For the sake of this article, the Joey spin-off doesn’t exist.
Who isn’t familiar with Friends? A heartwarming, lovable sitcom about six young friends in New York City trying to navigate their lives around the worlds of work, family and romance, and often making a complete but very watchable mess. Now the show is on Netflix which is great for everyone who loves rewatching the same stuff on repeat like I do, and not so great for the millenials who are watching it for the first time and apparently hating it. Sadly, the show which started in 1994, ended in 2004 and so we’ve been Friendless for fourteen years. How sad.
In a world where movies and TV shows are getting all sorts of spin offs, prequels, reboots and sequels years after the original source material finished, I feel it’s viable to wonder what it would be like if each and every Friends friend got their own show. So, here we go!
Let’s start easy with easily the most lovable Friends friend: Ms Chanandler Bong. We left Chandler in Friends with newborn twins Jack and Erica, all headed to their new home with his wife Monica to supposedly live happy forever after, so where would a Chandler spin off take that?
Probably to new heights of cliché modern sitcom.
We’d have Chandler, now much older, the dad of two kids, TWINS no less, in their early teens. They’d probably be sassy and give Chandler and Monica a lot of mouth but at the end of the day, they’re a loving happy family. Where Chandler is a carefree and relaxed dad, cracking wise constantly and working his nine to five at whereever he works (what does Chandler do again?), Monica is his beautiful wife who wins the bread and, rightly so, takes complete charge of the household as formidable mother and loving, but often nagging, wife. If this sitcome centred itself around Chandler, it would probably be comparitable to the likes of Kevin Can Wait, Everybody Loves Raymod, and fuck it, maybe even Family Guy, depending on where our hypothetical spin off creator wants to go with it. The point is, as said, it would be pretty standard.
With him, Chandler would bring to his sitcom long time best friend Joey (as implied by the last few episodes of Friends, Joey even has his own room at Monica and Chandlers!), his wife Monica, obviously, and of course Ross woulds stick his head in every now and then as Monica’s brother and Chandler’s best friend, but not every episode. If Phoebe were to appear, she’d appear the least and as Monica is not the main character in this sitcom, she doesn’t have the luxury of best friend Rachel always coming around either. Which moves us on to…
So the same as Chandler’s sitcom but entierly tonally different. Where Chandler’s own show came from the witty and always joking husband and dad with the relatively easy job, Monica’s sitcom comes from the perspective of the always busy, hardworking and cheeky mother, wife and all round matriarch of the Geller-Bing household. Instead of the moderatively attractive man who is married to the inexplicably beautiful woman taking the lead, we now have the inexplicably beautiful woman with the moderatively attractive husband (let’s not lie here – attractiveness plays such a big part in sitcom characters and how they are perceived).
We follow Monica in her day to day life, taking care of and trying to shape teenaged teen twins into good people, taking care of her husband and his manchild bestfriend Joey (yeah, Joey gets to come back again; this acts as a plot device to show how Monica really is, in every sense of the term, THE caretaker of the family), and keeping herself busy at work as the head chef of some bustling New York restaurant, not too far from the house.
While Rachel could make an appearance in Monica’s show as best friend, it is more likely that a new character from Monica’s work would be introduced as her best friend who perhaps makes sassy remarks about Monica’s often lazy husband but also cares deeply for the twins – is even an aunt to them! Of course brother Ross is around a lot, and he probably fancies Monica’s best pal from the restaurant which alienates her slightly. Because Ross alienates everyone.
Monica’s sitcom could be comparable to the likes of…writing this, I’ve realised that there aren’t many mother led sitcoms out there, are there? Perhaps Monica’s spinoff will be one of its kind!
Let’s get something clear: Ross is trash. He has an outdated view of women, is severely closed minded, a massive know-it-all and just all round trash. But I’m writing about everyone getting a sitcom so here it goes.
Ross’ sitcom could really look at Ross on his own in the city for once, looking for love and probably watching fully grown Ben (now around 22 or 23) either become a massive womanizer who Ross is feverishly jealous of, or he could be watching Ben follow in his footsteps as a nerd who isn’t so hot with the chicks. Either could actually be pretty entertaining, and as much as a prick Ross is, David Schwimmer is a pretty good comedy actor.
Trying to find a woman to truly settle down with (Ross and Rachel are not together anymore) in the concrete jungle that is New York City while trying to guide a grown son into a good man? It could actually end up in a cool character dynamic led sitcom. When it comes to teaching his son how to be a good man, Ross would probably not let uncle Joe anywhere near Ben.
