|First appearance||The Pilot|
|Last appearance||The Last One, Part 2|
|Number of episodes||236|
|Portrayed by||Lisa Kudrow|
|Aliases|| Regina Phalange (name she gives out to people when pretending to be someone else) |
Princess Consuela Bananahammock (name she changes her name to, although she changes it back later)
Phyllis (by Monica Geller)
The Lady Who Sings About the Truth (by the boy at the library)
Valarie(the name shes hoping to have her friends call her when she changes her name to
|Date of birth||February 16, 1967|
|Occupation|| Masseuse (although mentioned sometimes in the show to have her license revoked at times) |
|Relatives|| Mike Hannigan (husband)
|Relationships|| Duncan (ex-husband) |
Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan is a fictional character on the popular US television sitcom Friends (1994–2004), played by Lisa Kudrow. She is perhaps best known for her guitar playing in Central Perk and her elaborate improbable stories about her previous lives. Phoebe was known throughout the series as the eccentric, sometimes unintelligent but street smart, friend.
Early life Edit
Phoebe and her twin sister, Ursula, are the result of a sexual relationship between Phoebe Abbott, Frank Buffay and Lily Buffay. Phoebe Abbott wasn't ready to be a mother, so Lily and Frank adopted both twins and raised them together. Frank abandoned Lily and the twins, and then later married another woman. Her step-father went to prison, and Lily committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. Phoebe was living on her own on the streets of New York City by the age of 14. At one time, she lived in a burnt-out Buick LeSabre. She never attended high school or college, but she ostensibly met behind a dumpster with a small group of three to learn French. She became fluent in French, as evidenced in "The One Where Joey Speaks French." She also speaks some Italian, and has a short conversation in Italian with Joey's grandmother, Nonnie in "The One Where Ross Can't Flirt." Her language skills are treated somewhat inconsistently. She misunderstands when one of Monica's assistants introduces himself as a sous-chef, and she does not appear to understand Rachel's Italian boyfriend, Paolo. Neither can any the other five friends.
Phoebe occasionally resorted to mugging to survive. At one point, when she was 14, she mugged Ross. (This was when these future friends were still strangers). One of the stolen items was the only existing copy of Ross's comic book, Science Boy ("The One With The Mugging").
Phoebe mentions that she lived in Prague. She also states that she lived with an albino man who washed windows outside Port Authority, as well as a, "guy named Sidney who talked to his hand." She claims that she got hepatitis, when a pimp spat in her mouth. On her sweet sixteen, she was chased around a tire yard by an escaped mental patient who, "in his own words, wanted to 'kill me or whatever' ." ("The One With The Home Study").
Her previous lifestyle and wild stories have shocked her friends. When she tells the story of the time she stabbed a cop, their obviously surprised looks cause her to retort, "Well, he stabbed me first!" Phoebe has picked up an impressive talent for boxing at a YMCA, where, according to her, the guys, "weren't being Christian enough" ("The One With The Race Car Bed"). Phoebe met and moved in with Monica, which began their friendship. While still living with her, Phoebe married a gay Canadian ice dancer, Duncan, in order to help him obtain a green card. At the time, Phoebe was secretly in love with him. Monica claims that when Duncan left, she saw Phoebe eating a cheeseburger. Years later, Duncan returns unexpectedly to request a divorce from Phoebe because he has realized that he isn't really gay, and that he is in love with a woman In 1993, Phoebe, not being able to take Monica's obsessive neatness, started to secretly move out. She moved her furniture piece by piece into her grandmother's apartment ("The One With The Flashback").
Phoebe is introduced as the quirky one of the group. She has little family history revealed, except for the fact that her mother killed herself and that she has a twin sister (Ursula). She is a masseuse, and she plays guitar in the coffee house Central Perk. She is very bad at playing but her friends never say so.
It is revealed that she is married to Duncan, a gay Canadian ice dancer. They divorce because he wants to get married to another woman, revealing that he was never gay ("The One With Phoebe's Husband"). She also starts searching for her family and finds out that she has a younger half-brother, Frank Buffay Jr.
