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  • Karaoke Bonding Scene: In "The One Where Monica Sings", Phoebe's boyfriend Mike takes Phoebe and her friend Monica to sing karaoke at the bar where he plays the piano to hang out. Phoebe enjoys the hell out of this, and Monica is convinced to overcome her shyness, which works great as she gets loud applause and feels confident. She later finds out that men in the crowd are cheering for her because her blouse is thin and the stage lights let them see right through it. Her husband Chandler jumps in on the podium to save her from embarrassment but she keeps singing because the audience still loves her.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Joey in the 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.
  • Killed Off for Real: Joey angers the writers of the soap opera he is working on, and they kill off his character by throwing him down an elevator shaft. The gang is watching the show when Phoebe says "Well, maybe they can find a way to bring you back" only to be told by Joey "They said that when they found my body, my brain was so smashed in that the only doctor that could have saved me was me. Supposed to be some kind of irony or somethin'." He did eventually come back, with a different — female — brain in his body. Though the female brain thing only lasted one episode and then Drake was actually back.

  • 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."
  • Lampshade Hanging: And without breaking the fourth wall, too.
    • 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 to spill his feelings to Rachel, her former fiancé 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 (it turns out to be Rachel's sister Jill).
      • 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!
        Joey: Done.
      • 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.
    • 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?"
  • Landline Eavesdropping: Rachel was able to learn about Chandler and Monica's secret relationship by picking up the landline and accidentally overhearing the two flirting with each other.
  • Language Fluency Denial: While Monica was working at Alessandro's, one of the chefs told her, "I don't speak English" when asked to do something. When Monica tells her that she knows she does, because she heard her speaking English just a minute ago, the chef replies, "Well, I don't know what to tell you", and walks off.
  • Lap Pillow: Chandler and Monica are often seen lying close to this position- draping across each other, curling up on the couch etc. Even years before they become a couple.
  • Large Ham: Numerous guest stars.
    • Gary Oldman is the most memorable.
    • The recurring character of Janice, complete with her Incoming Ham Catchphrase "Oh! My! God!!!" It's clear that Maggie Wheeler was having a lot of fun with the part.
    • In-universe examples are Phoebe and Ross. They tend to go over the top when they "act".
    • Ross when disguised as the HOLIDAY ARMADILLOOOO!!!
    • This seems to be what Joey is trying for when he acts, particularly as Dr Drake Ramore.
  • Last Het Romance: Ross' first wife turns out to be a lesbian, while pregnant with his child.
  • Last-Minute Baby Naming:
    • Ross names his son Ben after a series of mishaps which befall Ross and his ex-wife's partner at the hospital while she's busy having the baby; at one point there is a janitor's coverall involved which has the name "Ben" on it. Prior to that they were feuding over what to name him.
    • 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.
  • Late to the Realization: Very common with Joey, complete with the other five watching him work through the concept they all got two minutes ago. Others, too.
    • An extreme case of this occurring was in "The One With Ross' New Girlfriend" where Joey didn't realize he was being sexually abused until Chandler went to that tailor.
      Chandler: Yo, paisan. Can I talk to you for a sec? Your tailor... is a very bad man!
      Joey: Frankie? What are you talking about?
      (Ross enters and pats Chandler on the shoulder, who flinches)
      Ross: Hey, what's going on?
      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?
    • Lampshaded in season 9's "TOW Ross's Inappropriate Song" when Chandler and Joey find a sex tape labeled "Monica" in Richard's apartment.
      Joey: Ooh, a tape with a girl's name on it! I bet it's a sex tape!...Wait, this says Monica...and this is Richard's apartment...
      [long beat]
      Chandler: GET THERE FASTER!
    • Ross thought his childhood pet was sent to the farm until he realized this was a euphemism.
      Chandler: It's like when you're a kid, and your parents put your dog to sleep, and they tell you it went off to live on some farm.
      Ross: That's funny, no, because our parents actually did send our dog to live on a farm.
      Monica: Uh, Ross?
      Ross: What? Hello? The Millner's farm in Connecticut? They had this unbelievable farm, they had horses, and, and rabbits that he could chase and it was... it was... Oh my God, Chi-Chi!
  • Lazily Gender-Flipped Name: When Ross and Rachel try to find a name for their baby, their friend Phoebe says she has a bunch of great ideas: If it's a girl, Phoebe, and if it's a boy, Phoebo! Rachel jokingly uses these names to ask her ob-gyn whether it's a boy or a girl. Dr. Long later remarks: "And, uh, I know it's really not my place, but please don't name your child Phoebo."
