User:Shlomif/Running gags in Friends
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Friends included many running gags throughout the span of the show, some of which became recognized in general culture in their own right, such as Chandler's "Could this be any more..." or Janice's "Oh my God". Some of the most common ones are listed below.
- Obesity: Monica Geller, now very slender, was obese as a child. She and the other characters refer to her "fat past", and she is depicted as overweight in several flashbacks throughout the series. She is also supposed to have "big clown feet" as mentioned by Rachel in "The One on the Last Night". There is no clear indication as to at what point she became overweight; several episodes suggest she developed her obesity as early as kindergarten, while another episode shows a home movie of her clearly after that point as thin. She gives one hint in "The One Where Rachel Quits", saying she started to gain weight when her Girl Scout-esque scout troop started selling cookies as a fundraiser.
When she first meets Chandler at Thanksgiving in her senior year of high school, he upsets her by calling her fat. By the following Thanksgiving, she has lost a considerable amount of weight. It is later revealed that Monica used to be a goalie in field hockey, and her nickname was "Big Fat Goalie". On more than one occasion, we see a running visual gag of 'Fat Monica' dancing. This is also the sole gag in the closing credits of two separate episodes. In another episode Monica and Rachel talk about "the time they had to bring in a high school kid to do the see-saw with her."
- Obsessive-compulsive behavior: While there is no medical diagnosis to point out she has such, Monica has continuously exhibited various traits of an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, including obsession with cleanliness, refusal to relinquish control over anything, excessive categorization and organization, intense competitiveness, and the desire to be liked. This competitiveness is first shown in season 1, when Chandler and Joey buy a foosball table and she stays until night in their apartment playing it, always winning, until the boys kick her out. Her competitiveness can be observed in the episode in which she is playing tennis with Chandler's boss and his wife: when Chandler suggests that they should let them win, she replies, "I'm sorry, I don't understand what you just said". In another instance, Rachel, who is moving out of the apartment, offers Monica a chance to pack her belongings for her, presenting the offer as a goodbye present, which Monica gladly accepts. In "The One In Barbados" Monica is playing ping-pong with Mike. After hours of play and the scores tied again, Chandler suggests that they end the game, but Monica replies, "When you married me you agreed to take me in sickness and in health... well this is my sickness!".
In addition, the show has many references to Monica cleaning her apartment, or any other location she's in. When Ross dates a woman with a filthy apartment, Monica shows up at the woman's place begging for the chance to clean it, claiming that she hasn't been able to sleep since hearing about it. In another episode, Phoebe pretends to like Chandler to force him to admit his love for Monica. Monica is hiding in the bathroom and cleans it while she's in there. Also during season 10 Monica is vacuuming the apartment, once finishing she cleans the vacuum cleaner with a smaller vacuum cleaner then states "if only there were a smaller one to clean this one!" In episode 14, "The One with the Secret Closet" of season 8, a door in her apartment is revealed to be Monica's secret closet of shame. It contains a monstrous pile of clutter she has accumulated over the years. However, when Chandler suggests that they both use the closet, she's afraid that "[He]'ll mess it up". In Season 6, it was revealed that Monica bought an entire package of car cleaning supplies to clean a car she found dirty on the street. She then cleaned six others as well. It is also stated by Joey in "The One with the Embryos" that Monica can "only eat tic-tacs in even numbers." When Chandler and Joey swap apartments with her, everyone goes over to Joey and Chandler's new apartment as it is bigger and nicer. She invites people over, insistent on being, 'Always the hostess'.
- Freakishly strong: Monica's strength is referred to in several instances. In one episode, she beats Chandler in an arm wrestling match. In another, when Ross asks Rachel to recruit some extra help in moving his couch, she comes back with Chandler, remarking that Joey wasn't available, so she got the next best thing. Ross comments that "the next best thing would have been Monica", to which Chandler replies "I should be offended by that, but Monica is freakishly strong". In one episode, Monica pins Rachel to the ground and Rachel remarks "Wow, you really are freakishly strong".
Monica beat Ross in wrestling matches as a child, even to the extreme of Monica beating him up. That was more likely due to her weight rather than her strength. It is more likely her strength is more recently acquired due to athletic activity. During the series finale, Monica volunteers to break up the foosball table to rescue the chick and duck who were trapped inside. The audience does not see her accomplish this, but allegedly it was mostly done without using any tools. She also demonstrates her strength in an episode where she wrestles a former colleague for a discount wedding dress, only to trade it back for the opportunity to have one of Chandler's favourite band's play at their future wedding.
- "I know!": Monica often uses that short phrase, emphasizing it in her already-loud voice.
- "Noooo!": Monica's reaction when she receives surprising news, usually shouted at a loud shrill tone. One example is in Season 4, when she and Rachel lose their larger, more luxurious apartment by one question to Chandler and Joey during a game centering on which pair knows more about the other. Another example is in Season 6, when she listens to a message that she knows Chandler heard concerning a room becoming available for their possible wedding.
- Need for a baby: Throughout the series, Monica has always expressed the fact that she wanted a baby. In almost every episode that involved someone giving birth, Monica having babies was mentioned. In The One with the Jam Monica files for a sperm donation, but decides against it when Joey tells her what he thought her life would be like, which includes her with a husband.
- Is that why I don't have a boyfriend?: Monica said that sentence several times during the show's early season anytime somebody said something mean about her. It disappeared after she got together with Dr. Richard Burke and was never brought up again as she soon married Chandler.
- Drunk Monica: A very played joke is that Monica would often get drunk, which would cause problems. In the series, she was first seen drunk in Season 1, The One with the Fake Monica. Chandler stated that when he wants to sneak out for an invitation to dinner with his wife, he says that "Monica's drunk again". Ironically, Phoebe often gets drunk on her free will, but not Monica.
- Hate for Pat the Dog: Joey purchased a statue of a large, white ceramic dog, which he named "Pat." Monica has often expressed hate toward this statue. When Chandler was moving in with Monica, Joey gave him the dog as a present for his new apartment. At the end of the episode, Chandler was comforting Monica, who was crying because Rachel had to move out. She then says to him, "Can I ask you a question?" She looks over to the statue and asks, "What the hell is that dog doing here?" In the series finale, movers are seen carrying things out of Chandler and Monica's apartment, to load on a truck bound for their new house. She walks over to one of the movers getting ready to load the dog into the truck and gesturing to the statue, whispers to him, "If that falls off the truck, it wouldn't be the worst thing." She then slips money into his hand. See also "Pat the Dog" under Joey.
- Hate for Chandler's Barcalounger: Monica often expresses distaste or even hate for Chandler's brown Barcalounger armchair (of which Joey has an exact copy known as "Rosita"). When Chandler was going to move in and wanted the chair to come with him. Monica at first refused to allow the chair entry into her apartment, but later gave in. Even though she allowed Chandler to move the chair in, she still often commented about moving the chair out of the living room or getting rid of it altogether. In The One Where Rosita Dies, Monica is positively gleeful about the twin destruction of the chairs.
- Previous way of life: It is often mentioned that Phoebe Buffay once lived on the street, and her strange former friends often come up. Various facts from her childhood are revealed throughout the show, such as that she "stabbed a cop", had a pimp spit in her mouth, had lived in Prague, and even mugged Ross when they were 14. She has apparently also spent time in jail or prison and at one point lived on a barge.
In addition to those, Phoebe is known for holding grudges for an extended period against people who have "betrayed" her. Notable examples of this are her feud with her twin sister, Ursula, her ex-singing partner, Leslie, for leaving her to write jingles for an advertising firm (and using the music to "Smelly Cat" in a cat litter commercial), and her birth mother for not looking for her after giving her up for adoption. When a cop asks her out and brings up her criminal record, she says they'll talk about it at dinner, so while she may be comfortable mentioning some events in front of friends, she apparently prefers not to disclose all the details. She also has apparently been tortured at some point.