Phoebe spends time with her half-brother, Frank Jr., for the first time. She also finds out about a friend of her adoptive mother's, Phoebe Abbott, who lives on the beach. The group (including Ross' new girlfriend, Bonnie) takes a trip to the beach, where Phoebe finds out that Phoebe Abbott is actually her birth mother ("The One At The Beach").
Frank Jr. and his wife, Alice, tell Phoebe that they are trying for a baby without success in "The One With Phoebe's Uterus". Frank Jr., asks Phoebe if she will consider being the surrogate for his and Alice's baby, to which Phoebe eventually agrees. Phoebe has the embryos implanted and waits to see if she gets pregnant. She takes a pregnancy test, which is positive (The One With The Embryos). Phoebe goes for an ultrasound scan, which reveals that she is pregnant with triplets. This is amazing because, as Phoebe puts it, "The doctor said there was little chance of one attaching. But three ..." Being pregnant, Phoebe is not allowed to fly on an airplane to London for Ross's wedding, so she stays behind in New York ("The One With Ross's Wedding").
Phoebe feels left out when her friends talk about London, so they arrange for her and the rest of them to go to Atlantic City. But her water breaks as soon as they were about to leave, and she is rushed to the hospital ("The One With All The Kissing"). She gives birth to her brother's triplets: Chandler, Leslie, and Frank Jr. Jr. ("The One Hundredth"). In "The One With The Cop," she begins dating a policeman named Gary, after finding his badge and pretending to be a police officer. They move in together, but the next morning she breaks up with him when he shoots a bird ("The One With The Ball").
Phoebe has a never-seen roommate who moves out unexpectedly, allowing Rachel to move in after she is displaced by Chandler Phoebe babysits the one-year-old triplets. She convinces Chandler and Monica to help her. But Monica takes Chandler to the hospital when a tiny plastic gun is stuck in his throat, leaving her alone with the babies. With Phoebe and Rachel as roommates, more is revealed about Phoebe as we get to see her at home in several episodes, and they hang out together more often. However, a fire breaks out and destroys the apartment, forcing them out. Phoebe moves in temporarily with Monica and Chandler. While there, she discovers Chandler's secret plan to propose to Monica and helps him pick out the ring.
When Monica and Chandler get engaged, an excited Phoebe believes that she should be able to sing at the wedding. Monica reluctantly agrees to allow Phoebe to sing. Joey breaks the news that Phoebe isn't really singing at the wedding, and an angry Phoebe sings: "Whenever I get married, guess who won't get to sing? Somebody named Gellar, and somebody else named Bing!" In "The One With Monica And Chandler's Wedding, Part 1" Phoebe discovers a positive pregnancy test in the trash. Believing that Monica is pregnant, she tells everyone about Monica's "pregnancy." Eventually, Rachel admits that she's the one who is pregnant, and she begs Phoebe to keep it a secret. To protect Rachel, Phoebe claims that she is pregnant ("The One After I Do"). Wanting to be there for his friend, Joey proposes to Phoebe. Phoebe agrees to marry him, but becomes angry when Joey proposes to Rachel when he finds out that she's pregnant. Phoebe is anxious to find out who the father of Rachel's baby is, and she eventually finds out that it's Ross. (At first she thinks it's Tag's, and she even calls him up to tell him that Rachel has to talk to him)
Phoebe meets her twin's fiance, Eric, and learns that Ursula has lied to him about many things. Eric breaks up with Ursula and decides to date Phoebe. On their first date, Eric admits that he can't look at Phoebe without seeing Ursula, and seeing Ursula angers him. They end up kissing, until Phoebe has to leave for a massage appointment. She comes back and finds out that Ursula came in after she left. Eric, thinking it was Phoebe, had sex with her. Realizing their relationship is too weird, Phoebe breaks it off with Eric. Phoebe reads her tea leaves and predicts that she's about to meet the man of her dreams. She assumes that the man of her dreams is Jim, a man she has been seeing everywhere while out on her errands. When she talks to him, he asks her out despite being bemused when she misunderstands the pretty obvious meaning of a remark he makes, but when they go on the date, he makes a number of highly inappropriate and rude vulgar comments and he also claims to be a writer of "erotic novels for children" which are "wildly unpopular." At her new dry-cleaner's, Phoebe meets a different man named Parker, who unlike Jim seems to be a nice guy, which causes Phoebe to decide to date him instead. But when they attend Jack and Judy Geller's anniversary dinner, Parker greatly irritates her by excitedly making a big fuss of anything and everything he sees regardless of how trivial it is and after they both witness Monica's ridiculous, disastrous attempt at a speech which bemuses them and everyone else in the room, Phoebe takes Parker back to her apartment and, when she tires of his constant enthusiasm, angrily tells him she wants him to be "much less happy" causing him to break up with her. When Rachel's due date comes and goes without her giving birth, Phoebe and Monica bet on when the baby will come. Phoebe bets that it will come later, and she keeps winning. While Rachel is in labor, Phoebe meets a cute man with a broken leg. She convinces Joey to find out his name and hospital room number, as well as personal information from the man himself. When he eventually finds out, he is very angry with Phoebe.
