A sitcom that ran from 1994-2004 which centers on a glamorous circle of Manhattan singles.Though admittedly formulaic, Friends featured a top-notch cast and, at least in the early seasons, some legitimately outstanding writing. The Ross-and-Rachel relationship easily ranks as the most drawn-out, convoluted Will They or Won't They? plot in sitcom history. Interestingly, they became a couple early on, only to break up on account of Ross' cheating.note They wereon a break! Despite this, the characters managed to reconcile and even conceive a child without officially getting 'back together.'A giant success in its day (the stars graced the covers of a dozen entertainment and gossip magazines every week), and accordingly one of the more polarizing shows of recent memory. "Seinfeld or Friends?" became a kind of shibboleth used to determine one's television street cred.Friends is famous for its Idiosyncratic Episode Naming that referenced how the episodes would be most likely to be referred to when discussed among casual fans. All episode titles follow the format "The One With..." or "The One Where...". The two exceptions are "The Pilot" (which, even then, has been RetConned with the name "The One Where Monica Gets A Roommate") and "The Last One" note To be fair, this is probably how casual fans would have referred to it anyway.Over its 10-year run, the show featured literally dozens of big-name guest stars — Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Jean-Claude Van Damme, George Clooney, Alec Baldwin, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Hugh Laurie, Reese Witherspoon, Jeff Goldblum, Charlie Sheen, Bruce Willis, Jennifer Saunders, Ben Stiller, Gary Oldman, Kathleen Turner, Jon Favreau and Jon Lovitz to name just a few. They even got Charlton Heston, Richard Branson and Fergie!The main cast of Friends grew to be real-life True Companions; Tom Selleck commented in an interview that he often felt 'left out' during the filming of his appearance (A not-uncommon sentiment among guests on a hit series, but nonetheless). The cast as a whole demanded equal salaries, leading to the show holding the world record for "best-paid women actors in a TV show" for many years. And they insisted that, should they be nominated for awards (which they were), they all be in the same category: you couldn't nominate Matt Le Blanc (Joey) as "Supporting Actor" and David Schwimmer (Ross) as "Lead Actor"; both of them had to be Lead or Supporting.To this day, Friends is still ranked with Seinfeld and The Simpsons as perhaps the defining (mainstream) tv shows of The Nineties.
open/close all folders
Tropes A to E
'80s Hair: Some of the hairstyles during the first season of are very 80s-ish (most notably Matt Le Blanc's and the original actress who played Carol before the more 90's looking Jane Sibbett took over). At the same time, many of the other hairstyles during that season seem stuck in a weird middle-ground between the 80s and 90s. Given that, by 1994, most of the styles and fashions of the 80's had passed, it really makes some first season episodes seem dated even for the time in which they were made. By Season 2, the series would finally have 90s hair and fashions down pat.
Seen whenever there are flashbacks to their childhood. Most notable example is "The One With All The Thanksgivings'', with Ross and Chandler sporting ridiculous A Flock Of Seagulls haircuts.
A Cappella: In "The One with All the Jealousy", Monica dates a co-worker named Julio who is a foreigner and a pretentious poet. In one of his poems, he refers to her as an "empty vase", then later claims it was a reference to all American women, not just her. Monica gets her revenge by sending an A cappella barbershop quartet to the diner to ridicule him (and call him a buttmunch) while he's hitting on another woman. Well played.
Absence of Evidence: Played for laughs: Joey gives Chandler his show reel in order to be considered for an advert being produced by Chandler's company. When Chandler claims to have watched it, Joey says that he obviously hasn't, because part of the audition tape was a Japandering advert Joey did for "Ichiban Lipstick for Men", which Chandler would have definitely made fun of.
Abusive Parents: Although Played for Laughs, Monica suffers a lot of emotional abuse from her mother who either ignores or criticizes her. Chandler's childhood was also pretty horrible. (His parents skipped his first parents' day, announced their divorce on Thanksgiving, had orgies with the poolboys in front of him, and used him as a pawn in their fights). Both characters are clearly screwed up as a result, Monica striving to be perfect at everything because she never feels good enough, and Chandler using humour as a defence to hide his crippling insecurity. It's not until they fall in love and build a loving relationship together that their self-esteem improves.
Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: Subverted; Ross does try to say the word "karate" with the right Japanese intonation (putting more stress into "te" instead of the Western habit of stressing "ra"), but the way he says it just makes the word seem weird.
In a later episode, Ross finds that he tends to slip into a stereotypical English accent during his new job of lecturing at a college, as a result of nerves. Mid-lecture, under the assumption that he wasn't being listened to anyway, he attempts to reassert his normal accent, but finds that he starts slipping in and out, resulting in the placement of emphasis on strange parts of words, such as saying "IdentiFY'".
Chandler has a habit of emphasizing the word "be", which occasionally joked upon by the others.
The Ace: Monica's season 1 boyfriend Allan who was good at sports, is a delight in conversation and apparently well-endowed. The gang didn't take it well when Monica decided to break up with him.
Several variations happen when Rachel gets a job at Ralph Lauren.
Accidental Proposal: Shortly after Rachel gives birth to Emma, Joey finds Ross's engagement ring, which Ross was going to present to Rachel and ask her to marry him. Joey turns around while happening to be on one knee, still holding the ring. Rachel says yes to Joey. A delightful series of miscommunications ensues.
Acting for Two: Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe and recurring Evil Twin Ursula, and David Schwimmer's one-off as "Russ", a Ross-esque guy Rachel briefly dated (without noticing the similarities, such as profession and the unique manner of speaking).
Acting Unnatural: When Rachel and Joey are having their brief fling, Ross knocks on the door to Rachel's hotel room; she tells Joey that they aren't doing anything suspicious and he just needs to act "nonchalant". He poses awkwardly with his hands on his hips, staring at the ceiling, until admitting he doesn't know what "nonchalant" means.
Actor Allusion: On "The One with the Football," Phoebe wears a That Girl T-shirt. Marlo Thomas, the star of that show, played Rachel's mother.
There's even one for animal actors. In "The One After the Superbowl," Ross learns Marcel the monkey is now filming the fictional sequel to Outbreak. The monkey actually was the monkey in the film.
For one episode in the opening credits, Courtney Cox gets first billing and is now billed as Courtney Cox-Arquette (due to her marriage to David Arquette). The rest of the cast also have Arquette hyphened onto the end of their names in the credits for that episode. The end of the episode has a little dedication saying "For Courtney and David, who did get married".
In "The One After The Super Bowl," it's revealed that Chandler pulled up a girl's skirt during a school play, so the entire school saw her underwear. Where were the teachers, faculty and parents when he did this? It was during a school play, so surely they witnessed this and reprimanded him for it (which, ironically, would've been far more likely to be the focus of the kids' attention than seeing the girl's underwear).
Chandler's childhood in general, as he apparentley received very little support during his parents divorce and Dad coming out as gay.
In "The One With The Halloween Party," none of the trick-or-treaters are with their parents or guardians.
Also, in "The One After I Do," why is there no babysitter at the kid's table?
Phoebe's entire backstory. You have to question how an orphaned 14 year old ended up on the streets and not in care or a foster home.
Aerith and Bob: Chandler was a much more unusual name than the likes of Joey or Rachel.
Aesop Amnesia: Chandler never seems to learn from the fact that the one thing that hurts Joey the most is when Chandler lies to him.
He also struggles with remembering that Monica loves him more than anyone else ever and is utterly uninterested in Richard, other funny guys, Richard, her so-called soulmate and Richard.
Afraid of Needles: Phoebe and Rachel decide to get tattoos, but Phoebe backs out at the last moment when she realizes it's actually done with needles.
Rachel: You don't say! Because MINE was licked on by kittens!
Ross doesn't like needles either. In one episode, he has a severe allergic reaction to kiwi fruit and doesn't want to go to the hospital for a shot. He suggests that they could "take the needle and squirt it into my mouth, you know, like a squirt gun" instead. Monica says he can hold her hand while he gets the shot; he grips it so tightly that she ends up with a bone bruise and a puncture wound from her ring.
They also lampshaded and averted it in the finale when they decide on the "lame cool guy hand shake" over the "awkward hug", but end up giving each other a real hug, anyway.
The Alcoholic: Fun Bobby, an occasional boyfriend of Monica's. Alcohol was what made him entertaining. When he quit drinking, Monica started upping her alcohol intake to cope with his stories about shoelaces.
Alternate Reality Episode: "The One That Could Have Been" is a two-parter where the teaser has each of the Friends imagining something that could have happened differently in their lives and the rest of the story drops into an Alternate Reality where these things happened. Monica never lost her teenage weight and is still fat as an adult, Joey is still on Days of Our Lives and has become famous and wealthy, Rachel married Barry and is quietly miserable (and considering having an affair with Joey the celebrity), Phoebe is a stockbroker, Chandler is a (failing) writer and Carol has not come out of the closet and is still married to Ross (Though she is very interested in having a threesome with Ross and another woman).
There's a sequence in "The One With The Truth About London" where Monica confesses that the night she hooked up with Chandler in London, she actually went to the room to seek out Joey. They imagine what life would've been like with those two together, in which Joey is fatter than young Monica, thanks to her cooking.
Joey: *looking at food* "How YOU doin'?"
Aluminium Christmas Trees: Remember mockolate (fake chocolate made from suspicious substances)? Disgusting and potentially hazardous? Well, so does anyone who grew up in the Soviet Bloc. Hershey's and other chocolate companies are doing this now, replacing cocoa butter in their "chocolate" with vegetable oils. Critics have taken to using the "mockolate" term coined by Friends to describe it.
Chandler panics when Monica refers to a colleague as the funniest guy she's ever met.
Also Joey to Chandler in early seasons, at least at picking up girls. He's also devastated when Monica admitted she originally wanted a one night stand with Joey and not him.
Since Chandler and Monica were friends for years before they became a couple, they know each other's dating history. As a result, Chandler was there as a friend when Monica was going through her relationship with (then) love of her life, Richard, and how hard it was for her to get back on her feet when the relationship ended. Richard was also very popular with the entire gang for being a very nice, respectable, successful man. Chandler is sometimes haunted by this knowledge even though he's also a very nice, respectable, successful man who completely surpassed Richard as the love of Monica's life. As an Insecure Love Interest, he sometimes has trouble believing this.
Case to point, Season 9 reveals Chandler still feels threatened by Richard even though he and Monica have been Happily Married for a year, together for four years and she and Richard haven't dated in six years. The fact he still views Richard as the better man prompts Monica to point out than given she chose him he should feel sorry for Richard not envious.
Ross and Monica's father Jack has sex-related comments (e.g. asking his daughter's husband if he's able to give her an orgasm)
Chandler's folks: his mother is a gorgeous sex-driven blonde writer of erotic novels who even kisses one of his best friends, and his father's a gay transgender Las Vegas cabaret entertainer. At one point, Chandler was worried that he was turning into his parents. Ross asks him:
Ross: Chandler, have you ever put on a black cocktail dress and asked me up to your hotel room?
Ross: Then you are neither of your parents!
The worst example would have to be Mrs Bing proving how good a mother she is by revealing she bought Chandler his first condoms. On the Jay Leno show.
Chandler: (watching)...And then he burst into flames.
Rachel's parents. Her father is an overbearing man who isn't a smooth tipper and is very easily irritable, but her mum take the cake. She's like a girl who never grow up, asks Rachel and girls what's new in sex, and is unable to accept a sincere apology.
Amicable Exes: Ross and Carol still get on very well; if Carol wasn't a lesbian, they'd probably still be together. This may explain why Carol's partner Susan doesn't seem to like Ross much (though her opinion of him jumps up considerably after he shows just how amicable he is by convincing Carol to go ahead with the marriage despite family issues)..
And of course, Ross and Rachel. They were hostile towards each other for a few episodes after their breakup, but after the others voiced concerns that their issues could hamper the entire group dynamic, they mutually decide to get along for the benefit of everyone. Even after Rachel moves out of Ross's after a big fight later in the series, the very next episode has them on relatively good terms again. Of course, it helps that they really do love each other through thick and thin.
Animal Metaphor: Phoebe compares Ross & Rachel's relationship to lobster, because they mate for life. According to Phoebe, you can actually see old lobster couples in a lobster tank holding claws.
Ross has asked Rachel to make a list of things that she doesn't like about him (it's a long story). While she's initially reticent, he finally ticks her off enough:
Rachel: OK, you're whiney, you are, you're obsessive, you are insecure, you're, you're gutless, you know, you don't ever, you don't just sort of seize the day, you know. You like me for what, a year, you didn't do anything about it. And, uh, oh, you wear too much of that gel in your hair.
In this context, it actually makes sense: she's not going for a dramatic buildup, she's listing them as she thinks of them, and it's reasonable that hair gel might not be the top one on her mind.
In the episode "The One With George Stephanopoulos", at the beginning of the episode, they're all discussing what they would do if they were omnipotent for a day. Phoebe goes on to use this trope.
Phoebe: Ok, ok. If I were omnipotent for a day, I would want, hum, world peace, no more hunger, good things for the rain forest. And bigger boobs!
In the episode "The One After the Super Bowl", Joey gets his stalker to leave him alone by pretending to be his own Evil Twin (well, actually the Evil Twin of his soap opera character, Drake Ramoray, whom the stalker believes him to be). His friends help him out:
Rachel: He pretended to be Drake to, to sleep with me! (throws her drink in his face)
Monica: And then he told me he would run away with me, and he didn't! (throws her drink in his face)
Chandler: And you left the toilet seat up, you bastard! (throws his drink in his face)
From the same episode, when listing what is stolen from the zoo, the list is a monkey, a snowy egret, a two-toed sloth, and three hooded sweatshirts from the gift shop.
When Monica gives the manager of a restaurant a terrible review, His gripes with her are that she said the food tasted terrible, the service was inadequate, and she claimed they took the Discover card.
Played with in The One With Ross' Sandwich, making it more "Arson, Jaywalking and Murder".
Rachel: He takes naked pictures of us, and then he eats chicken, and then he looks at them!
Art Shift: During scenes involving Joey's soap opera work, the show goes from 24fps to the soap opera standard of 48fps.
Artistic License - Biology: Rachel is pregnant for at least fifteen months, being already pregnant at Chandler and Monica's wedding (May 15th) and going on maternity leave in August the next year.
Not to mention the episode with Emma's first birthday party airing in the fall.
Despite many season premieres taking place within minutes or even seconds of the previous season finale, hair has somehow managed to grow several inches.
That's why they don't film entire scenes before the season is over. That way, the audience has a summer to "forget" what the characters looked like and will accept the changes with little fuss.
Ironically enough they also Lampshade plot devices like this through Joey's work on Days Of Our Lives: his coma-bound character gets a brain transplant that turns him into the donor's character in a new body. Later, he somehow reverts back to his old character (Drake Ramoret) when his body rejects the brain.
Artistic License - Geography: In "The One With Joey's Big Break", while he and Chandler are driving out of Manhattan for Las Vegas, the (rather grainy) bridge is obviously the Queensboro Bridge, which crosses East River and connects Manhattan to Queens, but after Joey kicks out Chandler for saying the movie won't be his break, the Orbital Shot is of the Manhettan Bridge, also spanning East River but connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn. At the coffee shop, Chandler mentions it was the George Washington Bridge, which would have been correct as it crosses the Hudson and connects Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Phoebe had a scientist boyfriend called David, who went to Minsk on a research trip. Minsk is stated to be in Russia several times, while it actually is the capital of Belarus. Belarus was the part of the Soviet Union to which Americans often referred as "Russia", but the Soviet Union was dissolved years before Friends even started.
First, if the church was scheduled for demolition, it would be deconsecrated and could not be booked or even perform weddings, and any wedding conducted there would be null and void.
Second, if were it still consecrated, it would be unthinkable to demolish it.
Third, Britain's incredibly restrictive health and safety laws would prohibit a wedding from taking place in a church undergoing an in-progress demolition.
Fourth, English law requires weddings to take place either in recognised churches or in licensed civil premises - at that time limited to registry offices and weddings granted special licences, which is not the case here. A half-demolished church is neither.
Fifth, there's also no way Ross could have arrived in the UK and got married in the time-frame shown, since he clearly wasn't around to make the necessary applications.
Joey has trouble opening Rachel's bra. This is a sign that them having a relationship is not a good idea, as he usually can do it without any effort. He claimed he once looked at one and it popped open (we learn in the following scene it was Monica's). Comically subverted immediately after by Chandler.
Monica: Chandler stop! It's not going to pop open.
Chandler: You don't know!
Joey claims that Chandler is afraid of bras, because he "can't work 'em."
Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: In one episode, Joey is at Central Perk when he realizes he should have been at work two hours ago. Then he gets distracted talking to Chandler and sits back down. Chandler reminds him about work, so he leaves, only to see an attractive girl outside and get distracted talking to her. Chandler yells out the window, "Joey, for God's sake, go to work!" and he runs off.
Author Appeal: There are a lot of doctors in this show. Ross Geller (paleontologist), Rachel's father Leonard Green (vascular surgeon), Drake Ramoray (fictional neurosurgeon), Rachel's fiance Barry Farber (orthodontist), Richard Burke (ophthalmalogist), Timothy Burke (ophthalmalogist), Charlie Wheeler (paleontologist)and a pair of physicians played by George Clooney and Noah Wyle... and that's just the family and the love interests..
Chandler was mistaken for a doctor when he and Monica met their surrogate.
Badass Mustache: Richard Burke. Chandler in particular seems to resent this and makes fun of it whenever possible. He's been accused of doing so because he's proven unable to grow a good mustache. Chandler did try to imitate him, with limited results.
Bait and Switch: A staple of Chandler's jokes, especially when he talks about his parents and seems to be talking about his mother, but is actually talking about his (transvestite) father.
Bathroom Breakout: Emily locks herself in the bathroom after Ross says the wrong name at their wedding. Rachel mentions that when she did this at her own wedding (to Barry), she was trying to pop the window out of the frame so she could escape. Ross then forces the bathroom door open; the curtains are blowing in the breeze and Emily's gone.
Batman Gambit: When Phoebe is trying to choose between the names "Joey" or "Chandler" when naming the third triplet, and it looks like she'll go with "Joey", Chandler fakes a name-based existential crisis which tricks Phoebe into attempting to make him feel better about his name by naming the baby after him instead of Joey.
Beach Bury: Joey falls asleep at the beach, and gets buried in an elaborately-sculpted mermaid-shaped mound, including sand boobs. Of which he definitely approves.
Beastly Bloodsports: When Ross was looking for zoos to take his monkey Marcel, one of the prospects asks how good Marcel is with a knife, and it quickly becomes apparent that he's running some sort of animal fighting ring.
Because I'm Jonesy: In one episode, Phoebe found a lost police badge, which she then starts flashing around to intimidate people. Eventually she tries to pull it on a real cop and tries to bluff her way through his questions, like which precinct she works at. After a while he seems to believe her, then he asks "So where did you find my badge?".
Attempted by Chandler in the episode "The One With Five Steaks and an Eggplant." When a mysterious woman leaves a message on his machine looking for her old lover Bob, Chandler pretends to be Bob and makes a date with her. He then consoles her when "Bob" doesn't show up, and they sleep together. Later, Chandler is Hoist by His Own Petard when the woman calls the machine and tells "Bob" that Chandler is nothing compared to him in bed.
In the episode "The One With The Stain", Phoebe is dating her twin sister's ex-fiance, and said twin sister pretends to be Phoebe in order to sleep with him.
Betty and Veronica: The third season has Ross choosing between Rachel (Betty) and Bonnie (Veronica). They're both blonde, but the trope still applies as Rachel was his best friend, on-again-off-again ex-girlfriend and the woman he'd been in love with since his teenage years and Bonnie was the exotic hypersexual newcomer. Subverted in an early episode where Phoebe has to choose between a bulky fireman and a sweet schoolteacher, only to find out both of them were both athletic and sensitive (i.e. not too different after all).
The second season love triangle between Ross, Rachel and Julie can also be seen as being an example of this. Although arguably, sweet, harmless Julie would be the Betty, with Rachel as the previously unobtainable Veronica.
Season 6 has Monica (Archie) choosing between self-doubting, long-time best friend Chandler and sophisticated, ex-boyfriend Richard. Apperance wise, its fits, as Richard is Tall, Dark and Handsome and Chandler is fairer haired and not considered very attractive. Monica still picks him.
The Big Damn Kiss: Ross and Rachel at the ends of "The One Where Ross Finds Out", "The One with the Prom Video." and "The Last One"
Chandler and Monica have one in 'TOW Everyone Finds Out'. A big damn one because they have kissed before but this is their first public kiss, in front of all their friends and right after Chandler's openly yelled out his love for her.
Chandler: "I love her!" *Cue shocked looks* "That's right, I love her! I love her...I love you, Monica."
Monica: "I love you too Chandler" *They kiss*
Birds of a Feather: Chandler and Monica manage to be this andOpposites Attract. He's relaxed, calm and committment phobic she's energetic, uptight and looking for a serious relationship. However they both suffered difficult childhoods and are pretty neurotic. The key is that while their reactions are different, their issues are similar and so they can understand each other. (Which is very much Truth in Television). This conversation sums up their shared issues well:
Chandler: Is that why you became a chef? So that people would like you?
Monica: Oh, you really want to talk about getting people to like you huh, funny man?
Interestingly Monica's Second Love Pete was definitely Birds of a Feather. Like Monica he was a Competition Freak and The Determinator, which actually caused their break up, hinting Monica couldn't be with someone as stubborn and driven as she was. Her next and final boyfriend was Chandler who repeatedly demonstrated he was capable of stabilizing her.
Ross and Julie, Ross and Charlie and even Ross and Emily are also this. (Contrasting with Rachel).
