Sleeves of Secrets

I am a lover of all things Friends. I own a Friends soup mug, a special commemorative Friends book, and even a Friends board game, which I unfortunately have never been able to play, because I don’t know enough people (who know enough about the show) to survive a round with me.

In previous posts, I’ve analyzed which Friend works the most, I’ve made a word cloud of Phoebe’s music, and I’ve even done the impossible by sticking up for the pedantic critter that is Ross.

When I’m 108, I may no longer remember my name or what year it is – but I’ll probably still be able to rattle off a Chandler quote or two.

Dear God, this parachute is a knapsack! *Paws frantically at back.*

During one of my many Friends marathons, I started to notice something peculiar about the show, particularly in regards to the styles of clothes that the characters wear. In the wonderful, coffee-filled world of Friends-land, seasons and/or weather don’t appear to exist.

Take this scene from the final episode, for example. (I know, it hurts me, too.) Ross and Chandler are both wearing warm pullovers, and Monica and Phoebe are similarly dressed in jackets and high boots. Given these clothing items, one might assume that the weather outside is somewhat chilly.

But then these two jokers are dressed like it’s December in Texas. In other words, as though it’s 90 degrees outside.

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I was going to show you more examples of the weather inappropriateness, but I stumbled upon another weird observation, and then my focus for this post shifted a little.

Observation #2: Ross wears a lot of long-sleeved shirts.

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Like, a lot.

And just like that, the subject  of this post moved from the friends’ inability to dress for the seasons, to the curious monotony that is Ross’ wardrobe.

Sure, many of his clothes are simply appropriate for his line of work – after all, blazers and button-downs are a respectable look for a professor. But not all of his long-sleeved outfits can be considered…er…formal.

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Now, I’m not trying to say that Ross NEVER wears short-sleeved shirts, because he does every now and then. But trust me when I say that his warmer stuff is seen much, much more often. If you have the show on Netflix or DVD, go back and watch five episodes of any season. I guarantee you he’s wearing long sleeves in 4 ½ of them.

The question is, WHY? Obviously, long sleeves are to be expected in the cooler months of the year. But Ross seems to wear them year-round, even when others are sporting more summery things.

What are you hiding, Ross Geller?

After some brainstorming, I’ve come up with a few theories to answer that question:

Theory 1: Ross is unusually sensitive to the cold
Perhaps our favorite paleontologist simply has poor blood circulation and is more susceptible to getting chilled. He needs the sleeves and layers to keep him all cozy and warm, like a baby bear. Granted, circulatory issues are seen more often in elderly folk than in young people, but maybe that explains why Ross and his high school librarian got along so well back in the day. Wink.

Further evidence for this theory: Ross’ reasoning for hating ice cream.

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Theory 2: Ross is hiding some kind of skin abnormality
Something evil may be lurking under those sleeves. Maybe it’s eczema. Maybe it’s warts or boils. Maybe Ross is part reptile, and is shedding. Whatever it is, it probably embarrasses him, which is why he self-consciously hides under the pullovers.  It’s okay, Ross. Let us see your disgustingness. We want to see it.

Further evidence for this theory: Ross has a documented history of weird skin things.

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“Just as I suspected – it’s a kundis.”

Theory 3: Ross takes his skin care routine very seriously
It’s possible that Ross is simply concerned about the health of his skin, and has chosen to protect his pasty white arms from the harsh rays of the sun. Of course, I’m not sure how much direct sunlight New Yorkers even get in the first place, but perhaps he wants to be extra cautious.

Further evidence for this theory: Ross has been known to use moisturizer on his face, and chooses spray tans over tanning booths.

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Theory 4: Ross is hiding a regrettable tattoo
I know what you’re thinking – Ross doesn’t seem like the type of guy to get a tattoo, and there is that one episode where he slightly judges Phoebe and Rachel for getting them. The tattoo theory is probably the least likely of the four, BUT let’s not forget that Ross makes terrible decisions while drunk. He once let Rachel draw all over his face in marker, so it’s not a stretch to think that he might get himself more permanently inked – if he’d had enough to drink.

If Ross did get a tattoo, these would be the designs he’d most likely consider:

  1. A realistic-looking velociraptor, perhaps accompanied by the caption, “Dinos rule!”
  2. Two little lobsters holding claws
  3. “We were on a break” written in cursive script

Unfortunately, we may never know why Ross chooses to cover up his arms so often. If the writers and actors ever decide to do a reunion (which I sort of hope they don’t), perhaps they’ll address this important and confusing question for all of us.

We Need to Talk About Ross

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about my love for the 90s television show Friends. Did I say television show? I meant real-life documentary, because the characters are obviously actual people, and I’m part of their clan.

You can put down your phone. There’s no need to call the psychiatrist.

In previous posts, I’ve analyzed the themes of Phoebe Buffay’s music, and also investigated which Friends character worked the most. But now it’s been more than two months since I’ve blogged about the show, and I think that’s more than what is socially acceptable.

I can feel all the unsaid words and unrepeated quotes building up inside and threatening to bubble out of me.

It’s time. And I think the topic should be about Ross.