Joey and Phoebe agree to set each other up on a date with another friend. Joey forgets and sets Phoebe up with a random guy from the coffee house, who turns out to be a complete stranger. They end up meeting again, and have a good time together, but they break up when Mike tells her he never wants to get married. Phoebe reunites with David (who she had always considered the one that got away), a scientist who had left and moved to Minsk after receiving a research grant in Minsk. David and Phoebe start seeing each other again, and he decides to propose after getting advice from Chandler. Monica worries that the timing is bad and warns Phoebe, who decides to accept even though she is still in love with Mike. David buys a ring and is about to propose in Barbados, but Mike bursts in and interrupts, proposing to Phoebe first because he realized during their time apart that he can't live without her. Phoebe turns him down. She tells him that she doesn't need to get married now, but couldn't go on in a relationship that was not moving towards a future commitment. David leaves, sad that he has lost Phoebe and wasted years of his life on research that also ruined him financially and professionally.
Phoebe and Mike fly home together from Barbados, when he tells her that he has a girlfriend named Precious. He plans to break up with her on a date that night. Precious gets mixed up and goes to his apartment while Phoebe is there, and Phoebe convinced her that Mike is a jerk. Mike and Phoebe go to a Knicks game where she ridiculed couples on the camera getting engaged at the game, and is shocked when the proposal cam turns to her and Mike. Later, at dinner after he tries to propose to her like "one of those cheesy guys in a movie, who hides it in the cake," and realized that he is trying too hard and that cliches are not them. Phoebe and Mike decided to donate the money for their wedding to a charity for the children of New York, and get married at City Hall, then Phoebe decides she wants to get the money back and have a large wedding. As the wedding gets closer, Monica becomes the wedding planner, and annoys Phoebe with her excessive organization, rigid time schedules, and grandiose wedding plans and changes, then ruins Phoebe's speech at the rehearsal dinner. Phoebe fires her because of it. Phoebe has a hard time dealing with all of the wedding plans herself, so she rehires Monica. Joey comes into his apartment where all of the friends are, bringing the news to them that New York is in the midst of a historic blizzard. When it stops snowing, Rachel tells Phoebe that she could have the simple ceremony that she always dreamed of having. Mike and Phoebe get married outside Central Park in the snow to the sound of steel drum music. In The Last One Phoebe is helping Monica and Chandler get the stroller up the step, and then she is one of the first ones to go down the stairs.
Having experienced nothing like a normal, complete childhood, Phoebe is often quite naive and innocent, and is in some regards still a child at heart. She still believes Santa Claus exists, until Joey says otherwise. Phoebe also shocks some people in the story line with her frankness on occasions that catches them off guard from her usual self. This straightforwardness is a running gag throughout the Friends series.
Phoebe is the most promiscuous of the three girls, being the one most often referred to as having casual sex. Phoebe has mentioned skills of CPR. During the episode "The One With Rachel's Phone Number", Rachel attempts to convince Mike to do her a favor by promising that Phoebe will do anything he wants: "Seriously, I'm talking dirty stuff." Mike is surprised that it could "get any dirtier". In one episode, it has been suggested that Phoebe has had a threesome. In one episode where Rachel and Phoebe fight over a guy Phoebe says that she hasn't been on a date in very long. Rachel claims then that Phoebe had a date 3 days ago to which Phoebe replies, "That wasn't a date! That was, that was just friends getting together... having sex." Another episode has Phoebe and Mike celebrating their anniversary, Rachel asks her "So which anniversary?, first date?, first kiss?, first time sleeping together?" to which Phoebe replies "Yeah". There are several hints that Phoebe is in fact bisexual. For example, Phoebe kisses Rachel in one episode to experience Rachel's claim to be a fantastic kisser. Phoebe says that if she had to select Monica or Rachel to have a lesbian relationship with, she would select Rachel because she is "not as high-maintenance" as Monica.