- Music: Phoebe was often a musician at Central Perk and was known for her original songs and bad singing voice. Some include: "Jingle Bitch Screwed Me Over", "Ode to a Pubic Hair", "Bisexuals", "Sticky Shoes", "The Barnyard Song", and, her most famous song, "Smelly Cat". She also sometimes includes her friends in her songs. For instance, in "The Holiday Song," she sings a short line to every friend.
- Regina Phalange: Phoebe's alter ego, to whom she regularly makes references. The name first appears in Season 4 in "The One with Ross's Wedding". The friends are in London for Ross' wedding to Emily. Phoebe uses the name Dr. Phalange when she calls Emily's stepmother to try and explain away Ross saying the wrong name at the altar as a problem with his medication. In the Season 5 finale "The One in Vegas, Part Two", where Joey discovers his hand-twin (a casino dealer with hands he thinks are identical to his own), Phoebe identifies herself as a businesswoman named Regina Phalange during an attempt to convince Joey's hand-twin to cooperate with Joey. In "The Last One", she stops Rachel's plane by telling her the plane has something wrong with its left phalange. She is sometimes "Doctor Regina Phalange" and once "Régine Philange".
- Dead mother: Phoebe often references her adoptive mother's suicide in various situations on the show, usually as an excuse. For example, when Ross questions her on why she's never tried taffy, "Well, my mother was too busy planning her suicide to provide saltwater treats." Another exchange about her mother begins: "My mother was killed by a drug dealer". Then, when Monica says, "Phoebe, I thought your mom killed herself", Phoebe replies, "She was a drug dealer!" Another example occurs when she forgets to invite Rachel's mother to her baby shower: "Well, since my mother committed suicide, I tend to forget to invite them to functions."
Also in Season 7, when Phoebe and Rachel are fighting over the cell phone left by the hot guy, she attempts to use it as a reason why Rachel should let her have the cell phone, to which Rachel replies, "No way, you can't use that to get the cute guy and the last blueberry muffin."
In The Pilot, she tells for the first time about her disturbing childhood. The gang had just convinced Rachel that she didn't need her Father's credit cards, when Phoebe tries to cheer her up. She says "Well my mom had just killed herself, and my Step Dad was back in prison, so I went to live with this - like - albino guy who cleaned windshields outside Port Authority, and then he killed himself, and thats when I turned to Aromatherapy, so I know exactly how you feel."
- Sexuality: Allusions are made throughout the series to Phoebe's unorthodox sexuality. Although she only explicitly dates men in the series, her appreciation for women is revealed when she comments that Monica has "the breasts of a Greek goddess", and when she kisses Rachel "to see what the fuss was all about". She is also driven speechless by the beauty of Ross and Monica's cousin Cassie. References are also made for Phoebe's apparent penchant for BDSM, in particular during her relationship with Mike. At one point Chandler even asks if Phoebe really chains people up in her sexual practices, to which Phoebe replies while laughing, "Where do you think Mike really is?" As well, when Rachel needs Mike to intercept all Ross's calls because she gave her number to a guy at a bar and doesn't want Ross to find out, Rachel says to Mike, "Phoebe will do anything you want. Seriously, I'm talking dirty stuff..." Then Phoebe gets back on the phone and Mike says, "How much dirtier can it get?" to which Phoebe replies, "Oh Mike...".
- Animal Rights: Phoebe is a vegetarian and is against the use of fur for fashion. In one episode, she even named and fed a family of rats living in her apartment. At times, however, her beliefs are challenged. At one point, Phoebe receives a mink coat as a family heirloom, but debates whether or not to keep such a beautiful coat. When she is pregnant, Phoebe is distressed that "The babies want meat!" and is only able to eat meat when Joey volunteers to give up meat while she is pregnant to balance her eating meat, explaining, "No extra animals would die; you'd just be eating my animals." In another incident, Phoebe breaks up with her cop boyfriend, Gary, when he shoots a bird. However, she once commented, "Vegetarians never get to do the wishbone! It's not fair, you know. Just because we don't eat the meat, doesn't mean we don't like to play with the carcasses."
- Feelings for Joey: Phoebe sometimes shows hints of feelings towards Joey, although nothing ever really happened between the two of them. For example, in "The One with Barry and Mindy's Wedding" Joey asks the three girls of the group to kiss him, and Phoebe is the only one to oblige, saying, "I've kissed him once, I might as well do it again." Also, when she covers up for Rachel by saying she is pregnant in "The One with the Red Sweater", Joey, thinking she's pregnant, asks her to marry him and she hastily answers yes. When Joey finds out and takes the ring off her, she appears upset and annoyed. In an interview Lisa Kudrow revealed that both she and Matt Le Blanc suggested that Phoebe and Joey were having casual sex without the others knowing. The writers didn't agree however.
- "Oh, no": Phoebe often says this in always the same childish way when something goes wrong or when she realizes she did something stupid.
- Whispering and answering rhetorical questions: When someone says something surprising or stupid that makes the other friends say "What?!", Phoebe thinks they didn't understand and whispers them what the other had said. For example, once Rachel said "We end up having sex on his chair"; Ross says "What? You had what?!?", to which Phoebe whispers "Sex on his chair!". Another example is when Rachel states that Monica's mother thought of her as the daughter she never had, Monica loudly yells "What!?". Pheobe calls out "She's like the daughter she never had!" Another similar example is when Ross' old High School friend, Will, (played by Brad Pitt) visits Ross and Monica during Thanksgiving. Rachel asks Will "Do you have a problem with me?" To which Will replies, "I don't know. Do I? Do I?" Phoebe then leans over to Will and says, "I think you do!"
- Vanity: Phoebe always says "Thank you. I know." every time she would be praised for being attractive.
- Marriage & Divorce: Ross Geller is divorced when the show begins and later has two marriages that both also end in divorce. Many gags from Season 6 imply that Ross will likely marry any girl he has any form of a relationship with and is equally as likely to break up with her after marriage. When Rachel gets pregnant with Ross' baby, he says "I think we should get married", to which Rachel replies, "Because that's your answer to everything?" Also, in one episode, Phoebe and Ross discuss nicknames for him, which include "Divorco", "The Divorcer", and "Ross: The Divorce Force". Every single one of the six Friends, including Ross himself, has made jokes about his divorce "obsession"; for example, when Phoebe and Mike are planning their wedding, Mike remarks, "I read somewhere that weddings are like a $40,000,000,000-a-year industry", to which Ross replies, "Yep, and I'm responsible for just like half of that." At one point Phoebe jokes that Ross loves divorce so much he'll probably end up marrying it, and then, off course, it doesn't work out, so he's gonna have to divorce again. When Janice is talking to Rachel about Ross leaving her and Emma after he starts his own family Rachel says it doesn't matter because he'll get divorced later.
- Speech: Ross speaks oddly, leaving long pauses in sentences and using words like "hello" and "like". When talking about Russ, he exclaims "It takes that guy...like, hello, what, like, a, uh, week to get out a sentence", to which Chandler replies "Annoying, isn't it?" and Ross says "heh, uh, (pause) wheeze yeah." Ross also tends to over pronounce words, as suggested by Chandler in "The One with the Thumb". He also frequently corrects the other friends' grammar, much to the entire group's chagrin.
- "We were on a BREAK!": A major event (and probably biggest storyline) of Season 3 was when Rachel and Ross, a couple at the time, were having a major fight and subsequently decided to go "on a break" in their relationship. As a result, the depressed Ross sleeps with another woman; his resulting guilt and Rachel's resulting resentment resonate for many seasons to come. Whenever someone brings up Ross's one night stand, he defensively yells, "We were on a BREAK!".
