I recently had an abundance of free time due to having come down with what can only be described as a cold from hell, so I used that time wisely by rewatching a bunch of Friends. I hadn’t watched that many episodes in succession since I was a kid and, while it was entertaining between sneezing and dying of the plague, I found myself annoyed and frustrated and disappointed more than a few times. I felt like I was finding out that everyone I’ve known and loved has turned out to be jerks. I still am grieving for my youth when I thought Friends was progressive and hilarious and not at all offensive or unrealistic. TO BE YOUNG AND STUPID AGAIN. Don’t you ever miss the days of not knowing any better? Me too, man. Me too.
As a kid, I loved this show. I was obsessed. Rewatching as an adult? Hmmmmmmm. Let’s dissect the differences, shall we?
(PS: This is like 90% a dramatic reenactment of my feelings. Think of this post as like a Lifetime version of my feelings. Please do not send me hate mail. I will only respond to you with hilarious GIFs from my favorite Friends episodes. Ok, bye.)
1. Central Perk
Kid: That seems so fun, to just hang out in a coffee shop all day with your friends. Adult life looks great!
Adult: No. Nope. Lies. All lies. There’s no way I could hang out in a coffee shop for five hours a day and still work out, eat healthy, have a clean apartment, achieve my goals, or be a functioning human being. NOPE.
2. Living in New York
Kid: New York is where all your hopes and dreams go to flourish and live and be amazing.
Adult: New York is where all your money goes to die and this show is so unrealistic.
3. Thoughts on Phoebe
Kid: She’s pretty weird and I don’t understand most of her jokes. Hard pass on Phoebe. Least favorite.
Adult: LOVE. HER. I get her on a spiritual level. She is the only Friend who actually makes sense and is realistic. FAVORITE.
4. Thoughts on Rachel
Kid: HER HAIR.
Adult: HER HAIR.
5. Thoughts on Ross
Kid: He’s kinda spazzy but he’s so grown up and mature. Plus, pivot! Unagi! These are hilarious!
Adult: He is constantly a hot mess. He has nothing together. He is not mature. He is not grown. He’s jealous and possessive and is always fucking up. Oh my god, Ross, SIT DOWN FOR LIKE TWO EPISODES AND TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES.
6. Thoughts on Chandler
Kid: THE BEST EVER THE FAVORITE MISS CHANANDLER BONG HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Adult: Actual worst friend. Screwed over Joey for Kathy (a box cannot undo that betrayal!). Lied to Janice about moving to Yemen (dick!). And then slept with his best friend’s sister (rude!). Could he be any worse?
7. Thoughts on Joey
Kid: Awwww Joey, how YOU doinnnnnn, god he’s so lovable!
Adult: Dude, Joey, Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe are your best friends. Are you really going to try to sleep with them for ten full fucking seasons? CREEPY.
8. Thoughts on Monica
Kid: Aw, she got thin and then her life was so much better!
Adult: God, they really hate fat people on this show.
9. Thoughts on Janice
Kid: That voice! Totally understandable why none of them liked her.
Adult: JANICE WAS THE ONLY NORMAL ONE. Yeah, her voice was annoying, but she had her shit together and was the best girlfriend ever. #teamjanice
10. Alcohol consumption
Kid: Wow, they have so much fun without drinking.
Adult: This is not a realistic portrayal of life in your twenties. Where are the many, many drunken mistakes? Hangovers? Nothing? YEAH OKAY.
11. Joey’s womanizing
Kid: He’s so lovable! Awwww Joey just loves so much.
Adult: Please get tested, Joey. Also, there’s no way you lasted ten seasons of rampant promiscuity and you do not have an illegitimate child or two (or three). Surprise, Joey, you’re a dad somewhere… probably.
Kid: God, New York seems affordable. If Rachel can live off a coffee shop waitressing salary, so can I!
Adult: Hahahahahhahahahahahhaahahahahahahahahha. Stop the lies, Friends.
13. Their lifestyle
Kid: Just six super unambitious white people sitting around getting their dream jobs by exerting absolutely no effort whatsoever. LIFE GOALS.
Adult: THAT’S NOT HOW ANY OF THIS WORKS.
14. Their age
Kid: They are so old and adult-like and cool.
Adult: They are my age now and I feel like I’m watching an unrealistic portrayal of adulthood. It’s still really funny, but it’s also kind of depressing.
15. Monica and Rachel’s apartment
Kid: I dream of moving into this apartment one day. BRB applying to college at NYU.
Adult: So, with my budget and salary, I can afford to share a walk-in closet with another person? COOL COOL COOL.
Kid: Gunther is weird and sort of creepy and not cute!
Adult: Eh, I’d do him.
17. The mysterious absence of any diversity whatsoever
Adult: Are you fucking kidding me? They live in New York City and not one of them has friends or lovers of different races? REALLY? Just Julie who Ross meets IN CHINA and Aisha Tyler towards the end when viewers were probably like, hey, diversity, ever hear of it?
18. Phoebe’s taste in men
Kid: I really didn’t like Phoebe as a kid, so who knows? I like Paul Rudd though, he’s funny!
Adult: I’m sorry, but realistic Phoebe would have dated men of all different races. She was a lover of all. How did she end up with the whitest guy ever, Paul Rudd? COME ON. In what Universe did Phoebe not date like twenty hot guys of all different shapes, sizes, and races? Not buying it.
19. Whether or not they were on a break
Kid: Come on, Rachel, forgive him. You guys were on a break, after all…
Adult: Dude, Ross, you waited like ten years to finally date Rachel and you can’t even fight for her longer than half a day? BYE ROSS.
20. Their friendship
Adult: It’s a lot of hanging out… Doesn’t anyone like to be alone? What, nobody on Friends was an introvert for god’s sakes?
Kid: I love them all and don’t even understand stereotypes yet, life is bliss!
Adult: As a woman, I feel personally victimized by the episode where Phoebe, Rachel, and Monica wear wedding dresses like the worst female stereotypes ever.
22. Rampant objectifying of women like oh my god sooooo much
Kid: Again, I am so young and blissful!
Adult: Some episodes actually make me cringe because of how obviously and overtly women are being objectified. Like, I get it, I’m into a hot guy or girl as much as the next person, but jfc.
“Do you want to go down to the copy place and stare at the hot girl with the belly button ring?”
Ew, don’t do that.
“I don’t want to hang out all night with your fat sister.”
“YASMINE BLEETH IS RUNNING!!!! SHE’S RUNNING!!! RUN, YASMINE, RUN!”
Not to get all Feminism-y on you but, guys? CHILL OUT. YOU’RE BEING SUPER CREEPY.
23. Whether or not it’s your favorite show
Kid: IT IS! ALWAYS.
Adult: Eh, it still is among my favorite shows, but it’s sort of tainted now by being an adult. I feel like I just realized all my favorite people in the world are actually the worst people in the world. But I mean, it’s still funny? I love it, still? Sorry? I’m a bitter pill now? Please still like me?