An example of this occurs in "The One with Ross and Monica's Cousin"; after Ross and Monica's gorgeous female cousin, Cassie, is shuffled from Monica's apartment to Ross', and finally to Phoebe's (because Chandler and Ross are uncontrollably attracted to her). Phoebe experiences the same sexual desire for her that the men did. (In voice-over we hear Phoebe's thought: "Ask her out! She's not YOUR cousin!"). Phoebe later claims that Monica "has the breasts of a Greek goddess".
Phoebe often uses her chaotic childhood and traumatic past as sympathy ploys to her friends. References to her mother's death were usually to get her own way. Phoebe does not seem to mind that the other friends know she is only referring to her mother's death to try to get her own way. In one episode Rachel says, "Now, wait a minute, you can't use that to get the cute guy's phone and the last blueberry muffin!" to which Phoebe replies, "Did I use that already today? I'm sorry." However, as the series progressed, the other friends indulge her less frequently.
Phoebe believes in reincarnation and refers to multiple gods; however, not all of Phoebe's beliefs seem internally connected. She is very open to the existence of paranormal phenomena and willing to consider the most bizarre scientific theories, much to Ross' confusion and despair. She, however, does not believe the theory of evolution or even that of gravity, claiming she feels more pushed down than pulled. At one point, Phoebe is even possessed by the spirit of an 82 year-old woman who had unfinished business. Phoebe also claims to hear voices in her head, and at one point, even heard what Joey was singing in his head. In "The One With All The Thanksgivings" Phoebe reveals that she believes she possessed the same look in at least two previous lives, and that Joey does not have any previous life memories because "he's brand new".
Phoebe frequently uses the alter ego Regina Phalange when she is pretending to be someone else, she even adopts a French version called "Régine Filange". The first reference to Regina Phalange is when she is trying to contact Ross in England, and pretends to be a Dr. Regina Phalange diagnosing a disease. The last reference is in the series finale when Phoebe successfully stalls Rachel's plane to Paris by saying there was a problem with the "left phalange."
Her resistance against large corporations is made manifest in several episodes in which she speaks out against chain stores and the ideal of corporate greed, such as in "The One With The Apothecary Table" (against Pottery Barn, which she later admits liking). In season 9, most notably in the episode "The One With The Fertility Test", she tries to convince Rachel not to redeem a gift-certificate to a massage spa because it puts independent massage therapists such as herself out of business. However, when Rachel clandestinely visits the spa to redeem her gift certificate, it is revealed that Phoebe is employed at the spa as a massage therapist because of the good money, benefits, and 401(k) plan (she even exclaims that she has to "pay taxes!").
Phoebe is occasionally referred to as a heavy drinker, although she never demonstrates any dependence that would make her an alcoholic. In a season 7 episode, when describing her feelings for a man she's dating, she tells Monica "I feel like I've had ten drinks today...and I only had 6." She also drank over twenty drinks at a charity event stating "I think I've helped the kids so much I might vomit." At Monica's 30th birthday party, when Monica gets very drunk, Phoebe decides to "get twice as drunk so no one will notice Monica". The morning after Ross and Rachel get married in Las Vegas, Phoebe and the rest of the friends have a breakfast buffet. During the breakfast, she explains a few times that she is drunk, after drinking while having breakfast.
Phoebe's somewhat dubious musical skills were a popular source of entertainment. Her stunning array of songs include "The Double-Double-Double-Jointed Boy", "Bisexuals", "Sue, Sue, Suicide", "You Suck", "Shut Up and Go Home", "Pervert Parade", "Sticky Shoes", "Saltwater Taffy Man", "Ode to a Pubic Hair (Little Black Curly Hair)", and most famously "Smelly Cat", which became both a jingle for a kitty litter television commercial (not sung by her) and a serious commercial release (also not her singing). Other popular tunes include "The Grandma Song" (a song about grandparent death) and "The Cow in the Meadow goes Moo" (a song about meat production and packaging) which she sang to the children in the public library program, earning her the name "The Lady Who Sings About the Truth". She also sang a song called "Happy Birthday, Emma" in Season 10, on the occasion of the birthday of Rachel and Ross's daughter Emma.