Birthday Episode: Rachel has three birthdays celebrated, and in one both of her parents (who are going through a divorce) show up. To keep them from having to interact they split the party in two.
In another Rachel turns thirty, the last of the group to do so. The episode is a mixture of everyone dealing with Rachel's current birthday and flashbacking to everyone else's thirtieth birthday parties.
When Rachel gets a new job, Phoebe and Monica organise a surprise birthday party for her a month before her actual birthday, have a falling out over the organisation and it turns into a very weird cup-theme party... that also reveals everyone forgot about Chandler's birthday which is coming up much sooner than Rachel's.
A birthday of Phoebe's involves her finding out she's actually a year older than she thought.
One of Monica's has her getting drunk before appearing at her posh surprise party, that includes her parents with a camcorder.
The gang go to a concert for Ross's birthday, and throw a party for Joey in Season 2.
One of Rachel's boyfriends (played by Ben Stiller) in season 3. He seems perfectly fine until someone or something pisses him off. Also Joey's first new roommate Janine who hate Chandler & Monica.
Emily, Ross's 2nd ex-wife. Later on in her appearance, she became much more...not bitch per say, more along the lines of 'possessive extremist with a short temper'. Granted, she had reason for being not so innocent anymore (Ross said the wrong name at the wedding), but her 'demands' were admittedly quite unreasonable...
Rachel also comes across like this, frequently manipulating Ross's girlfriends behind his back, forcing him to take all responsibility for their relationship problems and drawing all attention to herself.
Phoebe, late in the series, especially in that episode where she and Monica try to break up and fire, respectively, a guy, but the first one to do so is the bitch. Monica rehires him but Phoebe doesn't take him back. She's also pretty horrible to Ross and Chandler (Monica's boyfriend and later husband) including introducing Monica to her "soulmate" while being well aware of Chandler's rampant insecurities.
Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: When Monica meets the man Pheobe believes is her soul mate (after she's married Chandler), they have a shared passion for cheese.
Phoebe: They want to live in a house made of cheese. I don't know how you fight that.
There was also "The One with All the Cheesecakes".
Black and Nerdy: The "Morning's Here!" guy who lives across from Joey's bedroom.
Black Belt In Origami: At one point, Ross insists that he knows a martial arts technique called "Unagi." Rachel and Phoebe, however, know what the word actually means and spend much of the episode after making jokes about it.
Blatant Lies: Phoebe's song "Two Of Them Kissed Last Night" about Betty (Rachel), Neil (Ross) and Loolie (Julie).
Blind Alley: In " The One in Barbados Part 2", Ross and Charlie enter a room down the corridor while their pursuers continue down the hall.
Boarding School: Chandler reveals he attended boarding school. The details aren't revealed, (apart from being all boys), but he doesn't make it sound like fun and its hinted he was bullied.
Bottle Episode: In a first season episode, the entire cast had to stay in one apartment. This eventually became a stable of the show.
Book Ends: The episode "The One with All the Haste" begins with Rachel angrily yelling at a man who sings right outside her window early in the morning. The episode ends with Joey singing along happily with the man, after the boys and girls have switched back apartments.
Season 5 began and ended with Ross getting married.
Bow Chicka Wow Wow: Rachel from does this in the episode "The One With the Free Porn," apparently unaware of what she's singing. Eventually she asks what it is that's been in her head all day and is told it's the theme to Good Will Humping.
The Central Perk manager hates Phoebe's singing so much it makes him want to "push my finger through my eye, into my brain, and swirl it around."
In the episode "The One with the Butt" where Joey gets a gig as Al Pacino's butt double, he goes into Monica's bathroom to put lotion on his rear end in preparation for the "part". Chandler comes in with the phone in his hand:
Chandler: Where's Joey? His mom's on the phone. Monica: In the bathroom. I don't think you wanna go in there right now! Chandler: Oh come on, we're roommates. (enters bathroom, runs out screaming) GAAAAAAH! MY EYES! MY EYES!
In "The One Where Everyone Finds Out", Phoebe sees Chandler and Monica having sex, and screams the exact same line.
In "The One with the Prom Video," Monica accidentally stumbles upon a tape of her parents having sex. In the later episode "The One Where Joey Moves Out", she unfortunately catches the live show.
In a later season, Monica's dad walks in on Monica and Chandler.
"The One With The Jellyfish" has everyone traumatized when Chandler had to pee on Monica after she got stung.
In "The One with the Cake," Chandler uses the bathroom while Joey is trying to keep everyone from leaving the birthday party. When Phoebe realizes there is a window in the bathroom that he could escape from, she and Joey run into the bathroom and are disturbed when they see Chandler actually using the bathroom.
Break-Up Bonfire: In an episode, Monica, Phoebe, and Rachel burn mementos of their exes when they find themselves all single on Valentine's Day and decide to do something to "cleanse" their bad luck. The firemen who attend when it inevitably gets out of control tell them that Valentine's Day is one of their busiest nights of the year, for exactly that reason.
In Season 4, Rachel's crush, Joshua, has to buy a lot of new clothes as his ex-wife set all his old clothes on fire. He later reveals he keeps on buying clothes since he likes Rachel.
Also, when Joey brings in a crib to convince a pregnant Rachel to stay at his apartment, he has his stuffed penguin toy Huggsy as a stand-in for the baby, but balks when Rachel believes he's going to give it to the baby. When Rachel and Emma live with Joey, Emma takes a liking to Huggsy, which Joey has a big problem with, as alluded to before.
Ross accidentally says "Rachel" instead of "Emily" during his season 4 wedding. He and Rachel accidentally get married in the season 5 finale.
In "The One The Morning After", as Ross and Rachel break up in the living room everyone else is stuck in the living room. Two seasons later, as the situation repeats (with Ross receiving a letter from Emily) it's revealed that Joey hid a survival kit under the bed in case that happened again.
The Ichiban lipstick makes for another punchline near the end of "TOW Ross's Grant".
In "TOW The Metaphorical Tunnel", Rachel is seen using the milk carton opener that Joey was demonstrating on an informercial during the cold open.
In "The One with the Stoned Guy" from Series 1, Jon Lovitz plays a restaurant owner who likes to smoke pot. He later reappears as the same character in Series 9's "The One With the Blind Dates", where he reveals that he lost his business due to his drug habit.
Played for Laughs when Ross dates Chandler's ex-girlfriend Janice, and is worried he'll be angry. Chandler makes a big deal of forgiving him and makes him promise to do the same. (As he's secretly dating Monica at the time and is worried about Ross's reaction).
They had a similar issue before, when Ross kisses Chandler's MOTHER (who was played by Morgan Fairchild).
Played more seriously when Joey falls in love with Rachel and agonizes over Ross's reaction.
Chandler falls hard for Joey's girlfriend Kathy. Would be normally ok, but Joey is serious about her too...
Brought Home the Wrong Kid: Double Subverted. In one episode, Joey and Chandler worry they've done this to Ben (they left him on the bus by accident as well) but it seemingly turns out to be the right kid in the end. After Ross cradles the baby after the audience has been convinced the baby seemingly is Ben, the diaper the baby is wearing reveals a "Property of State Department" stamp on it.
Rachel's sister Amy does this a lot. She wonders how come people dislike hearing their babies look bad.
In "The One With The Butt", everyone says non-committal positive-ish things about Joey's terrible play, except Chandler, who says "Awful play man, woah!". He's too excited about the beautiful girl who just agreed to go out with him to care about lying.
Even Phoebe couldn't hide it.
Joey: Wow, an agency left me its card! Maybe they wanna sign me!
Phoebe: Based on this play? ...Based on this play!
''' It's my friends. They have a... liking problem. With you. In that they don't.
Her brother even more so (he described his love for his fiancée as "being with her is like... so much better than not being with her, y'know")
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In "TOW the Rumor" Rachel's old high-school classmate Will (played by Brad Pitt) reveals that she was so mean to him in school that he founded the "I Hate Rachel Green Club". Rachel doesn't even remember him.
Rachel: Right, honey, but they are only 97% effective.
Ross: WHAT? They should put that on the box!
Rachel: They do!
Ross: NO THEY DON'T! (Storms off to his bedroom. Pause. Returns with a box of condoms in hand) WELL THEY SHOULD PUT IT IN HUGE BLOCK LETTERS!!!
Made even funnier when Ross tells Joey and he tries to do some quick math about how many girls he's slept with, given 97% effectiveness each time... panic attack! And then he pulls a huge roll of condoms out of his pocket to check.
Season 7's "The One With the Cheap Wedding Dress" features several of these. Joey and Ross find themselves fighting over the same woman, and - in an effort to make the other look bad in front of her - bring up various embarrassing moments from the earlier seasons of the show. These included:
Joey's character on Days of Our Lives getting a brain transplant from a woman in "The One With Joey's New Brain" 2 episodes ago.
Ross getting divorced 3 times.
Joey eating the food off of one of his date's plates while she was in the bathroom.
Ross' first wife being a lesbian.
Joey serving as a model for a poster about gonorrhea in Season 1's "The One Where the Underdog Gets Away".
Ross living with his monkey Marcel in Season 1.
Joey getting locked in a TV Cabinet in Season 4's "The One With the Cat".
Call Forward: A flashback has Ross proudly tell his parents that his new girlfriend is really athletic; she's on the lacrosse team and the golf team. Yes, Carol "plays for both teams"...
This show has loads, especially in their first flashback episode: Phoebe mentions that "cute naked guy" was starting to put on some weight, Ross is excited about Carol befriending "a Susan something" and encourages her to have a "girl's night", Chandler says he doesn't wanna have a roommate handsome enough to relegate him (Chandler) as "the funny one", Monica runs into Rachel and then bets she's never gonna see her again, the gang (then consisting of four of the six main characters) comment on how the bar is closing and wonder where are they going to hang out...
In "The One With All The Thanksgivings", there's a flashback where a teenage Monica has a crush on Chandler and makes him som mac'n'cheese for Thanksgiving dinner. Afterward she asks if he liked it, and he somewhat sarcastically remarks, "Yeah, it was great. You should be a chef." Monica giggles and says, "Okay!"
Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Played with in "The One After The Superbowl Part 2" when Chandler's date invites him to the bathroom for sex, he excitedly states "I'm going to the bathroom now!"
The show featured Cups, a card game invented by Chandler to transfer money to Joey without him recognising it as charity. Beginner's Luck is a vitally important feature.
Joey auditioned to be a host of a quiz show Bamboozle! which involves "Wicked Wango Cards" and "The Wheel Of Mayhem". This actually becomes a plot point in-show, as the studio execs want to change it to a more conventional quiz show because it's too complicated for the audience to follow.
Joey: Well, what's complicated? You spin the Wheel Of Mayhem to go up the Ladder Of Chance, you go past the Mud Hut through the Rainbow Ring to get to the Golden Monkey, you pull his tail and boom, you're in Paradise Pond!
Phoebe Ball, which Phoebe makes up and names on a whim, and which appears to consist of Phoebe asking questions and arbitrarily awarding points for the answer closest to the description she was thinking of. This being Phoebe, the others gets frustrated after one round.
Can't Believe I Said That: In "The One With The Blackout", Chandler gets stuck in an ATM vestibule with Victoria's Secret model Jill Goodacre. She offers Chandler gum and at first he turns it down. Then he realizes that he shouldn't have and tells her:
Chandler: You know, on second thought, gum would be perfection. (Thinking) Gum would be perfection? Gum would be perfection. Could have said, "Gum would be nice," or "I'll have a stick," but no no no no no. For me, gum is perfection. I loathe myself.
Also in The One With The Holiday Armadillo, Monica says "Okay Ben you stay here and Santa, The Armadillo and I will have a little talk in the Kitchen. There's a sentence I never thought I'd say".
Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them: Ross and Rachel. If they're with other people, they want each other: If they're together they argue constantly and break up. Rachel is especially bad as at one point she manipulated Ross into breaking up with his current girlfriend and then refused to get back together with him unless he took all the blame for a past break up. (He didn't).
Cat Fight: Monica fights with Rachel, and later Rachel and her sister Amy in "TOW Rachel's Other Sister".
Chandler: That fight was totally arousing.
Rachel and Monica in "The One After The Superbowl". Phoebe, who is a much more skilled fighter, manages to subdue both of them.
Phoebe: You know what, if we were in prison, you guys would be like my bitches.
Caught with Your Pants Down: Monica walks in on Chandler having some "alone time" in Oklahoma and mistakenly assumes that he is turned on by shark porn when he quickly changes the channel on the TV from (normal) porn to a shark movie.
A much more well-known example where Ross wears a pair of tight leather pants to a date's house and cannot get them back up after pulling them down in her bathroom. Joey recommends he rub lotion and powder over his legs and Ross gets caught by his date.
Rachel also had a Celeb Crush on Joey in "The One That Could've Been".
Monica has hots for the actor Jean-Claude Van Damme who plays himself as an actor in a film being made in New York. The gang is allowed to be on the set because they are friends with Marcel the monkey who used to belong to Ross. Rachel has guts to go to talk to Jean-Claude and he finds her cute and asks her out, and Monica thus thinks Rachel stole him from her.
In the one with the laminated list, Chandler introduces the concept of having an agreement with your partner about being able to have sex with five celebrities of your choice, should you have a chance to score.
Chandler's girlfriend Janice has the magician David Copperfield among her freebies.
Chandler's own list includes Kim Basinger, Cindy Crawford, Halle Berry, Yasmine Bleeth, and Jessica Rabbit.
Rachel promptly makes her selection on the spot: Chris O’Donnel, John F. Kennedy Jr., Daniel Day Lewis, Sting, and Parker Stevenson.
Ross spends the whole episode trying to come up with a perfect list, and his final version involves Uma Thurman, Winona Ryder, Elizabeth Hurley, Michelle Pfieffer, and Dorothy Hamill. He wanted to include Isabella Rosselini, but the guys convinced him that she's too international, so his odds would be very low. Too bad Rosselini did appeared in their favourite coffee place; however, Rachel allowed him to hit on her despite being out of the list.
When Rachel and Phoebe discuss pregnancy hormones, Phoebe says she remembers trying to steal a cardboard cutout of Evander Holyfield when she was in her forth month. At the end we find out she did steal it and she offers it to Rachel. However, her affection for the cutout is too strong and she cannot bring herself to lend it to her. Quite an example of in-universe Perverse Sexual Lust.
Ross, Joey, and Chandler are die-hard fans of Die Hard. However, when they meet Paul Stevens (played by Bruce Willis), he doesn't seem to remind them of anyone.
In earlier episodes, Ross has Winona Ryder on his "list," but when Rachel's sorority sister shows up, nobody says, "Wow, you look just like Winona Ryder."
Ross also considers Susan Sarandon for the list. She also turned up in a later episode, not playing herself.
Then Chandler has Jessica Rabbit on his list. Kathleen Turner, who voiced Jessica Rabbit, plays his transgender dad.
Also in the episode "The One With the Princess Leia Fantasy", Chandler talks about women he has mental images of during sex, mentioning Elle Macpherson. Elle Macpherson starred in Season 6 as Janine, Joey's roommate.
Jurassic Park is mentioned quite a few times, due to Ross being a paleontologist, yet Jeff Goldblum shows up as a guest in one episode, also not playing himself.
In the second season episode "The One Where Dr. Ramoray Dies", Chandler mentions an ex-girlfriend who thought that 'Sean Penn' was the capital of Cambodia. Sean Penn appeared in two episodes of the eighth season, playing neither himself nor the capital of Cambodia.
Ross mentions Magnum P.I. in an Orphaned Punchline during "TOW No One's Ready"; of course, Tom Selleck had his run as Richard in the previous season.
Downstairs neighbor Mr. Heckles (who had appeared in five total episodes) in Season 2.
Rachel's boss Joanna (who had appeared in three episodes) in Season 4
Joey's agent, Estelle (who had appeared in ten episodes) in season 10.
The chick and the duck.
Character Development: At the beginning, Chandler had serious issues with commitment, which made him incapable of holding a relationship. He eventually got rid of them during his relationship with Monica. Rachel started out as spoiled, selfish and somewhat incompetent; she eventually became a successful, independent career woman and an able mother.
Character Filibuster: Joey talks about the wonders of thongs in the Cold Open of "The one with the Thanksgiving flashbacks". He's still talking about it by the end of the opening credits.
Chekhov's Gunman: "The girl from the Xerox place" is mentioned in multiple episodes starting in the second season. Later, Ross sleeps with the girl, ending his and Rachel's relationship.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Phoebe's biological mother, played by Teri Garr. Discovering and reconciling with her down had been a major point of development in Phoebe's life, but after a few appearances, she never came up again.
The exact same thing happened with her biological father Frank Buffay after his one-shot appearance. Phoebe spent literally years trying to track down over the course of multiple seasons. Whole subplots of certain episodes basically revolved around it. Then they finally meet, and after an emotional(if awkward) reunion, he never appears again.
After Emma was born, Ross seems to forget he has a son and Ben is last seen in Season Eight, and even then with Phoebe rather than Ross. Carol is last seen in Season Seven, and Susan disappears in Season Six. Ben's disappearance was lampshaded in 'The One Where No One Proposes': Ross' father, Jack, is looking at Emma and says "look at her, my first grandchild", when Ross asks about Ben, he says "Well of course Ben, I meant my first granddaughter!" then turn to Monica making a "I totally forgot about him!" face. The fact that they never show or address Ben meeting his new sister is pretty egregious.
Cigarette of Anxiety: Chandler's an ex-smoker, but can be seen lighting up again in particularly stressful situations.
Circumcision Angst: An inverse example. Joey auditions for the role of an Italian immigrant in a movie that involves a tasteful nude scene with a Jewish girl. The character specifically points out that it's the first time she's ever with a man who isn't circumcised, so naturally the actor who portrays him can't be either. However, Joey is, but he stupidly says he isn't just to get a callback. Monica helps him fashion a substitute out of luncheon meat, and it all goes great until he gets to the callback...
Clip Show: The show is the master of the clip show. They have had so many, but they are so good. The first one was in Season 4, episode 21, where Ross's decision whether or not to invite Rachel and her decision whether or not to attend are accompanied by flashbacks of every memorable scene in their relationship over four seasons. There are about a total of four new scenes, period, including the two bookends.
Subverted in "The one where everyone turns 30" which showed clips of what the gang did when they each turned 30.
"The One With Christmas in Tulsa" in Series 9 played with this: half of the episode was a clip show, but the rest was new footage, and contained a very plot-relevant development. Namely Chandler quitting his job.
Phoebe Buffay is probably the most well-known example for a mass-media audience. For instance, she doesn't believe in evolution or gravity, and was convinced that her deceased mother's spirit returned in a cat.
Rachel's sister Amy. She's not able to remember her niece's name (she keeps calling her Ella instead of Emma) and thinks "Phoebe" is just a weird noise, not able to realize Phoebe is telling her her name. She keeps confusing Ross with a guy who sells fast-food. She also starts a business as fashion advisor and designer for babies and is surprised that parents don't like hearing that their babies are ugly.
While quite sane in the first few seasons, Joey ends up fitting this trope in later seasons. His intelligence seemed to drop off and he was very particular about food, not sharing it with anybody and eating quite excessively.
Jack Gellar can be something of one as well.
Clucking Funny: Chandler and Joey keep a chick and a duck — as their pets. They got the chick when s/he was a cute yellow ball of fluff, but little Yasmine grew up into a nice rooster. Hilarity Ensued, many times. One guy who dated Rachel had a serious bird phobia, though, and he did not find them cute, funny or mildly disgusting. He was genuinely scared of them.
Erika. When Monica tells her she and Chandler decided to name one of the twins Erika, she assumes it's just a coincidence, as well as Joey reacting the same way later, turning what could have been a heartwarming moment into a funny one.
The nurse, after being told that Rachel has hurt her ankle trying to take down the Christmas light. "You still have your Christmas lights up?!"
While listing the craziest place they'd had sex, Joey says his was in the second floor reading room of the New York City library. Monica reacts with "Oh my god! What were you doing in a library?"
In "The One with Ross's Wedding", when Rachel realizes that she still loves Ross, and the rest of the group knew that, she asks Phoebe, why didn't they tell her:
Phoebe: Well, because we thought you knew!! It's so obvious! God, that would be like telling Monica, "Hey, you like things clean", or telling Joey, "Hey, you're gay." Rachel: What?! Phoebe: Oh, please! She's always got a broom in her hand!
Phoebe's actually fairly common for this trope. In "The One with the Tea Leaves", she has to change all her shopping habits to avoid a stalker, leading to this conversation:
Phoebe: I also have to find a new video store, a new bank, new adult book store, a new grocery store. Monica: What?! Phoebe:(slowly) A new g-r-o-c-e-r-y store.
Another Phoebe example is in "The One with all the Candy", when she tells that she never had a bike as a child, while the girl across the street had a great one:
Monica: Did the girl ever let you ride it?
Phoebe: No! But she gave me the box that it came in. It had a picture of the bike on the front. So I would sit on it and my step-dad would drag me around the backyard.
Commitment Issues: It's one of Chandler's defining traits. His parents had a messy divorce, and he's unable to trust, commit and be happy. He had struggles picking up women but when he succeeded, often broke things up over minor issues. He dated Janice who was nice enough, but a fairly insufferable woman who he stayed with because he thought he couldn't do better and that she was his only chance for a long-term relationship. (And she eventually chose another man over him). He also dated Kathy who he was crazy about but lied and cheated on him, making him even more scared of falling in love. He freaked out several times that he's destined to die alone. He later got together with one of his best friends Monica and they had a stable, loving relationship, but he still had several crises when he either got cold feet or thought that a minor argument means they are breaking up for good. Thankfully because they were so close before she faithfully reassures him about his fears, refuses to let him screw up and bolt, and they end up Happily Married.