  • 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.
    • In one episode, Joey, based on fashion advice from Rachel, starts carrying a "unisex bag". Everyone else called it a purse.
    • Monica, in flashbacks and the what-if episode, refers to her virginity and the first sex as her "flower".
  • Like a God to Me:
    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-like best friend" whom he has to take care of 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.)
  • Limited Social Circle: The six friends barely seem to know anybody other than their families and each other. And their Girl of the Week, of course. Concrete examples:
    • 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!?"
    • One time, Monica and Phoebe were the apartment and the phone rings. Phoebe says it can either be Chandler, Joey, Ross or Rachel.
    • 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.
    • Chandler, making up an excuse to leave, says he's going to meet up with some friends. When he's gone, a confused Joey asks, "He has other friends?"
    • Phoebe and Rachel throw Monica a last-minute surprise bridal shower; when the event has a decent number of people, Phoebe asks "Rachel, who the hell are these people?" Rachel says she found Monica's Rolodex and just called everyone in it.
    • 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. For example, 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, the coffee shop conveniently located on the first floor of the gang's apartment building.
  • Logo Joke: In one episode, Phoebe and Mike are finishing watching something on TV- as indicated by a dramatic theme, presumably from a logo- over the establishing shot of Mike's apartment. What logo was it from? Why, the Warner Bros. TV theme, of course! (It should be noted that tune was never used on this show- the ending theme or other audio always tended to play over it instead.)
  • 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 as they are already married and 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 looked lovingly and longingly 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 look at each other with love 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.
    • Chandler keeps looking towards his love 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.
  • Looking Busy: Ross and Emily's wedding reception is very awkward because Ross said "Rachel" during their wows. Ross tries to change the atmosphere by encouraging people to start dancing. It doesn't quite work.
    Ross: People should be dancing! Huh? Hey, this is a party! Come on! Joey, dance! [Joey starts to dance but stops almost immediately because no one else joins him.]
  • Loony Fan: Played for laughs in an episode, where Brooke Shields portrayed a Loony Fan stalking Joey, convinced he was really the character he played in a soap opera (they got rid of her by convincing her that Joey was actually the Evil Twin instead).
    • There was also the Fonzie-obsessed doctor who delivered the triplets.
  • Lost Food Grievance: When Ross was in the middle of his second divorce, one of the things he was looking forward to in his depression was the special sandwich made from the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers (it has a piece of gravy-soaked bread in the middle to keep everything moist). He brought it to work, but one of his coworkers steals it. The straw that broke the back of Ross's remaining civility and sanity was that the coworker didn't even finish the sandwich, most of it ended up in the trash.
  • Lost Wedding Ring: Came up a few times over the series.
    • Rachel has to return her engagement ring to her ex-fiancé, only to have lost it inside Monica's lasagna.
    • Ross's family wedding ring was lost before his wedding to Emily, but it was actually lost by Joey, the best man who was afraid to tell Ross the groom. At first they thought the stripper stole it, but as it turns out, their pet duck swallowed it.
    • Another man buys the engagement ring Chandler picked out for Monica, and he and Phoebe actually go to the restaurant where the guy is proposing to convince him to trade rings.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers: Early on, Chandler was portrayed as being bad in bed, something he was very aware of.
  • 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."
    Monica: "I love you, too, Chandler."
  • Love Epiphany:
    • 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 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?!
    Phoebe: We thought you knew!!
  • Love Informant: On a first-season episode ("The One where Rachel Finds Out"), Chandler accidentally blurts out to Oblivious to Love Rachel that Ross is head over heels for her.
  • Love Triangle: Several examples.
    • Ross, Rachel and Julie in S2.
    • Monica, Richard and Chandler in TOW The Proposal.
    • Phoebe, Mike and David in TOI Barbados.
    • 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.
  • Low Count Gag: In "The One Where They're Gonna Party", Monica announces that she's filling in for a newspaper food critic, Chandler is unimpressed...
    Chandler: What an amazing opportunity to influence... dozens of people.
  • 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.
    Chandler: Really!
    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.
    • Stalker anthem "Every Breath You Take" is played on violin during Monica's and Chandler's wedding. Sounds pretty, but not exactly fitting for any kind of beginning to a marriage.

  • 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.
  • Making Room for Baby: At the end of the series, Monica and Chandler move to a bigger place in the suburbs as they adopt newborn twins.
  • Malaproper: Joey's infamous "moo point".
    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?