Phoebe's musical influences and favorite bands are heterogeneous: she seems to know some tunes from Lionel Richie by heart, yet a taste for rock, heavy metal and hard rock can be clearly noticed. To name a few examples:
- She attempts to meet Sting while pretending to be Susan, as Ben goes to school with Sting's son. She ends up with a restraining order.
- In season 9, episode 03, she says she's "working on a couple Iron Maiden covers".
- In season 7, episode 17, she expresses her love for the grindcore band Carcass.
- In season 9, episode 13, she sings Queen's "We Are the Champions" at a piano bar.
- In season 4, episode 1, Phoebe and her mother both say that they like The Beatles. At her wedding with Mike in season 10, episode 12, the song "Here, There and Everywhere" by The Beatles is played on steel drums as she walks up the aisle.
She describes her musical style as "acoustic folksy stuff" (season 9, episode 03).
In the first seasons, she plays in open tuning, which requires only one finger to play major chords. In later seasons she plays in standard tuning. While attempting to teach Joey guitar, she professes to be "self-taught" and doesn't know the real names of chords. She refers to G-sharp as "Ice Berg" and A as "Bear Claw" because of her finger formations while playing them.The One With The Baby On The Bus" where it was revealed to be Phoebe's most popular song. At the end of the episode she teaches a character played by guest star Chrissie Hynde to play the song. In "The One Where Eddie Moves In" Phoebe makes a professional recording of the song for possible commercial release, though her voice is replaced by an older singer. A short video for the song also appeared in this episode and is included in full as a bonus feature on the second season DVD set. In "The One With Phoebe's Ex-Partner" a character played by guest star Elizabeth Daily uses the song as a jingle for a cat litter commercial.
In the fifth season episode "The One With Joey's Bag" Phoebe meets her estranged father, who reveals he sang a lullaby to her when she was a child, called "Sleepy Girl", which has the same melody as Smelly Cat. The "Smelly Cat Medley" track on the Friends Again soundtrack, credited to Phoebe Buffay & The Hairballs (featuring the Pretenders), features a recording of the scene, and then a new, more artistic recording of the duet between Hynde and Phoebe. Hynde then launches into a hard-rock version with new lyrics. The song became so famous that a group of Portuguese comedians had elected Gato Fedorento (Smelly Cat in Portuguese) for their show's name, claiming they were fans of Friends. Also when meeting Mike's parents, she sings it to them during dinner because nobody had spoken in seventeen minutes in "The One With Ross' Inappropriate Song".
Animal rights and the environmentEdit
Phoebe has many principles, though she sometimes fails to stick to them. She is a vegetarian, and doesn't eat "food with a face", however she succumbs to her cravings for meat during her pregnancy, though only after Joey agrees to abstain from meat so that no extra animals would need to be killed. She frequently uses her vegetarianism to apologize for some behaviors, especially the ones which makes animals suffer; for example, when she punches Joey, making him bleed, she seems to be reasonably surprised and says: "Wow, and I'm a vegetarian!"She is against the wearing of fur coats, though decides she looks good in one that she inherits although she later stops wearing it because she believes a squirrel is judging her. Once, she became very upset upon witnessing trees being cut down and sold as Christmas trees, and when witnessing a woman stubbing out a cigarette on a tree forced her to apologize to it. She also cries when flowers die (and even arranges funerals for them), and feels sorry about sitting on a line of ants and accidentally killing them. She even once named a rat living in her apartment - "Bob" and a mouse "Susie". When Bob had babies and was killed, she tried to raise the babies herself.
