7 Friends Storylines That Wouldn’t Happen in the 21st Century

In case you missed it: UK Netflix is now streaming all seasons of Friends. For anyone who’s a fan of the show, this is huge. Despite ending fourteen years ago, people are still obsessed with it. Whether it’s the 90s nostalgia, the endless amounts of perfect outfits, or the crappy puns that still make you laugh – Friends is as popular today as it ever has been. I was eight when it ended, I’ve still seen every episode at least ten times. I firmly believe that a key factor for the show’s success is largely attributed to the era it was set in. Can you remember ‘The One Where They All Spend Thanksgiving Trying to Get the Perfect Boomerang’? No? That’s because Friends was filmed before everyone had a smart phone glued to their hand 24/7. Here are 7 Friends storylines that wouldn’t happen nowadays.

  1. The One Where the Group Discover “Phoebe” – aka Ursula’s – Porn Movie

While buying VHS tapes of porn was big in the 90s, no one rents porn from an adult video store anymore! In Friends, Chandler and Joey stumble across a porno starring Ursula whilst browsing in a store. Nowadays, this just isn’t a thing. There are millions of porn videos on the internet, and whether or not this is psychologically damaging, it has eradicated the need for people to actively go out and buy porn. We can add Monica catching Chandler “giving himself a treat” in the hotel room to this list as well (thank god).


  1. The One Where Monica Busts Chandler for Smoking Inside his Tulsa Office

The couple’s relationship was under a lot of stress, what with Chandler living in Tulsa and their inability to conceive a child. Monica finds out Chandler has smoked two cartons over a two-day period (pretty impressive) after he discovers the smoking laws in Tulsa permit indoor smoking in offices. In 2018, however, these laws have been changed, meaning you can no longer smoke in workspaces.


  1. The One Where Ross Has a Problem With the Male Nanny (and his son playing with Barbies)

Why wouldn’t you want Freddie Prinze Jr. to care for your child?! Also, who cares if your son wants to play with Barbies? These plotlines are riddled with problems – primarily as I’m disappointed we didn’t see more of young Freddie. It’s the 21st century, Ross. Come on.


  1. The One Where Ross Gets a Dodgy Spray Tan

Fair play, when Friends first aired, fake tan was just coming into its element, and the majority of spray tans were orange and botched. However, as someone who spends pretty much every Thursday night marinating in tan, I can guarantee that it’s virtually impossible to screw it up. Tanning booths have easy to follow instructions – and they’ve even invented a fake tan remover.


  1. The One Where the Doctor is Obsessed with Fonzie

I had to search online to find out who ‘Fonzie’ is – turns out he’s a character in the sitcom Happy Days. I’m sure that to some people, that makes sense. Maybe it’s an American thing? Maybe I’m too young to get it? All I know that in the 21st century, the thought of a doctor going to deliver Phoebe’s triplets being unable to do a professional job because he’s obsessed with Fonzie is so, so ridiculous. I might be totally missing the mark here, but I just don’t get it.


  1. The One Where Rachel and Monica Delete Ross’ Answerphone Message

Well, this could still happen, but only if they were on his mobile. Nowadays, people rarely use landlines – especially not for important messages, such as Emily calling Ross the night before her marriage, questioning if they ever should’ve broken up. In 2018, Emily would’ve called Ross on his mobile, which incidentally would have changed the whole plotline. This also applies for Monica accidentally recording herself onto Richard’s answerphone message – something which I cringe at every time I watch.


  1. The One Where They Live in New York City While Skint

Okay, not all the characters are skint. But Joey often goes months without working, Monica has a stint where she becomes self-employed, and Rachel lives on a waitress’ salary for half the show – and still manages to have amazing outfits. Another blogger recently analysed how much Carrie from SATC’s lifestyle would cost – I imagine Rachel Green’s would be in the same area. In today’s economic climate, the likelihood that they’d be able to live in New York while unemployed is slim.


Relive the 90s nostalgia when Trump was just a random billionaire and double-denim was acceptable by watching Friends, now streaming on Netflix.

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