Compressed Vice: In "TOW The Thumb". When the others berate Chandler for his smoking, he rattles off a list of their annoying habits that he puts up with, such as Joey's knuckle-cracking, Phoebe chewing her hair and Monica snorting when she laughs. None of them ever came up before, or after. The one about Ross overpronouncing every word applies, though.
Ridiculously played straight with Chandler's shyness and inability to even talk to attractive girls in "The One With The Cheap Wedding Dress"(where Joey and Ross try to date the same girl). In the entire series preceding that point, although he was usually unlucky in love in the long run, he'd been shown as an admirably competent pickup artist capable of striking up conversations and dispensing hilarious off-the-cuff witticisms with attractive women in almost any situation. He occasionally struck out, but he'd certainly never had a problem talking to any of them.
An episode that shows less respect for continuity comes in the Season Five New Year's episode where Rachel suddenly turns into a gossip who can't shut up about her coworkers' dirty laundry. The whole thing turns out to be a plot device to launch us into a Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere plot as Rachel resolves to stop gossiping, and then immediately discovers the unkeepable secret that Chandler and Monica are doin' it.
Congruent Memory: Joey practices for a commercial by repeating, "Mmmm, soup," using tomato soup as his prop. When filming, they use noodle soup, and he is unable to get the simple "Mmmm, soup." line right.
Continuity Snarl: As a long running show there's bound to be one or two things that don't add up, but a pretty bad one occurs in Season 1 that there's little excuse for because it comes about in the space of two episodes right at the start of the show. There's barely any continuity to screw up. One episode centres on Ross moping because it's the anniversary of his first having sex with Carol (and also losing his virginity). Monica is the one who first remembers, which is Squicky but Ross says there were few people he didn't tell. In the very next episode, Monica says the line "Wow, my brother didn't even tell me when he lost his virginity."
Chandler and Rachel are shown interacting in Thanksgiving flashbacks to their teen years, and in a flashback to a few months before the series began, and yet in the pilot they're introduced as total strangers. Ross gets a "You remember..." before his name, as Chandler ought to as well.
In one of the early episodes, Phoebe is talking to a professional guitar player, Stephanie, and knows the real names of the chords. Several seasons later, when she was teaching Joey how to play a guitar, she appeared not to know the real names, and instead used her own made-up names (like Bear Claw).
Continuity Nod: In an early episode Chandler mentions he used to have a "Flock of Seagulls" haircut. In a S10 flashback Chandler is seen with a "Flock of Seagulls" haircut
In The One with Phoebe's Ex Partner, when playing "Smelly Cat", Phoebe sings in the same way as the cover artist from her music video, shown in The One Where Eddie Moves In.
In the 5th season, Monica is noted to give horrible massages. In a later 5th season episode, she gives Phoebe an equally painful handshake.
In the very first scene of the show, Chandler says that his mother never calls him. Few episodes later we find out that she's a famous writer and informs her son about upcoming visits through tv intervievs.
When Marcel the monkey is introduced in, he's sitting on Ross' neck and Chandler remarks "Hey, that monkey's got a Ross on his ass." Several seasons later, when Ross has a strange growth on his posterior region of which even the doctors don't know what it is, Joey suggests that it's something new that might be called for him as in "Poor guy, he's got a Ross."
A Season 5 flashback reveals Chandler made fun of Monica when she was Formerly Fat. S6 has her saying he wouldn't date her if she was fat (an Alternate Universe episode proves her wrong) and S7 has her mentioning how he mocked her and him saying he's matured and will love her no matter what.
In season two, Joey and Chandler get caught up before buying their gifts, and end up shopping at a gas station on Christmas Eve. Rachel gets wiper blades, even though she doesn't have a car (but they give an odorizer so she can feel like she's inside one), Phoebe gets a package of toilet seat covers, Monica gets a box of condoms, and Ross gets two cans of pop (the last two trade each other's gifts...).
Monica and Rachel are throwing a baby shower for Phoebe. None of the usual (cliched) gift ideas will work, since Phoebe is being a surrogate for her brother, so everybody shows up with things that Phoebe can't use until after the birth, such as leather pants and tequila. What with pregnancy mood swings, this doesn't end well.
In one episode, Chandler and Monica agreed to make each other presents for Valentine's Day. Monica ended up giving Chandler a sock puppet Phoebe had made. Chandler gave Monica a mix tape he had lying around in his closet (and it transpired that the mix tape had been made for him by Janice for an earlier birthday).
And on one occasion, Chandler gave the group letters saying, "A donation has been made in your name to the New York City ballet." Bad enough on their own, at least for someone who doesn't care to support the ballet, but the act earns double trope points due to the fact that he took the letters from the Christmas bonus pile at work.
At Emma's first birthday party, Joey didn't realize they needed to bring presents. He improvises, and does a 'dramatic' reading of one of Emma's favorite books. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but he earns bonus points for moving everyone to tears.
Joey's gold bracelet he bought for Chandler, aka "The Woman Repeller".
Joey's birthday present for Cathy: it's a pen AND a clock.
Cool Aunt: Rachel is delighted when Ross' young son Ben starts calling her his 'Cool Aunt Rachel' and being thrilled to see her.
When Phoebe is bummed about having to give up her brother's babies after giving birth to them (as a surrogate), Rachel and Monica cheer her up by telling her that she'll be "cool aunt Phoebe".
The Couch: Subverted in that the classic audience-facing couch setup is actually in the coffee house, while the couch in Monica's apartment is perpendicular to the audience facing the TV on the right wall, and the guys' apartment sports two recliners, faced perpendicularly to the TV on the left. The reason for this may have been that unlike virtually all other sitcoms, Friends usually has us see the characters' television screens while they're watching them, particularly because this often involved Joey. Though Chandler and Joey's appartment usually had two chairs and for a season a Kajak.
Deconstructed later on with Ross as his irrational jealousy leads to him and Rachel breaking up. Emily becomes this in a much less funny way. And Chandler's jealousy drives to Kathy to sleeping with her co-star. Plays out better with Chandler and Monica, as he explains he's worried about Richard because she loves him more than Chandler and Monica quickly asserts that Chandler has never been second best to her and he's more important than Richard.
Crazy-Prepared: During an episode, half the characters are trapped in Rachel's room for most of the night without any food. A later episode shows that Joey had planted a box of food and games in that room in case it ever happened again. That box also included condoms because, as he put it:
Joey: We don't know how long we're gonna be in here. We may have to repopulate the earth. Chandler: And condoms are the way to do that...
In another episode where Chandler and Rachel fight over a slice of cheesecake that fell on the floor, Joey suddenly walks in. Seeing both of his friends kneeling over the cheesecake on the floor, he pulls out a fork from his shirt pocket and joins them!
Joey: What're we having?
Joey and Chandler keep the chopsticks "for no real reason" after they order Chinese takeaway. They later use them to fashion a poking device to stir the Ugly Naked Guy when they think he could be dead.
Crosscast Role: Chandler's father (who is either a transvestite or transexual; the show was never clear) played by Kathleen Turner (voice of Jessica Rabbit).
Crossover: With Mad About You, somewhat, as in a few eps Ursula can be found as the Buchmans' regular waitress, much to their dismay.
There was an actual crossover when the MAY characters appeared in the coffee shop, mistook Phoebe for Ursula, and, assuming Ursula had been (rightly) fired there and hired here, tried to order coffee from her.
There was also at least one with The Single Guy.
A more straight example would be the crossover with Caroline In The City in the episode "The One With The Baby On The Bus". Caroline meets Chandler and Joey on the street and mistakes them for a gay couple. The same night that episode aired, Chandler appeared in an episode of Caroline.
Then there was NBC's "Blackout Thursday," in which the characters on Mad About You caused a citywide blackout, followed by the characters on Friends and Madman of the People dealing with the aftermath. Notably, Seinfeld didn't join in as its script for the week had been written long before.
Cry into Chest: Monica to Chandler in Season 1 after her Mom says that she's never going to get married or have children, (which she desperately wants). He also offered her a Fall Back Marriage Pact earlier in the episode. (This was when they were Just Friends).
Crying Indian: In one episode, the characters are stranded at a rest stop. Chandler throws his empty pack of cigarettes on the ground. When scolded, he replies, "I thought maybe if I littered, that crying Indian might come along and save us."
Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: Simultaneously subverted and lampshaded. Chandler's been handcuffed to a chair. Upon being released he does this. Rachel asks if it hurts. He responds that it doesn't, but people always do it in the movies.
The characters argue over what faint praise they could offer Joey's awful T.V. show: "The lighting was O.K."
Another one had Ross promising to play rugby. Rachael reassured him that he was the toughest palaeontologist that she knew.
Dance of Romance: Monica and Chandler have one off-screen when Chandler realizes Monica is the woman he "wants to dance all his dances with."
Dating Do-Si-Do: Played with. Almost all of the straight, non-incest pairings had a Ship Tease, though most were Played for Laughs, and almost all the characters have kissed each other. But only three pairs (Ross/Rachel, Monica/Chandler and Joey/Rachel) were treated seriously and actually happened. Given the show ran for ten years, the writers did pretty well at not having the characters constantly date each other.
Dating Service Disaster: A variation happens to Chandler on at least two occasions (once it was a blind date, the other time they met online), both times with his ex-girlfriend Janice.
Dawson Casting: Invoked in-universe when 30-year-old Joey tries to land the role of a 19-year-old.
Chandler. In fact, one episode had Chandler's friends make a bet with him saying that he couldn't last a week of not making any smart assed comments. Chandler clearly strains his brain to resist from being sarcastic and it didn't help that his friends unintentionally (or maybe on purpose) do things that would make Chandler normally be snarky. In the end, Chandler gave up and let loose what could possibly be the most Badass Snarkfest in the history of Badass Snarkfests. Chandler felt relieved afterwards.
Chandler: I can't take it any more! So you win, okay? Pheebs? Flying a jet? Better make it a spaceship so that you can get back to your home planet! And Ross, phone call for you today-Tom Jones, he wants his pants back! And Hornswoggle? What? Are you dating a character from "Fraggle Rock"? Ahhhhhhhhhh.
Rachel also becomes this around the beginning of the fourth season.
Ross also often proves to be quite the snarker sometimes. In fact, one particular standout sequence has Ross actually outsnark Chandler, as Chandler makes a typical crack about all his failed marriages, only for Ross to turn it around and mock Chandler's current unemployment, leading Chandler to cry, "What's wrong with you? You know I can only dish it out!"
Monica also counts, though she's more subtle about it.
Monica: (Ross is talking) "Oh great, another dinosaur story. When will those become extinct?"
Deconfirmed Bachelor: Chandler. At the beginning of the series he has serious problems with committment. Then he falls in love with Monica, and they stay together for the rest of the series. Deconstructed as before this he did want committment but was scarred by his parents divorce and hurt whenever he tried to committ. Ironically he turns out to be better at serious relationships that casual dating. He also states Monica made him happier than he'd ever been before.
Ross's English fiancée Emily was subjected to this when the actress got pregnant and had to leave the show. Before their marriage Emily was lovely, fun to be around and a caring girlfriend. Afterwards she turned into a jealous shrew, though it was justified by Ross's humiliating her during their wedding.
After Chandler moved in with Monica, Joey's new roommate was a woman to whom he was attracted and eventually got together with. Then, she inexplicably turned out to be unable to stand Chandler and Monica, causing Joey to break up with her and her moving out.
Paolo, Rachel's boyfriend in Season 1. Introduced as a dumb, but harmless guy who enjoyed being with Rachel....Then he randomnly became a Jerk Ass who tried to cheat on her. This was to make way for the Ross/Rachel relationship.
Repeated nine seasons later with Charlie, Ross's girlfiend. She seemed pleasant, intellectual and well-matched with him. Out of the blue she cheated on Ross with her ex-boyfriend right in front of him. And yep, this was to accomodate another Ross/Rachel hook up for the end of the series.
In a similar case, Kathy, Joey and then Chandler's girlfriend in Season 4. While she did kiss Chandler, while she was with Joey, it was portrayed sympathetically as they'd genuinley fallen in love, while she and Joey were very casual. Then she cheated on Chandler with another guy, leaving him devastated and spiralling into depression for the next few episodes. Unfortunately, the most logical explanation is she was always a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, who got bored of guys, cheated on them and moved on.
Barry, Rachel's fiancee from before the series. Initially he was a nice, but boring guy who she left at the altar because she didn't love him. Later its revealed he was a Smug Snake cheated on with her best friend throughout their engagement.
Pete Becker in Season 3. He started as a sweet, smart Dogged Nice Guy who went to great lengths to win over Monica. Then he turns into a pig-headed, Competition Freak who picks wrestling over her. Could be explained, by his Dogged Nice Guy, Determinator personality extending to all areas of his life, and once he'd 'won' Monica, he got bored and moved onto a new challenge.
Specifically subverted when Richard returns in Season 6. When he asks Monica to leave Chandler for him he's portrayed as the Nice Guy he's always been: Charming, intelligent and, in Chandler's eyes at least, a much better prospect. Except... Monica doesn't love him anymore, she loves Chandler and there isn't anything he can do about it. This actually makes her choice to pick Chandler much more heartwarming, as it wasn't she chose him because she didn't have a better option, but because he's the person she wants to be with.
Did You Just Have Sex?: In "The One With Phoebe's Husband", Ross was dancing down the street and was called out on it by an old lady: "Well, somebody got some last night". He gleefully shouts back "twice!"
In the pilot, Monica has just been with Paul the Wine Guy, and her co-worker calls her on why she's smiling all the time. As Rachel said earlier, "It looks like you slept with a hanger in your mouth!"
In "The One After Ross Says Rachel" when Phoebe sees Chandler and Monica for the first time since their trip to London, where the two hooked up, she immediately yells out "You had sex!" to which the two start sputtering and trying to deny it. Phoebe says to Chandler, "Well, obviously not YOU. I meant Monica." Monica then denies it as well. In a rare subversion, Phoebe accepts this, saying "Man, this pregnancy's throwing me all off."
Digging Yourself Deeper: Seen in the episode "The One Where Ross Can't Flirt," in which Ross's attempts to flirt with a pizza delivery girl degenerate into a lecture on the smell of gas and an intended compliment which makes Ross sound like a pedophile.
There was another one where he ended up talking about sewage.
And Chandler brought up another occassion, when Ross talked about the Irish Potato Famine.
Ross' failures at flirting cannot be emphasised enough. Another attempt led to the conversation derailing into asking two women if they had to choice, which method of dying would they preferred: being burned or drowning.
Chandler also did this once, while attempting to suck up to Monica's parents.
In the first season, Chandler one says to Monica that if they turn 40 and neither of them are married then they should marry each other. When Monica asks why she wouldn't be married by then, everything he then says just makes her angrier.
In the final season, Chandler accidentally reveals to a step-kid that he's adopted. Then he traumatizes the kid even worse by revealing Santa Claus isn't real. In all seriousness, he and Ross were made for this trope.
Chandler comforting Phoebe after her heart attack in the hypothetical episode.
Monica: Phoebe, a heart attack is nature's way of telling you to slow down.
Chandler: I always thought a heart attack was nature's way of telling you to die. I mean you're not going to die. I mean you are going to die, but you're not going to die today. (Beat) I wish I was dead.
Distant Reaction Shot: Ross is aghast that not only did his co-worker swipe his special sandwich (leftover Thansgiving turkey with bread drenched in gravy), but that his boss got full and threw the rest away. His anguished cries of MY SANDWICH?! is cut to the outside of the building, then birds flying away in Central Park.
An episode strangely did one where an ice skater revealing to his wife Phoebe that he was straight had almost the same dialogue as it would if he were revealing he was gay ("Have you told your parents?" "No, but they're pretty cool. My brother's straight"); it was a Citizenship Marriage and she had known him to be gay. Friends also did this a lot with Joey and Chandler acting like a married couple including arguments about Chandler's ex-roommate Kip and buying furniture together....
And an episode where Rachel discovers Monica has been shopping with Ross's new girlfriend, and it's treated like infidelity.
Let's not forget an episode fairly early on where Phoebe and her current boyfriend were infected with chicken pox. They couldn't resist scratching themselves, so they had oven mitts duct-taped on to their arms. Eventually, the itching became too severe for them to resist, Phoebe started saying how good it would feel to give in and her boyfriend was saying "We can't, we'd regret it!", and eventually he succumbed to temptation along with her in a clear parallel to a highly turned-on couple trying to resist the urge to...get it on.
And when they finally do, they end up rubbing their backs against each other, complete with groaning, until Ross and Rachel walk in and gasp in horror, with Ross saying "I expected this from you Phoebe, but you're a military man!" to the boyfriend.
Let's face it, Friends uses this trope about every second episode.
One episode has Ross and Joey accidentally taking a nap together. It's treated like a night of drunken experimentation.
Doppelganger Dating: "The One With Russ": After breaking up with Ross, Rachel goes out with Russ, who looks, acts, and talks just like Ross. Amazingly, the only other character not to notice the similarity is Ross.
In one episode, Phoebe and her identical twin Ursula date the same guy, who is very confused.
Double Standard: Discussed in-universe in "The One with the Metaphorical Tunnel," when Janice catches Chandler following her around after she tells him their relationship is moving too fast. Rachel and Monica tell Chandler that he's blown any chance he had with her, but Janice ends up thinking what Chandler did was romantic. Rachel and Monica complain that if they had done to a guy what Chandler did to Janice, the guy would think they were crazy and never speak to them again. Also discussed at a later date when Ross complains to Monica that Chandler was flirting with the girl that brought the pizzas. Monica doesn't mind and admits she still flirts with guys. Chandler's reaction is less understanding. When she calls him on the double standard, he explains that while women view firting as innocent fun, the thoughts running through a man's head when flirting with a woman are anything but innocent.
Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: There is an episode where Joey talks about a great tailor he has had since childhood, and refers Chandler to him. Chandler goes there, and comes back horrified. He informs Joey that his tailor "is a very bad man!". Joey defends the guy, explaining to him that "that's how they do pants", but Ross says no, that is definitely not how they do pants. It looks like Joey's been violated by his tailor for the past twelve years...
Chandler: Joey's tailor... took advantage of me. Ross: What? Joey: No way. I've been going to the guy for 12 years. Chandler: Oh, come on. He said he was going to do my inseam, and then he ran his hand up my leg, and then there was definite... cupping. Joey: That's how they do pants! First they go up one side, they move it over, then they go up the other side, they move it back, and then they do the rear. Joey:[Chandler and Ross stare at him] What? Ross, would you tell him? Isn't that how a tailor measure pants? Ross: Yes. Yes, it is... In prison! What's the matter with you?
Rachel and Phoebe take Ross shopping for new clothes to wear on his date. Later Rachel tells him that she'll just buy something nice but their bags get mixed up. Not only does Ross wear a pink flowery shirt on his date, but his date is wearing it as well. They are both very uncomfortable and leave abruptly.
Ross and Rachel's ex-boyfriend Tag own the very same red sweater and they meet on a street wearing it. Being men, they are not embarrassed and do not react hostile to each other because of it.
Drop-In Character:Every character does this at one time or another, usually at least once an episode.
Slightly lampshaded at one point near the end of the series when Monica can't remember the last time her apartment door was locked.
Also lampshaded when Ross is about to finally tell Rachel he loves her, but is interrupted by ex-fiancee Barry bursting in the door and beating him to the punch.
Ross: WE HAVE GOT TO START LOCKING THAT DOOR!
And again in the last episode, where Monica and Chandler, about to leave their apartment for good, solemnly drop their keys in a dish for the landlord to pick up - followed by all the other leads adding their own key to the dish.
This is also mentioned by Monica, in episode 3.19, when she enters her house only to find Phoebe, Chandler and Ross there.
Monica: Hello, people who do not live here! I gave you a key for emergencies.
Phoebe: We were out of Doritos.
Dude, Not Funny!: In the episode "The One with the Girl who Hits Joey", Chandler has a fight with Monica, and proposes to her out of guilt. Monica says no, and the rest of the gang teases Chandler:
Joey: Hey Ross, will you pass me that knife?
Ross: No, I will not!
Joey: Oh, it's okay. You don't have to be so mean about it.
Ross: You're right, I'm sorry. Will you marry me?
Phoebe: Aw, and I was gonna ask you to marry me because I forgot to say hello to you last week.
Rachel: Oh no wait Pheebs, I think for something like that you just ask them to move in with you. But I'm not sure, Chandler?
Chandler: Okay, how long is this going to go on?
Monica: Well I think the length of teasing is directly related to how insane you were so, a long time.
Ross: This is fun. Hey Rach, remember that whole "We were on a break thing?" Well, I'm sorry, will you marry me? (nobody laughs)
Chandler: That's not funny.
Joey: That's not funny at all!
(they all get up and leave Ross)
Downplayed but still implied during Chandler's job interview. He aces it until he makes a "poo" joke, befuddling the interviewer and ultimately costing him the job.
"The One With The Birth", when Rachel jokes about a taxi charging for each contraction during labor, everyone looks at her like she made a tasteless joke. Rachel points out that Chandler does stuff like that and it is considered funny. Shortly after Chandler picks a better joke and moment where everyone laughs, reminding Rachel to pick her spots more carefully.
Dumb Blonde: Erica the biological mother of Chandler and Monica's adopted kids and Rachel's sisters Jill and Amy.
As well as Phoebe and Rachel themselves, to an extent.
Rachel was extremely spoiled, and in early seasons incapable of coping in the real world.
Joey's parents had a poor marriage, with his mother enjoying her father cheating on her.