  • Manchild: All six members of the main cast to an extent:
    • Ross is the worst one of the group. He usually resorts to petty revenge to get back at Rachel whenever they break up from their on-again-off-again relationship (dating women just to make Rachel jealous) and gets into childish fights with his sister, Monica, such as hogging the TV or calling her childish names. For the latter, Ross thought his squabbles with Monica as they grew up together was harmless fun and that is why he kept doing it well into adulthood until Monica confessed that she hated Ross when they were kids because of his bullying.
    • Joey is almost as bad in this regard. He constantly mooches off Chandler (with everything from rent payments to acting classes), he refuses to maintain a steady romantic relationship even when he's well into his mid/late-30's, and he's hopelessly idealistic about his acting career.
    • Rachel has a childish need to be the center of attention, and constantly whines to her friends about her personal problems.
    • Chandler has a tendency to make immature jokes and (along with Joey) gets caught up in activities that are far below his age group.
    • Phoebe has a childishly naive outlook towards life (even with her crappy childhood) and still believes in fantasy figures such as Santa Claus.
    • Monica is the most mature, except on the few occasions where she becomes a Control Freak and the times where she gets into fights with Ross.
  • A Man Is Always Eager:
    • Averted in "The One With Phoebe's Birthday Dinner," Chandler and Monica have a fight about him smoking, which seems to ruin the intimate evening they wanted. But since she's ovulating and it may be her last day to be fertile, she then pretends she's not mad to get him to have sex with her. At first he's upset about being tricked like this but it ends with essentially 'you got to have sex so why you are mad' and him wondering if he's too much of a girl. Monica also, during their fight, brings up a time (never shown on screen) where it was played straight - when Chandler wanted to have sex just after her uncle's funeral.
  • Mathematician's Answer:
    Joey: Hey Phoebes, do you think it would be okay if I asked out your sister?
    Phoebe: Why? Why would you want to do that?
    Joey: So that if we went out on a date, she'd be there.
  • May–December Romance:
    • 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.
  • Meaningful Gift: The One With The Dirty Girl", Chandler has a crush on Joey's girlfriend Kathy. Chandler knows that her favorite book is The Velveteen Rabbit, so he goes to extreme lengths to get her a first edition. However, Ross points out it will seem weird if Chandler gives the book when her boyfriend Joey will go Convenience Store Gift Shopping. Ultimately, Chandler gives the book in Joey's name, but Kathy knows who really sent it, mainly because Joey thought it was called The Velveeta Rabbit.
    Ross: How do you think it's gonna look when you get her something incredibly meaningful and expensive and her boyfriend Joey gives her an orange?
  • Meaningful Name: Monica is the patron saint of disappointing children.
  • 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.
  • Men Are Uncultured: Anytime one of the male characters displayed an interest in something other than sports, beer or women, he was mocked and teased for it.
  • Metaphorical Marriage: In "The One with the Lesbian Wedding", Ross's ex-wife Carol and her lesbian life partner Susan are getting married. Considering the setting (1990s in New York), the wedding is merely symbolic, but no one addresses the point and everybody acts like it's a real thing. Briefly before the ceremony, Carol and Susan have a big argument and almost break up because Carol's parents refuse to come.
  • Mid-Life Crisis Car:
    • 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).
    • Ross buys a sports red car. Too bad it gets stuck in the parking space and he just can't get it out. He also quickly abandons the car when an old, bald gentleman shows up driving the exact same car. Ross offers to sell the car to Joey after the bald guy shows up. Joey passes.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment: Several examples:
    • "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. When Ross explains he'd thought he would be angry for dating his ex, stating it would be like Chandler dating his sister, Chandler immediately feigns being upset because he's actively dating Monica by that point.
    • "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 ultimately 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.
  • Miserable Massage: In one episode, Monica gives Chandler terribly painful massages, but he's too afraid to tell her, because he doesn't want to ruin their relationship.
  • Misery Trigger: In a season two episode, every time Ben is being held or even moved close to Monica, he instantly starts crying. This in turn pushes Monica's button, causing her to start worrying about her maternal abilities.
  • 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.
    Chandler: Was it the thing we rarely do or the the thing we NEVER do?
    Monica: The thing we NEVER do.
    Chandler: [With respect] Shovelly Joe...
  • Mixed Martial Arts Episode: "TOW the Ultimate Fighting Championship."
  • Mock Meal: Monica is employed to create recipes for a chocolate substitute called 'mockolate'. Despite her best efforts, everything turns out inedible, with Phoebe tasting the 'mockolate chip cookies' and declaring "This must be what evil tastes like!"
