The dark, depressing Friends fan theories have been coming out of the woodwork recently. While many have lamented these twisted fan theories for tarnishing our beloved sitcom, I personally believe that a good fan theory is good for the soul (and for keeping our TV-watching brains in tip-top shape for analysis). Hopefully I won't be stoned to death by a mob of angry Friends fans for this but I have compiled some of the most intriguing Friends fan theories that the internet has to offer and, whether you love them or hate them, you can't deny that they make you re-think everything you think you know about your favorite Friends.
It's important to remember that, even though these are just fictional characters living in a made up world, they are supposed to feel like real living, breathing, flawed humans. It's always good to take a step back and realize that these characters weren't intended to be put on a pedestal. They are supposed to make us reflect on ourselves, to contemplate the beauty of our flaws (and our favorite Friends' flaws) and appreciate the imperfect nature of human existence.
Life isn't always perfect and even in our favorite fictional worlds, everything won't always be bright and cheery. So, in my Debbie Downer pièce de résistance, here are some of my favorite Friends fan theories from around the web.
1. Friends Was All A Figment Of Phoebe's Deranged Mind
This less-than-chipper Friends fan theory by Twitter user @strnks has taken the internet by storm and given our favorite Friends a much bleaker alternate ending.
2. Ross Lost Custody of Ben
The fact that Ross was kind of the worst on Friends makes this one a tad bit easier to accept as a viable possibility. As Reddit user SmokingCage proposed, the sudden disappearance of Ben in the show in Season 8 can be attributed to one thing: Ross lost custody of Ben. SmokingCage argues that all of the signs are there. Ross was on a downward spiral. His rage was out of control (hence the "moistmaker" incident). Ben wasn't at Ross' wedding to Emily. When Emma was born, Jack proclaims, "My first grandchild!" There's no mention of a relationship between Ben and Emma. And, to top it off, Ross was just kind of a crappy dad. This doesn't seem so far-fetched to me.
3. Gunther Reserved The Couch For The Gang At Central Perk So He Could See More of Rachel
This one is pretty simple (and actually is pretty believable). Reddit user TheLuckyGal posted a fan theory on the subreddit r/FanTheories arguing that the gang always got to sit on the couch because Gunther always reserved it for them as an excuse to be close to Rachel. Indeed, there are several episodes where a "Reserved" sign is visible sitting on the table in front of the couch. This theory seems pretty spot on. How else would they always get to sit on the couch?
4. Ross Was A Meninist
I hate to add more Ross hate to this article but this theory seems plausible too. Beejoli Shah made an excellent case for this in an article for The Frisky in which she argued that Ross was a Men's Rights Activist. The evidence for this is plentiful. Ross often objectified women. (Remember when he almost exclusively referred to the girl he cheated on Rachel with as "the hot girl from the copy place"?) Ross was also the king of mansplaining, as evidenced by the time he went for a spray tan and ended up half brown and half white because he refused to let the tanning salon associate explain to him what to do. Then there's his glaringly problematic possessive jealousy of Rachel, as well as his tendency to be threatened by women who are more successful than him. Not a good look, Ross.
5. Phoebe Was A Secret Genius
In the opinion of Reddit user BigGrayBeast, Phoebe Buffay is a lowkey genius. In my opinion, I think BigGrayBeast is spot-on with this fan theory. As BigGrayBeast points out, in one episode, Phoebe makes Ross doubt his own convictions when she makes an argument about evolution. On top of this, Phoebe obviously had to be pretty smart to survive on the streets and she definitely possesses a great amount of knowledge despite her lack of an education. She knows how to speak both French and Italian, she arguably has some psychic powers, and as is the case in "The One That Could Have Been," Phoebe had some business savvy in her.
6. Monica Wasn't Jack's Daughter
It's no secret that the Geller's favored Ross (but he was a medical marvel! Who can blame them?) Reddit user RiomHaire, however, argues that Judy Geller's harsh attitude towards Monica stemmed from deeper-seated issues. RiomHaire argues that Monica was the love child of Judy Geller and another man. Every time Judy looks at Monica, she's reminded of her past indiscretions. Thus, Judy is less-than-kind to Monica. This could explain why Ross is more into his Jewish roots (perhaps Monica's real father wasn't Jewish).
This is all conjecture, but it just goes to show, nothing is ever as simple as it seems.
Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (5)