From continuity errors to Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Joey and Chandler's ever-changing birthdays, here are mistakes devoted fans have pinpointed while binge-watching

By Michele Corriston
December 23, 2019 04:20 PM
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When 2019 ends, so will Netflix subscribers’ access to Friends.

NBC’s classic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry as young adults navigating New York City aired from 1994-2005. In the years since, new generations have binged the beloved sitcom. But with more viewership comes higher scrutiny; along with questions about diversity and representation, millennials have raised some pretty glaring production gaffes.

Ahead of the May 2020 launch of WarnerMedia’s streamer HBO Max — which will eventually house the comedy — Friends is leaving Netflix on Jan. 1. As fans re-watch all 10 seasons to prepare to bid their Friends farewell (for now), here are some of the biggest discrepancies to dissect.

Carol looks … different

Ross’ lesbian ex-wife is played by Anita Barone for the character’s first two appearances in season 1. But from episode 9 through the rest of the series, Jane Sibbet takes over.

David Schwimmer and Anita Barone
Jessica Hecht (left) and Jane Sibbet

Wait, where do the friends live?

The apartment numbers change after season 1 because the writers realized the original numbers — 5 for Rachel and Monica and 4 for Joey and Chandler — would mean they live on the first floor, despite the stairwell always visible in the hallway. Starting in season 2, Rachel and Monica live in unit 20, and Joey and Chandler call 19 home.

The door to Monica and Rachel’s apartment in season 1
The door to Monica and Rachel’s apartment in season 2

Structural support

At the beginning of Friends, there’s a rather noticeable wooden beam in Monica’s apartment near the entryway and kitchen. The framework disappears early on — okay, maybe the gang did some construction work — but then re-appears periodically. The pattern is due to an entirely behind-the-scenes reason: legendary director James Burrows preferred the set accent, and whenever he returned for an episode, the beam was back, according to Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era by Saul Austerliz.

The beam in Monica and Rachel’s apartment
The beam in Monica and Rachel’s apartment

Happy Birthday?

Everyone’s ages and birthdays are inconsistent. In “The One Where Emma Cries” (season 9, episode 2), Ross says his birthday is Oct. 18 — five years after “The One with Joey’s New Girlfriend,” when he said it was in December. During that same episode, Rachel says her birthday in May 5, but in “The One with Chandler’s Dad” (season 7, episode 22), a police officer (played by Mark Consuelos!) notes that she’s an Aquarius. (For the astrology nerds out there, the May birthday would make her a Taurus.) And overall, no one’s ages make sense: Ross refers to himself as 29 throughout seasons 3, 4 and 5, and Joey is supposedly the youngest of the crew, though the flashbacks in “The One Where They All Turn Thirty” (season 7, episode 14) show him dreadfully turning 31 before Rachel is even 30.

Rachel’s 30th birthday party

When did Rachel meet Chandler?

“Everybody, this is Rachel, another Lincoln High survivor,” Monica tells the group after the soaking-wet runaway bride wanders into Central Perk in the pilot. She’s introduced to everyone besides Ross (who harbored a high school crush on her), seemingly for the first time. Or was it? In “The One with the Flashback” (season 3, episode 6), we find out they a mustachioed Chandler hit on a recently engaged Rachel at the bar that eventually became Central Perk. And in “The One with All the Thanksgivings” (season 5, episode 8), we learn they crossed paths even earlier during their high school/college years at two of the Gellars’ Thanksgiving dinners.

Matthew Perry (center left) and Jennifer Aniston (center right) in a flashback
From left: Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston in a flashback

That’s not your friend …

In Hollywood, body doubles are often employed to stand in for actors during takes where they don’t have lines, but their character needs to be vaguely seen interacting with their costars. Eagle-eyed viewers have noted that these doubles sometimes don’t blend in as well as they should, and the framing of the shots actually includes their faces. In “The One with Rachel’s Date” (season 8, episode 5), Phoebe is talking to Monica on the Central Perk one minute and a brunette who looks nothing like her the next. In “The One with the Mugging” (season 9, episode 15), Rachel’s stand-in doesn’t even bother to wear a similar outfit.

Lisa Kurdow (left) and Courteney Cox
Lisa Kudrow (left) and Courtney Cox’s double
Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc
Jennifer Aniston’s double and Matt LeBlanc

Clothing continuity

Outfits are changed or askew from shot to shot. In “The One Where Ross Finds Out” (season 2, episode 7), Rachel’s necklace is somehow clasped off her throat and placed gingerly on her waitress tray within seconds.

Courteney Cox (left) and Jennifer Aniston wearing a necklace
Jennifer Aniston’s necklace is gone

RELATED VIDEO: Courteney Cox Shares Rare Photo of Matthew Perry as the Friends Stars Reunite

Plot holes

Monica claims she’s allergic to cats in season 2, one episode after lovingly remembering her childhood pet, Fluffy Meowington, without any mention of sneezes or hives. In “The One with Ross’ Denial” (season 6, episode 3), Chandler and Monica argue over what to do with their spare bedroom: She wants a frilly guest room filled with antiques, and he’d prefer a video-game room. “You can buy old arcade games like Space Invaders and Asteroids for $200. The real ones, the big, big, big ones.” She shoots him down immediately. “I just don’t think arcade games go in the beautiful guest room.” But by “The One Where Joey Dates Rachel” (season 8, episode 12), both spouses are enthralled by Phoebe’s belated wedding gift of a giant Ms. Pac-Man machine. “Oh, well maybe we can put it in the guest bedroom!” Monica suggests sunnily, before waxing poetic about her childhood days spent at the arcade. Either Mrs. Chandler Bing has learned the art of compromise, or the writers realized her competitive nature would make for a hilarious episode years after they decided she’d be anti-arcade.

Courteney Cox