10 'Friends' Episodes That Would Never Happen If the Show Premiered Today

Joey would have never bought that encyclopedia

Photo: Courtesy Everett Collection

Twenty-three years after Friends‘ original debut — on Sept. 22, 1994 — the show still holds up — but some of its storylines haven’t quite stood the test of time. Here are ten examples.

1. Monica recording over Richard’s voicemail greeting on “The One Where No One’s Ready”

Monica, wallowing and obsessing over her breakup with Richard, calls into his voicemail to play the gang a message she left for him in a weak moment. She then hears a message a woman left for him, continues to freak out, deletes it, and then calls him back to leave an apology for invading his privacy in the first place. But instead of leaving a voicemail, she tapes over his outgoing message. Meaning that anyone who gets his answering machine hears Monica talking about getting her period and hacking into her ex’s voicemail.

In 2017, you don’t call your voicemail from another person’s phone. And no one really leaves voicemails anymore either way. Instead, she’d probably send a few ill-advised texts, though she’d never realize that another woman (who actually happens to be his daughter) is communicating with him.

2. Joey and Chandler freaking out over free porn on “The One With the Free Porn”

When Joey and Chandler change the channel, stumbling on free porn, they’re so excited that it’s (literally) all they watch for days, worrying that if they turn off the channel, the free porn will disappear.

It’s 2017. We have the internet. There is no lack of free porn in the world.

3. Rachel misses her flight to Vail because it’s locked inside their apartment in “The One Where Underdog Gets Away”

Her paper plane ticket, which cannot be reprinted, is locked inside her and Monica’s apartment after they head up to their roof (also, their already dreamy apartment has roof access?!) to see the escaped Underdog float from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade make its way across the city.

Today, Rachel could just head to the airport and get her ticket reprinted at a kiosk. Or even more likely, she’d already have it on her phone, which she would never let of her sight — let alone locked in an apartment.

4. Janice walking Chandler to his gate in Yemen in “The One With All the Rugby”

Unless Janice also has a ticket to Yemen, she’s not getting past security. Really, the entire making-up-a-move-to-Yemen plot couldn’t have happened in 2017. Janice would have obviously looked up 15 Yemen Road, Yemen, on Google Maps, seen that the address doesn’t exist, and have foiled Chandler’s not-so-well-thought-out plan.

5. Rachel taking Emily’s ticket on the trip to Greece in “The One After Ross Says Rachel”

When Emily is (rightfully) furious with Ross after he says Rachel’s name at the altar, it seems as though she’s going to skip out on their Grecian honeymoon. So, Ross invites Rachel to come with him — as friends. Emily then arrives at the airport, sees that Rachel is taking her place on the honeymoon

None of this could happen today. (In fact, could really have happened then?) You can’t change the name on a plane ticket without paying a hefty fee, and two people can’t get through security with the same ticket — so how did both Rachel and Emily get to the gate? The whole scenario is utterly impossible today.

6. Getting stranded on the way to their ski trip in “The One Without the Ski Trip”

The group — sans Ross, who is still on the outs with Rachel after their breakup — takes Phoebe’s cab to her sister’s cabin for a ski trip. But when the cab runs out of gas, they have to call Ross to come bring them more. And then after they leave, his car battery dies.

Ross’s car battery wouldn’t die in 2017 because he wouldn’t have had to come bail the friends out of their gas-less pickle. They would have just called AAA on their cell phones, and the whole thing would have come to an anti-climatic ending.

7. Ursula posing as Phoebe in porn videos in “The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry”

Phoebe found out that her twin sister was using her name to work as a porn star when she saw the gang watching one of Ursula’s (many) videos after someone told them about the videos at the coffee shop.

Ursula wouldn’t have been able to get very fair with the same scheme in 2017. One quick Google search would have alerted Phoebe to the problem, so she could have solved it much earlier — or at least, collected a few more of Ursula’s porn paychecks.

8. Rachel wouldn’t leave Ross a drunk voicemail in “The One Where Ross Finds Out”

See #1. People don’t really leave voicemails anymore. And the drunk method of communication of choice for 99% of people is text. It only makes sense that Rachel would have told Ross that she’s “so over” him and “that’s called closure” over text, not in a slurred voice message.

Though we would miss the dramatic phone-in-the-ice-bucket finish.

9. There would be no Chloe from the copy place in “The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break”

One of the show’s biggest moments comes in the third season when Ross sleeps with Chloe, who works at the nearby copy place, while he and Rachel are “on a break” — though whether that break allowed for sleeping with other people remains unclear.

But Ross wouldn’t have had a chance to sleep with Chloe the copy girl in 2017 because Chloe wouldn’t work at the copy place — in all likelihood, the copy place wouldn’t even exist. “Copy places” aren’t as ubiquitous in 2017 as they were in the ’90s.

10. Joey wouldn’t have been conned by the encyclopedia salesman in “The One With The Cuffs”

In this episode, Joey spends what little money he does have on an encyclopedia — but just one book in the volume, “V.” Nowadays, even someone as dim as Joey would know that everything he needed to know about the Vietnam War, volcanoes, and everything else that starts with the letter “V” would be easily accessible on Google.

Related Articles