In his sitcom, Ross would of course be accompanied by Monica and his brother in law Chandler. Rachel would have to make the odd appearance seeing as Rachel and Ross do share a child, Emma.
Maybe we could compare Ross’ spin off to How I Met Your Mother becuase Ted is the main character in that and Ted is a big douche. Just like Ross.
It’s hard to say where Pheobe’s story would go. She was always the outsider of the original group; she hadn’t known any of her companions since childhood or college, she didn’t work with anyone for a time period longer than an episode or two and she spent the majorty of the series living alone. It was established that prior to season one, Phoebe lived with Monica but how did they even meet? Craigslist wasn’t a thing back then, right? (Phoebe is definitely the kind of roommate you end up with from Craigslist.)
So where do we put her now? Well we left her married to Mike and entertaining the idea of starting a family. There are a lot of variables here when considering Phoebe’s spinoff: do Mike and Phoebe stay together? Do they divorce? Do they have their own kids? Do they adopt? Where do they live? What do they do? It’s too much.
Phoebe’s own sitcom definitely wouldn’t feature much, if any, of her old friends from the original show. Mike and Phoebe would probably spin off on their own perhaps in a home with maybe even their now tween kid(s?). Perhaps where Mike and Phoebe are a bit whacky and carefree, their child(ren?) are stiff and serious. The show focuses on Mike and Phoebe working their way through life with Mike trying to make a living off playing piano and Phoebe owning her own massage/psychic parlour.
What if Phoebe basically became one of Sabrina the teenage witch’s aunts without the witch neice? She even looks a bit like the aunts, too.
Well. This is awkward.
No, but really, Joey wasn’t the spinoff it could have been at all. It was comprised of a mere two seasons compared to its predecessors ten: we can do better.
Joey stays in New York and very much in Chandler and Monica’s life; he may not see them everyday, but they’re definitely recurring characters in Joey’s spinoff. Joey, the manchild he is, bonds strongly with the twins (like he bonds with that little girl when Chandler and Monica go house hunting!) and the twins, perhaps a little wise beyond their years for the sakes of Joey’s sitcome, advise and guide him often. He may be uncle or godfather or whatever, but he definitely has a lot to learn from Jack and Erica Bing. Maybe they even take on the role of his agent as Joey looks for a permanent job and more importantly, fame.
After all of his friends have married and are starting families, and considering Friends showed us that there was always a part of Joey that wanted to settle down and fall in love, perhaps this sitcom gives us a love interest that has a lot in common with Joey. Ditzy and childlike, but ultimatily charming, good looking and most importantly sweet, they make each other happy, but there are still relationship and committment issues to deal with.
Saved this one for last because honestly, it might be the most exciting one!
Rachel takes Emma and pursues the thrilling jobs she wants that she was often stopped from taking by psycho ex Ross Geller! In 2018 we find Rachel perhaps even taking the reigns of her own company as a fully fledged fashion designer, come full circle and teaching young people how to make their way in the industry like she did as a young adult. We see her rasining the teenaged Emma as a single and powerful mother, shaping her daughter into an ambitious and focussed young woman. Of course, teenage rebellion will always find a way in and this is where we find conflict for a great part of Rachels’s show: Emma steers off the path her mother wants her to follow, they argue, they make up, there’s a lot of laughs but ultimately there’s a heartwarming end.
Ross would of course have to make the occasional appearance, or at least be mentioned, as he is Emma’s dad, and perhaps even try to get back with Rachel. She sees better of it but maybe one time she makes an error in judgement and an episode is devoted to everyone in Rachel’s new life tries to tell her what a bad idea it is. She denies this and then at the end Ross makes some shite joke about Rachel and Ross’ “break” all the way back in like, season three of Friends and Rachel realises he’s a massive prick and dumps him. The crowd errupts into applause!
The new people in Rachel’s life could be friends she’s made from her old jobs (perhaps Mark from Bloomingdale’s makes a return?) and Rachel finds herself with a strong network of like minded people to have shenanigans with. Rachel spends a lot of time with a well-meaning but often spoiled assistant who Rachel sees a lot of her young self in, and takes the assistant on the journey of independece! And of course there’s sassy Emma making sarcastic commentary on her mothers life and endevours. Honestly? I’d watch the fuck out of this one.
It would be cool if Friends came back, as long as it was done well. But we all know deep at heart that no spin off could match the real magic of having the six friends all together as a family.