Interestingly as the series continued a lot of the story arcs are about them overcoming their issues. Phoebe reconnects with her family, becomes more grounded and builds a successful relationship rather than jumping from guy to guy. Monica and Chandler fall in love and find in each other the support their parents never gave them. Ross gradually get's over his divorces, Rachel learns how to be independent, and Joey starts considering committment.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The first season feels quite a bit different from the other nine seasons. The plots are more slow-paced and episodic, the characters are less quippy and there's quite a bit of Full House Music. Plus it has some VERY strange fashions and a bit of an 80s feel about it.
Not to mention that Ross' ex-wife Carol is played in her first appearance by an actress who looks nothing at all like the one who took over the role for the rest of the series.
The pilot episode also has hints of Joey/Monica which was almost imemdiately dropped in favour of Ross/Rachel and later Chandler/Monica.
As a result of the planned Joey/Monica relationship, both their characterizations were subtly different: Joey was more jerkish and a Handsome Lech, while Monica was a lot more sexual. (In the rest of the series, while not conservative, she's the most sexually cautious of the girls). They settled into their normal characters pretty fast though.
Easy to miss, but—in the first season, there was no street outside the Central Perk set, only a painted backdrop in the window.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Monica and Chandler. Both had difficult childhoods, Monica was The Unfavourite and Chandler underwent Parental Neglect, leaving them emotionally damaged. Together they overcame their personal insecurities, and despite their early marriage being fraught with unemployment and infertility they continue to support each other and eventually adopt children and get the family they always wanted. They also provide a much needed contrast to the tumultous Ross and Rachel showing a couple who actually work at their relationship and make each other stronger. They end the series blissfully happy, very much in-love and boy have they earned it.
Also Phoebe who grew up on the streets but eventually found the Friends and a normal life.
Chandler tries to stop Monica entering the apartment while he and Ross are trying to fix the furniture by saying "You can't come in! Ross is naked!". This is just as embarrassing for Chandler as it was for Ross, though.
Monica: Why is Ross naked? Ross: Um, a "guy problem". Monica: Oh, is it the same thing Chandler has?
Then there was the arc when Chandler and Monica were seeing each other but didn't want anyone else to know. Except Joey had figured it out (yes, that Joey) and they had sworn him to secrecy. This, of course, meant that he had to cover for their slip-ups, such as when Chandler's underpants were found in Monica's apartment ("Oh, they're mine."). This culminated in Monica and Chandler "outing" Joey as a sex addict to the group, at which point he turns the tables on them by announcing that he had slept with Monica in London and she'd become obsessed with trying to get him back in the sack ever since. Monica's forced to endorse his version, thus keeping the secret, allowing Joey to get a little revenge for the way he'd been taken for granted and - most importantly of all - protecting his reputation as The Casanova.
Ross: Chandler Muriel Bing. Your parents never even gave you a chance, did they?
Embarrassing Slide: The gang is looking at old photographs of Monica and find one of what they think is Monica naked as a baby. Ross says no, it's him. "I was trying something."
Ensemble Cast: The show famously had six main characters, or two male/female Power Trios. All six main characters appeared on every single episode.
Erotic Dream: In the episode "The One with the Ick Factor" Ross is jealous after Rachel dreams about sex with Chandler, and then sex with both Chandler and Joey. When she finally dreams about him, he dances on a table with joy.
In "The One with the Cop", Joey has a dream about Monica, which is not really erotic, but she's his girlfriend in it. He first thinks that the dream means that he's in love with her, but Monica explains that he just envied the close relationship he saw between her and Chandler.
In "The One with Rachel's Dream", Rachel has a dream where she kisses Joey, which makes her realize that she has feelings for him.
Or the episode in which Rachel tries to get revenge on Chandler for accidentally seeing her naked after having stepped out of the shower...and accidentally walks in the wrong target. Come to think of it, this show does this a lot.
Joey and Chandler are both interested in a visiting Dutch woman. Chandler gets an edge by "guessing" that Dutch people come from somewhere near the Netherlands (the place they really come from). Joey responds, "Nice try. See, the Netherlands are this make-believe place where Peter Pan and Tinkerbell come from" , apparently has confused the Netherlands with Neverland.
When Chandler claims that he's moving to Yemen to get rid of Janice, Joey says "Yemen," that actually sounds like a real country!"
When Ross becomes obsessed with naming all 50 states, Joey looks at his list and says: "First of all, Utah? Dude, you can't just make stuff up!"
And that one comes after Joey lists 56 states, including New England ("They have a sports team!") and South Oregon.
Rachel: Yeah... (they awkwardly look at each other and walk away)
Everyone Can See It: Ross and Rachel on. At one point Rachel realizes she's still subconciously attracted to Ross and Phoebe tells her everyone just assumed she knew. "It's like telling Monica 'You like things to be clean.'"
Surprisingly averted when Chandler and Monica start their Secret Relationship. The gang take months to figure out they're together, despite blatantly obvious hints. Possibly because the pair were extremely close before hooking up, sharing each other's deepest secrets and frequently seen cuddling up together. Their friends may not have noticed the change from platonic to romantic affection.
Everybody Has Lots of Sex: There was an episode where Phoebe was concerned that her boyfriend wouldn't sleep with her after a couple of weeks. Phoebe wonders what his deal is, and Joey suggests he's gay. It turns out that the guy was holding out so that Phoebe would essentially beg him for sex and tell him he didn't have to call her afterwards.
Joey: And he's got you thinking this is a good idea? This man is my God!
In another episode one character mentions that another character's relationship "isn't serious" because they haven't even had sex yet. If you listen carefully, it's clear the studio audience isn't sure if the line is supposed to be a joke or not.
And in yet another, Ross is going stir-crazy because he hasn't had sex in a few months.
What about the numerous dates the characters have over the course of the series?
In the first half of the series they all have short relationships that usually only last a handful of episodes. (Joey and Kate/Kathy, Chandler and Janice/Kathy, Monica and Bobby/Richard/Pete, Phoebe and David, Rachel and Paolo/Ross/Joshua, Ross and Julie/Rachel/Emily) but are mostly single. From Season 5 onwards Monica and Chandler are the only two in a long-term relationship and the others continue with short relationships. (Gary, Janine, Mona, Tag, Parker, Gavin, Charlie etc.)
Ross in season 6 pointed out this was a stupid storyline ("What was I thinking?").
Everyone Went to School Together: Played with. Monica, Ross and Rachel grew up together. Chandler was Ross's roomate in College and met high school Monica and Rachel. Phoebe and Joey didn't meet the gang until they were adults. (Apart from when Phoebe mugged Ross.
Evil Laugh: "The Plan Laugh", employed by Phoebe — Joey tries to imitate it, but can't get it right.
Joey's stalker (played by Brooke Shields) has a pretty scary laugh.
Evil Twin: Phoebe's twin sister, Ursula, is by all accounts a bad person: she's an awful waitress, nearly cons a man into marrying her, has no affection for Phoebe, and becomes a porn star using Phoebe's name. She also didn't tell Phoebe that their mother had left a suicide note, and tried to improvise one on the spot before admitting she'd thrown it away.
Parodied in another episode, when Joey was dating someone who honestly believed he was the character he played on TV, Dr. Drake Ramore. When she sees him in person while the show plays on the TV in the background, she becomes confused. Joey tells her the truth but she doesn't understand, so Ross tells her that he is actually Hans Ramore, Drake's evil twin.
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 nailpolish 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.
...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.
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 favouritism 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.
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.
Five Temperament Ensemble: Ross is melancholic, Rachel is leukine, Chandler is phlegmatic, Phoebe and Joey are sanguine, and Monica is choleric.
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.
Flipping the Bird: As a kid, Ross made up an alternative gesture for the finger (banging 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 offences, 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.
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.
Towards the end of Season 4, you can see them laying in the groundwork 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 favourite romantic fantasy is to get together with someone in a foreign country.
Rachel bought a hairless cat she named "Mrs. Whiskerson" because she can't call her "Fluffy".
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".
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.
Chandler and Phoebe rarely had plotlines together due to their personalities.
Joey and Monica, which is ironic since they were meant to be the shows 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 doesn't have to see Rachel anymore).
Full House Music: Occasionally used during the first five or so seasons, usually during a particularly dramatic Ross/Rachel moment.
There was plenty of this in the episode where Ross's grandmother died. This wasn't the only problem of the episode. The grandma's moment of death was literally played for laughs and The Fun in Funeral segments hardly worked together with the sappy and fake emotional moments during which the Full House Music plays.
Same problem when Mr. Heckles dies in season 2 and the group leaves his apartment for the final time.
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 realise 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.
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 emphasied 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!
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.
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 favourite 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.
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 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.
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.
Chandler: "You know what the worse 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."
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).
And Frank Jr and Alice.
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 its 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. We 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.
Hell Is That Noise: In-universe, Chandler flinches every time he hears, "OH. MY. GOD!" and realises 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.
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.
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.
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!
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".
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 women 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.
There's also the matter of Monica frequently vocalizing her aggravation earlier in the series over not being able to find a boyfriend. She looked like this at the time◊.
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.
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.
Hot Mom: Nora Bing. And later, Rachel. In the final episode, Monica
Hot Dad: Richard (Tom Selleck) and Paul (Bruce Willis).
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.
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.
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.
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 producers occasionally had fun with the episode names: The 100th episode (wherein Pheobe delivers her brother's babies) isn't named after anything in the plot, but rather is titled "The One Hundredth." The series finale was titled "The Last One".
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, but in either cases the titles generally end up being very clumsy, nonsensical and non-informative, making this an example of BlindIdiotTranslation.
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.
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.
Done twice with Chandler and Monica. (The trope image). 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.
Chandler: 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).
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.
"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: Rachael 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.
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 its based on throw away comments she can't remember making.
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.
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.
The Inner 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 No One Sleeps. 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 is 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 is 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."
Instant Birth, Just Add Water: Averted with every on screen labour. Both Phoebe's and Rachel's waters break suddenly, but both have ample time to get to the hospital and have normal labours (very lengthy in Rachel's case). Phoebe is in labour 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 labour 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 Romijin), 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!"
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 stereotypic 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 realising that they are gay. Here is 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:
Monica: Sorry Joe, we didn't think you were so much... with the words...
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: 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 Joey—Chandler 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...
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.
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.
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 He also did it for free, after losing a friendly wager with Perry regarding if the film opened at #1; it did, so Willis donated his Friends take to charity 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.
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 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.
Tropes K to O
Keeping Secrets Sucks: Joey in the Friends arc when Chandler and Monica are keeping their relationship secret. It gets especially hard when he has to take the fall for them when they almost get caught - repeatedly. After one Embarrassing Cover Up too many, he turns the tables by "revealing" to everyone that he'd slept with Monica and she was obsessed with getting him back in the sack.
Kick Me Prank: This is one of the many pranks Rachel teaches Ross's son, Ben.
Lamaze Class: Once subverted when the pregnant Carol is the one unable to attend, so the classes are taken by her ex-husband Ross and her girlfriend Susan. Hilarity Ensues as the two argue over which of them should be the "woman".
Romantic False Lead: When Ross confesses to Chandler's mother (who is a romance novelist) about being jealous of Rachel's boyfriend Paolo, she soothes him by saying "the guy is a secondary character; a complication that you eventually kill off"
In season six, when Monica and Chandler decide to live together, Monica gives him a key to her apartment. Chandler responds, "This door hasn't been locked in five years, but why not."
In the first season, right when Ross is about spill his feelings to Rachel, her former fiance Barry bursts into the apartment to say he's still in love with Rachel, causing Ross to complain aloud, "OK, we have GOT to start locking that door!"
Limited Social Circle: In one episode, all six characters are sitting in Monica's apartment, when there's a knock on the door. Everyone looks utterly confused; no one says anything, but you can tell they're thinking, "if we're all already here, who the heck is it?" Phoebe is even shown pointing at each of the characters, counting them, just to make sure.
In season five, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Phoebe discuss a party for Rachel
Monica: We could have a dinner party and just invite her close friends.
Joey: Ross! We're having a surprise party for Rachel!
Ross: (from the bathroom) Okay!
Ross got mugged by a homeless person who is a friend of Phoebe's. She says "I'm sorry if I have friends outside the six of us".
It's a Small World After All: Throughout the series, the gang bumps into Janice (Maggie Wheeler) often. In her final apperance, near the end of the series, Janice makes a cameo in the neighbouring house of the one Monica and Chandler are buying. Chandler lampshades the unlikelihood of bumping into her every now and then.
Janice: What a small world!
Chandler: And yet, I never run into Beyoncé.
One-Hour Work Week: One Cold Open features the characters bitching about how their employers hate them. Joey: "Maybe it's because you're in a coffee shop at 11:30 on a Wednesday morning?"
Another Cold Open in the premiere of season 3 sees the cast walk into the coffee house and see that another group of six friends (writers of season 3) has taken their spot on the couch. Chandler notes, "Huh," and they turn around and walk out.
Later in the series, you can occasionally see a "Reserved" sign on the table in front of the couch as an explanation of how they manage to always get "their" spot.
The very last joke of the series:
Rachel: Do you guys have to go to the new house right away, or do you have some time? Monica: We've got some time. Rachel: Okay. Should we get some coffee? Chandler: Sure. (beat) Where?
The characters often pointed out minor continuity quirks:
In season four, Chandler offers to get Rachel a date.
Rachel: Hang on, now. I've been single before, how come you didn't offer to get me a date then?
Chandler: Well, I have a girlfriend now, so I'm happy. I no longer need to deprive others from being happy.
In season six, Rachel needs to move out and find a new place to stay. She asks Phoebe if she can stay with her, but Phoebe says she already has a roommate. The others immediately point out that they have never heard of said roommate; Phoebe HandWaves this by saying they never listened when she was talking about her.
Chekhov's Gun: "TOW The Poking Device". Joey makes a poking device out of chopsticks he'd been saving for no reason.
When Rachel's mom came to visit and tried to relive her youth, Rachel asked why her mom couldn't have just copied her hair style. This was a jab at the popularity of Rachel's hair style at the time.
In the second season episode, "The One With Five Steaks and an Egglpant", Chandler gets laid via a convoluted sitcom shennanigan. He had to give the girl Ross's number because he couldn't give her his number because she thought his number was Bob's number. After Chandler explains this, Ross asks, "And what should I do if Mr. Roper calls?"
Soon after Rachel gives birth, she can't decide what to name her daughter. When Monica tells her that she plans to name her own future daughter Emma, Rachel likes the name so much that Monica lets her have it.
Later, when the woman giving birth to the child they are adopting then has a second child (unknown twin), they name the boy after Monica's father and the girl after the childrens' birth mother, Erica, despite the fact Monica has thought up a ton of names beforehand.
Rachel: 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?
Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: After everyone (finally) finds out about Monica and Chandler, Joey quotes this trope word for word. Ross isn't amused.
Less Embarrassing Term: Ross refers to his shirt as being "sort of a faded salmon color", when it's actually pink.
Friends also had an episode where Joey, based on fashion advice from Rachel started carrying a "unisex bag". Everyone else called it a purse.
Also subverted as Joey loved his "man's bag" despite what others think, he only got rid of it because it started to affect his work (and switches to a backpack instead).
Played with as Rachel is also naive, sweet and the baby of the group, while Monica is more feisty, independent, and a lot more cynical. So it goes both ways.
'TOW The Flashback' shows when Phoebe and Monica were roommates Phoebe, with her ditzy, hippy nature was light feminine and strong-willed, neurotic Monica was dark feminine. (This clash eventually led Phoebe to move out, though they stayed best friends).
Joey: Heh. Let me get this straight. He got you to beg to sleep with him. He got you to say he never has to call you again. And he got you thinking this is a great idea? Phoebe:(weakly) Uh-huh. Joey: This man is my god!
Like an Old Married Couple: Chandler and Monica at times. A hilarious scene has them seriously discussing how to organize their CD's while Rachel, who has actual romantic problems, almost explodes with frustration.
Chandler: Well, if we’re gonna do that we should come up with some kind of order. Y’know alphabetically or by genre?
Monica: Hmm, I don’t know. We really have to talk this through.
Rachel: Oh my God!! You guys have such problems!! I feel so terrible for you
Like Brother and Sister: Joey and Monica in later seasons. Mainly because Monica gets together with Chandler, who Joey considers his "brother" and the trio form a mini-family within the True Companions. (Monica feeds Joey for years, they include a 'Joey Room' in their new house and frequently act as his older siblings).
He's the only character who actually married his older love interest, but there were other instances in the show, like Elizabeth and Ross, or Monica and Richard. Or Monica and Young Ethan (TOW The Ick Factor.)
Limited Social Circle: This show is probably the most obvious example; the six friends barely seem to know anybody other than their families and each other. And their Girl of the Week, of course.
This was lampshaded in one episode. The main characters are all hanging out at Monica's apartment when someone knocks at the door. Everyone is stunned for a moment, and Phoebe actually counts to make sure that, yes, they're all already there. No one says anything out loud, but you can tell they're all thinking, "If we're all here, who the hell is at the door!?"
Another time, Monica and Phoebe were the apartment and the phone rings. Phoebe says it can either be Chandler, Joey, Ross or Rachel.
Yet another time, when Chandler suggests to Joey, Phoebe and Monica they have a surprise party for Rachel 'and invite all her close friends', Joey just has to yell to Ross in the bathroom...and they're all invited.
Another episode has Chandler, making up an excuse to leave, say he's going to meet up with some friends. When he's gone, a confused Joey asks, "He has other friends?"
Whenever the friends do try to become friends with other people, it usually never lasts because the friends or the new friends don't like each other. An example of this is when Joey gets a female roommate and leaves after a few episodes because she couldn't stand Monica and Chandler and Joey refused to ditch them.
Literally Loving Thy Neighbor: Monica and Chandler live across the hall from each other for years before falling in love. Their two apartments are basically treated as one open-doored house for everyone. When they do move into together its hard to tell what's changed.
Local Hangout: Central Perk, conveniently located on the first floor of the gang's apartment building.
Lonely Together: Monica and Chandler have a moment in Season 4. Chandler is stuck in his apartment listening to Kathy (who he's in love with) and Joey have sex, and Monica is boyfriendless and sick. On finding each other wearing pj's and wrapped in blankets, they curl up together in shared misery.
Long Distance Relationship: Monica and Chandler in Season 9, when he's transferred to Tulsa. It doesn't last long as Chandler hates his job and misses Monica so much that he quits.
Longing Look: Ross did this to Rachel a few times in the first season. Chandler and Joey always teased him about it. "Could you want her more?"
Monica and Chandler do this to each other during their Secret Relationship. (As they couldn't act like a couple in public). Noticeably when Rachel wonders why Monica won't go on a double date and doesn't realize that Monica is busy staring right at Chandler as she speaks.
Also Chandler towards Monica in the Season 5 finale when he thinks she still loves Richard. A brief scene has him watching her, almost saying something and then quietly walking away.
There was also the Fonzie-obsessed doctor who delivered the triplets.
Love Confession: When Chandler and Monica secretly become Friends with Benefits, one Thanksgiving ends with Chandler and Monica falling out. To cheer him up, Monica tries putting a cold turkey on her head complete with sunglasses, hat and a ridiculous dance. Laughing, Chandler exclaims, "You're so great! I love you!". Played with in that Monica is pleased but Chandler is so freaked out by his own confession that he immediately takes it back and refuses to admit he ever said it. In a later episode, Phoebe and Rachel catch on and conspire to break Chandler into confessing he and Monica are Friends with Benefits. When Chandler finally snaps, his confession is more than anyone was expecting.
Chandler: "Okay! Okay! Okay! You win! I can't have sex with you!"
Phoebe: "Hah! And why not?!"
Chandler: "Because I'm in love with Monica!" [Reacting to everyone's shock] "Love her! That's right! I love her! I love her! I love you, Monica."
After Chandler and Monica have upgraded from friends to Friends with Benefits for a while, a falling out between them one Thanksgiving leads Monica to don a turkey on her head, complete with sunglasses, hat and a funny dance, to try and cheer him up. Laughing, he exclaims, "You're so great! I love you!". His amusement almost immediately dies into shock as he realises what he just said and what it means, and he freaks out so badly he takes it back. It takes several more episodes before he's willing to actually admit it properly and stand by it, and even then, Phoebe has to break him into confessing it.
Chandler also describes an off-screen example, when they were dancing together and he realized his feelings.
Chandler: "It was the first time I knew that you...you were the woman that I wanted to dance all my dances with."
Happens in the finale with Rachel's answering machine message to Ross after rejecting him at the airport. She's assuring him that she loves him as a friend, "I love you, I love you, I love you. What am I doing? I love you!" You can actually hear her realize on the third "I love you" that she means it romantically.
Another Rachel example, from when Ross was about to marry Emily:
Rachel: I'm not going to Ross's wedding because he is my ex-boyfriend and that would be really uncomfortable. Not because I'm still in love with him! I mean, hey, y'know, I like Ross as much as the next guy. You know, clearly I have feelings for him, but feelings don't mean love! You know, I mean, I still have loving feelings for Ross, yeah! But, I have... I have, you know, continuing feelings of love, but that doesn't mean that... that I'm still in love with him. You'know? I have... I have sexual feelings for him, but I do love him... Oh! Oh my God! Oh my... why didn't you tell me?
Love Hurts: Ross and Carol. Ross and Rachel. Joey and Rachel. Phoebe and David. Monica and Richard. Chandler and Kathy.
Subverted with Monica and Chandler who are blissfully happy together and end up Happily Married. Also Phoebe and Mike.
Nicely subverted in TOW The Girl From Poughkeepsie. Ross is torn between two women: One he really likes but lives two hours away and the other he doesn't like but lives just up town. He ultimately decides not to date either one of them.