Although she is a vegetarian, in "The One In Vegas", after remarking about being handed a coupon for a 99-cent steak and lobster dinner, Monica says, "Phoebe, you don't eat animals", to which Phoebe responds, "For 99 cents, I'd eat you." Also in "The One with The Blackout" she sings that she "stay[s] away from dairy" which implies she is a vegan, or possibly lactose intolerant(although, she stated she once worked on Dairy Queen which is highly unlikely for a vegan). On a separate occasion, in "The One With The Dozen Lasagnas", Phoebe is seen in the background finishing off the Lasagnas with Monica - despite the fact that they weren't vegetarian Lasagnas. In "The One With Phoebe's Husband", Monica remarks that when Phoebe's first husband left, she became so upset that she ate a cheeseburger. Also, in "The One With All The Thanksgivings", Phoebe apparently ate turkey. Also in "The One With George Stephanopoulos" the girls are sharing secrets and Monica says "remember the vegetarian paté you loved so much . . . well if goose is a vegetable." In "The One With Ross's Inappropriate Song" she reluctantly eats veal when invited over to dinner at Mike's parents house, remarking "I am a vegetarian except for veal!"
In 'The One With Rachel's dream', Phoebe accuses Monica's food to be of tiny amounts and pretentious and explains..." Yeah well, "excuse me, I ordered the smoked salmon appetizer, but I can’t see it, I can’t see it". So she did eat fish.
Phoebe revealed that her birthday is February 16 in an early season, and in "The One With Phoebe's Birthday Dinner" she said that the restaurant could only have a table for them on Thursday and Joey replied saying that Thursday is Halloween, implying that Phoebe's birthday is around Halloween. Following each series Phoebe's ages are: 1: 26-27, 2: 27-28, 3: 28-29, 4: 29-30, 5: 30-31, 6: 31-32, 7: 32-33, 8: 33-34, 9: 34-35, 10: 35-36. However, in a flashback to Phoebe's thirtieth birthday in "The One Where They All Turn Thirty", it is revealed by her twin sister Ursula that they are actually 31 and not 30 like she previously thought, this would make her the oldest of the six friends.
- When Phoebe became pregnant during Season 4, it was to account for Lisa Kudrow's actual pregnancy. Kudrow gave birth to a boy in Season 5.
- Phoebe stated in the first episode that she lived with an albino guy when she first arrived in New York City when she was 14 after her mother killed herself and her stepfather was back in prison.
- Phoebe's hair in "The One That Could Have Been" was Lisa Kudrow's real hair. Most of season six she wore a wig because her hair was thought to be too short for Phoebe's character.
- In the show's original script, Lisa and Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing) were secondary characters, but this was changed due to rewrites.
- She probably had a threesome with her friend Mary-Allen.
- Phoebe is the only "Friend" who doesn't have a middle name. (Her sister Ursula's middle name is Pamela).
- Phoebe is the person in the group of friends that knows the least about her family (it is shown in a few episodes that her twin sister Ursula has her birth certificate and their mother's suicide note that says their birth mother Phoebe Abbott lives in Montauk and her grandmother knows about the whereabouts of her father Frank Buffay)
- In The One Where Rachel Goes Back to Work Phoebe claims she was friends with actor Richard Dreyfuss.
- Phoebe is the only member of Friends to not date or marry a cast member of friends. However she does kiss Ross, Chandler, Joey, and Rachel, and in multiple episodes alludes to having a crush on Joey.
- Phoebe and Ross are the only two friends to not only marry more than once, but also to marry outside the Friends group: Duncan and Mike for Phoebe, and Carol and Emily for Ross (assumingly after the series, he married Rachel, too).
- Phoebe stated that she went through a phase in junior high school where she thought she was a witch.
- In "The One In Vegas, Part 2", she implies that she married in Vegas.
- Phoebe is also the only left-handed friend out of the group, but plays the guitar with her right-hand. Lisa Kudrow is also left-handed. This can be seen in "The One Where Emma Cries", where Phoebe writes on the "It's a boy" banner using her left hand.
|Friends Main Characters|
|Rachel Green • Monica Geller • Phoebe Buffay • Joey Tribbiani • Chandler Bing • Ross Geller|
- ↑ In the first episode of Joey, Joey says "I was HAPPY in New York! Okay, and I tried really hard to keep things from changing. But everyone else got married, and had kids, and moved on." to his sister. As he says "everyone else", this includes Phoebe and Mike and implies they had a child between the two series.