  • Modesty Shorts: Rachel puts on her high school cheerleader uniform to try and impress a guy. When she turns a cartwheel, we see she's wearing shorts.
  • Mondegreen Gag: Apparently Phoebe misheard the lyrics to Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" and thinks the words are actually "hold me close young Tony Danza".
  • 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. Although 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 bedroom 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.
  • Moon-Landing Hoax: While at a thanksgiving meal in the "The One With Rachel's Other Sister" episode, Joey realises he was meant to be on a parade float with his fellow Days of Our Lives stars and has difficultly trying to come up with a good excuse as to why he is not there.
    Phoebe: Hey what's going on, Joe?
    Joey: Listen, I...I...I... need a good lie.
    Phoebe: Oh...ok..How about the whole man walking on the moon thing? Y'know? You can… you can see the strings people!
  • 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. Somewhat justified since the show is set in New York's Greenwich village neighborhood, which is mostly white (75% at the 2000 Census).
    • The creators of Friends did take in the criticism and therefore cast a black woman (Charlie) 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.
  • Morning Sickness: While Phoebe is pregnant with the triplets, Joey tells her she has "that cool pregnant lady glow." Phoebe says it's just sweat and that Joey would have the same glow if he had been throwing up all morning.
  • Moving Away Ending: The show ended with Chandler and Monica preparing to move out of the city, making all of their friends have to give up their keys to that apartment. But, instead of ending with the two of them leaving, it ends with everyone heading down to Central Perk one last time.
  • MRS Degree: After divorcing Rachel's father, Rachel's mom says that she went from her father's house, to the sorority house, to her husband's house. Rachel also is implied throughout the show to have had the same experience in college.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Happens to various members of the cast.
    Rachel: These are my friends! And Ross.
    • Also, when they're trying to list all fifty states in under seven minutes:
    Ross: You know, it's kind of disgraceful that a group of well-educated adults, and Joey, can't name all the states.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Chandler's words when he misses an obvious joke after a "nubbinectomy."
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Ross explodes when he first finds out about Chandler and Monica, until they both say that they're in love and not just fooling around. He immediately becomes happy for them. Of course, he was taking anti-rage drugs at the time.
    • Ross's main concern was that Chandler was just using Monica for sex, prompting his poor reaction. He's happy for them as soon as he realizes it's actually serious.
    • There's also the time Chandler drunkenly kissed one of Joey's sisters. Joey started out angry and concerned that Chandler was just using his sister as a rebound after breaking up with Janice again. Chandler denies it which calms Joey down...until he learns Chandler doesn't actually know which of the seven near-identical sisters he made out with.
    • In the first season Phoebe gets upset when Joey starts dating Ursula. However in this case Phoebe's problem is that Ursula will hurt Joey and he won't want to be friends with her afterwards. Luckily when Ursula does end the relationship Joey and Phoebe's friendship remains intact.
  • 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 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."
    • And Phoebe.
    "Why do you think it takes me so long to answer the door?"
    • And Ross.
    "Oh, my God! That's our friend! It's naked Ross!"
    • And Rachel.
    "I'm in my kitchen...naked!"
  • "Near and Dear" Baby Naming: Phoebe is acting as a surrogate and is allowed to name one of the triplets. She decides to name one of the children after one of her friends, Chandler. This becomes amusing when it turns out that the child, which was thought to be a boy, turns out to be a girl, to Chandler's shock.
  • Never Lend to a Friend: Discussed a few times;
    Joey: If you want, I could loan you some money?
    Phoebe: Oh no, no, no. I learned never to borrow money from friends. No, that's why Richard Dreyfuss and I don't speak anymore.
    • And:
    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 born the Game of Cups.
  • New Baby Episode:
    • "The One With the Birth" has Ross' ex-wife Carol going into labour. Ensuing hijinks include Monica getting broody, Rachel trying to pick up a cute doctor, Joey bonding with a tough pregnant woman and Ross, Susan and Phoebe getting trapped in a janitor's closet.
    • In "The One Hundredth", Phoebe goes into labour with her brother's triplets.
      Rachel: I'm so gonna miss watching you freak people out like that!
    • "The One Where Rachel Has a Baby Parts I & II" sees Rachel finally having baby Emma. It's a long, intensive labour, with plenty of time for drama including accidental proposals, the return of Janice and, best of all, Monica's father walking in on her and Chandler having sex... and then getting way too involved when they tell him they're trying to conceive.