Lying Finger Cross: In the episode "The One Where No One Is Ready", Joey and Chandler have a very long argument about who gets to sit on a chair, during which this happens:
Chandler: Well, Joey, I wrote a little song today. It's called: Get Up.
Joey: All right! You can have the chair.
Joey: Oh my, would you look at that! (holds up crossed fingers)
Lyrical Dissonance: London Calling by The Clash playing over Joey and Chandler's tourist hijinks in London. Great song, mentions London... not exactly, y'know, comedic.
Magic 8 Ball: When Ross is faced with either divorce or cutting Rachel out of his life he resorts to consulting an 8-ball. His friends think the idea is ludicrous (except for Phoebe), but they can't come up with anything better. It keeps displaying the "ask again later" message.
The show also had the episode "The One With The Rumor", where it was revealed that Ross made out with his librarian in high school, she was 33 years older than him. Not really a Romance Relationship, though.
Meaningful Background Event: In "TOW Chandler in a Box", after Chandler kissed Joey's girlfriend, the Magna Doodle in their apartment is covered with "I'M SORRY"s from Chandler.
Meat Versus Veggies: Phoebe is a strict vegetarian, which is sometimes teased by the group. She was temporarily forced to eat meat while pregnant due to pregnancy cravings and when she met Mike's parents, she attempted to eat veal in an effort to make a good impression. It made her sick instead. Monica also commented that she was so in love with her gay husband that when he left, depression drove her to eat a cheeseburger. This story dramatically shocks the rest of the group.
Ross buys one of these. Too bad it's so small it gets stuck in the parking space. Why they couldn't have grabbed some of their 24 Hour Party People friends and just carried the thing out is difficult to understand. He also quickly abandons the car when an old, bald gentleman shows up driving the exact same car.
Well, they tried carrying it out. Also, Ross offers to sell the car to Joey after the bald guy shows up. Joey passes.
In an earlier episode, Ross and Monica's father mentioned buying a Porsche when he turned fifty. A few seasons later he later gave it to Monica (as an apology for using the boxes with all her childhood relics to block flooding water in order to protect the car).
"The One with Chandler's Work Laugh" features Ross agonizing over telling Chandler that he had a brief relationship with the latter's ex-girlfriend, Janice. Finally, at the end, Ross confesses and Chandler openly indicates that he doesn't care, what with having no lingering feelings for Janice.
"The One Where Phoebe Runs" features this trope again, when Chandler moves Monica's things to clean their apartment and can't remember where they all go. After an episode of his agonising over what she will think, she returns home and seems ready to blow up at him, though in the end she just thanks him for trying to be nice and do her a good thing by cleaning up for her.
In "The One Where Ross Can't Flirt," Rachel borrows and loses an earring that Phoebe had borrowed from Monica. They spend the entire episode agonizing over it, until Phoebe decides to take the blame. She fesses up, and is instantly forgiven. Seeing this, Rachel admits that it was really her fault, expecting to be forgiven too. She isn't. This is probably because she is said to have already borrowed and lost many of Monica's things.
Misplaced Accent: In-universe. Joey evidently had vocal training to learn how to do an American Southern accent for a play about the American Civil War, but it ends up coming out as a Jamaican accent.
Miss Conception: Monica and Chandler want to adopt from a woman who is still pregnant with the child. They inquire about the father who she reveals is one of two choices: one golden boy and one jail hound who murdered his own father with a shovel (Shovelly Joe). They (especially Chandler) worry about the father-murderer choice until Monica discovers that the act she committed with him was not something that could get you pregnant.
Mood Whiplash: The show occasionally does this, and never more than in the episode "The One With the Morning After" which deals with the fall out of Ross sleeping with another woman behind Rachel's back after believing she's left him. Even though it's a fairly serious episode, the majority of it still has a few hilarious moments such as Ross and Rachel taking a brief break from their fight to order pizza and Rachel intentionally ordering anchovies mixed in with the toppings and sauce because she knows Ross hates them. However, the very last scene completely abandons the humorous aspect and goes completely serious. Even the brief moment where we see the remaining four other characters still trapped in Monica's back room is suddenly much more serious as they're all somberly listening in to the conversation, with Monica and Phoebe even breaking down into tears as they all realize that their two friends' relationship is over.
"The One With The Fertility Test" also has this. Most of the episode revolves around usual hi-jinks and Chandler freaking out about 'doing it in a cup'. Right at the end of the episode he and Monica discover they probably can't have children and the scene fades out with them sobbing in each other's arms. It's a punch in the gut that leaves you reeling and wondering what happened to so-called 'comedy'.
A lot of episodes with Monica and Chandler involve this, as the writers balance what is a genuinely sweet, heart-warming relationship and comedy. Their engagement episode goes from an amusing Zany Scheme to Chandler breaking down thinking she's left him and a gut-wrenching proposal, to the others coming in to crack some jokes, and then back to them dancing quietly together. Hell even their wedding vows switch between their tender declarations of love and Joey's messing up the order of service.
Monkey Morality Pose: In "TOW The Fake Monica", Chandler, Ross, and Joey assume this pose upon realizing that Marcel has to go to a zoo.
Monochrome Casting: The show rarely has any significant minority characters, though there is the occasional exception. The pilot featured a prominent black character as a comic foil for Monica, but she was written out to focus on the core cast.
The creators of Friends did take in the criticism and therefore cast a black woman as a love interest for Joey and Ross in the later seasons. While it was nice of them, it also was kind of odd, considering the Monochrome Casting of the love interests prior to her.
In the second and third season, Ross dated Julie, a Chinese woman.
Mystery Meat: Mockolate. Monica is asked to come up with recipes for it while the company awaits FDA approval. It doesn't. The first red flag is that real chocolate doesn't crumble when handled. And the taste?
Phoebe: Oh, sweet lord! This is what evil must taste like!
The same company also makes Fishtachios, which is exactly what it sounds like. And should be avoided by people who are allergic to cat hair.
Naked People Are Funny: There's the 'Ugly Naked Guy'. This is an interesting example as he is almost never actually seen* In the season 5 episode "The One Where Everybody Finds Out" we finally get to see him in the flesh, although only from behind but only described by whichever friend is spying on him at that moment.
Poked fun at in a flashback episode, where the girls mourn the fact that "Cute Naked Guy is really putting on a lot of weight".
Joey revealed in one episode that he cooks while naked.
Joey: "Oatmeal, toast... Nothing that spatters."
"Why do you think it takes me so long to answer the door?"
Joey: You know... lending friends money is always a mistake. Monica: But Chandler lent you money! Joey: And I think he would tell you it was a mistake.
In an inversion, Chandler spends an episode desperately trying to lend Joey money, but Joey doesn't want to owe him anything - presumably because of this trope. And thus was bornthe Game of Cups.
New Year Has Come: The show had a couple of New Year's episodes, the most notable one being where Chandler kissed Joey.
"The One With the Routine" has Monica and Ross attempting to get on TV whilst on-set filming Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.
Never My Fault: Rachel tries to make Ross take full responsibility for their break-up, even though, as Ross puts it, "It took two people to break up this relationship."
In response to that, Rachel said, "Yeah, you and that girl from the copy place." She was claiming that Ross's cheating on her (which Ross vociferously insisted wasn't really cheating because they were "on a break") was the sole reason for their breakup, even though there were numerous problems in their relationship well before that. Or that she had the guy Ross was jealous of come over to comfort her not an hour after their big fight (and he answers the phone when Ross calls to try and patch things up). Other occasions have her claiming Ross begged her for sex even though she came onto him.
Ross has shades of this himself, like when he smoked weed and blamed it on Chandler. (And when his parents found out claimed he was 'tricked into it') A major reason their relationship kept failing was they both refused to take responsibility for anything and blamed the other. This probably stems from the act they were both extremely spoiled as children. In the series finale, they both sort of acknowledge this and resolve to stop being stupid.
Nice Guy: All three of the guys qualify in different terms. Ross is Adorkable and romantic. Joey is incredibly loyal and a great friend. And Chandler, despite his sarcastic defence is a total sweetie, constantly puts his friends, and later girlfriend ahead of himself, and comes out with some of the most thoughtful moments in the series. Check the heartwarming page for (numerous) examples.
Plus the writers ensure they're all interesting, flawed characters; Ross has past issues with divorce, Joey is a bit of a casonova and Chandler is deeply insecure and scarred from his childhood. They're still adorable.
Phoebe's husband Mike and her first serious love interest, David "the Scientist Guy".
Also Ross and Monica's father Jack Geller.
Monica's season 2 boyfriend Richard Burke is one of the nicest characters on the show.
Nobody Thinks It Will Work - What Does She See in Him?: Both Rachel and Phoebe look down on Monica and Chandler's as a couple, but as neither of them manage to establish a successful relationship until the end of the series, and Monica and Chandler are very happy and well-suited, they come across looking like jealous jerks rather than friends with legitimate concerns.
Averted with Joey who thinks they're great and 'going to last forever'.
Monica: That was not an incident! I was gesturing and the plate... slipped out of my hand.
In another episode Phoebe references the time a peacock bit Chandler in the zoo. This is actually mentioned in two separate episodes in the first season, suggesting that the writers were planning on making it a Running Gag, but then decided against it.
Another has Ross and Chandler getting ready for a night out with their college buddy Gandalf. One of them states that he has Canadian money, a snakebite kit and an extra pair of socks. The other warns him that it won't be exactly the same as last time.
"Vomit tux! VOMIT TUX!"
The time Phoebe stabbed a cop.
Phoebe: What, he stabbed me first!!
Phoebe's brother laments the various misfortunes in his life, including the time he got arrested for stealing those birds and "that punctured lung thing."
Rachel finds out from Phoebe that Chandler owns a jewellery box when the pair are racing against the clock to find a missing earring. Due to lack of time, Phoebe refuses to explain the story of why Chandler owns one... or how she knows about it.
On the Vegas trip, when Phoebe is told that being married in Vegas is as binding as being married anywhere else she says, "Oh my god. Oh My God! OH MY GOD! Meh..." (Word of God is that the audience is supposed to think she got married on some prior trip to Vegas.)
Phoebe appears to have a lot of these in her past. She once said, "There's so much you don't know about me."
In "TOW Where Phoebe Runs", what "guy problem" did Chandler have and why did it need medication?
Not Important to This Episode Camp: Happens to Ben and later Emma a lot. Justified with Ben, since Carol and Susan are his primary caregivers. However, Emma was always explained as being at somebody else's house.
To be fair, Emma is represented in a lot more episodes than a lot of TV babies. She's just the quietest baby ever. There are a lot of episodes in one of the apartments, or Central Perk, where a bassinet or carseat is present, and we never see what's in it. Whatever it is is completely silent, and everyone ignores it, so maybe Emma just sleeps a lot.
Ross also mentions interacting with Ben a fair bit in episodes where he does come up (being familiar with Ben's current developmental phases and whatnot), so it can likely just be assumed that most of his interaction with Ben happens offscreen, since it's not a hang-out-with-friends activity.
Not in Front of the Kid: When Monica and Chandler are trying to have a baby, they babysit Phoebe's triplets. They start to make out and Chandler says he's not comfortable doing it in front of the B A B Y. Later, Joey comes in and says "You can't have sex around a B A B I E!"
In an earlier episode, Phoebe is feeling guilty about spending time with her biological mother and imagines that her mother has been reincarnated as a cat.
Phoebe: I think someone's upset that there's a new mom at the B E A C H. [Beat] I just spelled the wrong word.
When Phoebe gets Monica and Chandler a Ms. Pac-Man machine as their wedding gift, Chandler wastes no time in making dirty high-score initials. With Ross bringing Ben over, Monica orders the dirty initials removed; when Phoebe fails her last attempt to remove the final dirty name with a high score, she launches a foul-mouthed tirade right when Ross and Ben walk in, forcing Ross to put "earmuffs" on Ben.
Janice is grating on all of the friends and they all dread seeing her and even hearing her voice. In short, she annoys them. However, in the short time that Ross dated Janice, Ross' constant whining and complaining managed to get the annoying Janice to be annoyed with Ross' negativity. This completely shocks Ross and he lampshades it:
Ross: I annoy YOU? Janice?
Chandler realizes this about him and Mr. Heckles in TOW Heckles Dies.
In "The One With the Morning After", in an effort to cover up his trail from Chloe (with whom he'd had an affair) to Rachel, Ross speaks with Chloe's co-worker, Issac, who is more than eager to help Ross.
Ross: Listen, can you keep this information to yourself?
Issac: Aw, no problem dude. Y'know we got to look out for each other. We’re the same, you and me.
Ross: Actually, no, we’re not.
Issac: Yeah, we are.
Ross: No, we’re not.
Issac: Yeah, we are.
Ross: No, we’re not!!
Issac: Okay, we’re not.
Issac: But, we are.
Not With Them For The Money: Monica towards Pete. Despite his offers to buy her a restaurant (and escape her horrible job) and Rachel's encouragement to date a billionaire she turned him down until she developed genuine feelings. This contrasts with former Gold Digger Rachel, who encourages her to date him anyways because he's a billionaire.
No Sense of Personal Space: The gang as a whole, justified given how closethey are to each other. However in early seasons Monica and Chandler were worse than the rest, (at least with each other), frequently cuddling on the couch, absentmindly stroking each other, curling up and watching movies, draping across each other, holding hands, hugging while half-dressed.... When they started their Secret Relationship they actually seemed less cuddly in public! It does explain how they kept it hidden for so long though.
Not So Great Escape: Ross does this several times in one episode of Friends. When he is in a secluded log cabin waiting for his girlfriend, Elizabeth, to get back from the shop Elizabeth's dad, Paul, turns up with Rachel. Ross, with his trousers around his ankles, hides under the couch. Later he is discovered by Rachel, who covers for him and gets Paul to leave the room. Ross takes the opportunity to move to another room, which turns out to be Paul's bedroom. When Paul comes in later Ross hides behind the door, then falls to the floor and crawls under the bed, from where he witnesses Paul's embarrassing routine in front of the mirror. When Paul leaves Ross begins to climb out of the window, but is discovered when he is half-way out.
Then in another episode, Ross breaks into his ex-girlfriend's apartment to retrieve his favourite pink salmon sweater and is inside when aforementioned girlfriend comes home with a date. He is then forced to hide under the couch on which they are currently making out. Eventually he gets bored and starts reading a magazine.
Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Half-way season 3, when Ross cheats on Rachel the dynamics of their relationship literally never go back to be the same.
Rachel: I can't... You're a totally different person to me now. Now this has changed things... forever...
Later in the show, Ross gets married and Monica and Chandler sleep together. Ross's marriage ends almost immediately, and they keep teasing a quick and quiet end to Monica and Chandler's relationship. But they continue dating, stay together and end up getting married. Their marriage is the start of the Friends 'growing up' and tellingly the series ends with them moving to the suburbs with their children.
Rachel's pregnancy at the end of Season 7.
Nuclear Candle: In one episode, there's a blackout, and the friends are bringing in candles for light. Later on, all the candles but one are extinguished, and yet the light level is almost the same. One of the characters then blows on this last candle extinguishing it, and everything goes dark.
Nude Nature Dance: When Phoebe suggests a relationship cleansing ritual, it turns out you can either go the burnt offering route or the "dance naked with sticks" route. Rachel and Monica opt for the first.
Object Ceiling Cling: Monica is making a milkshake, but Rachel says something that surprises her, making her lid hand slip, splattering bananas on the ceiling. It doesn't come down until Monica mops it up.
Oblivious Mockery: Rachel and Monica discover a message on Ross's answering machine from Emily, Ross's ex-wife. Emily is having second thoughts about her upcoming marriage to someone else. They debate whether or not to erase the message - Monica wants to, Rachel doesn't.
Monica: All right, look. She's obviously unstable, okay? I mean, she's thinking about running out on her wedding day.... (In the first episode, Rachel ran out on her wedding) Okay, fine, but... I mean, look at the position she's putting him in. I mean, what's he going to do? He's like... Ross is going to run over there on the wedding day and break up the marriage? Who would do that? (Rachel did this when Ross & Emily were getting married).... Okay, fine. All right? But that's... you know, that was different. Although it did involve a lot of the same people.
Oh god, Ross and Rachel. Their relationship drama lasted from the first five minutes of the pilot to the last five minutes of the finale, so even the characters themselves were sick of it.
Thankfully averted with Monica and Chandler. They manage to get together, fall in love, get engaged, married and start a family without breaking up once and still remaining funny and popular.
Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: When Chandler and Monica decide to get married in Vegas on impulse, they shoplift a blue sweater to count as something new, borrowed, and blue. For something old:
Chandler: I have a condom in my wallet that I've had since I was twelve. Monica: That'll work! Chandler: I don't think so.
Phoebe gets married outside in the snow - when asked if she's going to be cold, she says "I don't care. I'll be my something blue!"
One-Hour Work Week: Chandler's job in early episodes of Friends is subject to a Lampshade Hanging in one episode, where the deciding question in a trivia contest is "What is Chandler Bing's job?" Incidentally, it was Statistical Analysis and Data Reconfiguration until he got a job in an advertising firm. Even when Chandler and Monica are a couple she can't remember what he does. This is Lampshaded in one episode, where the Friends note that their bosses don't seem to like them... at which point Joey points out that this may be because they're hanging out at a coffee house at 11:30 on a Wednesday morning.
Made more fun by the fact that Joey is one of two people in the group - the other being Phoebe, and even then Phoebe sometimes does hold regular jobs as a masseuse - who works as a free-lancer.
Joey shouldn't be let off the hook either. It was justified when he was a struggling and mostly unemployed actor. However, daily soap opera stars have incredibly long work hours.
Rachel and Chandler the ones with ordinary office jobs appear to take lunch breaks for hours at a time.
Monica has several character arcs about her career as a restaurant chef, eventually becoming Head Chef at a very prestigious restaurant. This is usually a job with 14 hour days, often seven days a week, but she seems to work about as much as Joey when he's unemployed.
Not to mention Ross, who in later seasons is a university professor, a career involving not only teaching but tons of grading papers, tutorials and your own research. He seems to go to campus once a week at most.
One Gender School: Chandler frequently makes jokes about attending an all-boy boarding school when he was growing up.
In another episode Ross & Chandler's party animal friend from college comes to town and they all go out partying. He bails on them, so Ross, Chandler and Joey decide to go out on their own, only to discover that they needed a guy like that to really be able to party hard.
One Steve Limit: On set, Matt LeBlanc was referred to by his last name to avoid confusion with Matthew Perry while shooting.
The One With: Trope Namer. The show referenced this by starting all but a handful of episode titles with the words "The One (With/Where)...", the exceptions being the pilot and the finale, along with a few shows called "The One After...". Additionally, the pilot has an alternate title; it is now listed on IMDb as "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate" and the Season 1 DVD set also uses that title. The Other Wiki still calls it "The Pilot". The series finale is titled, logically enough, "The Last One". The reason for this is exactly the one seen above in the trope description: so the episode can be discussed in informal conversation without the need to remember the title.
This can result in odd situations where the title won't always correspond to the logical "The One With" name. For example, "The One With The Embryos" is more well-known as the one with the trivia contest that leads to the guys and girls switching apartments.
Opening Credits Cast Party: The opening has the characters goofing around a fountain in the park. The odd part isn't that the characters are all together (they almost always are in the show itself), it's that they're apparently having a late-night party in the middle of a deserted park... that has a couch!
And a lamp that's hooked up to the fountain's floodlight!
Fans have attempted to shoehorn this into the show's canon by saying that it was a photo shoot that Joey was participating in early in his acting career. For some reason, they needed five other extras in a hurry, so Joey called up his friends.
The fountain rarely makes an appearance in the show itself.
Distressingly, David Schwimmer's "Mr. Roboto" dance was removed in later versions.
Operation Jealousy: A complicated version: Monica and Chandler have a Friends with Benefits relationship that's clearly bordering on more, but Monica get's asked out. She intended to get out of it but Chandler misunderstands and claims they were just 'goofying' around to protect himself. This prompts a hurt Monica to say yes to the date and and flaunt the guy in front of him. Thankfully Chandler talks to her, explains his feelings and she calls the scheme off.
Opposites Attract: Ross and Rachel; Phoebe and Mike. To a lesser extent Monica and Chandler.
Other Me Annoys Me: Rachel dates Russ, a guy who's remarkably like Ross. Ross finds him completely annoying, being totally unaware that he's basically criticizing himself.
Out of Focus: Ben disappears after season 8, Carol after season 7, and Susan after season 6.
Paranormal Episode: The series had an episode where Phoebe says she has been possessed by the ghost of an old woman, who will only leave her body after she has seen "everything". The ghost apparently leaves her body after Phoebe goes to Carol and Susan's lesbian wedding.
Rachel gives Ross permission to hit on Isabella Rosselini when she comes into the coffeehouse:
Monica: Rach, are you really gonna let him do this? Rachel: Honey, he's about to go hit on Isabella Rosselini. I'm just sorry we don't got popcorn.
In another episode, when Ross and Rachel are about to have a discussion, they ask Phoebe to leave. Phoebe says "Okay" then sits down right next to them, smiling eagerly. When the ensuing argument peters out to nothing, Phoebe gets annoyed: "That's it? You call that a fight! C'mon "We were on a break!" "No, we weren't!" What happened to you two?"
Joey: If he doesn't like you, this is all a moo point. Rachel: Huh. A moo point? Joey: Yeah, it's like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter. It's moo. Rachel: Have I been living with him for too long, or did that all just make sense?
In an earlier episode, Chandler, bemoaning his pickiness with women, once mentioned he broke up with a girl for (mis)pronouncing a word, "supposebly" (meant to be "supposedly".) The incorrect version seems to stick with Joey, though.