In a fantasy episode showing the paths the characters' lives might have taken if they'd made different choices, a married Rachel wants to sleep with soap opera star Joey and wishes she could "just not be married for a little while - like, be on a break." In the episode where Chandler breaks up with Kathy, Rachel says, "An argument is no excuse for her to sleep with someone else," to which Ross replies, "Well, if she thought they were on a break...." In the episode "The One with the Girl Who Hits Joey", when Chandler panics after having a fight with Monica and asks her to marry him, at the end of the show everyone is teasing him by apologizing to another of the group for some past "wrong", followed by asking them to marry them...Ross turns to Rachel and says "Hey Rach, remember that whole 'we were on a break thing', well, I'm sorry, will you marry me?"...everyone pauses a minute, and then all get up to leave as Chandler states "That wasn't funny".
In a later episode, Ross is diapering his and Rachel's daughter, Emma, and tells her, "So that's why, no matter what Mommy says, we really were on a break." Rachel at one point babysits Ben, telling him that the two of them used to hang out all the time because "I was your daddy's girlfriend", to which Ben replies, "But you're not any more...'Cause you were on a break." In the final episode, Rachel and Ross decide that this time their relationship is on once and for all, and they are done being stupid, to which Ross jokingly replies, "Unless we're on a break."
- Ph.D.: Ross has a doctoral degree in paleontology, and is not a physician. Many times, this leads to misunderstandings, especially since Ross is always keen on presenting himself as Dr. Geller. Rachel is always happy to point out the difference, as seen in one episode; Rachel makes up a hypothetical situation when she has a heart attack in a restaurant, and she says she wants Ross to be there "with his fossil brush", also when he is at the hospital visiting Rachel's dad, he presents himself to one of the staff as "Dr. Ross Geller", but was told to shut up by Rachel because "that actually means something here!"
- Dinosaur Stories: Ross often tries to tell the rest of the gang about his work as a paleontologist, but they are uninterested and sometimes pretend to fall asleep when Ross starts telling one of his dinosaur stories. At one point, Monica wonders whether Ross's dinosaur stories will ever "become extinct". Also, in "The One Where Chandler Gets Caught", Rachel reminds Phoebe that Phoebe once thought that Ross was trying to kill her, to which Phoebe replies, "I'm sorry, but it's hard to believe that anyone would tell a story that dull just to tell it!" In "The One Where No One's Ready", Rachel, unable to decide what to wear to a benefit at the museum where Ross works, steps out of her bedroom with an outfit and asks the others, "Does this look like something the girlfriend of a paleontologist might wear?", to which Phoebe replies, "I don't know, you might be the first one."
- Double Entendres: Ross tends to make unfortunate comments that imply that he is perverted. This can lead to disgust and confusion from those around him. For example, when trying to flirt with a pizza girl who claims her hair resembles "an 8-year-old boy's", Ross says, "I happen to like 8-year-old boys". He was trying to give here a compliment saying that her hair looked good. When she seemed freaked out he said this and also said, "You know I don't actually like 8-year-boys." Another time he offers Rachel's boss free museum tours for his son "after everyone else has left, just the two of us, and he can touch anything he wants." He later rectifies this by saying, "I'm a paleontologist, you'll be there with him, and the touching refers only to bones...FOSSILS!" When buying a new sofa, he says "It has to say "Kids are welcome", but at the same time "Come here to me", to which Rachel exclaims, shocked, "You say that to kids?!?" when he really was referring to the "ladies". Also, when Ross dates Elizabeth, he meets her dad, Paul. Paul says to Ross that he still thinks of her as a 12 year old, to which Ross replies "I do the same thing", referring to the fact that he has a son. One time, at a pediatrician's office which Ross goes to, Ross meets a single mother whom he flirts with. However, when the receptionist calls out his name, he doesn't want to reveal that he sees a pediatrician, so he says to a random boy, "Come on Ross junior, time to go in." This turns out to be the son of the single mother, and Ross is banned from seeing his pediatrician because everyone thinks Ross wanted to get him into the doctor's room.
- "...Hi...": When Ross is depressed or has some sort of problem he'll always show up to Monica's apartment or the coffee house. When the door opens he says in a dry, low, and almost incomprehensible voice, "...Hi...", in order to be asked about what is wrong so he can tell them. When Ross says "...Hi..." in "The Pilot", Joey responds, "This guy says hello, I wanna kill myself." This gag declined in later seasons.
- Girls' Names: The similar names Emily/Emma frequently come up in relation to Ross. In a Season 2 episode, Ross tells Rachel that he is planning on naming their future daughter Emily. Later, Ross meets and marries Emily Waltham. When Ross and Rachel's daughter is born, they name her Emma. Emma is repeatedly referred to as "Emily", among other names, by Rachel's sister Amy, played by Christina Applegate.
- Female Ross: Many references have been made to question Ross's gender identity. In particular, "The One with the Metaphorical Tunnel", shows a home video of Ross dressed up as "Bea" and hosting a tea party. In "The One with Ross's Teeth", he is seen applying makeup, which Monica suggested and to which he initially replied, "Hey, we're not 13 anymore". Ross is also mentioned to appear female during childhood in "The One Where Nana Dies Twice", in which a childhood photograph originally thought to be of Monica naked was actually Ross "trying something", and "The One with Phoebe's Birthday Dinner", in which Ross's mother told Rachel he used to "tuck his willy between his legs" to imply that he was female so he could go with her to the beauty parlor. In Season 7 episode 13: The One Where Rosita Dies, Ross and Monica go to their parents house to collect their childhood stuff because their parents are selling the house and Jack finds a clown make-up kit in Ross' stuff and says, "There's your make-up kit". Ross responds saying "It's a clown kit" to which Jack says "Well, the white is almost untouched". During this same scene, Monica is looking through "her" boxes, which were actually Ross's because her boxes were ruined by the flood in the garage. She picks through the boxes that Ross and Mr. Geller tried to pass off as hers; she pulls out a doll and immediately says, "Ross, these are YOUR boxes!"
- Bad luck: Especially after season seven, whenever Ross had bad luck, it was very bad luck. For example, when Rachel told her father that she was pregnant with Ross's baby, he went to Ross's apartment, where Ross was there with his girlfriend Mona, who didn't know Ross impregnated Rachel. This ended up with Ross trying to say at the same time that he cared a lot about Rachel to her father and saying he was over her and it was no big deal to Mona. Also, when Monica decides to make Ross tell their parents that he smoked pot in college, he is revealed to being divorced for the 3rd time and being the one who stole his dad's Playboys.
- Ross' hair: Ross' tendency to use way too much mousse is often commented by the rest of the gang as well by others. The general opinion is that his hair is the least appealing of all six friends. In the episode when Phoebe gives Monica a really bad haircut that makes her look like Dudley Moore, Ross is the only one who's allowed to enter her room to provide some comfort since his hair "won't upset her".
- Jealousy: Ross has often appeared to show a large amount of jealousy when whoever he is dating is associated with another man, which was pointed out by Phoebe, who blames Carol for his behavior; especially when Monica stated that before Carol, he trusted his previous girlfriends no matter how many times they cheated on him. Some examples:
- Rachel: When Rachel found a new job, she befriends her coworker Mark. This worries Ross and begins to shower her with gifts and visits to make sure Mark stays away from her. In an episode when Phoebe confronts him, Ross becomes aware of his jealous ways, yet states "I still think I was right about the whole "Mark" thing though."
- Elizabeth: When Elizabeth was going on a spring break party on a beach, Ross begins to worry about her skimpy outfits; he then decides to let it go. But in the airport, he sees that all her friends are male. He then decides to join her to make sure no one gets to her.
- Emily: Ross was badly worried when Emily went on a trip with Carol's lover Susan, afraid that Emily might become a lesbian.
- Ross is a "Medical Marvel": Although this is only mentioned in one episode, Ross and his father use this phrase quite often. Ross uses it as an answer when Monica says that their parents like Ross better.
- Bob Saget: On many different occasions several characters have remarked that Ross looks like Bob Saget.