    • In "The Last One", Erica goes into labour with the baby Chandler and Monica are set to adopt... only for the baby to turn out to be twins, a boy and a girl.
  • New Year Has Come: The show had a couple of New Year's episodes, the most notable one being where Chandler kissed Joey.
  • New Year's Kiss:
    • In "The One With All The Resolutions", Chandler and Monica want to share the New Year's kiss, but are still hiding their relationship. Chandler convinces Joey and Ross to kiss Phoebe and Rachel so that they can all be kissing one of their friends, allowing them to get away with it.
    • "The One With The Routine" plays with the concept by having Joey, Ross, Monica, and Joey's date all participating in a New Year's Eve special filmed months in advance. Joey wants to kiss his date but keeps running into roadblocks- the producer decides to have her dance with someone else, who is also hoping to kiss her. Then, as they prepare to kiss at the very end...the filming stops, leading to a Big "NO!" from Joey. Luckily, the girl does still decide to kiss him afterward.
    • "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, although, 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, although there were numerous problems in their relationship well before that. Also, as Ross pointed out, she backed out the moment things got tough in their relationship. Or that she had the guy Ross was jealous of come over to comfort her not an hour after their big fight (and when Ross calls to try and patch things up he can hear the guy in the background).
    • 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'.) As for the break-up, as Chandler points out, even if Ross did think he and Rachel were broken up, he still slept with a girl mere hours after a year long relationship ended, which is a pretty skeevy thing to do, and Rachel makes a valid point that Ross wouldn't have been forgiving if the situation were reversed. A major reason Ross and Rachel's relationship kept failing was they both refused to take responsibility for anything and blamed the other. This probably stems from the fact 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 dorky, romantic, and will gladly shell out money to help his friends even with frivolous stuff. Joey is incredibly loyal and a great friend. And Chandler, despite his sarcastic defense 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.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Every single romantic advice shared by the guys are wrong. Whatever advice Ross takes from Joey and Chandler in the three first seasons lead to the troubles and ultimately, the downfall of his relationship with Rachel.
    • Monica seems to learn this and even lampshades that Chandler shouldn't take advice from "Joey and Two-Divorces".
  • No Bisexuals: Prior to the start of the series, Ross's wife Carol comes out as a lesbian after seven years of marriage to a man - which is perhaps not in itself unusual, particularly in a less than gay-friendly early '90s context (especially since it's later made clear that her parents are at least vaguely homophobic). However, it's clear that she and Ross still enjoyed a sexual relationship together for a while after she got involved with Susan - not only does he explicitly bring up on one occasion how they had "some good times before she became a lesbian...and a few afterwards, as well," but a flashback to exactly one year before the pilot episode reveals that their son Ben must have been conceived at least three months after she admitted to seeing Susan. However, bisexuality is never brought up, and everyone accepts that she's exclusively gay.
    • In one episode Joey refers to Ross as a guy who "married a woman who was nearly a lesbian, and then pushed her over the edge." Granted, it's intended as an insult and it's said by Joey, but Carol being bisexual would make a lot more sense.
    • It might be that Carol is portrayed as gay to make her more sympathetic. An openly bisexual woman cheating on her husband, whether with a woman or man, and eventually leaving him for her new lover just wouldn't be as likable as a repressed lesbian who's dealing with her sexual awakening and the breakdown of her marriage in the best way she can.
    • Also, Phoebe is shown to be attracted to women on occasion, and seems to be seriously considering asking out Ross and Monica's ridiculously beautiful cousin Cassie (although it could be argued that this is more a case of Even the Girls Want Her / If It's You, It's OK). She is, however, openly admiring of attractive women on a number of occasions. Despite this, she's only ever shown dating men.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Chandler winds up stuck at a one woman play on his own that is essentially a parody of Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking.
  • Nobody Thinks It Will Work - What Does She See in Him?: Both Rachel and Phoebe look down on Monica and Chandler 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'.
  • No More for Me: When Rachel hires a nanny for Emma, all the guys think she's hot, but she doesn't understand why they do. So she asks Monica, bordering on Les Yay.
    Rachel: Do you see what all the guys see in her?
    Monica: Wouldn't kick her out of bed. (beat) No more vodka for me.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • There apparently was a "Pictionary incident":
      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.
    • 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 jewelry 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 Las 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?
    • When Joey offers to loan money to Phoebe:
    Phoebe: Oh, no, no, no. I learned to never borrow money from friends. No, that's why Richard Dreyfuss and I don't speak anymore.
