, they get down to business in a hospital janitorial closet and are interrupted in the middle of the act by Monica's father walking in on them, traumatising all three of them.
- Intertwined Fingers: Monica and Chandler do this a lot. Not a big deal for much of the series when they're dating and later Happily Married, but they did it before hooking up as well when quite a few scenes had them cuddling together or playing with each other's fingers. No one seemed to find it strange despite the implications of interwined fingers.
- Inverted Trope: Quite a lot of instances in the show. An example would be Phoebe's husband, in season 2, quoting stereotypical lines like "experimenting in college" to excuse himself for going out with women, a trope used the other way around for straight men or women realizing that they are gay. Here, it's the other way around.
- I Resemble That Remark: After Joey gets offended that Monica and Chandler didn't ask him for a character reference letter:
Sorry Joe, we didn't think you were so much... with the words
Joey: Wha-huh? Hey! Whoa, I'mean, tchhh!
- In an another episode:
Joey: He made Rachel cry!
Monica: Rachel always cries!
Rachel: That's not true! (Starts to cry.)
- Ironic Birthday
- Early on Chandler is described as terrible with women and voted the last Friend to get married. He's actually the first of the guys to make a relationship work and he and Monica get married long, long, long before the rest of the gang.
- In the Season 4 opener Monica's says she can't date him because he'll always be the guy who peed on her. Exactly one season later they sleep together and start a relationship.
- In a flashback Monica is horrified at the thought of giving up her virginity to Chandler. And she doesn't. She marries him instead.
- Irrevocable Message: Rachel's drunken "I'm over you" message on Ross's answering machine in Friends in "The One Where Ross Finds Out."
- Monica did this in "The One Where No One's Ready"; after finding an old message from ex-boyfriend Richard (Tom Selleck) on her answering machine, she calls him and leaves a message on his machine, which she immediately regrets and decides must be erased. Cue wacky hijinks.
- And when Rachel's secretly dating her hunky assistant and employee evaluations are due? After Rachel realizes that her funny, sexy, and somewhat explicit evaluation for Tag (which discusses his "teeny tiny tushy," among other things) has been sent straight to the boss, Rachel freaks out and prepares for the worst. When her boss comes in to discuss the outlandish report, Tag takes the fall and says that he sent the report about himself in as a joke. Rachel and Tag get away with a reprimand.
- It Tastes Like Feet: The shepherd's pie/trifle incident. Though it's almost definitely just a joke, with no intention of any sort of Continuity Nod whatsoever, there is an earlier episode where Rachel implies she likes having her toes sucked, and Ross and Rachel were together for a while.
- Note that even after everyone expresses disgust with the dish, Big Eater Joey still eats it and loves it. Afterwards he even sneaks around and finishes up the portions that everybody else abandoned.
Joey: *still eating* I like it.
Ross: Are you kidding?
Joey: What's not to like? Custard? Good. Jam? Good. Meat? GOOD.
- Friends used this joke on another occasion. Monica was experimenting with mockolate (mock chocolate) and made mockolate chip cookies. Phoebe says "This is what EVIL must taste like!" The line was originally "These must be the cookies they serve in hell!", but Lisa Kudrow couldn't get through the line without laughing.
- It Doesn't Mean Anything: After Monica and Chandler sleep together for the first time, they insist to never do it again, then ask each other when they can do it again. A few episodes later, an unsuspecting Rachel sets herself and Monica up on dates with male nurses, and Chandler finds out from Joey. Pre-empting rejection, he tells Monica that since they're just goofing around, it doesn't matter whether she dates anyone else. She's clearly stung and admits she was going to get out of the date for him, but if they're just goofing around, she'll go on the date after all. They work it out by the end of the episode, whereupon all pretence that they're just Friends with Benefits is over.
- Also notably averted with Monica and JoeyChandler and Monica are asked to explain exactly how they got together, and Monica admits that it was actually Joey she had been looking for with the intention of sleeping with him, precisely because she wanted something "stupid and meaningless". She found Chandler first and, well...
- It Meant Something to Me: Rachel's old college roommate denies Rachel's claims that they once drunkenly made out, until Rachel finally kisses her again in frustration, saying "maybe you'll remember this," and the girl reveals that she does remember their first make-out and has been obsessing over it ever since, but hastily denies picturing Rachel's face while having sex with her boyfriend. Whoops.
- Also invoked during Chandler and Monica's Friends with Benefits relationship when Monica is (unwillingly) set up with another guy. Chandler is hurt and claims It Doesn't Mean Anything because they were 'goofying around' but later admits that he cares about her and it isn't just a fling.