- Sexuality: Chandler Bing is often painted with the possibility of being gay, despite his determination to prove himself as the heterosexual he actually is. Various characters on the show assumed that he was gay when they first met him; in the episode "The One Where Nana Dies Twice," Chandler is told by his friends and co-workers that he has "a quality" that makes him seem somewhat gay. In addition, Chandler's father is both a transvestite and a male burlesque dancer, which may have been the cause of some of Chandler's feminine behavioral traits. One of Chandler's first phrases on Friends is "Sometimes I wish I was a lesbian...wait, did I say that out loud?" He also makes the unfinished statement "If I were a guy...", followed by "Did I just say if I were a guy?". In the episode "The One Where Nana Dies Twice", when they all dress up to go to the funeral of Ross and Monica's grandmother, Chandler says "Don't we look nice all dressed up!", and then realizes the impact of his statement and says "It's stuff like that, isn't it?".
Chandler himself, however, is aware of this and occasionally makes fun of himself, claiming that, when Phoebe is reading tea leaves, his leaves resemble The Village People. In "The One with The Flashback" Joey mistakes Chandler for being gay he is attempting to become Chandler's roommate by saying, "And also, I'm okay with the gay thing". When Chandler returns from a secret holiday with Monica, Joey receives a phone call about an eyelash curler being left in their room which Chandler says is his, prompting Joey to ask "Were you, or were you not, on a gay cruise?" In the episode "The One That Could Have Been", there are also many jokes about the fact that Chandler has only been with four women, which turn out to be only one woman in the end. In "The One with the Girl from Poughkeepsie", Chandler asks men if they want to date Rachel, inviting the first one with, "Are you dating anyone? I'm not asking for me, of course, I'm not gay", to which he replies, "I didn't think you were gay. I do now." In another episode, the girls asked all three guys who their boyfriend would be, if they had to pick one of the other male friends. Chandler was the only one who gave an answer.
- Sarcasm and speech: Chandler often drops snide remarks, typically in response to the actions of his friends. As one of his resolutions in "The One with All the Resolutions", he must not make fun of his friends. He isn't able to, and he ends up blurting out a chain of jokes towards his friends, some of which make fun of their own resolutions. He is also fond of rhetorical questions along the lines of "Could [noun(s)] be any more [adjective]?" Joey occasionally makes fun of this trait; such as when he puts on all of Chandler's clothes and says, "Could I be wearing any more clothes?" Once, when Chandler and Ross are arguing, Joey writes a script and asks for their help acting it out. One of Chandler's lines in the script is "Could I be more sorry?". In another episode, Phoebe tells Chandler that his subordinates at work imitate his speech: "Could this report be any later?" He is also unable to pronounce onomatopoeia correctly.
- Smoking: In early seasons, Chandler had just quit being a heavy smoker, though he still smokes occasionally in later seasons, usually when he is stressed. He sometimes steals cigarette butts from ashtrays, hides packs of cigarettes in the toilet cistern, and smokes other people's cigarettes when they aren't looking. In "The One with the Thumb", Joey needs to smoke for an acting job, Chandler decides to teach him how to do it "right". He grabs the cigarette and says, "Think of it as the thing that was missing from your hand" and this sparks his re-emergence into the habit. He quits again when Monica's boyfriend at the time calls him at Central Perk and causes him to put out the cigarette. At one point, when told he smells of "perfume and cigarettes," he replies, "Well, the perfume's not mine; be thankful for that!" In "The One Where Rachel Smokes", Rachel begins smoking to impress her boss, Chandler exclaims, "You look sick and happy... you smoked!" He also encouraged her to continue smoking.
- Occupation: From the very beginning of the show the professions of each of the characters are quite clear, except for Chandler's. He also jokes about his job. In "The Pilot", he told Rachel "If I don't input those numbers... it not gonna make much of a difference." This turns into a recurring joke, culminating in the episode "The One with the Embryos", in which Monica and Rachel lose their larger, more luxurious apartment to Chandler and Joey during a game centering on which pair knows more about the other. The question, "What is Chandler Bing’s job?", proves fatal to the girls' efforts and they are forced to trade apartments with the boys. In a Season 4 episode, Joey even implies that he thinks Chandler is an accountant. Phoebe thinks that Chandler's company has robots, and in the same discussion, when Joey says, "You make food and robots?", she patiently answers, "No, the robots work for them!"
It is clear from statements made by some of the characters during the series, however, that Chandler earns a lot more than his friends. After he and Joey lose all their furniture and appliances in a robbery in "The One with the Cat", Chandler is able to replace everything with new and better stuff. He does so out of guilt for going behind Joey's back and kissing his girlfriend Kathy in "The One Where Chandler Crosses the Line". When it turns out that Monica's parents have spent her wedding fund on a beach house and a kitchen renovation, Chandler has the money to pay for her dream wedding. In Season 9, when Chandler is forced to move to Tulsa for his job, he quits and finds a new career in advertising. Soon after he quits, Monica is able to say exactly what his old job was. Chandler is outraged, because it wasn't until after he quit that anybody actually knew what his job was.
- His family: Chandler's family life was very unstable when he was a child. His parents divorced when he was young, telling him about it on Thanksgiving Day. His father is a drag queen, and his mother writes graphic adult novels, including one entitled "Mistress Bitch". She makes an appearance in "The One with Mrs. Bing". Chandler's father stars as the headliner in a gay Vegas show entitled "Viva Las Gay-gas," performing as "Helena Handbasket". Chandler hates his past, and while the details are not fully known, he has been quoted as saying "By age 7, kids have already seen orgies. Was it just me?"; "They use the pool boy as a pawn in their sexual games!"; and after Phoebe says "Alright, forget hypnosis. The way to quit smoking is you have to dance naked in a field of heather then bathe in the sweat of six healthy young men," Chandler replies, "Or what my father calls Thursday night." Ross also once says, "Have you ever put on a black cocktail dress and asked me up to your hotel room? Then you are neither of your parents". Chandler also once tells Monica that he used to be a showboy in his father's drag show, and once says, "You wanna hear something funny? I once walked in on both my parents making love to the same man!"
An early allusion to his family problems comes in the Pilot episode in which Chandler is describing a dream to his friends: "So there I am, in the school cafeteria naked, and I look down and there's a phone...there. And suddenly, it starts to ring, so I pick it up... and it's my mom, which is weird... because she never calls me."
- Thanksgiving: Chandler's hatred of Thanksgiving comes from his parents telling him of their divorce over Thanksgiving dinner. It becomes a repeated joke, with Joey saying, "It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Chandler bumming us out", in "The One with All the Thanksgivings". This episode also cements his hatred of Thanksgiving, since it is revealed to be the day he lost a toe. However, his hatred diminishes somewhat after this, since it is the first time he tells Monica that he loves her. Although he ultimately ends up celebrating the holiday with the gang, he refuses to partake in the eating of the food, his Thanksgiving meals ranging from as extreme as Funyons to as similar as chicken while the rest eat turkey.
He does however, enjoy the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
- Breaking up with Janice: Throughout the run of the show, Chandler breaks up with Janice numerous times: once when he can't stand her anymore in Season One, once on New Year's Eve again in Season One, once on Valentine's Day, they also break up after several months dating in Season Three and yet another time by pretending to move to Yemen. He starts every break up with "Janice... Janice... Hey, Janice," then proceeds with the break up. He finally escapes her in Season Four by claiming he has been transferred to Yemen by his company. Janice appears in every season, except season 6, and every time she is linked to Chandler, except one episode in which she dates Ross. Their past always comes up in relation to their "activities" as a couple. In season 8, when Janice is having her second baby, she says it was Chandler's baby, freaking him out, then saying "Look how nervous he gets! We haven't slept together in years!"