    • Chandler's father slept with some authority figure that was close to his son, but their exact relationship is not revealed.
    Chandler: He slept with Mr. Garibaldi!
    Monica: Who's Mr. Garibaldi?
    Chandler: Does it matter?
    • Later, at his father's gay club:
    Chandler: Oh my god..that's Mr. Garibaldi playing the piano!
  • No "Police" Option: * In the episode "The One With The Giant Poking Device" the gang thinks that Ugly Naked Guy has died...
    Monica: We should call somebody.
    Ross: And tell them what? "The naked guy we stare at all the time isn't moving"?
  • Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: In the pilot episode, Joey asks Phoebe whether she wants to come help them put together Ross' new furniture. She replies
    "Oh, I wish I could, but I don't want to."
  • Not in Front of the Kid: When Monica and Chandler are trying to have a baby, they babysit Rachel's daughter Emma. 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 the 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.
      Ross: PHOEBE!
      Phoebe: Oh, hi Ben—NO, DON'T LOOK AT THE SCREEN!
  • Not Really a Birth Scene: It rather justifiably does this with Joey's passing a kidney stone, and for extra laughs directly juxtaposes it with Phoebe's actual labour in the same hospital. Truth in Television in this case. Many women who have given birth and also passed a kidney stone will tell you, the kidney stone is the more painful experience.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: 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, Isaac, 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.
    Ross: Right.
    Issac: But, we are.
    Ross: Fine.
  • 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 Rachel, who encourages her to date him anyways because he's a billionaire.
  • No Wrong Answers Except That One: When Joey buys Barcaloungers for himself and Chandler...
    Chandler: Which one is mine?
    Joey: Whichever one you want, man! Whichever one you want! (Chandler moves towards one of the chairs, Joey's tone changes in an instant) Not that one.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: The gang as a whole, justified given how close they 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, absentmindedly 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.
    • Monica does quite often with her brother Ross for some reason; at the end of "TOW The Triplets" and of "The One Hundredth", she actually sits on his lap.
  • 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 (arguably) cheats on Rachel the dynamics of their relationship never go back to be the same, even during the times they are back together.
    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.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: What Phoebe is implied to be doing a lot of the time.
    • Chandler does it too, especially after getting together with Monica, pretending to be worse at competitive games than he really is.
  • 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.
  • Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: Chandler's job, which is in white-collar cubicle land, and obviously pays well as he can rent a Manhattan apartment and subsidize Joey, but is never explained. Leads to a famous gag in "TOW the Embryos" when Chandler/Joey and Rachel/Monica play a trivia game about each other's lives. After both teams demonstrate knowing all the minutiae of each others' existence, Rachel and Monica are utterly stumped by the question "What is Chandler Bing's job?"
  • 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 and 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.
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • Rachel to Ross in season 1, Ross to Rachel in the first half of season 2 and Rachel to Gunther except for the final episode.
    • Rachel to Joey in season 8. This happens to Rachel a lot.
    • It's hinted that Chandler has a mild crush on Monica in 'TOW the Beach' episode: He offers to be her boyfriend but she thinks he's joking and laughs. Ouch.
  • Obviously Not Fine: Played for Laughs in "The One Where Ross Is Fine", Ross finds out about Joey and Rachel's relationship. While they are initially afraid of his reaction, he assures them he's fine. Throughout the entire episode, Ross keeps repeating that he's fine when it's pretty obvious that he's drunk and the situation is awkward for everyone.
    Charlie: Gosh, Ross, you know, you seem a little...
    Ross: What? Fine? Because I am! Aren't you? Aren't you? Aren't you? You see? Who else is fine?
  • Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome:
    • 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. What makes this show stick out from other examples was that Ross and Rachel were only officially a couple for about a season's length, from the middle of season 2 to the middle of season 3, then never again until the finale (aside from the brief reconciliation that led to the infamous "We were on a break!"). Despite not being a couple after that, they were still involved with a lot of relationship drama as if they were, from being jealous over every partner the other had, to trying to be platonic roommates while raising their newborn baby.
    • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: In "TOW The Embryos", during the trivia game with the animals/apartment on the line, Rachel and Monica when presented with, "What is Chandler Bing's job?" Also, Rachel's "NOOOOO!" and Phoebe's "Oh no" catchphrases.
    • And in "TOW Rachel Finds Out", Chandler has a MASSIVE one when he accidentally reveals that Ross is in love with Rachel.
  • Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: When Chandler and Monica decide to get married in Las 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!"