- Its Pronounced Tropay:
- In a different episode, Joey pretends to own the Porsche parked right outside their apartment building, and everytime someone says Porsche, he corrects them "It's por-SHUH!".
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The fourth season finale has Rachel realizing she loves Ross and rushing to London to stop him from marrying Emily. As she arrives at the church, however, she witnesses a tender moment between Ross and Emily. So when Ross sees Rachel and asks why she's there, Rachel replies, "I just needed to tell you... Congratulations."
- Previously, Chandler to Janice when she can't decide between him and her almost ex husband. They had a child together so Chandler says he'll walk away so she can go back to her family. Extra heartwarming as Chandler explains his own parents split up when he was young and he doesn't want any other child to go through what he did.
- Richard has this in his final appearance. After coming back asking Monica to get back together while she's with Chandler (even offering her marriage and children), he ultimately bows out when he sees that Chandler is also prepared to offer these things (and more willing to have children than he is) and says to him: "You want her that badly?... You go get her, Chandler. And when you've got her... Don't let her go. Trust me."
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Brad Pitt's character in "The One with the Rumor" was an old acquaintance of then-wife Jennifer Aniston's character. However, he hated her and she barely remembered him.
- As well as Tate Donovan, who appeared earlier on the same show when he was dating Jennifer Aniston.
- As well as Julia Roberts, who dated Matthew Perry, and David Arquette, who married Courteney Cox (though technically Arquette appeared well before he and Cox became involved, his character didn't even share a storyline with Cox's character Monica)..
- Bruce Willis also appeared for a guest run; he was scheduled to appear coinciding with the opening of his film with Matthew Perry, The Whole Nine Yards.note Similarly, Willis's character intimidates Chandler a bit (although moreso Ross, who's dating the daughter of Willis's role) just like in the movie.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: How Chandler compares Monica's massage.
"It was like she was torturing me for information and I wanted to give it up, it's just, I didn't know what it was."
- Japandering: Joey from is at one point a mid-level daytime Soap Opera star and ends up doing this from an advert for Ichiban Lipstick for Men. The advert is very much a Weird Japanese Thing: Joey is wearing bright blue lipstick while bright blue animation and dancing schoolgirls interject a number of flash cuts. You watch it, you can't un-watch it.
- Rachel's father, Dr. Leonard Green.
- Rachel's older sister, Amy Green.
- Judy Geller.
- Phoebe's Evil Twin Ursula.
- Many temporary love interests, such as Barry, Paolo, and Julio.
- Joey in "The Pilot." Fortunately, thanks to Characterization Marches On, he becomes a lot nicer in the following episode.
- Rachel, oh so much, in "The One With The Flashback."
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Gavin, Rachel's co-worker in season 9.
- Phoebe, Depending on the Writer.
- Susan, Carol's partner, acts like a total jerk with Ross. However, despite her (somewhat inexplicable) disdain for him, she does give him a fair break in some instances. Most notably "The One With The Lesbian Wedding."
- Jiggle Show: For a couple of years, none of the girls wore underwear.
- Also the only reason the guys watch Baywatch.
- Just Friends: With the title of the show what did you expect? Phoebe and Joey are the obvious example, they have a Ship Tease but nothing ever comes of it and they settle on Platonic Life Partners. Monica and Chandler in early seasons really were just friends before becoming Friends with Benefits and falling in love.
- Averted early on with Ross and Rachel: Ross had a crush on Rachel before they became friends, and constantly tries for a Relationship Upgrade. Played straight in later seasons after they break up.
- Just One More Level: The Ms. Pac-Man arcade that Phoebe gives to Monica and Chandler as a wedding gift causes this. First, Phoebe wouldn't let go of the game from the moment it was unpacked (even though it was meant for Monica); then Chandler, out of curiosity (because he wasn't so keen on the game at firstnote ), goes from a mediocre player to an ace after an eight-hour long session (while Monica's off at work, no less), getting a cramp that immobilizes his right hand in the process.
- Just The Way You Are: Played with when Chandler thinks Monica is getting plastic surgery and tries to show her he loves her as she is.
- In another episode Monica worries that if she gets fat Chandler will stop loving her. In an absolutely adorable moment he proves her wrong.
Chandler: "I don't think of you as a thin, beautiful woman...You’re Monica. Okay? And I am in love with Monica. So you can balloon up or you can shrink down and I will still love you."
Monica: "Even if I shrink down to two inches tall?"
Chandler: "I'd carry you around in my pocket."
- Especially heartwarming as Monica was fat in the past and Chandler (an immature college student) insulted her. This proves he grew up enough not to care at all.