- Commitment issues: For the early part of the show, Chandler often becomes anxious when one of his relationships show signs of moving to another level. He either takes things a step too far, such as in "The One with the Metaphorical Tunnel", in which he asks Janice to move in with him and take a trip with her parents, resulting in him chasing her down the street, or avoids the issue, as when Monica asks him when the two of them are going to have babies in "The One with Joey's Porsche". However, Chandler overcomes his issues, suggesting that he and Monica live together at the beginning of Season 6 and proposing at the end of Seasons 5 and 6. They get married at the end of Season 7. Moreover, in "The One with the Joke", when Monica has to decide whether Ross or Chandler is the author of a joke, Ross tells her "I'm your brother", to which Chandler replies "I'm your only chance to have a baby".
- How you Doin'?: This is Joey's pick-up line. It is first seen in "The One with Rachel's Crush," and Joey continues using it for the rest of the series, sometimes on Phoebe, Rachel, Monica, and even humorously on Chandler. Janine, his roommate after Chandler started living with Monica, is the only woman to resist the line, except for the girl Friends (although they later get together). In the spin-off based on Joey, his sister mocks him, saying it's the only way Joey can pick up women, to which he replies, "Worked on every one of your friends!" The only other Friend to have said it is Rachel.
- Food: Joey has an enormous appetite and often eats food from Monica's refrigerator. In "The Last One" when everything is packed and Monica and Chandler are ready to leave, he asks Monica, "Does this mean there's nothing to eat?" He has a great love of sandwiches, and once eats an entire turkey on Thanksgiving. In one episode, Rachel tells him over the phone that she and Phoebe have ordered a "Joey special" (two pizzas), which makes Joey envious as he was in London at the time. During Phoebe's pregnancy, he tells her that he won't eat meat until the babies are born. During the trip to London, he can't resist and eats meat. Food is also somewhat of a deal-breaker with women; he briefly dates a friend of Phoebe's, but breaks it off when she steals fries from his plate because "Joey doesn't share food!". He agrees to give her a second chance, but is angered when she won't let him take a bite of her dessert and, when she goes to call someone, Joey cannot resist the desert and finishes it off completely, and when she returns, Joey states "I'm not even sorry!". Joey also has a love of jam, as shown in The One With The Jam when Monica is obsessed with making it. He randomly exclaims "Check it out, jam crackers!" after dipping a cracker straight into a jar of jam. Chandler asks Joey if he would prefer "the girl from the copy place, butt naked...or a big tub of jam," holding out his hands to emphasize the size. Joey replies, "Put your hands together." When asked if he would rather give up sex or food, Joey cannot decide, declaring "I want girls on bread!"
- Promiscuity: Joey is often portrayed as promiscuous, exhibiting a seemingly inexhaustible appetite for sexual relations with women. In one episode, Chandler says to Joey, "You've had a lot of sex, right?", to which Joey replies, "Today? Some...not a lot." In "The One with Phoebe's Rats", Ross asks Chandler to keep Joey away from Emma's nanny, to which Chandler replies, "Don't blame me if it doesn't work, because you know as well as I do that once Joey sets his mind on something, more often than not, he's going to have sex with it." His longest periods of dating one woman on the show are with Kathy and Rachel, although he dated Angela Del Vecchio (at the same time as several other girls) for three years. A further joke is that the women he dates are often quite dumb; at one point Joey exclaims, "This is why I don't date girls who read!"
- Acting: Joey is an actor but rarely gets work in earlier seasons, either by the fault of his own abysmal acting or the fault of his agent. This tends to drive Joey into odd para-thespian jobs including cologne salesman, elf, game show host and posterboy for VD. Another running joke is his role of "Dr. Drake Ramoray" on Days of Our Lives.
- Stupidity: While not as evident early on in the series, by later seasons Joey is seen missing obvious points or doing stupid things. For instance, when Phoebe's taxi runs out of gas by the highway, he spells PLEH (HELP backwards) so "the helicopters will be able to read it from the air." In the last season this character flaw is taken even further. For instance, Phoebe refers to him as "a little retarded" in "The One Where Joey Speaks French" because of his complete inability to learn French.
During one of the last episodes, Rachel is moving to France and Joey is doing a coin toss to try to make her stay. He later laments, "Who loses 57 coin tosses in a row? Heads she wins, tails I lose! Wait a second (pause) I forgot to pick up my dry cleaning." In another episode, Chandler likes Joey's girlfriend, Kathy, and for her birthday gets her an early edition of her favorite book as a child. Since Joey is planning to give her a pen with a clock in it, Chandler gives the book to Joey to give to her. Kathy knows it's actually from Chandler, because the book is "The Velveteen Rabbit", and when Joey gave it to her he said he got it because he knows she likes rabbits and he knows she likes cheese (mistaking the title for Velveeta). Joey also thinks there are 56 states in the United States, including "South Oregon" but thinks that Ross made up Utah. Strangely, he appears to have a very good memory. For example, when Chandler gives him "Word of the Day" toilet paper, he remembers what he learns from it, at least for the course of the episode. Once, an encyclopedia seller manages to convince him to buy the "V" volume from his set. When Joey tries to show his knowledge, a conversation that was initially about the Vietnam War turns to one about a Korean War documentary, and Joey, once again, is forced to merely agree with what the others are saying. He is also completely unable to speak in a Southern accent, as the accent comes out Jamaican.
However, Joey periodically has flashes of brilliance, such as when he explains to Ross that he can determine who his secret admirer is by comparing the handwriting on the anonymous teacher evaluations with the final exams. In one of the later episodes, Monica secretly goes to Joey to borrow money. When Chandler also tries to borrow money from Joey, Joey quickly comes up with two lies to tell Chandler so he won't suspect Monica. Joey says to himself, "Wow, that's the fastest I've ever thought!" In another episode he correctly identifies Rachel's Pictionary drawing of a bean with some lines under it as The Unbearable Lightness of Being. He is also the first friend to discover the relationship between Monica and Chandler, using random clues left by the two and deductive reasoning. He has also displayed better knowledge of biology than his friends: once when Phoebe claims that she allowed a bee to sting her as a selfless good deed, he explains to her that the bee would have died after it stung her. Another time, he correctly tells Monica that she needs to urinate on a wound from a jellyfish sting.
- Delayed reaction: If something happens or is said which uncovers a shocking fact about something or someone, Joey usually does not become aware of it until several seconds after everyone else. One example of this is when Ross identifies his own sweater, which had earlier been identified as belonging to the mystery father of Rachel's baby. Monica and Phoebe stand in shock at the revelation, while Joey remains happily oblivious for at least five seconds before suddenly realizing the implication of the discovery. Ironically, he also provides the biggest reaction of shock upon realization. When the girls switched the apartments back in Season 4 (after Chandler and Joey went to a Knicks game), the two guys enter their old apartment to make peace with the girls. Chandler instantly realizes the change, where Joey even gets a beer and sits down before knowing. Another good example is in the series finale when the friends are forewarned of a big surprise, and Monica brings in her and Chandler's baby, followed by Chandler carrying the unexpected twin. Everyone reacts with appropriate surprise except Joey, who is still wondering what the surprise is... until he counts the babies. Somewhat ironically, he is the first to discover Monica and Chandler's relationship.
- Pat the Dog: When Joey moves out in Season 2, he buys a big white ceramic dog along with some other animals. When he gets fired from Days of our Lives, he is unable to pay his overwhelming credit card debt and has to return everything he bought. Seeing how sad Joey was, Ross buys Joey the big white dog that he didn't actually like but only bought because it went with all the other animals ("I had a whole ceramic zoo going on over there"). He keeps it in his and Chandler's apartment until Season 6. When Chandler moves into Monica's apartment, Joey gives him the dog as a gift, and he keeps it on the balcony. In the last scene of the series finale, Monica pays one of the movers to have it "accidentally" fall off the truck. In "The One that Could Have Been", the still-soap-opera-star Joey has the dog; this is the only time it is called Pat. (When Joey says the dog's name is "Pat", Rachel replies, "Pat the Dog...oh, I get it!")
