The show is known for its many recurring signature gags, running from marriages to catchphrases.
Rachel's long, drawn-out "Noooo!!" when receiving bad news became her catchphrase. In "The One With The Ride-Along", when Rachel shows Monica the message Emily left for Ross on his answering machine, they say each other's catchphrases. Monica says "Noooooo" and Rachel exclaims "I know!"
Similar to Rachel's "no". Monica often says "I know", in a high pitched tone
Ross being the favorite child Edit
Judy Geller is portrayed as constantly criticizing Monica, with Ross being the golden child. She once told Rachel was like the daughter she never had, and on another occasion said if Ross died she would be left childless. While Ross's room was said to be maintained as a shrine to him when he moved out, Monica's was made into a gym "20 minutes after she moved out".
A lot of Phoebe's character is built on her eccentricities, meaning to list them all here would be impossible. Some classic examples are:
SongsEditHer strange collection of songs have been played across the show, having a common theme likely to do with her days on the street:
- Smelly Cat
- Pervert Parade
- Lather Rinse Repeat
- The Woman Smelt Like Garbage
- Sticky Shoes
- Little Black Curly Hair
- The Cow in the Meadow goes Moo
- Ode to a Pubic Hair
- Salt Water Taffy Man
Phoebe often mentions her belief in Spiritualism.
- She believes in reincarnation and past lives, and that she served in both World Wars as American then French medics for the Red Cross. She also mentions being tortured which may or may not have been those two wars.
However she mentions her and her grandmother spending the afterlife on a spiritual plane and that the grocer's checkout counter and Central Park have counterparts there.
- She used, along with Rachel and Monica, ritual to prevent them from meeting bad boyfriends. However the potion did not function correctly, possibly due to an important missing component: the semen of a righteous man (which "if [they] had, [they] wouldn't be doing the ritual."-Rachel) An alternative to this ritual would have been dancing around naked brandishing sticks.
- She believes she is cursed and that every time she goes to the dentist a loved one dies.
- In High School, she thought she was a witch.
Phoebe frequently uses the alter ego Regina Phalange. Once when she is pretending to be French, she even adopts a French version called "Régine Phillange". 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." Phalange is the correct universal name for the bones in the fingers and toes. Ironically, this is not Phoebe's choice for her new name in "The One With Princess Consuela", preferring to go as Princess Consuela Banana-hammock.
Living on the StreetsEdit
Phoebe's strange history has been explained over the series. She was born along with her twin sister Ursula to Phoebe Abbot and Frank Buffay when Abbot was 18, then adopted by Frank and his wife Lily, who Phoebe believed was her biological parent until the above secret was revealed when she visited Phoebe Sr. The family lived in upstate New York. Frank walked out on the twins when they were 8. Lily remarried to an anonymous man, then committed suicide some time afterwards on Christmas Day by placing her head in an oven. Phoebe's stepdad was arrested for an unknown reason, leaving the children to be independent. They both moved to Manhattan, where Ursula got a job as a waitress, but Phoebe could not find work and became homeless. She was forced to mug for a living at some point in this period, and even crossed paths with Ross when she mugged him. She helped an albino man clean windows outside Port Authority, stayed with a man called Sindy who talked to his hand. When Monica needed a roommate, she befriended her and moved in with her. She was able to gain an aromatherapy license, resulting in the steady lifestyle shown throughout the show.
Similar to Rachel's "Nooooo" and Monica's "I know", Phoebe says "Oh No!" when something bad happens, as evidenced in The One Without The Ski Trip
Similar to Monica's "I Know!" Phoebe says "Yay!" when something good happens.
An exclamation for all times, in a slightly higher pitch
When someone makes a comment that Phoebe does not believe or agree with, Phoebe sarcastically says 'Ok'
HuggsyEditHuggsy is Joey's "bedtime penguin pal". First introduced in "The One Where Everybody Finds Out", where Joey lets it slip while trying to show that he has secrets of his own. Later when Rachel and Emma moved in, Emma became attached to Huggsy. Joey bought her a Brand New Huggsy so he could take the original back, but it did not work. Rachel asks how Joey can take Huggsy from a little child and he responds "How do you think I got him in the first place?"
How you doin'?Edit
Joey often says this to women he has never met, and occasionally to Phoebe, Monica and Rachel, much to their disgust and annoyance. He appears to have understood that the three will never respond positively to this line by the end of the fifth season, as shown when a drunken Rachel does respond positively and Joey warns Ross not to let her drink any more.
HungerEditJoey often eats large amounts of food that most would find impossible. He has eaten a whole Turkey and pumpkin pie, six full meals followed by a cake, and Chandler once warned Ross that he eats 'six times a day'.
Joey is a slow thinker and has a relatively low intelligence quotient, therefore he suffers when the situation becomes slightly complex. For instance, at the beginning of "The One With The Sonogram At The End", friends discuss the importance of kissing in a relationship but employ quite a number of metaphors. Joey quickly loses grasp of the situation and asks "are we still talking about sex?" In "The One With The Red Sweater", when Ross reveals that the red sweater left in Joey and Rachel's is his, Phoebe and Monica quickly respond, but it takes sometime for Joey to realize. In "The One Without The Ski Trip", he forms the word PLEH on the ground; his rationale is that it is HELP written backwards so that a rescue helicopter can read it. Due to his low intelligence, Joey and Chandler's house is robbed in broad daylight, as seen in "The One With The Cat". Joey's low intelligence is so prevalent that towards the end of the series, some of Joey's rare instances of quick thinking become the objects of comedy. Examples include "The One With The Home Study" and "The One With The Boob Job". It should be noted, however, that Joey is the only one of the friends who figures out in Season Five that Chandler and Monica are in a relationship. Rachel, Phoebe, and Ross find out when they see (or in Rachel's case, hear) Chandler and Monica together; Joey is the only one who takes disparate facts and puts them together to make a deduction.
