For a while now, there have been ideas circulating online that may make fans rethink a certain beloved '90s sitcom, and the latest Friends fan theory about Rachel Green is no different. It all started on Friday morning with a tweet featuring a picture from the Season 4 DVD box set, which shows Rachel as the only character with her eyes open. Meanwhile, the rest of the characters look like they're asleep.
Looking for answers concerning this worrisome image, Twitter user Ted Fox sent a desperate request for Friends theories, referring to the situation as #FriendsGate. And wow, did Twitter deliver. While there were countless responses and a great deal of tongue-in-cheek, meta-theorizing going on (that perhaps proves how ubiquitous certain fan theories about TV shows have become), there was one wild theory that stood out.
In a sort of a Jacob's Ladder style twist, a user by the name of Phil Dunne suggested his theory that the entirety of Friends was an anxiety dream of Rachel's. One that she had on the eve of her wedding to Barry, meaning that every episode may have been a fantasy. Even Gunther. And this may be the sort of theory that could plunge you headfirst into an existential crisis, force you to second guess every episode of Friends, and maybe even your own existence. I mean, if Friends supposedly took place in someone's head, then are we all just in someone's dream, too? Best not to think about it...
If you want to speculate for yourself, below is Dunne's theory all fleshed out.
If this sounds a little familiar, that's probably because it echoes a similar, yet vastly darker, theory from 2015 that Friends all took place in Phoebe's mind. Originally posted by Strnks on Twitter, the theory presented the idea that all 10 seasons of the show were a feverish fantasy concocted by a drug-addicted, homeless Phoebe — much in the same way that this new theory suggests that Friends was a fantasy for Rachel to escape her trauma of marrying the wrong man.
While the Phoebe theory was so ludicrously sinister for a lighthearted comedy that it felt instantly compelling, this new theory about Rachel feels a touch too far. Seriously, do fans actually need more theories to explain or understand such a simple, entertaining show like Friends? They really don't, no matter how fun or silly these theories can be.
Still, this particular theory about Rachel proves that the potential for fan theories about Friends, or just about any show, are absolutely enormous and can go just about anywhere.
For instance, if Friends was nothing but an anxiety dream of Rachel's, then maybe the whole show was just a feverish delusion of Joey's brought on by food poisoning from eating Rachel's dreadful Thanksgiving trifle. Or maybe every episode was the construct of Gunther's imagination who longed to be pals with his six favorite customers, but could only imagine what their lives were like, so he wrote about them daily in his journal. Or maybe it's just a show about six best pals living in New York, how about that? That last one is going to really catch on.