- Change: Joey, of all the friends, appears to like change the least. In several episodes, he either becomes incredibly angry or incredibly sad due to a change. Such as "The One Where They All Turn Thirty" when he cries at his birthday, shouting, "Why, God why? We had a deal! Let the others grow old, not me!". He then also breaks down at Chandler's 30th birthday, saying, "And now Chandler!" Also, when Rachel is saying good-bye to Joey on Monica's balcony before she leaves for France, the other friends are watching and Phoebe says "Joey seems to be handling it surprisingly well." Joey hugs Rachel, and seems to be about to enter the apartment again, however, he begins to climb on the ledge to jump before Rachel stops him. Joey's dislike of change was alluded to on the first episode of Joey.
- Nose Job: In flashbacks showing Rachel in high school, such as in "The One with the Prom Video" and the first flashback of the Season 5 Thanksgiving episode, "The One with All the Thanksgivings", Rachel is portrayed with a huge nose. In the second Thanksgiving flashback, where Rachel is in her first year of college, her nose is smaller, and Jack Geller compliments their mutual plastic surgeon. As an in-joke reference to Jennifer Aniston's real life medical condition, in one episode she claims the surgery was to repair a deviated septum. Rachel is terrified that Emma, her daughter, has inherited her real nose.
- Rich Background: Rachel's parents are extremely wealthy, and she had been spoiled all her life before she moved to the city. In "The Pilot", Rachel is surprised to learn that everyone else has a job and decides to "go get one of those job things." When her sisters Jill and Amy visit her, it is easy to see that they are both "pre-job" Rachels. Jill also states that Rachel is the only daughter their father is proud of.
- "He (Ross) slept with another woman!": See "We Were on a Break!" under Ross.
- Pregnancy: Rachel lacks intelligence on her pregnancy and is always concerned about taking care of her child with exaggerating comments. With Ross, she frequently attempts to arouse him by doing stereotypical arousal techniques during her pregnancy such as mentioning about "hot sex" and purposely dropping an object and picking it up.
- Ignorance:Rachel is often portrayed as lacking knowledge of practical things, such as who America fought in World War I, or at least being dismissive or in denial of their significance. Her past as a cheerleader, finding work as a waitress, and later manifesting her love of fashion by working in it, are associated with her stereotypical empty-headedness. While often portrayed as ditzy or shallow, she sometimes shows considerable cunning and depth, making her a more complicated character than at first appearance.
- Her Baby: The gag of Rachel being overprotective with her baby started in "The One with Phoebe's Birthday Dinner", when Rachel fears Emma being out of her sight while she attends Phoebe's birthday dinner. Incidentally, Ross and Rachel argued about her over protectiveness. Ross takes Rachel out of the apartment in an attempt to prove that "nothing can possibly go wrong", and in the process gets them locked out with Emma still inside. Also, when Ross wants to take Emma to the park to play on the swings in "The One with the Home Study", Rachel becomes neurotic, citing a traumatic experience that she had on the swing as a child, when her hair got caught in the swing and her mother had to cut some off to free her.
- "Noooo!": Rachel's reaction when she receives surprising news, usually said in a low, almost whispering tone after a gasp. It was most likely first used in "The One with Joey's Dirty Day." In "The One with the Ride-Along," she and Monica reverse their catch phrases. After hearing a phone message from Emily saying that she might want Ross back, Monica emits a surprised "Noooo!", followed by Rachel nodding and saying "I know!" Rachel later reacts with her "Noooo!" after she accidentally erases Emily's message.
- Excessive Shopping: Throughout "Friends" Rachel is shown to have an excessive love for shopping, for example, in Season One when she is trying to deal with leaving Barry she goes shopping using credit cards given to her by her father. Although in Season 9 episode 22 "The One with the Donor" Charlie needs new clothes, and Joey suggests Rachel help her pick them out. Rachel doesn't want to go shopping with Charlie but then she reluctantly agrees.
Ross and Chandler
- College days: Ross and Chandler were roommates in college, and throughout the series, their college days are mentioned numerous times. For example, Chandler claims that the basis of his and Ross' friendship was "unfortunate hair." They both were somewhat nerdy in their college days, as can be seen in the flashbacks in "The One with All the Thanksgivings." In the first flashback, Chandler has a "Flock of Seagulls" haircut, and in the second, both Chandler and Ross are dressed in Miami Vice-inspired outfits. They had a band in college named "Way, No Way!", and their songs were somewhat nerdy as well (i.e. 'Inter-Planetary Courtship Ritual', 'Betrayal in the Common Room' and 'Emotional Napsack'). Ross also blamed the smell of pot smoke on Chandler to his parents, when in fact it was him. This led to the Gellers' thinking he (Chandler) is a drug user.
Monica and Chandler
- Relationship Roles: Monica is generally the one who keeps their relationship functioning and stabilized, because Chandler's inexperience in relationships leads him to make many bad decisions, such as telling her that they are "just fooling around" when he is jealous, mistaking a fight for breaking up, and asking Monica to marry him because he was sorry for freaking about relationships; Monica gently turns him down and explains, "You know when I said that I want you to deal with this relationship stuff all on your own? Well, you're not ready for that" to which Chandler replies, "I didn't think I was!" Chandler does manage to calm Monica down at one point when she is upset that they are no longer in the "can't-keep-their-hands-off-each-other phase" of their relationship, but his gloating ("We have switched places! I am the relationship king and you are the crazy, irrational screw up!") is short-lived.
Joey and Chandler
- As a couple: One of the more frequently recurring jokes of the early episodes paralleled the interactions of Joey and Chandler to the interactions of a married couple. The gag was usually used to enhance the aforementioned "Gay Chandler" joke, as Chandler would often assume the "wife" role, but was also effective on its own. Chandler and Joey are mistaken for a couple when they are watching Ben in Season 2, and also when they are looking at Richard's apartment. This gag also appears in the first episode of the spinoff, Joey, when Joey responds vehemently to his sister Gina's implications of homosexuality, saying, "Chandler and I were not a gay couple!"
- Conversations: The two seemingly always have conversations that provide comic relief, despite that every character serves as one. It is said that scenes involving them nearly broke character, due to their constant giggling from their jokes.
- Hugging: Joey and Chandler often hug each other throughout the series, such as in the last episode when they debate about whether to exchange a "lame cool-guy handshake" or a hug and end up choosing the handshake, only to have it turn into a hug. At one point in the series, when they hug, a set of clips of them hugging is shown, after which Chandler asks "Do you think we do this too much?"
- Entertainment unit: During Season 3, Joey begins work on a place to keep the mail in their apartment. The result was an oversized entertainment unit that partially blocked both bedroom doors. Joey's inept DIY skills also involved Chandler's bedroom door being cut in half and also Joey unnecessarily drilling a hole through the wall with the bit emerging perilously close to a dozing Chandler's head ("Oh, sorry, did I get you?" "Get me? It's a power drill! You get me you kill me!").
Its large size prompted a $5 bet that Joey could fit inside it, Joey won the bet even though Chandler took the opportunity to trap him inside. After being annoyed by the entertainment unit for too long and tearing many clothes squeezing past it, Chandler insists they get rid of the unit. Reluctantly selling it, Joey repeats his boast to a customer that he can fit inside and falls for the same trap. While Joey's locked inside the customer steals everything else from the apartment. Eventually they trade the unit for a canoe. After Chandler kisses Joey's girlfriend Kathy, he agrees to be locked in a box, symbolizing the entertainment unit, to make Joey forgive him, to which Joey replies, "It's a start."
- Baywatch: Joey and Chandler's relationship originally stabilizes itself when Joey introduces Chandler to the wonder that is Baywatch. The two bond over the female lifeguards who are frequently shown running, to which Chandler exclaims, "Look at 'em run!" After Joey briefly moves into his own apartment during Season 2, they watch an episode of the show while talking on the phone to each other.