Joey is known to take a few seconds to figure something out, but once he gets it his eyes go wide and he points wildly. This is seen when he finds out about Monica and Chandler by means of the eyelash curler.
Chandler's job remains a mystery throughout most of the show, until he quits and starts a job as in advertising. A wild guess thrown by Rachel was a "Transponster". We eventually learn that Chandler does statistical analysis and data reconfiguration. Chandler often comments that it is pointless, and that it won't make any difference if he skips work. His workplace apparently uses acronyms that spell out funny words, like W.E.N.U.S (Weekly Estimated Net Usage System) and A.N.U.S (Annual Net Usage Selling).
This mystery was what lost Monica and Rachel their apartment to Chandler and Joey in a high stakes quiz.
SmokingEditChandler's smoking habit has been a running joke since the third episode of the series. He has quit several times, but relapses every so often, mainly in the early seasons.
Another of Chandler's running gags is the fact that he constantly has to prove to others that he is not gay. Even though all of his friends thought he was gay at first, saying that he has a certain "quality". This causes Chandler to question everything about himself including his hair, to which Phoebe sarcastically says "yes, you have homosexual hair."
Could I BE any more...?Edit
Chandler has a habit of asking rhetorical questions that start with "Could it be any more...?" or something similar, such as "Could this be any more...?" or "Could she be any more...?". He always puts significant emphasis on the word "be," in a somewhat unnatural way, leading his friends and co-workers to mock him on numerous occasions. However the friends end up mocking him so much for it that they use the joke more than he would say it during the course of the show.
Chandler often says to the gang "Hello children." as evidenced in The One Where Everyone Finds Out
Oh my god!Edit
Another common expression he uses when expressing shock at something, similar to "NOOOO!" "I know!" or "Yay!" (This, however, is said in one continuous flow, in contrast with Janice's version, mentioned below.)
Ross gets married and divorced three times in the duration of the show. First to Carol Willick, then to Emily Waltham, and finally to Rachel Green. He divorces Carol because she was a lesbian and started a relationship with Susan. His second marriage fails because Ross calls Rachel's name at altar instead of Emily's name, resulting in her leaving the alter furious. Rachel and Ross's marriage was a drunken mistake and they eventually divorced, much to Ross' discontent. Any references to marriage after the third divorce were usually accompanied by a joke at Ross's expense - but even he started to make jokes about his own divorces later on in the series - 'The Divorce Force' was a nickname made up by him.
Ross has made a few bizarre claims throughout the show, such as that he gave up a career in basketball to become a paleontologist ("The One On The Last Night") or that he came up with the "Got Milk?" slogan. He also claimed to have invented numerous other things such as the movie "Die Hard" and he lectures his class that he came up with the idea for "Jurassic Park" in which he mocks Rachel's love for clothes called "Jurassic Parka" where a bunch of man-eating coats take over an island. ("The One With Rachel's Book")
"We Were On A Break!"Edit
- Also see "We Were On A Break"
|“|| Ross: She wants me to take responsibility for everything that went wrong in our relationship! She goes on for five pages about how I was "unfaithful" to her! WE WERE ON A BREAK!|
Chandler: Oh, my God! If you say that one more time, I'm gonna break up with you!
—Ross reading Rachel's letter in The One With The Jellyfish
After Ross and Rachel get into a fight in The One Where Ross And Rachel Take A Break, Ross sleeps with another woman. The next morning, Ross explains how he thought his relationship with Rachel was dead, but she corrects him by saying "we were on a break". This becomes Ross' justification for why he slept with Chloe when nagged in future episodes. In an alternate reality "The One That Could Have Been" Rachel wanted to go on a date with 'Days Of Our Lives' star, Joey Tribbiani despite the fact she was still married to Barry, in this reality she claimed "I wish me and Barry were on a break".
After anything bad happens, Ross greets the rest of the group with a very miserable 'Hi', the first time he says it is in "The Pilot". Ironically, his son Ben Geller's first word is "Hi", which he is not there to hear.
Gunther's love for RachelEdit
Over the course of the series it emerged that Gunther had a crush on Rachel. This became a running joke and he often made several comments that if put together, might show his love for Rachel, but since they were said to various characters, no one put it together. For at least part of the series, Rachel mistakenly thought that Gunther was gay, and in one episode, in what she thought was an encouraging remark, told him one day he would make "some guy the luckiest man in the world". In "The Last One", Gunther finally tells her that he loves her which possibly makes Ross jealous when he hears it.
"Oh My God!"EditChandler's nasal ex-girlfriend Janice was one of the longest running gags in the show. She has a very bouncy character. Her signature catchphrase, a long nasal drawn out "Ohhhh. Myyy. Gaawd!", was usually used along with her entrance. After her third and final break up with Chandler on Valentine's Day, she has reappeared several times; at least once in every season (though only her voice appears in Season 6). Janice's total appearances are 3 in the first season, 2 in the second season, 6 in the third season (this was when Chandler was willingly in a relationship with her), and 1 appearance every season thereafter.
Equivalent to the middle fingerEdit
Throughout the series, the characters have been known to bang their fists together as an equivalent to giving someone the middle finger. This became a running joke starting in Season 4 (The One With Joey's New Girlfriend) when Ross did it to Rachel after she insulted him. Monica explained the story behind the hand gesture, saying: "It's this dumb thing that Ross made up because he was trying to fool our parents. It's a way of giving the finger, without actually having to give it." Aside from Phoebe, every character has performed this action, for a total amount of about 14 uses throughout the series (including one variation when Ross put his hands on the back of his neck and flapped his elbows together to infer the same meaning.)