Pint-Sized Powerhouse: In "TOW The Girl Who Hits Joey", Joey's short, new girlfriend Katie playfully punches him over and over, which Joey admits really hurts. The others make fun of him for it until Katie does it to Rachel, who responds by kicking her in the shin.
Also Monica who is the smallest of the gang, but described as 'freakishly strong'
The Plan: Pulled off by Chandler to get a baby named after him (instead of Joey).
Which, since Chandler is a Butt Monkey, backfires when the baby turns out to be a girl and the parents refuse to change the name.
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."
Monica: "I promise."
The Pollyanna: Phoebe's boyfriend Parker (Alec Baldwin), who annoys the rest of the gang and eventually Phoebe herself.
Poor Communication Kills: This show is built on this trope. You can actually watch the writers become more dependent on this trope as the series progresses. The best (worst?) example is when Chandler attempts to masturbate and Monica (his wife) interrupts him. He quickly changes the channel to a show about sharks, and Monica presumes this means he finds sharks sexually stimulating.
The infamous break up between Ross and Rachel stems heavily from this trope. Had Rachel been more clear on what "being on a break" meant, Ross would not have misinterpreted it as a break up.
The season 9 opener episode, The One Where No One Proposes, is built around this trope.* Poor Man's Porn: Chandler comes to visit Rachel at work so he can take a peek at the most recent catalogues.
When Joey displays an unusual talent for drawing anatomically-correct pictures of naked people, he follows it up with "This little talent came in useful when I couldn't afford porn!"
One episode inverted this with a subplot dedicated Chandler and Joey accidentally getting the porn channel on TV for free. At first, they are thrilled and refuse to turn the TV off (fearing it will go away if they do). However, over the course of the episode, they become so saturated with the constant porn that it begins to warp their views of daily life and they admit they need a break.
Pose of Silence: The most blatant examples of this are from this show, where it would seem the characters are all deaf, and an invisible soundproof wall was found just behind all sofas.
And menus when the characters being discussed are sitting at the same table...
Potty Emergency: When Joey gets an audition with a famous Broadway actor/director, he goes along having just had a drink and needing to pee. This, evidently, makes him a better actor (since he plays a nervous man with lines like "I could go right now!") He has an even worse potty emergency when he goes for the call back, due to trying to need to pee for the audition. This unfortunate circumstance leads to him having Potty Failure whilst said famous director is hugging him...
Practice Kiss: Joey had an audition for a role where he had to kiss a guy, so he tried to talk Ross or Chandler into kissing him to help him get used to it. Ross eventually did it but by then Joey had already had the audition.
In the alternate universe episode Monica and Chandler have practice sex. Like their real-life counter-parts this leads to love.
Preemptive "Shut Up": Chandler proposes a rather transparent con to try and fool Joey. Monica responds by saying, "Don't you think Joey will figure that out?" She then immediately realizes how unlikely that is and cuts off Chandler's rebuttal with, "I heard it."
When Ross is angry that Rachel kissed Gavin while he gave dating up (per her request) to help with Emma, he remarks that if she's gonna kiss guys she barely knows, then so will he. Before Chandler can even respond, Ross sarcastically remarks, "Very funny, Ross is gay, ha ha!"
In "The One With The Routine", Rachel and Phoebe look for their presents from Monica. They claim they do it every year as part of Christmas fun, but they have never found them. Phoebe persuades Chandler to join them so that he can give Monica gifts of the same value.
Phoebe: I mean what if she gets you a great present, two medium presents, and a bunch of little presents? And you've just gotten her one great present? I mean that's just gonna make her feel bad. Why would you do that to her Chandler? Why? Why?
Monica is impatient to see what she and Chandler got for their wedding presents. First she unwraps just a tiny gift, which is a salt shaker, but she ends up opening all of them, and doesn't manage to wrap them again for Chandler's benefit.
When Phoebe gets a mink as an heirloom from her mother, she eventually realizes it actually looks good on her. So even though there was a Reset Button, for that time, she did think she looked, well, pretty in mink.
When Phoebe and Mike get married, Mike's mother wears a white fur coat to the wedding.
Priceless Ming Vase: Rachel accidentally breaks a dinosaur thing in Ross's apartment. She really hopes it's not real because Ross treasures his precious collection. Subverted when Rachel finds out it's fake and she casually hides it into a lamp.
Primal Scene: Monica first found a video tape of her parents having sex (complete with "Oh Jack" and "Oh Judy"). Then a few episodes later she was hiding from her parents in the bathroom when both walk in, and, well, this quote pretty much sums it up:
Ross: Mon? Mon, are you okay?
Monica: Remember that video I found of Mom and Dad?
Monica: Well I just caught the live show.
In a later episode, when she recounts this, Chandler mentions that he once walked in on his parents and a man having a threesome.
Product Placement: The infamous episode "The One With Pottery Barn", which features Rachel redecorating Phoebe's apartment in all Pottery Barn products and having to lie to her about where she purchased them, and has been snarkily described as a half hour Pottery Barn commercial. To this day, Pottery Barn claims to see a spike in their sales every single time that episode airs.
In another episode Phoebe and Monica try to deduce the world's best chocolate chip cookie recipe — it turns out to be Nestlé Tollhouse. The second may not have been product placement— the joke was that the recipe was printed on the side of the by-far most common chocolate chip packages, but her grandma lied and said it was an "old family recipe".
Ross: [explaining why his life sucks] ...And then none of this would have happened, and I wouldn't have put my fist through the wall! Rachel: You put your fist through the wall? Ross: No, I missed and hit the door. But it opened really hard!
Monica's then-boyfriend Pete, an uber-rich businessman, gives up business to become an Ultimate Fighter. He gets clobbered, of course.
Subverted with Chandler who works as a data analyst for a corporate organization but he has always assumed it's temporary. When he's offered a promotion, he quits because he doesn't want to get stuck there. However, he has no idea what he'd like to do instead and the money they offer him is too good, so he returns.
Played Straight in later seasons when Chandler learns he's the only one of their gang who hates his job, and pursues a new career in advertising. It seems to have been chosen rather randomly but he really likes it. However, he has to start at the bottom of the career ladder.
Phoebe's Love Interest Mike used to be a lawyer, however, he decided to become a professional pianist in his early thirties. It helps that he has some family money.
Race for Your Love: Done several times, most notably in the finale when Phoebe (recklessly) drives Ross to the airport so he can tell Rachel he loves her.** This actually mirrors Rachel's attempt to speak to Ross, before he boards the plane, after Chandler reveals Ross' feelings for her, in Season 1 finale. Ross' race to the airport in season 10, is actually not his first time; after having done the exact same thing with Emily, they eventually get married. Then he ends up chasing her in an airport, once again; this time in London.
Rage Judo: Ross & Monica start telling on each other to their parents, each one-upping the other on their outrageous behavior, in a back-and-forth, continually failing version of this trope.
Monica: And Dad, y'know that mailman that you got fired? He didn't steal your Playboys! Ross did! Ross: Yeah, well, Hurricane Gloria didn't break the porch swing, Monica did! Monica: Ross hasn't worked at the museum for a year! Ross: Monica and Chandler are living together! Monica: Ross married Rachel in Vegas! And got divorced! Again!
Rapid-Fire Name Guessing: Joey is confused whether he's about to go out with Angela or Andrea. Chandler gives the identifier for each, and Joey remembers that he's going out with Julie.
Also, Rachel's sister seems unable to remember Emma's name (thinking that Phoebe's name is Emma), and uses every rhyming variation.
Monica did this for Richard: skimpy negligee, rose petals scattered on the bed, a fresh rose in her teeth, wine at the ready, the whole shebang.
Rachel did it for Joshua at his parents' posh townhouse. While he went elsewhere to wash up, she dressed down to her nightie and presented herself on the couch —at which point Joshua's parents came in. She tried to pass it off as the latest European fashion and even went out to dinner with them (un)dressed like that.
Implied just after Chandler and Monica get together — when their relationship is still a secret. Rachel goes into Monica's room after knocking (and hearing a rather seductive "I've been waiting for you" in response) and comes out screaming a moment later. When Monica claims to have been taking a nap, Rachel replies that no one takes a nap "in that position".
In "The One with the Flashback", Joey gets naked when Monica invites him for lemonade.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Lisa Kudrow's pregnancy necessitated the story of Phoebe being a surrogate for her brother's triplets. It was also the reason she had to stay behind when they filmed the episodes in London.
This happened again two seasons later with the Monica/Chandler proposal. Originally, the plan was to have a "big showdown" between Chandler and Richard, cultivating in a cliffhanger with Monica deciding who to move forward with. However, rumors that Season Six would be the final season of Friends along with the writers deciding such a finale would be too predictable prompted them to rewrite the episode's ending at the last minute to show Monica and Chandler getting engaged, without a single ounce of regard for all the craziness that happened prior.
Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Friends was excoriated by English teachers across the world for degrading the language with all its, like, disfluencies and, y'know, rising inflection? It's like, did they ever stop to think, y'know, "Maybe they're just talking like real people talk?"
One episode makes fun of Ross's tendency to do this when Rachel dates a guy identical to Ross, named Russ. Both of them occasionally stutter, repeat words, pause between words and use "um" and "uh" a lot.
Really Gets Around: Joey is the obvious example; however, Phoebe tends to reveal many unexpected sexual escapades at the most random times as well. This is addressed in season 9, when Ross notes that she's well into her thirties, and still hasn't had a long-term relationship.
Also in season 9, when Rachel tells Phoebe about how Ross flirted with a store clerk, she says he's "picking up some shop girl at Sluts-R-Us". Phoebe pauses for a moment, then asks, "Is that a real place? ...Are they hiring?"
It's also hinted Rachel was like this in high school.
Real Men Hate Affection: Averted with Chandler and Joey who hug enough that Chandler lampshades this trope joking "Do you think we do this to much?" They continue to show a lot of a physical affection for each other, even going for a hug over a handshake in the finale.
Monica and Chandler get together in the series 4 finale. It's initially a Friends with Benefits relationship that upgrades further to a full-blown romance that eventually ends up with them Happily Married.
Remember the New Guy: All the celebrity guest stars on Friends easily fall under this trope. For instance, Brad Pitt's character, who was supposedly a close friend of Ross and Monica, but was never mentioned before or since, wasn't in attendance at their wedding, etc.
Phoebe says she has a roommate Denise who has always been there if only the gang would listen to her.
Retail Therapy: Rachel indulged in this in the first episode and often after she got a better paying job. Jill, Rachel's sister, did something similar after getting cut off by their father (having memorized all his credit card numbers). When Rachel find out she... keeps all the purchased items for herself. To teach Jill a lesson.
Retroactive Wish: In the pilot, Ross says, "I just want to be married again" right before Rachel appears wearing a wedding dress. Chandler immediately jumps in, "And I just want a million dollars!"
Revealing Hug: Rachel stops short of confessing her feelings to Ross when she sees him and Emily (his bride-to-be) kissing and instead wishes him a great marriage with a "congratulations" hug, while looking utterly miserable when she hugs him.
Right-Hand Hottie: Rachel hires a totally unqualified guy for her assistant solely on the basis that she thought he was cute.
Right Through the Wall - their upstairs neighbor pulls up his carpet, so everything (including his sex with Phoebe, and later, other women) can be heard clearly in Monica's apartment.
When the Friends go to a conference in Barbados, Monica, Chandler and Phoebe are in a room that's caught up between two situations. Namely Rachel and Joey hooking up, and Ross and Charlie getting together. Chandler then squicks out Monica by asking why she's listening to the wall that has her brother on the other side.
Rock-Paper-Scissors: Rachel and Monica use Rock Paper Scissors to decide who gets the last condom in the box. Rachel wins.
In season one, Rachel dated muscle-bound Italian Paolo (who was formerly the Trope Namer for this very page) while Ross looked on jealously. The writers lampshaded Paolo's role by having Chandler's mother, a romance novelist, refer to Paolo as "a complication you eventually kill off." In the second season, Ross dated academic Julie while Rachel looked on jealously. Since Paolo was a slow-witted pig who could barely communicate with Rachel while Julie was a sweet and lovely person, the writers hit one trap then the other. According to the nature of the Ross-Rachel relationship, pretty much every person either one of them dated for more than an episode after that point had elements of the false lead.
Ross' English girlfriend Emily at least seemed to be a generally likable false lead, and Rachel's last minute "I HAVE TO TELL HIM HOW I FEEL" seemed exceptionally selfish and petty (a passenger played by Hugh Laurie calls her out on it too). While she does indeed decide against telling Ross she still loves him and simply wishes him a happy marriage, Ross accidentally says her name when he's up on the altar, showing that he at least has some feelings for her. Later when Ross tries to reconcile with Emily, she too is turned into a selfish, petty shrew by forcing Ross to never see Rachel again and, when she can't have her way, turning her back on him.
Joey himself was a false lead on at least two occasions: first with Chandler and Kathy, then later with Ross and Charlie.
And then of course Ross turned out to be the false lead for Charlie and Greg Kinnear (can't remember the name of his character). The part where he confesses his love and Charlie runs off with him plays like the end of a romantic comedy - except we weren't following the couple's love story, we were following her love story with the other guy (Ross). It's actually pretty hilarious watching Ross' face when he realises he's the false lead and not The Hero.
In series 5, Rachel inadvertently creates one for Chandler and Monica. Their relationship is secret and they're just Friends with Benefits... until Rachel sets up Monica with a very handsome male nurse called Dan, devestating Chandler. Dan's out of the picture by the end of the episode, but his role was to make Chandler and Monica face the realisation that their "goofing around" has taken them well beyond the friendship stage.
Also Richard in the Season 6 finale when he and Chandler both propose to Monica. Although he had been a serious Love Interest in the past, by this stage Monica and Chandler were blissfully happy, clearly meant for each other and the last season finale had Monica promising Chandler he, and not Richard, was the love of her life and she loved him more than anyone else before. Richard's appreance was clearly a (well-written) ploy to create drama and miscommunication. (In fact Monica didn't just choose Chandler over Richard, but when his proposal plans were ruined, staged her own proposal and asked him to marry her.).
Ross: Oh, just hold on a second. I’m watching this rugby thing on ESPN. I don’t know what the big deal is. I’m man enough to play this sport.
Joey: Dude, you’re not even man enough to order the channel that carries the sport.
Joey tries to explain the sport to him.
Joey: Right here, this is a "scrum," okay. It's kinda like a huddle.
Ross: And is a "hum" kinda like a "scruddle"? Heh.
Joey: Heh heh. Ross, these guys are gonna kill you.
Running Gag: Ross's repeated cry of "We were on a break!" whenever anyone mentions that he once cheated on Rachel.
This running joke faded over time but resurfaced some years after it began when, in response to Chandler discovering his girlfriend had cheated on him, Ross hesitatingly commented "maybe it was okay, you know, if she thought you were on a break", provoking a rapturous response from the audience - a prime example of how a well implemented running gag can lead to eternal love for a show from its fans.
This got a crowning moment in either season 4 or 5, when Ross is about to marry Emily. Rachel's on a plane, venting her entire history with Ross to unwilling passengers when guest star Hugh Laurie snaps, takes off his earphones, and calls her shallow topping it off with "And I think it was quite clear that you guys were on a break." Cue shocked face by Rachel.
After an episode in which Joey showcased his greatest chat-up line - "How you doin'?" on Phoebe, proved extremely popular, it became synonymous to viewers with his terrier-like libido, and he went on to use it repeatedly whenever he suddenly realised that he might have a chance with a woman.
It was also a well known fact that Joey had an ongoing love affair with sandwiches of every kind.
Phoebe's liking for kinky sexual practices were discussed regularly.
There were regular gags about Rachel's pre-surgery nose, leading eventually to a flashback episode in which a teenage Rachel appeared with an enormous arch on the bridge of her nose.
Monica: (while discussing Rachel's pregnancy) Are you afraid she'll have your nose? Rachel:(piteously) I am. I really am.
Also, the references to Monica's previous fatness, and, in the last few seasons, Chandler's gay "qualities".
Chandler: Wow, we were meant to be together. We both have the soundtrack to "Annie"! Monica: Honey, those are both yours.
Also, Ross' numerous marriages (and divorces) are brought up in conversation very often.
The duck and the chicken appearing at odd moments.
Chandler's cog-in-the-machine, corporate drone job, and the fact that no one can remember what it is. (It seems unlikely that he has people skills...)
And then lampshaded in a Crowning Moment of Funny when, years into the show, Chandler finally changes his job, and Monica suddenly rattles off the job he used to do.
Monica: You deserve to do something you love. Not statistical analysis and data reconfiguration.
Chandler: I quit and you learn what I do?!
Phoebe using the fake name "Regina Phalange".
Joey's increasingly absurd list of non-existant "talents" listed on his acting resume.
Ross and Monica's childhood fist-bumping substitute for the middle finger pops up in several episodes.
To the point that the other members of the group starting using it, too.
For the few times he appeared, Mr. Heckles' appearances always end up like this whenever he complains:
Heckles: You're disturbing my X.
One of the Friends: You don't have X.
Heckles: I could have X.
Sabotutor: Joey once taught a soap-opera acting class, and one of his students wanted Joey to coach him and prepare him for a role of a boxer that Joey auditioned for as well. Joey advised the student to play the role "homosexually". It backfired, though, because it turned out that they loved it and the student was cast.
Second Love: Ross' rarely seen ex-wife Carol might count as his second love, following as she did after his teenage crush on Rachel (or Rachel herself could be the second love, as their relationship did not progress into actual romance until after Carol).
Also in Friends, Chandler was Monica's Third Love whose first love was Richard and second love was Pete. She had other short relationships but they were the only ones she seriously thought about marrying.
Fittingly Monica was also Chandler's Third Love as he had serious relationships with Janice and Kathy and was devastated when they ended. Flashbacks reveal both Chandler and Monica had crushes on each other the first and second time they met respectively but it wasn't until they got to know each other and been friends for almost a decade that they fell in love.
Monica was also this to Richard. His first love was his ex-wife, who was his High School Sweetheart, and after they got divorced, he fell in love with Monica.
Mike is this to Phoebe, her first love being David.
And, interestingly enough, Phoebe might have been this for Mike, as it was established that the latter had been married before, and the divorce was harsh enough for him to give up on the institution of marriage until he met Phoebe.
Secret Santa: Happens in season four. By the end of the episode, pretty much everyone knows who got who.
Secret Relationship: Monica and Chandler milked this for almost an entire season. And the other characters found out one... by... one.
Double-subverted in a plot where Ross is dating one of his students. They agree to keep it secret, as it's not something Ross would get fired over, but it is "frowned upon". Later, sick of keeping it secret, Ross announces the relationship to his fellow professors, who inform him he will be fired if the administration finds out (it was not just "frowned upon"). Thus, they go back into Secret Relationship mode.
Selective Enforcement: Ross finds out that students are sneaking into the library stacks for sex (particularly the aisle containing his thesis). The library refuses to do anything about it. He decides to monitor the aisle himself, meets a pretty grad student... and ends up getting caught by the librarian.
Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Chandler (sensitive) and Joey (manly). Generally Joey will sleep with girls for a night and Chandler will make them breakfast the next morning.
Played with in one episode: Phoebe was dating two guys at the same time, a manly fireman and a sensitive teacher. She tries to break up with the fireman but discovers that's he's also sensitive and artistic to boot ("He has access to lots of charcoal"). He tries to break up with the teacher while he's fixing up his apartment, and he's totally hunky.
Sequel Episode - "TOW the Embryos" and "TOW All the Haste" about Rachel & Monica and Joey & Chandler switching apartments. They both even start the same, with Rachel being rudely awakened in the morning.
And of course, to Monica, anything related to cleaning, cooking, and weddings is extremely serious business. Even when the wedding's not even her own.
Sex Changes Everything: Ross and Rachel, a Ross and Rachel kiss. Everything'll be great now, right? Ross writes a list of Rachel and Julie, pros and cons. This infuriates Rachel, and she dumps him. B. Later on, they get together for real. The relationship lasts the better part of a year, but Ross gets jealous of Rachel's new job and her coworker Mark. Some misunderstandings and a sleepover with the hot copier girl, and they break up. C. Later on, Rachel says that she'll be with Ross again if he accepts full responsibility. He agrees not knowing what he was agreeing to. They break up again. D. They get drunk in Las Vegas and get married, then divorced. E. Rachel gets pregnant. Cue fighting about whether to get married or not. I've probably skipped a few steps in here, but you get the idea. The creators dangle the carrot in front of us and yank it away over and over again, knowing we'll fall for it every single time.
And possibly because of the sheer frustration of Ross and Rachel's relationship when Monica and Chandler had sex, none of this happened. When they argued it was mostly about legitimate couples stuff and they resolved it more often than not by listening to each other and being mindful of the fact that they were different people who would occasionally differ on things. This was partly because they were extremely close prior hook-up but unlike Ross and Rachel weren't hiding hopes for 'more' and starry-eyed. Instead Monica and Chandler were well-aware of each other's faults but still best friends who openly admitted they loved each other. You sensed for them the step from platonic to romantic love was a natural one, as they had a stable basis for their relationship.
Sex Equals Love: Chandler and Monica started a sexual relationship in London that they initially intended to limit to London. That fell apart after only one episode. The casual nature of their relationship fell apart after only three, and they eventually ended up Happily Married. Somewhat subverted in that several episodes throughout the first four seasons (when they were just friends and nothing more) had made it clear that they did love each other very much, just not in a sexual way. Apparently, introducing the sex was the only nudge needed for them to cross what was clearly (for them) a blurred line between platonic and romantic love.
Shaggy Dog Story: The Joey-Rachel relationship. There's a few episodes centering around Rachel secretly having feelings for Joey. The cliffhanger of Season 9 has Joey and Rachel kissing. In the first two episodes of Season 10, there's some serious drama about how Ross will feel about the whole thing. And the episode after that... they decide they're better off as friends. The fact that they even went out at all is only mentioned once in the rest of the season.