  • Once a Season: Chandler runs into an on-again-off-again girlfriend Janice at least one episode every season, sometimes for a multi-episode arc. It typically results in a Contrived Coincidence, and when she is revealed she says, in her thick New York accent, "Oh, my, God!"
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten:
    • Ross liked to hold tea parties, while wearing his mother's dresses as a child, and Monica never passes up an opportunity to tell this to one of his dates.
    • Chandler utters his famous catchphrase "Could x be more y?" maybe twice. Yet somehow, it becomes the go-to tease whenever any of the other characters mock him.
    • Lampshaded in one of the last seasons when Joey goes to Monica's Halloween party as Chandler, and his "impression" consists of nothing more than repeating the last thing Chandler said and adding, "BLEARGHHHHHHHHH!" on the end. Everyone laughs, except Chandler (who points out that he doesn't do that).
    • Ross was afraid that getting divorced a third time would become his Never Forgotten moment, so for several episodes he didn't tell Rachel that he hadn't filed for an annulment. Ross getting divorced eventually did become the one thing anyone commented on whenever he was interested in someone. Granted, getting divorced 3 times in the span of 5 years is no easy feat.
  • One Crazy Night: The episode "The One Where They're Up All Night" opens with the characters watching a meteor shower on the roof, then moves on to various other things that happen that night. (Chandler and Monica keeping each other awake, Phoebe being harassed by a smoke alarm, Rachel and Tag going back to the office to look for some paperwork, and Ross and Joey trying to get down from the roof.)
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Occurs between Rachel and Phoebe in "TO Where No One Proposes", when Joey accidentally proposes to Rachel and she needs to think about it. Rachel thinks they're talking about Joey, and Phoebe thinks they're talking about Ross:
    Rachel: I think I just got engaged.
    Phoebe: Oh, my God. He did it?
    Rachel: Wha-? You knew he was gonna ask me?
    Phoebe: Are you kidding? I'm, like, the one who talked him into it. I like to think myself as the puppet master of the group.
    Rachel: And you really think this is the good idea?
    Phoebe: I just talked him into it. Don't tell me I have to do you too? The puppet master gets tired, people.
    Rachel: I don't know. It just doesn't feel right.
    Phoebe: Why? You two are so meant to be together. Everybody thinks so.
    Rachel: Really? Even Ross?
    Phoebe: Especially Ross.
    • In "TOW The Boob Job", Monica and Chandler have financial problems, and Chandler refuses to borrow money, so Monica asks Joey in secret if she can borrow from him. When Chandler is onto her, and asks Joey why she would want to borrow money if it can't be because of their economy (which Joey convinced him wasn't), he answers from the top of his head that she wants a boob job. Chandler later goes on an on about telling her that she's perfect the way she is and wouldn't want to change anything on her body, to which she thinks he means the weight gain she'll undergo during pregnancy. When confronting Chandler about it, Hilarity Ensues.
    Chandler: Hey, Rach. (sees Monica) Ah, perfection. Wouldn't change a thing. Not a thing.
    Monica: Honey?
    Chandler: Yeah?
    Monica: About that. Um, I'm going to change.
    Chandler: Yes, but honey, you don't have to.
    Monica: I'm gonna get bigger.
    Chandler: Honey, I...I love your breasts they way they are.
    Rachel: Ugh. Fascist.
    Monica: Well, my breasts are gonna get bigger whether you like it or not. And it's not just my breasts. My ass is gonna get bigger too.
    Chandler: Your ass?!
    Rachel: And don't be surprised if her hands and her feet get bigger too.
    Chandler: They do that?!
    Monica: It's kind of a package deal.
    Chandler: God, why? Why would you want to do that to yourself?
    Monica: I thought it was something that we both wanted.
    Chandler: Alright, look. If it means that much to you, I may be able to get on board with the big boobs...but the giant ass and the big clown feet?!
    Rachel: Oh, my God, Chandler. If you can't handle this, what are you gonna be like in the hospital with the blood and the screaming and the little person that's shooting out of her?
    Chandler: ...What?
    • In the end of season 9, Charlie (Joey's girlfriend who's smart) didn't feel compatible with Joey so she broke up with him, and went to hook up with Ross immediately afterwards. Joey had previously rejected Rachel (who has a crush on him), because he didn't feel he could betray Ross like that, who has a huge history with her. When he sees Ross and Charlie kiss, however, he "gets back at him" by kissing Rachel. In "TO Where Joey and Rachel Kiss", Ross feels guilty of kissing Charlie and couldn't have sex with her, so he discusses this with Joey on their flight home. Joey says he's okay with that, to which Ross compliments him a lot and Joey, flattered, doesn't tell him about him and Rachel (which he was planning to). Rachel bumps into Ross, which results in this trope. Rachel thinks Joey told Ross about their kissing, while Ross is only happy Joey is a good friend and lets him be with Charlie.
