Friends may be observed as one of the supreme and most widespread sitcoms of all time, but – as with anything – that’s not to say it’s not without its problems.
The long-running show about a group of pals living in New York City proved to be an enormous hit among TV viewers across the globe, with the relatable characters of Ross, Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey guiding audiences through the ups and downs of relationships, careers, babies, big city life and, above all else, friendship.
When things wrapped up in 2004 – a decade after it first aired – fans were left in tears as the famous six-some handed in the keys to their equally famous apartment and went to live out their happy endings.
It felt like we were saying goodbye to some old mates, and while we were sad to do so, we were also chuffed that they were moving onto bigger and brighter things.
But, as website Ranker has pointed out, maybe that teary happy ending wasn’t so smiles-and-rainbows after all.
In a list titled ‘TV Shows That Had Supposedly Happy Endings (But Were Actually Really Depressing)’, it emerged that not all of your favourite light-hearted shows are as sunny as you might think,
The list rules stated ‘Vote up the endings that left you sobbing with undeniably zero warning’, with Friends coming in fourth place.
“Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) end up together (because of course they do); Monica (Courtney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) have twin girls and embark on a life outside the city; and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) marries Mike (Paul Rudd), who perfectly counterbalances her zaniness,” the list explained.
“Happily ever after for the whole gang, right?”
Nope, wrong. Turns out, we’re forgetting about one certain man-child.
“What about Joey (Matt LeBlanc)? By the end of the series, Joey is in his late 30s, and is totally alone, even though he seems focused on finding true love.
“Viewers get the vibe that Joey’s just along for the ride, so his future doesn’t really matter, but that’s kind of tragic when you think about it.
“To make things worse, Joey – the two-season spin-off that focuses on the struggling actor – sees him in a one-sided relationship with a woman who doesn’t share his desire to get married. Poor guy.”
Some viewers have also been seeing the show in a very different light to when it aired in the 1990s and early 2000s, spotting offensive storylines where they didn’t before.
From the fat-shaming of Monica, and the lack of diversity in the regular and recurring cast members, right through to the transphobia surrounding the character of Chandler’s dad – it seems modern-day viewers feel the dark streak to Friends applies to much more than Joey’s dismal ending.