Partially Real Life Writes the Plot as the final season was six episodes less than the others due to Jennifer Aniston's condition of returning only with a shorter season in order to pursue her film career.
Shared Family Quirks: As Ross and Monica were siblings they were revealed to have some weird shared obsessions from their childhood, including quiz shows, the Osmonds, a dance routine that they won a school talent show by performing and the "Gellar Family Cup" awarded after family sports matches.
Similarly when Phoebe meets her long-lost biological mother she discovers that they both use the made up word "floopy". The mother then plays with this by pointing out her love of pizza as another sign that they must be related.
Shipper on Deck: For most of series the rest of the gang (especially Phoebe, who helped them unite in the final episode) were this for Ross and Rachel. Later episodes have the other three losing enthusiasm (Joey struggling with his own feelings for Rachel, Monica and Chandler sickening of the Will They or Won't They? saga and busy their more stable relationship). But they're all happy when they get back together. Monica also shipped Ross/Emily at one point.
Joey was dating Erin. He asks the girls to break up with her for him. Too bad the gals started talking. Cue Phoebe saying "We want you to marry her!"
Ironically Monica once shipped Chandler/Kathy while Chandler seemed to ship Richard/Monica and Pete/Monica. This naturally changes later, and actually causes a few issues when he thinks she still loves Richard.
Rachel also shipped Monica/Pete.
Joey is captain of the Chandler/Monica ship including helping hide their Secret Relationship and officiating at their wedding. This quote pretty much sums up his feelings:
Joey: "You guys are perfect for each other. Y’know, we look at you and-and we see you together and it just…it-it fits. Y’know? And you just know it’s gonna last forever.
Ross also gets on board the Chandler/Monica ship when he realizes its serious and is thrilled at Chandler becoming his brother in law.
Ship Tease: Joey and Phoebe are teased a bit. In several instances, they favor each other over the other friends, and with the Monica/Chandler and Ross/Rachel deals, it makes sense for them to be together. At one point, Joey even proposes to Phoebe, but it turns out it's only because he thinks she's pregnant and doesn't want to do it alone. She still responds to his proposal enthusiastically. Phoebe only said she was pregnant to cover for Rachel, who really was pregnant. When Joey finds this out, he proposes to Rachel instead, who rejects him. Phoebe says she will "take him back." The ship was well and truly sunk when Phoebe met and married Mike Hannigan. Him and Phoebe did have two passionate kisses across the series though. The first was when Phoebe was pretending to be her twin sister Ursulanote Whom Joey had been seeing and was ditching him, Phoebe wanting to give Joey some closure in Ursula's place. The second was Phoebe's birthday where she laments that she hasn't had the perfect kiss yet.
Joey: You know, Monica and Chandler are married. Ross and Rachel are having a baby. Maye you and I should do something.
Phoebe: All in good time, my love. All in good time.
Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow were reportedly keen on the idea that Joey and Phoebe were having casual sex behind everyone's backs, but the writers vetoed the idea.
Producers David Crane and Marta Kauffman have said that they "always assumed Joey and Phoebe were having a secret affair". Which may count as Word of God.
The only time the writers didn't have Ross and Rachel in this trope is when they were actually dating, which was like a fifth of the series' run.
Chandler/Monica were teased mildly in early seasons, with them almost having sex in a flashback, Chandler describing her as the most beautiful women he's ever known-come-favourite person, offering a FallbackChildrenPact, and spending two episodes straight arguing that she should date him which led many fans to theorize he had some buried feelings for her. They also had crushes on each other in flashback episodes and confided secrets that even the other Friends didn't know. No one thought it was serious until they slept together in Season 5, fell in love and ended up Happily Married.
A lot of pairings had this at some point, mostly Played for Laughs. It helps that all the six friends, except Phoebe and Monica, have kissed each other (although the kisses between Ross/Chandler, Rachel/Monica and Ross/Monica happened off screen and the Joey/Monica one was only a fictional kiss in an Alternate Reality Episode).
Shock Party: The show did this three times over the years:
In "The One Where They All Turn Thirty", Monica arrives for the surprise party stone drunk. Hilarity Ensues.
Rachel's divorced mom and dad (who can't stand each other) arrive at her surprise birthday party; the gang are forced to split it up into two parties to make sure they don't run into each other. Again, Hilarity Ensues.
Monica was thrown a party by Rachel and Phoebe, who regretfully inform her that none of her other friends where able to make it. Monica goes into a speech about how she'd rather spend the occasion with the two of them rather than a bunch of outsiders she doesn't care about. Cue everyone else coming out from their hiding places, murmuring "Surprise..."
Shot In The Ass: In "The One Where The Monkey Gets Away", Phoebe is shot in the butt with a tranquilizer dart, as she dives to save Marcel (a monkey) from capture - in slow motion, to the theme of Shaft.
Along with several less real examples (like Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E. and Freud!).
Single Woman Seeks Good Man: At first, Rachel did not know Paolo was a nasty guy. When she realised he was, she complained to Ross that what she really wants is a nice guy, a sweet, caring guy etc. She did this more than once before they finally got together.
Also Monica dated the Badass from her high school days and got to ride his motorcycle... but he hadn't ever grown out of that old persona and still lived with his parents, so she relished dumping him. Her first two serious boyfriends were Richard and Pete who both fit the "Nice Guy" stereotype pretty well. Pete was a little obsessed, but he was still "stupidly charming", as he described himself, and also a billionaire who took Monica to Italy for pizza on their first date. (At least until he went crazy.) She ended up with her best friend Chandler who was incredibly sweet and arguably the nicest guy on the show.
The Head/The Smart One/The Quirk = In early seasons Monica, as Team Mom was the Head, Ross with a doctorate was the Smart One, and Chandler, mostly making comic quips, was the Quirk. However in later seasons flanderization kicked in, Ross got more immature, Monica's hypercompetiveness and other neuroses were pushed up while Chandler matured. By the end Ross was the Quirk, while Monica and Chandler traded the Head and Smart One depending on the situation.
The Muscle: Joey (in some episodes such as the pilot and "The One With The Halloween Party")
The Pretty One: Rachel
The Wild One: Phoebe
Sixth Ranger (well, seventh): Charlie Wheeler, who happened to be a Twofer Token Minority. Also Richard and Pete, two of Monica's early boyfriends that got their own arcs. And Mike Hannigan, who marries Phoebe in the end.
And Fun Bobby, and Marcel the Monkey.
And Gunther who appeared in the most episodes after the main six.
Sleep Cute: Happened entirely by accident in private to Ross and Joey in Friends. After concluding that it was the best nap both had ever had, and that it didn't mean anything, they voluntarily do it again... and woke up after the rest of the group had been staring at them for several minutes.
In another episode Monica stops to watch Chandler sleeping on her couch. He wakes up and freaks out, since he just got rid of his creepy roommate who also watched him sleep.
Slut Shaming: Pretty much the only friend not to be shamed for having sex was Phoebe. The network was so concerned about audience reaction that during the filming of the pilot, the crew polled the audience to see how much they judged Monica for sleeping with a guy on the first date.
Snapback: Chandler goes to Yemen to fend off Janice in "The One With All the Rugby". He is in New York in the next episode.
Considering that he didn't have any luggage or a passport, not so unlikely. He may have bought a ticket to Yemen, but it wasn't a direct flight. Assuming that he went anywhere, he flew as far as his connecting flight in Paris, which would take about six hours, then bought a ticket on the next flight back to New York. He wouldn't be allowed to leave De Gaulle airport without a passport, so he'd pay whatever it took for the next flight, get something to eat, and leave after four or five hours. He'd be gone less than a day. It's funny they never talk about it. Chandler's exploits in the Paris airport would be a good story; but that he'd be back home and over his jet lag in a week is not strange.
Phoebe Buffay's mother would turn off movies like Old Yeller, saying, "That's the end" before the sad ending, so Phoebe didn't know the ends to lots of sad movies. The films whose endings she finally discovered in that episode include Old Yeller, Charlotte's Web, Pride Of The Yankees, among others. All of those films would probably count for this trope.
Subverted when Monica gives Phoebe It's a Wonderful Life to cheer her up, and Phoebe turns it off halfway through because of all the bad things that happen to George, so she doesn't get to see the happy ending.
Phoebe: It should have been called "It's a sucky life and just when you think it can't suck anymore it does".
So Bad, It's Horrible: In-Universe example: Joey's short-lived crime drama "Mac And C.H.E.E.S.E." A show riddled with poor writing, a ridiculous premise (a private investigator named Mac and a robot sidekick nicknamed Cheese) and bad acting. Not to mention offensive depictions of Russians. The show was declared "one of the worst things ever... not just on TV" by Chandler. A view apparently held by the rest of the world, as it was cancelled after only about two or three episodes.
Social Semi-Circle: Averted at Monica's place but played straight as an arrow at Central Perk; apparently the couch is directly facing the back wall.
We don't know what that wall looks like. It could have a fireplace, or a bookcase, both common in coffehouses. Or it could be 20 feet away, and there could be other tables.
Society Marches On: The prevalence of the Internet has rendered this exchange from "The One With Barry and Mindy's Wedding" very dated.
Phoebe: Oh! Someone's wearing the same clothes they had on last night. Someone get a little action?
Chandler: I may have.
Monica: Woo-hoo! Stud!
Ross: What's she look like?
Chandler: Well, we haven't exactly met, we just stayed up all night talking on the Internet.
Monica: Woo-hoo! Geek
Something Completely Different: The 1-hour special "The One that Could Have Been." Aside from the pre-opening sequence, the entire episode takes place in an alternate timeline where each member of the gang's lives had turned out differently than in the actual show (although things more or less wind up close to how things are regularly by the end).
El Spanish O: Joey shows off his terrible Italian accent: "That's-a what I suspected-a!"
Ross always tries to get his money's worth out of hotels by staying in the room to the very last minute before checkout, taking the batteries from the remotes, and taking the Bibles (despite being Jewish). It was a Running Gag for his character.
There was an episode where Ross and Chandler were together on a hotel and they decided to do this.
Ross: No, Chandler, you have to find the line between stealing and taking what the hotel owes you. For example: hair drier, no, no, no, but shampoo and conditioners, yes, yes, yes. (pause) Now, the salt shaker is off-limits, but the salt (he opens the salt shaker and pours the salt into his hand) I wish I'd thought this through.
Chandler: I think I know what you mean though...the lamp is the hotel's, but the bulbs (goes to take the bulb)...oh, you already got that.
Ross: Not my first time in a hotel, my friend.
Chandler: Ok, how about this (picks up the remote control)?
Ross: No, no, no, you can't take the remote control!
Strictly Professional Relationship: ZigZagged with the Rachel and Tag story-line. Rachel was promoted and was supposed to hire an assistant. She chose Tag despite the fact that he was not very suitable for the job in order to spend time with him. She then fretted because she couldn't date him as his superior but did all she could to prevent him from dating anybody else, such as telling him that all the women he flirted with are gay. She invited him as a friend for their Thanksgiving dinner and blabbed that she liked him but tried to take it back and say that it's just physical and doesn't want to pursue this any further. Tag, however, liked her too, obviously, and they started a secret office romance.
Days of Our Lives doesn't escape, despite being a real life soap. In fact, in one memorable scene, Joey's stalker refuses to believe he is an actor and not really Dr. Drake Ramoray - but is convinced to leave by a badly acted, badly improvised skit concocted by Ross.
This reached its height of superb nonsense when Joey's character received a brain transplant so that a woman could live on in Drake's body - but then the body rejected the woman's brain, as explained in a scene where Joey is acting as though he has the brain of Drake, even though Drake's brain was meant to have been damaged beyond repair.
And who can forget some of the dross he's been seen in on stage. Freud! The Musical springs to mind.
Especially since we got reminded of it in every Clip Show ever. Why couldn't they let us forget it?
"Why Don't You Like Me", a one-woman monologue featuring an angry lady shouting her life story at her audience. Chandler, unintentionally left to watch it by himself, gives it a rave review, saying it's deepened his understanding of what women go through. Of course, it was painfully bad - by tricking the friends into seeing it, Chandler gets his revenge.
Phoebe's songs don't exactly hit high notes in the music world either. However, unlike Joey's career, this is recognised by everybody but herself.
Ross's "wordless sound poems" are just as bad, if not worse.
Superstition Episode: In the episode "the One with the Giant Poking Device", Phoebe is refusing to go to the dentist because she's convinced that every time she goes to the dentist, somebody close to her dies.
Sure, Let's Go with That: Occurs loads. When Monica and Chandler are looking for a new house, they don't tell anyone for fear that it would upset them. As a result, Phoebe and Rachel see Chandler get into the car of an attractive woman (the real-estate agent), follow them to a house in the suburbs, and conclude that they are having an affair. In this case both Monica and Chandler let Phoebe and Rachel labour under this delusion for half the episode before revealing the truth.
Another notable one is when Ross has been practicing telling a story (Joey told him it would get a woman to have sex with him) in front of a video camera. When Rachel walks in, she asks him "Were you just talking to yourself?" He answers, out loud, "That's less embarrassing. Yes, yes I was."
When Ross dated Rachel, the gang organized a surprise party for her birthday. The real surprise came when they had to throw a second impromptu party in the guys' flat at the same time because both Rachel's parents showed up unexpectedly, and they couldn't be in one room together as they were going through divorce.
TOW the fake party features Rachel hosting a surprise "Bon Voyage" party for Emily in order to seduce Joshua.
In one episode there's a flashback to when Monica turned thirty— her friends and relatives have a very formal party. Monica freaked out and got really drunk before that. Hilarity Ensues.
"[The duck] did not get sick somewhere in there, and it was immediately found and properly cleaned up." (later...) "[The couch] is not one of the places the duck got sick." (even later...) "[The duck] did not eat your face cream..."
When Monica and Chandler hook up, and want to keep it as a secret:
Joey: Have you seen Monica? Chandler: I'm not seeing Monica!
When Emily calls from England when Ross is not meant to be around Rachel because of a promise he made to Emily, Joey announces that Rachel is definitely not here, which Emily miraculously believes and responds 'I should think not. Ross knows better than that.'
In an episode, Joey asks for one of the girls to remove her bra (after first asking who had the biggest breasts). It turns out he wants a piece of wire to pop the lock on a car door — they were locked out and it was snowing.
Joey: The bigger the boobs, the bigger the bra, the bigger the bra, the bigger the wire! (makes "duh" gesture)
Played with in another episode. Monica suspected Chandler, who was acting very drunk, of having consumed all the (blue) jello shots. Monica tells Chandler to stick out his tongue. Without missing a beat, Chandler tells her to take off her clothes.
Technology Marches On: In "The One With the List", Chandler marvels at his brand new computer: "Twelve megabytes of RAM, five hundred megabyte hard drive, with built-in spreadsheet capabilities and a modem that transmits at over 28,000 bps!", which was quite high tech for 1995. Nowadays there are cellphones running faster than that. Ross is also mentioned several times as having a beeper and one episode even revolves around him getting beeped by people looking for a male prostitute.
In "The One Where They're Up All Night", Phoebe is kept up by her fire alarm beeping. She smashes it and it still beeps. She puts on earmuffs and a hat to drown out the noise and also tries throwing it out.
Chandler: I hate having to see the shrink. He's always 'oh maybe people will like you better, if you like yourself better'. Who needs that?"
Monica: You do!
Chandler: I know.
The "The" Title: Most episodes are titled "The One with The..." or "The One Where...".
This Loser Is You: The main cast goes through several hardships throughout the series. When the series started, Rachel had just ended her engagement, got cut off from her dad's money and was employed as a waitress. Before returning to Days of Our Lives, Joey was frequently low on cash, borrowing money from Chandler, and had to work several part-time jobs. Monica had to work at a diner in between chef jobs, Chandler was unemployed before entering advertising and Ross was fired from the museum because of anger issues.
Three-Way Sex: In "The One Where Ross and Rachel Take A Break" Chandler and Joey once thought they might end up having sex with the same woman. When Joey asked who would go where, Chandler suggested flipping a coin:
Joey: Yeah, I guess, but what's like heads and what's tails?
Chandler: Well, if you don't know that I'm not sure I want to do this with you!
Hilariously subverted in the same series in a hypothetical What Could Have Been episode, where Ross and Carol, still married, agree to have a threesome with Susan, who was then only a... friend of Carol's. Ross, tossed aside during most of the act, finds out the hard way about his wife's homosexuality...
Since that episode, it's been hinted at a few times that this may have actually happened.
In the episode "The One with the Jellyfish", it was revealed that Phoebe was conceived from a threeway between her parents and the girl who ended up being her adoptive mother.
Throwing Out The Script: When Monica and Chandler got married, Chandler threw out his pre-prepared vows at the last moment to give a more heartfelt, situation-appropriate (as Joey had just revealed to Monica that Chandler had gotten cold feet and almost ran out on the wedding) speech.
True Love Is Exceptional: The insecure Chandler was terrified of committment and went through Minor Flaw Major Break Up with his few relationships. Then he fell in love with his best friend Monica, and not only accepted her 'high maintenance' faults but felt good about dealing with them. With her help he forged through his own issues and proved to be an unbelievably sweet boyfriend and later husband.
Also Monica previously stated she prefered 'mature' and sophisticated guys, but appreciated how Chandler's humour relaxed her. Especially noticeable when her ex-boyfriend Richard appeared and despite being her previous ideal man she still picked Chandler. The pair established the happiest relationship on the whole show.
Monica (tomboy) and Rachel (girly girl). Monica is a mild version of tomboy since she loves cleaning and cooking, but personality wise she's domineering, loud and hot-tempered and has a Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy relationship with Chandler. She also likes sports including football and is the most strong and athletic of the six friends, along with Joey. Rachel on the other hand is interested in fashion and shopping, is shallow, sweet, ditzy and unlike Monica, she's weak and bad at sports.
Susan (tomboy) and Carol (girly girl).
Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: Played with. Joey once accepts a role in an infomercial in which he portrays "Kevin", a guy who has trouble with milk cartons that are "flingin'-flangin' hard to open" (he rips one open while trying, spraying milk all over the place). But with the Milk Master 2000, he has no trouble. "Now I can have milk every day!" Later, Joey laments that his fellow cast members in a play tease him about the infomercial by asking him to open milk cartons ... and making fun of him when he really can't do it.
Admittedly the Milk Master is in some ways a pretty good idea - because if you're not allowed to use scissors to open a milk carton, you probably would need it.
Illustrated as a non-verbal Brick Joke; Rachel uses one at home a few scenes later.
Phoebe, way more so. She becomes increasingly more shrill and mean-spirited as the seasons went on.
The whole gang towards Ross during the post-Emily debacle. The guy's just had his second marriage implode, another love of his life disappear and is slowly having a complete and utter mental breakdown, culminating when he screams at his boss for stealing a sandwich!. And none of his friends seem to notice or care, but instead repeatedly mock him about it!
Took a Level in Badass: Chandler is referenced as being mediocre in bed a couple times over the course of the early seasons, until the famous scene where Monica gives him a diagram-based crash-course in pleasuring the female body. His girlfriend literally runs across the hall to hug and emphatically thank Monica following their next lovemaking session. Ends up being a good call on Monica's part, as when her and Chandler later enter a relationship she repeatedly describes him as the best sex she's ever had.
In that case, this trope could also be applied to Ross. In "TOW the Videotape", Rachel makes note of how Ross was working out before they conceived, and in the finale, upon waking up from having sex again, Rachel comments appreciatively that he's "learned some new moves" (which Ross attributes to receiving a copy of "Sex For Dummies").
Tranquillizer Dart: Subverted when Phoebe is shot in the backside with a dart. She never passes out, though she does comment that her buttock is asleep (and that the other one has no idea). Of course, the dart was intended for a very small monkey, so there probably wasn't much juice in there anyway.
Trans Equals Gay: Chandler's father is supposed to be a gay drag queen, but he's played like a trans woman. He stars is a show called "Viva Las Gaygas." Drag queens who perform professionally are very, very good, and some have had plastic surgery on their faces, and get waxed. Chandler's mother specifically notes that his father still has a penis, so he hasn't had reassignment surgery. It's true that professional drag performers don't usually dress as women in their personal lives, but it's possible to interpret dressing as a woman at Chandler's wedding as a snipe at his mother. As for dressing as Hollywood starlets in front of his friends, it's hard to fathom why he would want to embarrass his son, but he probably had some reason other than being emotionally abusive (like being supporting a transgender parent or student at the school), but the treatment justifies Chandler's refusal to talk to him later in his life, without making Chandler seem homophobic.
Translation By Volume: Rachel went to meet Ross at the airport. He was returning from a business trip to China and apparently brought back a new Asian girlfriend. Rachel WELCOMES HER IN HER COUNTRY, talking loudly and slowly, and trying to be cordial and not at all confused, since Ross was in love with her. Ross's girlfriend Julie actually COMES FROM NEW YORK as well.
Trash of the Titans: In one episode, Ross goes out with a beautiful scientist who happens to live in an absolute mess of an apartment. Joey doesn't seem to care much about spilling stuff or making a mess either, but since he lives across the hall from obsessive neat-freak Monica she occasionally makes clean-house-calls. She even showed up at the above mentioned scientists' apartment begging to let her clean it. That said, she also has a massive collection of trash in her own apartment, hidden behind the mystery door. Chandler is shocked when he finally gets it open.
Traumatic Haircut: Played for laughs. Monica asks Phoebe to give her a haircut like Demi Moore. Phoebe thinks she wants a haircut like Dudley Moore. Monica is horrified with the result.
Triage Tyrant: The one who ends up with a face full of hockey puck.