- Foosball Table: When Joey breaks their kitchen table, Chandler and Joey search for a replacement table. In the end, after endless arguing, they end up buying a foosball table. It appears in their apartment throughout the rest of the series (although the original one gets replaced after being broken by a kick from Joey, and the second was stolen while Joey was locked in the entertainment unit), even after Chandler moves out and Rachel moves in. In "The Last One", Monica breaks it open after Chick Jr. and Duck Jr. get trapped inside.
- Lesbianism: Joey and Chandler are often said to enjoy lesbianism, Joey being especially crazy about it. In season 4, Monica and Rachel win their apartment back from the boys by kissing each other for a minute. When Monica sits on Rachel to put her eye drop, Rachel says "You know, if Chandler and Joey were here we could make a fortune!" When Rachel and Monica plan a date with nurses and specify they're male nurses, Joey says "Not in my head". Also, when Rachel was trying to remind a friend of hers from college how they made out, saying "we were really drunk, and our coconuts were clanging together...", Phoebe says "Oh, somewhere, Joey's head is exploding". In season 9 when Monica thinks Chandler was "giving himself a treat" while watching sharks his explanation was that he wasn't watching sharks and that he had switched the channel when she came in and he was watching "old fashion American girl on girl porn" Joey also exhibits happiness in knowing that Ross's ex-wife Carol is a lesbian, especially noted at the beginning of "The One That Could Have Been"
The Geller family
- Ross as favorite child: In many episodes it is made clear that Jack and Judy Geller like Ross more than Monica. In an early episode and classic example, Ross is telling his parents that his wife, Carol, was a lesbian and was pregnant with his child. Instead of expressing her shock by questioning Ross, Judy turns to Monica with "And you knew about this?" On another occasion, Judy forgets about Monica and tells Rachel, "You're like the daughter I never had." After Judy thought Ross had died, she tells him she thought she was childless, only for him to remind her that she still has Monica. Monica is constantly criticized by her mother, while Ross is the golden child.
Apparently this is due to the fact that before Ross' birth, Judy was thought to be infertile, and Ross was thus referred to as a "medical marvel", although this conflicts with an episode where Ross' pre-marital conception was said to be due to a faulty diaphragm. Ross' room was maintained "as a shrine" until the house was sold, while Monica's room was quickly converted to a gym. To a lesser extent, Jack Geller also showed this favoritism. In one episode, when Ross and Monica went to pick up their childhood possessions before the family home was sold, Ross noticed that the boxes containing Monica's possessions had been used to protect Jack's Porsche from flooding, and were thus ruined. Feeling guilty, Jack gave Monica the Porsche as compensation. Jack and Judy also spend the money meant for Monica's wedding on a beach house.
- Ross and Monica's Sibling Rivalry: Ross and Monica often fall back into petty sibling rivalry when they are together. On one Thanksgiving, Monica and Ross play in a football game with the rest of the friends. Although everyone takes part in the game, the main battle is between Monica and Ross to gain possession of the "Geller Cup." Once, when Monica was thinking of having a baby through artificial insemination, Ross tried to scare her out of it by saying their father would be mad. Other times, Ross would threaten to "tell Mom" about something Monica did.
- Ugly Naked Guy: An obese, nude hermit who engages in odd habits in the "privacy" of his apartment across the street from Monica's. One of the gang often notices something going on in his apartment and cries out, "Eww, Ugly Naked Guy is..." and describes the usually strange act to the others, who then crowd around the window to a chorus of "Ewwwww." In "The One with the Flashback", set a year before the pilot, Phoebe and Ross have a conversation that goes as follows: Phoebe: "Aww, that is so unfortunate." Ross: "What?" Phoebe: "Cute Naked Guy is really starting to put on weight." When Rachel's mother sees him she calls him "an unattractive nude man." In Season 5, Ugly Naked Guy decides to move out and sublet his apartment, and Ross rents it so he can live across the street from his sister. Ross persuades Ugly Naked Guy to give him the apartment by hanging out with him there, also in the buff, much to the astonishment of everyone else, watching from across the street. Ironically, at the end of Season Five, Ross can see Rachel naked in the girls' apartment, reversing the roles.
- Mr. Heckles: A slightly off-kilter man who lives below Monica and Rachel's apartment and continually complains about the noise. He usually claims the noise is disturbing something he could have that the friends know he doesn't. For example, he once complained that "It's disturbing my cat," to which the friends replied, "Mr. Heckles, you don't have a cat!" Mr. Heckles says only, "I could have a cat!" When he dies in Season 2, he leaves all his possessions to the "noisy girls in the apartment above mine." In "The One with the Flashback," one exchange that comes to light is when Joey moves in with Chandler and Mr. Heckles complains that the noise disturbs his oboe practice. Phoebe replies that he does not play the oboe, and Heckles says, "I could play the oboe." Phoebe replies, "Then we'll have to ask YOU to keep it down." In addition, Chandler is forced to choose Joey as his new roommate because Heckles told the one Chandler selected, a photographer who invited him to the beach house of his porn-star sister, that "I'm Chandler's new roommate."
- Estelle: Estelle, the chain-smoking woman with a Brooklyn accent, is Joey's agent until she dies in Season 10. She is known for being a very bad agent. She once puts out her cigarette in her sandwich and sells four of Joey's tickets to his big movie premiere on eBay. By season 10, she is left with only two clients: Joey and Al Zeebooker, "the guy who eats paper" (who only appeared in one episode, "The One Where Estelle Dies").
- Ursula: Ursula's catchphrase is a sarcastic "Yeah... OK!" before a small laugh. She uses this quite often.
- Gunther: Gunther works at the coffee shop, and is often referred to as "the seventh friend." He is best known for his secret love for Rachel and his secret longing to be part of the gang.
- Janice: 'Oh...My...God!' is Janice's catchphrase which is often used as her introductory line in her later guest appearances. All of the Friends, at one point or another, have used the line.
Janice is also known for always appearing when least expected and always in really uncomfortable situations for the other characters. She appeared when Rachel was giving birth, when Monica and Chandler were getting fertility tests, and when they are looking for a new house.
- Gunther's fondness of Rachel: When Gunther appears in an episode, it often involves his secret crush on Rachel, who remains oblivious to his feelings until the series finale. In a Season 8 episode, she even believes that he is gay when she thanks him by saying, "Some day you are gonna make some man the luckiest guy in the world." His obsession with Rachel is evident in the episode where Chandler breaks up with Janice so she can give her marriage another try. When Gunther sees Chandler with Janice's gold-colored shoe in his hand, he observes, "Rachel has those in burgundy." This obsession is also obvious when he buys all the items Rachel came into contact with in Ross's apartment, when he buys Rachel's cat and invites her to come over any time to see it, and again when he overhears Rachel talking about how she could sleep with the next guy she sees and he comes running toward her but falls at the last moment. In "The One with the Fake Party", Gunther tells Emily that Rachel is his girlfriend. In "The One with the Tiny T-Shirt", Gunther causes an off-screen commotion in the kitchen of the coffeehouse after Mark confesses that he likes Rachel, afterwards claiming that he "dropped a cup."
- The One with/where/without/after/at/in the...: Almost every episode name starts with these three words, which is referred to as "TOW" in TV guides. This is in reference to the fact that most sitcoms do not display the title of their episodes, so fans must discuss the main plot points with each other when referring to specific episodes. The only exceptions are the first episode, "The Pilot" (although this is sometimes called "The One Where It All Began" or "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate"), and the final episode, "The Last One." In addition, the centenary episode is called "The One Hundredth". (In the French version, "The One" does not refer to the episode but to one character. For example, "The Last One" becomes "Ceux qui s'en allaient", or "The Ones Who Went Away."
