If The 'Friends' Pilot Was Set in 2015, Here's Everything That Would Be Different
As you and your rapidly dwindling social life are already well aware, all ten seasons of Friends arrived on Netflix on January 1. As if we all weren’t already struggling to get back to work after the holiday, now there’s a rampant case of “Friendsitis” circulating. Being that I am now legitimately a twenty-something — not an eight year-old girl — I thought it would be worth re-watching the series from the beginning.
In the Pilot episode, we come upon a group of twenty-somethings in a Manhattan coffee spot. After Ross — a bumbling and loveably awkward paleontologist — makes a pithy remark about the dissolution of his marriage (turns out Carol’s a lesbian), a young woman in a wedding gown comes (somewhat prophetically) bustling into the shop.
Super-rich Rachel, after running out on her wedding, has come to find her old high school pal Monica. Monica is the only person Rachel knows in NYC, and consequently, the only person she could reasonably run to after leaving some poor bro at the alter. As the rest of the gang — acerbic Chandler, goofy aspiring actor Joey, and hipster-before-hipsters were a thing Phoebe — looks on, Rachel makes a plea to her old BFF (who she didn’t even invite to her wedding, God) for a place to stay.
As I settled in to re-watch the pilot, I found myself wondering what it would look like if Friends was set in contemporary NYC. Here’s what I came up with.
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1. Forget the quaint corner coffee shop with a quirky interior — Central Perk would be a Starbucks by now.
2. Instead of gaping at Rachel when she runs in (in a sleek Jenny Packham dress instead of whatever '80s monstrosity she has on) everyone would whip out their phone to Snapchat it. She would go viral. There would be Vines. And gifs.
3. Joey wouldn’t need to be running off to auditions and doing repertory theatre — he’d already be a Youtube sensation. How You Doin' @joeytrib
4. Speaking of — when everyone heads back to Monica’s apartment and is watching some soap opera on cable, now, they’d be binge-watching Twin Peaks on Netflix or trying to suss out exactly when Grey’s Anatomy jumped the shark.
5. Rachel — whose presumable wealth puts her somewhere in the class of those girls on Gossip Girl — wouldn’t be talking to her father on the house phone. She’d be angrily texting him; her pleas rife with emoji. :((((((
6. When Pheebs tries to calm anxiety-attacking Rachel down, instead of singing 'My Favorite Things,' she’d open up her Spotify playlist entitled “Chillstep” and play her some relaxing Blackmill.
7. Monica's (5th) date with "Paul the Wine Guy" wouldn’t end with him tricking her into going to bed with him. 5th date? Puleeze. They’d have already had sex — tonight he’d just be tricking her into reenacting scenes from Fifty Shades.
8. I am convinced that Phoebe would be exactly the same.
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9. In the pilot, while Monica’s on her date, Rachel is hanging out back at the apartment clutching her wedding dress and watching TV. If this was present day she’d be in bed, wrapped in a Snuggie, watching American Horror Story, and tweeting to her followers. #RunawayBride
10. When Rachel says she's never made coffee before, that could still be true in 2015 ... unless using a Keurig counts as making coffee.
11. If this was present-day NYC, Chandler would be doing "data-entry" at a non-profit near Park Slope (with no health insurance). Monica’s job as a chef would be more likely be just a hostessing job at some God-awful trendy spot in the Village, and while Joey most certainly could be a struggling actor, he’d also be killin’ it down at Central Perk — I mean Starbucks — with Gunther (who would more or less be exactly the same character).
12. Also — let’s be honest here: there would be no “guys in the apartment across the hall” — all six of them would be cramped into a closet-sized studio and shamelessly sleeping together.
13. Rachel would fail to get a job because she lacks any work experience and no one would have sympathy for her.
14. There would be no point in Rachel cutting up her parent’s credit cards — you know she’d already have that sh*t memorized from all the online shopping she does at 2 a.m. on a Thursday.
15. At the end of the episode, Monica steps ceremoniously on creepy Paul’s watch. In 2015, that definitely wouldn't be a thing he owns. Unless it's a smartwatch, because he is creepy.
Images: NBC; Giphy