Joey: I dunno, you see something, you hear a word, I thought that was it.
Trojan Gauntlet: Monica and Rachel once had a long, hilarious scene fighting over the last condom in the bathroom while Richard and Ross awkwardly waited together outside for the two to come to an agreement.
Averted with the unwaveringly stable Monica and Chandler. Early seasons hint of attraction but they're portrayed as best friends who comfortably accept each other, averting the Will They or Won't They? drama. They Out have a one night stand, start a relationship and eventually get married with little drama. A lot of focus is given to their day to day problems, but they're ridiculously happy together and don't break up once while still managing interesting storylines.
Particular aversion as their relationship benefited the show hugely and opened up a ton of storylines. Them moving in together forever changed the living dynamics of the gang, their engagement gave a whole seasons worth of wedding story lines and the relationship helped their Character Development as well.
Truth-Telling Session: It happened in a Thanksgiving episode, the "Space Mountain story" episode, and the episode where we found out about Chandler's third nipple, amongst others. One time it found an interesting variation by using a temporary love interest as the secret-hearer, and having all the secrets be things that had happened in previous episodes. In an episode where Rachel and Monica pretended to be each other while dating doctors, they began to reveal ugly secrets about each other in the first person ("In high school, I was a cow"; "I use my breasts to get other people's attention." "We both do that!")
One of the lengthiest was in "The One Where Ross Got High":
Monica: Mom! Dad! Ross smoked pot in college!
Mr. and Mrs. Geller: What?!
Ross: You are such a tattletale! Mom, Dad, you remember that-that time you walked in my room and smelled marijuana?
Mr. and Mrs. Geller: Yes.
Ross: Well I told you it was Chandler who was smoking the pot but it was me. I'm sorry.
Mrs. Geller: It was you?
Monica: And Dad, y'know that mailman that you got fired? He didn't steal your Playboys! Ross did!
Monica: Ross hasn't worked at the museum for a year!
Ross: Monica and Chandler are living together!
Monica: Ross married Rachel in Vegas! And got divorced! Again!
Phoebe: I love Jacques Cousteau!
Rachel: I wasn't supposed to put beef in the trifle!
Joey: I wanna gooooooo!
Mrs. Geller: That's a lot of information to get in in thirty seconds!
Two Decades Behind: The first season, despite being made in 1994/1995, seems stuck in a bizarre 80's/90's hybrid universe. The general looks and mannerisms of the six main characters are a little (though not entirely) on the 80's side. While some of the haircuts, particularly Matt LeBlanc's feathered/over-gelled style (which he uses throughout the entire season, despite modifying it slightly around the seventh or eighth episode), are VERY 80's. Fortunately, by the second season, the show had the 90's zeitgeist down pat and looked/felt completely appropriate for the period.
Tying Up Romantic Loose Ends: Parodied. After Ross and Rachel get back together and Monica and Chandler announce they're dating, Joey asks Phoebe if they should get together, by the virtue of them being the only main characters left. Phoebe reveals that she has a long term-strategy for the two of them in which they make off with Chandler and Monica's money and Rachel's children, and kill Ross.
All in all: Ross, Rachel and Chandler had all kissed each of the five characters. Monica never kissed Phoebe or Joey (except for an alternate universe in the latter case). Back to the trope, it can be seen with many details throughout the series: Joey introducing Phoebe to her husband (and being actually the one who would marry them later on), Joey and Rachel deciding they're better off as friends (after roughly two years of build-up for their relationship to finally take place), Janice finally getting over Chandler after "one last moment of weakness", Gunther being shot down by Rachel in the finale, hooking up Ross' ex Julie with Rachel's ex Russ, etc.
Perhaps the most obvious Friends example of this trope: Ross's wedding to Emily. "I, Ross, take thee Rachel..."
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Throughout the course of both relationships, we are consistently given the impression that Rachel and Monica are way out of Ross and Chandler's, respectively, leagues. In fact, Ross and Rachel's relationship has been described as the epitome of "every geek's dream that he can land a babe like her." This, despite the fact that David Schwimmer is reasonably attractive and Matthew Perry is quite handsome.
It's mostly due to their personalities. Chandler never had trouble attracting the attention of women but he always made horrible first impressions and ruined it. Similarly, Ross' relationships were often doomed by his inexperience and lingering feelings for his ex Carol, and later, Rachel.
David Schwimmer has the head of a science geek on the torso of a Playgirl model. Pay attention the next time "The One with the Tiny T-shirt" airs. Ross must have had a Bow-flex in his office at the museum. Or he was carting around dinosaur femurs without a dolly.
When Chandler first met a woman he could shmooze her with the same kind of skills that got him promotions at work. As soon as the relationship got serious, he panicked.
Ross is somewhat treated as the guilty party after his first divorce even though it was Carol who cheated on Ross with Susan. And Susan acts like a harpy towards Ross during most of her appearances.
Susan's behavior makes sense when you remember that Carol didn't leave Ross because she didn't love him. And, for a divorced couple, they get along rather well. Susan also resents that she gets no officially recognised role for her contribution to Ben's life;
Meanwhile of the six main cast, the women routinely get away with acting unfairly towards the men. "The One With All The Poker" centers around the three being displeased with the boys not letting them play poker with them, then when the men do let them play Rachel mocks they're using their skill at the game to lord over them. "The One With the Embryos" has Rachel and Monica challenge Chandler and Joey to a trivia game to see which of the pairs knows the other better — they end up raising the stakes that if they win, Chandler and Joey have to get rid of the chick and the duck, and they accept if Rachel and Monica will trade apartments when they lose. The boys win, but Rachel and Monica are incredibly bitter when it comes to holding up their end of the deal, and they end up going back on it a few episodes later, though to their credit it was by allowing the boys to watch them "kiss for one minute".
From Ross and Rachel's breakup in season 3 to the beginning of season 5, when Ross was in a relationship, Rachel would become jealous, distressed, and often seek to make everyone around her miserable until he was inevitably single again; while this behaviour wasn't necessarily condoned, she was often given a great deal of sympathy from her other friends over it. Meanwhile, if Ross ever displayed the slightest bit of jealousy over any of Rachel's relationships, it was met with utter exasperation and being told the relationship was over and he needed to move on. However, from season 5, they became more comfortable with the others dating.
Though one episode finally seemed to put this in some perspective with Rachel latching on to a complete stranger on a plane and telling him her entire sob story, until the guy sitting next to her gets fed up and tell her how immature, selfish, cruel and petty she was being (especially in going to ruin Ross and Emily's wedding - calling her a horrible, horrible, person), and "By the way, it seems perfectly clear to me that you were on a break!" What made that moment even more glorious was the fact that the stranger was played by none other than House himself, Hugh Laurie. Here it is, by the way!
This is kind of lampshaded in an episode where Rachel borrows Monica's expensive car. We say borrow, but we really mean steal. Ross does his best to keep her from taking it, but ends up going along with it to make sure she brings the car back in one piece. Long story short, Rachel speeds, and gets pulled over by a cop. She shows him her license, which expired ten years earlier. Rachel flirts with the cop more than a little, and the cop let's her go without even a slap on the wrist, advising Ross to drive, since she doesn't have her license. Later in the same episode, Ross is pulled over—for driving too slow—and gets a ticket. He tries the same tricks as Rachel did, which is really more pathetic than effective.
Also gets lampshaded and ultimately averted in season six. After he and Rachel drunkenly get married while in Vegas, Ross fails to have the marriage annulled, partially because he doesn't want the embarrassment of having a second failed marriage pop up in less than a year and partially because despite his denial he still had some feelings for Rachel. When the truth comes out and Rachel is completely pissed at him, Ross actually snaps back at her that it's utterly no different from Rachel's behavior at the aforementioned wedding incident. Rachel attempts to respond that there was still a difference since she still had feelings for Ross during that time... and then realizes the truth about how Ross was feeling, which causes her to quickly shut up.
Notably averted in The One that Could Have Been when Rachel is making excuses for why it would be okay for her to cheat on her husband with soap-star Joey, only for Monica to cut in, saying "Nothing you say could make me think it's okay for you to cheat on your husband!"
Later on however, after just barely resists temptation, she returns home to find her husband in bed with another woman (which harkens back to the first season, when she went to apologize to her ex-fiance for being a runaway bride and ultimately discovered he had been cheating on her with one of her bridesmaids even before she left). Granted however as she attempts to play the injured party and complain about what pigs men are to Ross, he points out her plans beforehand.
Rachel: Oh what are you, a detective?
An early episode has Rachel having an affair with her ex-fiance Barry, who is at this point engaged to her best friend Mindy. When she confesses this to Mindy, she also reveals that during Rachel's engagement to Barry she was sleeping with him. In spite of the fact that they were all knowingly cheating on each other, Barry is the only person to get any abuse for it. Rachel's friends give her very brief notice of their disapproval, but in the end there is no comeuppance for her or Mindy.
Also amusingly Played for Laughs in one episode where Ross outs Chandler for casually flirting with another woman even though he and Monica were a couple by this time. Monica acts cool and reveals she does it too, leading Chandler to have a freak out and point out why it's much more serious in her case: "You see, you're much hotter than I am."
Also averted in one late episode where Chandler was transferred to Tulsa and has to work Christmas Eve alone with the only other worker there an attractive woman. Chandler naturally acts faithful to Monica, but Monica still panics and instantly assumes the worst, but in this case it's made clear her behavior is being irrational.
Unintentional Period Piece: Whilst not in itself very topical the show did manage to capture the burgeoning coffee shop scene of that era as well as gentrification of New York's brownstones under Guliani.
Many, many shots of the World Trade Center towers.
In Season 1 finale "TOW Rachel Finds Out", Rachel is able to go all the way to Ross's departure gate when Ross is leaving for China and when Ross is coming back.
In Season 2's "TOW Five Steaks And An Eggplant", the gang loses their minds with excitement over a Hootie And The Blowfish concert. To be fair, Hootie was probably the biggest band in the country when the episode aired (their debut album "Cracked Rear View" had sold more than 10 million copies in the US by then, despite being released only one year prior). So it's easy to see why the writers assumed they would have more staying power than they did.
Unlimited Wardrobe: The only time any character wore a shirt a second time, was in a flashback-episode set two years in the past. Chandler wore a shirt he's already worn in season one.
Chandler had a few bowling shirts and jumpers that he'd wear more than once (spanning several seasons). In earlier seasons, Joey would occasionally wear the same shirt as well.
Phoebe wore a necklace with a metal daisy decoration a few times in the early seasons.
Also, somewhat justified in that Rachel works at Ralph Lauren and it wouldn't be too hard for her and her friends to keep up with current fashion.
Somewhat averted at least in earlier seasons you'll occasionally see on of the gang wearing something they wore a episodes back.
Unplanned Crossdressing: Rachel insists that Ross let her do his shopping before a big date, then accidentally swaps their bags. Ross ends up unknowingly wearing clothes that Rachel bought for herself, but won't be dissuaded ... until his date shows up in the same outfit.
Unreveal Angle: Ugly Naked Guy was seen twice, though not completely: his rear end and his hand in "The One with the Giant Poking Device", and also half of his body from behind was seen in the episode where Ross was trying to get his apartment.
Averted a few seasons earlier where Chandler imagined a family with twins but they were both girls in addition to two sons that wouldn't be twins.
Unusual Euphemism: Chandler once came up with the most brilliant example of an unsual euphenism, to describe a character who unknowingly has shorts so short that everyone in the room can see his penis - "The man is showing brain!"
Another instance of an unusual euphemism comes from Joey, when Phoebe acts on Days of Our Lives. The director can be kind of rough, so Joey replaced one of the words he used a lot with a nicer one, like, "puppy", as in, "If your puppy friend doesn't get her puppy act together, I'm gonna fire her mother-puppy ass."
The Ross fist-bump. Nothing more need be said.
Somehow subverted for laugh, in episodes where Ross gets his capuchin monkey, Marcel.
Ross: I just thought we could go out to dinner, and then maybe bring her back to my place and I'd introduce her to my monkey.
Monica and Chandler are having an argument and Monica eventually drinks from what she thinks is Chandler's cup of coffee, only for Chandler to reveal that that isn't his cup - it was already there when he came in.
In "The One After The Superbowl", Rachel pours tomato sauce in Monica's purse during a fight they're having, only to find out that she also ruined her own gloves, which Monica had borrowed and had in her purse.
Literally applied when Joey vandalises the VD poster he was on, only to get several even worse taglines from posters underneath.
Very Special Episode: While never exactly played straight, some episodes, particularly those that involved Chandler smoking, definitely felt like this.
There's a minor subplot where the other friends suggest she not get so uptight about things like coasters and leaving her shoes out of her room. At the end of that episode, she can't sleep because she's worrying about leaving out the aforementioned shoes. She gets to considering putting them in her closet and getting up early to put them back out before she realises "you need help" and goes to sleep.
Another episode had someone stealing her credit card. When Monica tracked the woman down, she found said woman a lot of fun and started doing everything with her to the point where she was drunk in the middle of the day and kept missing work.
Wedding Day: Ross and Emily (doesn't go well), Monica and Chandler, Phoebe and Mike. Also, Carol and Susan.
What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Chandler Bing. He works in an office, but no one else can name what he does, although it's clear he earns a lot of money from it. In the first season, he's promoted but refuses to take the new position and quits because he wants to find a job he loves. His new boss sees this as a sign he's playing hardball for more money and keeps offering more and more until Chandler gives up trying to explain he hates the job and accepts the amazing salary figure he had just been offered. In later seasons he does finally quit to get a job in advertising. It's only after he's quit that someone finally remembers what his job title used to be. Incidentally, it's Statistical Analysis and Data Reconfiguration. No, we're still not sure what that actually means. Some theorize that the job is intended to resemble the many, many real word positions with ambiguous names and descriptions.
Lampshaded in his original character description:
"Works in front of a computer doing something tedious in a claustrophobic cubicle in a non-descript office building."
In the two-parter at the beach house, it's revealed that Phoebe's biological mother is very much alive. After this two-parter and one Season 4 guest appearance, she never appears again and arguably came down with Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.
Phoebe's father Frank (played by Bob Balaban) who made one appearance and was never seen or heard from again.
The fact that Rachel is a single mother is something that should, in theory, weigh in hugely on her decision to move to Paris or not. Emma should probably be on the plane with Rachel when she makes her dramatic exit to come back to Ross at the end. Yet, she's never even mentioned or seen in the finale.
Season 1 - "Remember when Ross first fell in love with Carol and he bought her this ridiculously expensive crystal duck?"
Season 2 - "You're over me?"
Season 3 - "You told Rachel?" "Was I not supposed to?"
And: "I'm your mother."
Season 4 - "I take thee, Rachel".
Which was preceded by another wham in the very same episode - "Do you think he knew I was here?"
Season 5 - "Well, hello, Mrs. Ross!"
Preceded by - "It's a four."
Season 6 - "I can't believe you're gonna propose to Monica."
Also: "You wanted it to be a surprise"
Season 7 - "I didn't take a pregnancy test."
Season 8 - "OK." note Joey accidentally proposes to Rachel
Season 9 - "There's a good chance this may never happen for us." note Chandler and Monica trying to have children
Season 10 - "Did she get off the plane?!" "I got off the plane."
Preceded by - "The next baby should be along in a minute."
Will They or Won't They?: The trope could very well be called "Ross And Rachel", except for the whole thing about not naming tropes after characters. For reference, the Ross/Rachel UST was introduced in the first five minutes of the Pilot Episode, and not fully resolved until the last five minutes of the Grand Finale. That's right, it was dragged out over literally the entire series.
Well, they ended up together in the last moments of the Series Finale. They got together in season 2, broke up in season 3, and from that it was an on-again-off-again thing.
Women Prefer Strong Men: Inverted with Monica when her boyfriend Pete trains to become the Ultimate Fighting Champion. (He doesn't do a good job, but is still a lot stronger than before). Monica hates seeing him hurt, and prefers him when was sweet and geeky. They eventually break up because of it. A similar case happened with her husband Chandler. When he and Ross are armwrestling, Monica says she loves his sensitivity and kindess not strength. From his end, he happily admits that she is freakishly strong and could kick his ass.
Worst Whatever Ever: Chandler tries to watch porn, but accidentally watches a video of a birth. He doesn't catch on for a minute. "Worst porn ever! Worst porn ever!"
Chandler has another brilliant one when the Friends watch Joey's new show, Mac and Cheese.
Chandler: That was the worst thing ever. And not just on TV!
Writer on Board: The reason why the story with Phoebe and the stray cat exists is because Marta Kauffman (one of the show's key writers) lost her own mother just before work on Season Four began. Normally such a plot would have been rejected, but because of the circumstances surrounding Kauffman and her mother's then-recent death, the plot was allowed to slip past the writers' room.
Monica: Look, Larry, honey, I wrote the book on Section Five, and I know that you don't have to wear your hat unless you're in the kitchen. Larry: And where is your hat? Monica: It's in the kitchen. I'll go get it. Larry: And there's the two points. Phoebe: Hey, you should really read that book you wrote.
In the episode "The One With Rachel's Sister":
Jill: (sobbing) I'm so sorry! Rachel: Please! I invented that!
Yo Yo Plot Point: Ross and Rachel, who got together and split up multiple times over the course of Friends, are a perfect example.
Averted, however, with the Chandler/Monica relationship. Once they got together, they stayed together, and their relationship evolved realistically in a way that benefited the show.
You Look Familiar: Giovanni Ribisi played a teenager who accidentally dropped a condom in Phoebe's guitar case, about half a season before he was cast as Phoebe's half-brother.
Though some fans theorize that this was an Early-Bird Cameo and that really was Frank Jr. even though he is credited as Condom Boy.
Jennifer Coolidge and Adam Goldberg guest starred on Friends. Both ended up in regular roles on Joey; the latter, though, was more of a recurring role.
Celebrity Paradox: Brent Spiner appeared as one of Rachel's bosses in one episode. He turned up later in an episode of Joey, playing himself.
June Gable played a nurse in episode 23 before picking up a recurring role as Joey's agent Estelle. There were also some one-off characters, e.g. Doug Looperr played a fireman in 3.23 and a paramedic in 5.08.
The Estelle character actually appeared in an earlier episode, but her scenes were cut from the televised version. (They can be viewed on the DVD version, however.) The producers then cast her as the nurse to make it up to her before bringing back Estelle the following season.
Lisa Kudrow had played Ursula the waitress on Mad About You prior to joining Friends; this was subsequently played with by making Ursula Phoebe's Evil Twin and having Kudrow play both characters in episodes of the latter show.
In-universe example was when Phoebe became an extra on Days of Our Lives and noticed some of the extras would play more than one role, and that Joey slept with most of them.
You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In Season 5 Chandler tries to apologize to Monica after a fight but almost gives up admitting how bad he is with relationships. She kisses him, quotes the trope word for word and their fight is forgotten.
The biggest one known to fans is between Ross and Rachel. After they get into a huge fight, they decide to "go on a break" (meaning spending time apart but the relationship is still on). Ross interprets this as "fool around with the copy machine girl" in order to cope. When Rachel finds out, it leads to the biggest heartbreak between the two of them and a strained relationship for the next several seasons.
Rachel and Ross are drawn to each other even though they date other people. The two of them kiss while Ross is dating other girls such as Julie and Bonnie. They're not a good pair when it comes to this trope.
Joey's parents. Joey discovers his father has a mistress and gets angry at him, demanding that he go make things right with his mother. The following day, Joey's mother stops by and gives him an earful for what he did because she was actually happier that her husband was cheating, which in turn made him happy since the two of them were miserable being faithful to each other.
Joey himself dates multiple women at a time. He's very casual about his relationships.
Phoebe kissed her ex-boyfriend David while she was with Mike. Mike and David were Phoebe's greatest loves.
Mike proposes to Phoebe while he dates a woman named Precious. She knows Phoebe is the love of Mike's life. Mike breaks it off with Precious as soon as he gets the chance.
In one episode, Chandler dates a beautiful woman and is very surprised when he finds out she's married. She insists that her husband is ok with it, and they continue dating no-strings-attached. Chandler first likes it, being afraid of commitment, but gets uncomfortable later, especially when he finds out she has another lover beside him, realizing he actually wants a committed relationship. They break up.
One rather big arch involved several instances with lots of broken hearts. Chandler fell in love with Joey's girlfriend, and while Joey was mostly casual about his relationships, he decided to keep Kathy around for a bit longer and considered going steady with her. She liked him well enough, but had deeper connection with Chandler, who was absolutely crazy about her and suffered a lot trying to suppress it. They kissed once, and when Joey found out, he got really upset. Kathy then wanted to break up and not pursue a relationship with either because she felt it would separate them and would be too hard on all. When Joey found out how much Chandler cared for her, he green-lit the relationship. Chandler and Kathy were happy and perfect together for some time, but later Chandler became insanely jealous of Kathy's colleague from theatre. They had a fight and she slept with said colleague. He was devastated, going into Heroic BSOD for the next few episodes. Love Hurts.
Thankfully Chandler ends up with the dependable Monica, the only Friend not to have cheated in any way. After they've got together, he panics about an Imaginary Love Triangle and thinks she's fallen into this trope (understandable given Your Cheating Heart seems to have made him a personal target) but she never does anything close and helps him through the issues caused by the truckload of previously mentioned betrayals.
You Say Tomato: in the What If? episode, Ross insists on calling karate "kaah-raah-Tay" instead of the U.S.-normal "kuh-rah-dee." There's also Chandler's pronunciation of the "whipped" onomatopoeia/gesture as "Whoop-pah!" (with the rest of the cast favouring "hwu-cher!").
You Will Be Spared: Phoebe once says: "When the revolution comes, I will have to destroy you all... except you, Joey."