- The Magna Doodle: The Fisher-Price Magna Doodle on Joey and Chandler's front door first appears in "The One with the Hypnosis Tape." Throughout the rest of the series it is the source of many hidden gags, as it almost always has something humorously written or drawn on it. However the Magna Doodle was also used to display commemorative messages after the September 11 attacks. Joey still has the Magna Doodle at his new L.A. apartment on Joey, next to his front door.
- "Giving the finger": When they were kids, Ross came up with an alternative way to give Monica the finger when their parents were around. Both hands, formed into fists, would pound together sideways in front of the person two times quickly. Ross is first seen using this on Rachel in "The One with Joey's New Girlfriend", and when Rachel asks what it means, Monica explains. Later in the same episode, it is revealed that they also have another alternative to cursing that includes grabbing the neck with your elbows sticking out and waving your elbows towards the other person, although it is never explained exactly what it is an alternative to. (It could simply be meant for increased emphasis, like a double-finger.) Though everyone makes fun of the alternative finger gesture when it is first introduced, in later episodes the characters use the gag independent of its context here. This is largely because as a network television show, Friends cannot show characters giving the finger, and the alternative gesture makes a useful and humorous substitute.
- "Sticky Fingers": The Friends often steal money from each other. Monica will pick up any cash she sees laying around at Ross' place (as Rachel does in "The One with the Ride-Along"), Phoebe picks Monica's pocket for "seed money" for Monica's bridal shower, and Rachel steals money from Ross's wallet while also stealing the keys to Monica's Porsche, calling the money alimony. All of them are aware of this, like when Ross asks "Was Monica here (In his apartment)? Yeah, I want my money back."
- Porn: The men of the show sometimes discussed or hinted at having watched pornography. This is most notable in "The One with the Free Porn", when Chandler and Joey discover that the porn channel on their cable is unscrambled and they spend most of the episode watching free porn. This leads to the other characters also thinking constantly about porn, as Rachel is unknowingly singing the theme to "Good Will Humping", and Monica's fantasy about Ross meeting his girlfriend Emily at the airport turns into a sexual encounter involving a stewardess, ending with the comment, "I've been watching too much porn!" The guys finally turn off the porn when they realize how surprised they are that bank clerks don't ask them for sex in a vault, or when pizza delivery girls don't hit on them. During the eighth season, Monica gives Chandler porn for Valentine's Day, but it becomes switched with a tape of Phoebe's friend giving birth. Chandler and Monica become very unaroused, and when Rachel ends up watching the porn, thinking it is the birth tape, she remarks, "Maybe they're showing how she got pregnant". In another episode, Joey shockingly finds an adult film starring Phoebe. After much debate as to the propriety of it, the friends watch the movie and discover, because the actress has a tattoo, that the porn star is Phoebe's twin sister, Ursula, using her sister's name. (The writing on the box reads, "Phoebe Buffay in: Buffay the Vampire Layer.") During the apartment switch in Season 4, Monica tries to lure the gang over to her new apartment with baked goods and Playboy Magazine, prompting Ross to say, "Cookies and porn? You're the best Mom ever!" In Season 2, one of Joey's first jobs is revealed to have been in a porn movie. Apparently he could not go through with it and got a role as a technician who told the people having intercourse on the copier that it was bad for the paper tray. When Joey struggles to find work as an actor, his agent Estelle sometimes asks him about doing gay porn. Also, in "The One with the Sharks", when Monica decides to pay Chandler a visit to his hotel room in Tulsa. Before she arrives, Chandler decides to watch some pay-per-view porn. As he is pleasuring himself, Monica enters the room, just as Chandler changes the channel to a documentary about sharks, leaving her thinking Chandler is aroused by sharks. Also, when Monica becomes very angry when a cousin of hers neglects to invite her to her wedding but invites Ross, she insists that Ross bring her as a guest. When she is just about to go up to the cousin in question and give out to her, Ross tries to hold her back but all Monica has to do is remind Ross that the cousin in question "found your Playboys and showed them to Mom."
- Strip Clubs: The men, especially Chandler, also periodically talk about strip joints. In "The One with Joey's Dirty Day", Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe take Chandler to a strip joint to help him get over his break-up with Kathy. In another episode, Chandler accidentally revealed that he bumped into his boss at a strip club; after realizing that Monica was not amused, he tried to recover by claiming it was a "strip church." In an interview, Matthew Perry revealed that one idea for an episode that he rejected was one in which Chandler kept coming back to a male strip club because he liked the sandwiches.
- Spoofs: A running gag throughout all seasons of Friends sees the group parodying certain "typical" situations. For example:
- Ross cutting off Monica's supply of Girl Scout Cookies is played like a drug addict begging for a fix from their dealer, with Ross first giving Monica a box for free, later telling Monica he is "cutting her off" because it's getting "too dangerous".
- Monica confessing to Rachel that she went shopping at Bloomingdales with Julie is played like a boyfriend confessing to an affair. Chandler terms this as "It's like cheating on Rachel in her house of worship!" Monica uses lines like "We only did it once, and I was thinking of you the whole time...", "It didn't mean anything", "One thing led to another, and before I realized what was happening, we were...shopping".
- When Monica breaks up with Alan, it is played as if the rest of the Friends are being dumped, with each character asking typical questions like "Is it something I said?" and "But I can change!" Further, Rachel says, "The holidays are coming up. I wanted Alan to meet my family."
- In The One with the Ball when Phoebe's police officer boyfriend Gary realises Phoebe hasn't been honest about finding apartments for them, the resulting conversation where Gary gets her to confess in an interview room, is played as if it were an actual police interrogation.
- In The One with Phoebe's Husband Phoebe's formerly gay Canadian husband Duncan (who married her to get a green card) needs to divorce Phoebe because he wants to get married to another woman. Duncan confessing to Phoebe that he's straight is played as though he is actually 'coming out' as gay; "I suppose on some level I always knew I was straight".
- In The One with a Chick. And a Duck. Chandler argues that Joey always leaves him to watch the chick, and the conversation is played as a married couple arguing.
- Similarly, in The One Where Eddie Moves In, Joey reacts angrily to the changes Chandler's new roommate, Eddie, has made after Joey moves out, such as his new style of making eggs and the new place he puts the mail. "Whose eggs do you like better, his or mine?" Joey challenges. "You took your eggs and you left!" Chandler exclaims, clearly parodying a romantic couple's breakup and one person's subsequent new partner. "Did you really expect me to never find new eggs?"
- Kissing: Almost all of the friends have kissed all of the other friends. The only combinations that haven't happened are Monica/Phoebe and Ross/Chandler. Some examples are below:
- Ross - They kissed many times when they were dating.
- Monica - They kissed (off screen) for one minute to win back their apartment from Joey and Chandler.
- Joey - They kissed on New Years in Season Five, and then dated in Season Nine/Ten
- Chandler - Chandler kissed Rachel twice to throw her off the scent after she saw him kiss Monica
- Phoebe - Phoebe kissed Rachel to see what all the fuss was about after Winona Ryder kissed her
- Rachel - As above
- Monica - Ross was Monica's 'Midnight Mystery Kisser' in college when he thought she was Rachel
- Joey - Ross kissed Joey so he could practice for an acting part (but the audition was already over)
- Phoebe - They kissed on New Year's in Season Five
- Ross - As above
- Rachel - As above
- Joey - Joey had a dream that he and Monica were dating
- Chandler - They dated and married
- Ross - As above
- Rachel - As above
- Monica - As above
- Chandler - Joey kissed Chandler on New Year's when Chandler was frustrated that no one else would
- Phoebe - Joey gave Phoebe her perfect kiss which was on her list of things to do by 30. Phoebe also kissed Joey while pretending to be Ursula
- Rachel - As above
- Monica - As above
- Joey - As above
- Phoebe - Chandler kissed Phoebe twice to throw her off the scent after she saw him kiss Monica
- Ross - As above
- Rachel - As above
- Joey - As above
- Chandler - As above