The One About F*R*I*E*N*D*S (part 1)

Let’s talk a little about our most beloved sitcom from the nineties (and naughties): F*R*I*E*N*D*S. Who doesn’t know the romantic adventures of Monica, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey? It’s hard to believe that the first episode aired almost 24 years ago. The show has stood the test of time however, and Netflix now gives us the chance to binge Friends in an okay-ish resolution.

There’s a lot, A LOT to talk about when it comes to Friends, and because I’m an expert, this post will be part one of an unspecified number of posts.

Recurring names

I started binging again recently and I came across some recurring names. This is some intense fangirl-stuff, mind you, after watching all ten seasons dozens of times and being able to talk along with most episodes, so don’t be alarmed. True Friends-fans will get the references though.

In real life you encounter people who have the same name, but in series this is a very rare occurance. You almost never see two Erics, for instance. (Although the name Eric For(e)man appears in both House and That 70’s Show.) Friends doesn’t shy away from reusing names however. It’s very possible some of these names pop up even more often, but these are the ones I could find so far. Let us know if you have spotted more!

1 Julio
Monica’s Italian fling from the diner and the cat Phoebe thinks is the spirit of her dead adoptive mom. Ross makes her take the cat back, but not before apologising to it.

2 Kate Miller
Joey’s curly haired crush who leaves for General Hospital and the nametag Rachel gets in Barbados.

3 Emily (three times)
The name Ross finds in the Big Book of Childrens Names when Rachel freaks out about how serious their relationship becomes and Ross’ English wife, who leaves him after he said the wrong name at the altar. Also, Rachel’s sister Amy thinks Emma’s name is ‘Emily’ at some point.

4 Mark
Rachel’s collegue Ross is jealous of in The One With All The Jealousy and one of the names Chandler mentions he might pick in stead of Chandler Bing. He has to choose between Mark Johnson or John Markson. Of course this is a clever ruse to get Phoebe to name one of the triplets Chandler, which works.

5 Josh
The fratguy Rachel dates to make Ross jealous. He steals from her and Monica, but he’s cute. Rachel gets a crush on a customer at Bloomingdales who is named Joshua. Ross undermines him by calling him ‘Josh’.

6 Jack (three times)
Ross and Monica’s dad, the dead guy from the funeral Monica and Phoebe cater at and Sting’s son.

7 Phyllis
An aunt of Ross and Monica. “She’s with PopPop and Aunt Phyllis now.” and the nickname Chandler gives Phoebe when she keeps writing about him and Monica. “Phyllis sees what I’m doing.”

8 Dr. Obermann
The female OBGYN of Carol and the young male OBGYN when Phoebe has the triplets. That is one heck of a coincidence, isn’t it. Maybe it was her son? Fanfiction!

9 Jill
Jill Goodacre, the Victoria’s Secret model Chandler meets when he’s trapped in an ATM-vestibule during a blackout and Rachel’s younger sister Jill, played by Reese Witherspoon.

10 Tony
Phoebe breaks up with Tony when Chandler tries to break up with Janice. An actor plays Joey’s twinbrother Tony Tribbiani so they can participate in a twin study. “Damn it, Carl!”

11 Mike
The name on the office door when Chandler hides on his wedding day. Joey and Ross find him and convince him to come back. Mike Hannigan, Phoebe’s boyfriend, fiancée and husband, also known as ‘Crap Bag’.

12 Kristen
Kristen Leigh, a beautiful woman who both Joey and Ross date, until they ‘lose her’. (Probably around gonorrhea.) Ross dates a Kristen to whom he tells the Europe-story. It’s the magic story you tell when you want to have sex, according to Joey. Ross doesn’t succeed in seducing his date, which is why he practiced with a videocamera rolling, inadvertently taping him and Rachel conceiving Emma.

13 Bob (three times)
Chandler has a guy at his office who has been calling him Toby for years. (This is Chris Parnell, by the way, the voice of Jerry Smith in Rick and Morty.) Phoebe says she killed her friend Bob when she went to the dentist. Luckily she didn’t kill Ugly Naked Guy. Monica and Chandler receive a hideous punchbowl from Bob and Fay Bing.

14 Julie
Joey had a date with Angela or Andrea, but it turns out it’s Julie. It’s hard to keep the names straight when you’re a serial dater like Joey. Ross dates another Julie, who he meets in China. She isn’t rachem. If you don’t know what a rachem is, you’re probably just a waitress.

15 Frank
Frank Madeo is Joey’s nametag in Barbados. Phoebe’s father, brother and nephew are called Frank, Frank Junior and Frank Junior Junior. (“Wouldn’t that be ‘Frank the Third’?” Chandler asks Alice. “Don’t get me started.” she replies.)

16 Elisabeth
Ross dates both Elisabeth Hornswoggle (Chandler can’t handle that and cracks: “Hornswoggle? You’re dating a character from Fraggle Rock?!”) and Elisabeth Stephens, one of his students, who’s father dates Rachel. This relationship ends with a waterballoon on his head.

Sidenote: Boy, Ross makes a LOT of mistakes in his lovelife, doesn’t he. Meanwhile we all thought Chandler was the loser of the three guys, but in the end Chandler is happily married with two adoptive kids and a career he finally loves. Ross the Divorcer on the other hand reaches a point at which he is dating a woman whilst living with his pregnant ex-wife Rachel, whom he still loves. Who is the real loser of the Friends in your opinion?

Other stuff

Weekend at Bernies
This movie classic is mentioned in The One With Chandlers Mom and it’s one of the answers during the big questiongame. It’s Rachel’s favorite movie, although she claims that Dangerous Liasons is her favorite. The girls lose the game and have to live in the guy’s apartment. (They get it back by just switching everything and kissing for one minute to thank Joey and Chandler.)

Bad, bad Leroy Brown
Richard asks Monica if he’s fattest or the baddest man in the whole damn town. Monica says: “Baddest. Otherwise the song would be called ‘fat, fat Leroy Brown’.” When Phoebe tries to teach Joey to play guitar, he’s miffed that she won’t let him touch an actual guitar. After he went into a guitar-store anyway, she yells: “Don’t come crying to me when everyone is sick and tired of hearing you play Bad, Bad Leroy Brown!”

Actors and actresses

Winona Rider
This actress is on Ross’ laminated freebee-list. He reserves tickets to a movie and says on the phone: “Winona Rider for six.” Which movie this is supposed to be is unclear, though. Winona Rider herself has a cameo as Melissa in The One With Rachel’s Big Kiss.

Elle McPherson
Another entry from Ross’ freebee-list, but also one of the things to think about when you need to get excited. This actress has a cameo in The One with Ross and Monica’s cousin. She keeps flipping her hair about in a sexy and hypnotic way. Ross leans in to kiss her. His cousin. Because he hadn’t had sex in a very long time. We are very opinionated about Ross’ behaviour by now.

Sean Penn
Not the Capital of Cambodia and Ursula’s fiancée.


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