    Rachel: So, you talked to Joey.
    Ross: Yeah. We had a really good talk.
    Rachel: Oh, that's great! So everything's okay?
    Ross: Oh no, it's great! He's [Joey] an amazing guy.
    Rachel: Well, obviously I think so, too.
    Ross: I'm so excited about this.
    Rachel: ...Really? Excited?
    Ross: Are you kidding? I've had some really dirty dreams about this.
    Rachel: ''(beat) ...Excuse me.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Four of the Friends consistently have full-time jobs for most of the series, but they have endless amounts of time to hang out at Central Perk or Monica and Rachel's apartment. One episode makes a point that Monica, Ross and Chandler have well-paying jobs while the others are always strapped for cash. But beyond that, there is no distinction made in their schedules. 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.
    • Joey works as a struggling actor who bounces around different temp jobs in between his brief acting and modeling jobs. Phoebe does have a regular job as a masseuse but seems to be sparse for customers at times, and will play guitar at the coffee shop for tips. But Joey shouldn't be let off the hook either. Working a daily soap opera will have incredibly long work hours.
    • Chandler has an ordinary office jobs but appears to take lunch breaks for hours at a time. He is shown wearing his office attire, implying that they take place just before/after his work day or during his lunch break, but one time looks at his watch and says, "Well, it's 4:30, I guess my lunch break is over..." Chandler is mid-level management who apparently does his job well despite his disinterest and absenteeism. His affable demeanor probably helps him smooth out any complaints he gets about not being at the office. In fact, the only time he seems to be in serious danger of losing his job is the time he accidentally agrees to move to Tulsa and then back out of it.
      • Much of the same could be said of Rachel once she gets an executive job at a fashion company.
    • 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's always off work in the evening. As a head chef, she would definitely be at the restaurant during the dinner rush in the evenings but seems to work about as much as Joey when he's unemployed.
    • Ross starts off working at the museum, but 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.
  • One Last Field Trip: Played for Laughs when Ross and Monica try to revive their childhood tradition of the Thanksgiving American Football game.
    • Played Straight in the Series Finale when they all go to Central Perk for one last cup of coffee.
    • In another episode Ross and 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.
  • One-Word Title: It's called Friends because it's about a group of friends.
  • Only One Finds It Fun: In "The One Where Chandler Crosses the Line", Ross starts playing the keyboard in front of his friends. Everybody finds the music horrible except for Phoebe who's both eccentric and has weird taste in music.
  • Only Sane Man: In a show full of crazy and eccentric characters, there are few characters who are much saner than them, mostly Julie and Mr. Zelner.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • In "TOW All the Cheesecakes," it's revealed that Platonic Life-Partners Joey and Phoebe have a regular dinner outing each month, just the two of them, but Joey bails on her once to go on a date. Phoebe is legitimately upset at this, causing Joey to profusely apologize for not realizing the importance of their get-togethers and gives her a Cooldown Hug.
    • In "TOW The Late Thanksgiving," Joey gets his head trapped in the door, and to get him free, the gang have to push him through. Cue him crashing into the table and getting food everywhere. When Chandler points this out to major-neat-freak Monica, she stares at them and simply says: "I don't care." Turns out that she's just got off the phone with the adoption agency and they're getting a baby.
    • In one episode before they get married, when Monica thinks they don’t have any money for the wedding, Chandler reveals he’s got money saved up (the exact number is not shown, but it’s implied to be a LOT.) Monica immediately goes about planning to spend all of it. Chandler (who has made of habit of putting himself down, joking he doesn’t deserve Monica) puts his foot down, doesn’t back down, doesn’t crack a single joke, and tells Monica he’s not spending all his money on “a party”. Even though later when Monica agrees with him and doesn’t want him to spend all his money on their wedding and Chandler ultimately agrees to do so, the fact that he stood up for himself against her is AMAZING! Even Phoebe was impressed (“Money AND a backbone? This is a Chandler Bing I can get behind.)!”
  • 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!
  • Operation: Jealousy: A complicated version: Monica and Chandler have a Friends with Benefits relationship that's clearly bordering on more, but Monica gets 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.