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For some reason, Ross (played David Schwimmer) is hated on so much. I understand if he’s not your favorite – he can be pretty childish. And pedantic. And close-minded.

And there’s also that pesky jealousy issue of his.

But there’s no call for loathing the guy. Sure, he’s got his flaws, but who among us doesn’t? He’s only human.

Well, sort of.

 7 Reasons you should see Ross as the complex creature that he is:

 7. As a child, he embraced gender ambiguity. So ahead of his time.

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6. He’s never afraid to be himself.

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5. He has pretty good comebacks.

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4. He was willing to put on a bulky costume and look like a damn fool in order to teach his son about Hanukkah.

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Because, like Jews, armadillos also wandered in the desert

3. His flirting game is on point.

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2. He expresses his excitement for life.

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  1. He wants to be a good host, even when he’s upset – er, I mean fine. He’s FINE.

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In truth, Ross is lovely. If he were a real person, I would definitely be friends with him. I mean, I probably couldn’t spend too much time with him, because he’d drive me up the wall, and I’d start to contemplate poisoning him with his own hair gel, BUT I could definitely see us hanging out once in awhile.

Especially if he’s making fajitas.

Fellow Friends fans, what do you think about Ross? Do you find the guy likeable and funny, or is he a character you just can’t stand to watch?

Which “Friend” Worked the Most? The Answer May Surprise You

It’s a long-running joke about the television show Friends that the six main characters spend more time drinking coffee at Central Perk than they do actually learning a living.

Personally, I think the lack of work is pretty understandable – the show is supposed to be about a group of close buddies and their struggles and triumphs together, and seeing them at their individual jobs doesn’t allow for those fun interactions to take place.

After all, if they worked all the time, when would they get to play football or poker together? Or crowd in on Chandler’s bathtime? When would they tease each other about having a third nipple, or breaking the porch swing? These are the things we want to see.

Although it makes sense to me that the Friends aren’t often shown working, I was still curious about which one works the most. In order to find the answer, I watched all 236 episodes of the show – episodes I have seen dozens and dozens of times before – and combed over each and every scene for any signs of the characters working.

I took meticulous notes. There was a spreadsheet involved.

It was totally worth the effort.

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So what counts as “work”? Obviously, I included any scene where the characters are shown doing their jobs at their actual work places – whether it’s Monica cooking something delicious at a restaurant, or Ross lecturing to a classroom of students. However, for the purposes of my super scientific study, I counted other types of situations as “work” as well:

  •  Odd jobs that are separate from more consistent employment – such as writing restaurant reviews, temping, spraying cologne on unsuspecting store customers, etc.
  • Discussing  the work day – applies when Friends exit the room, saying they’re “headed to work,” or return home and share a work story with the others
  • Work-seeking behaviors – job interviews, auditions, internships, etc
  • Appearances of work – wearing uniforms (such as Monica’s outfit at the 50s-style diner), or dressed professionally, PLUS carrying work-specific props (such as a briefcase or massage table)
  • Miscellaneous work-related events – includes charity functions, conferences, dinners at boss’ homes, formal work parties, etc – the Friends may not have been paid to be at these events, but were probably still expected to be there
  • Performances – seeing a Friend act on television, or perform in public places (where tip money could be made) totally counts. This one’s specific to Joey and Phoebe.

On the other hand, these more ambiguous references to employment did NOT count toward the tally:

  • Talking about work in general terms – “I don’t like my job” or “I have to work that weekend.”
  • Dressed professionally, but not discussing work in any way, nor carrying any props that might suggest they’re headed to (or coming from) work. We see that you’re wearing a nice outfit, but how do we know you were at work, and not some other dressy event?
  • Non-public performances – singing in other Friends’ apartments does not count

Now that we’ve gotten the boring criteria out of the way, it’s time to reveal our winner and hardest worker. Are you ready for this? Drumroll, please…

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Winner: Rachel
It probably comes as a shock that the character known for being a spoiled rich girl (at least in the beginning) is actually seen doing the most work throughout the ten seasons of Friends. There’s something so fitting about this, actually: the woman left a financially-secure lifestyle behind in order to make a stab at independence, and we get to see her gradually progress from waitress, to low-level employee in a fashion company, to merchandising manager at Ralph Lauren. You go, girl.

Admittedly, Rachel probably never won any Employee of the Month awards, as we often see her sitting on the big orange couch when she’s supposed to be waitressing. And then there’s that whole affair-with-her-subordinate thing. And the falsely-accusing-her-boss-of-trying-to-buy-her-baby thing.

Ironically enough though, Rachel is the only character who never really dealt with unemployment on the show – unless you count the day-long gap between getting fired from Ralph Lauren and hired at Louis Vuitton.
Total days worked in 10 seasons: 137

Runner up: Joey
When trying to convince Chandler to hire him for a role in a commercial, Joey refers to himself as a “chameleon” – and he is, at least in terms of employment. Despite not working quite as much as Rachel, Joey held by far the most jobs: actor, model, sperm donor extraordinaire. The list goes on. Even his acting jobs ranged in prestige from playing Al Pacino’s butt to playing Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives.

Admirably, Joey carried out ALL of these roles with pride. (And with dishonesty, as he lied quite a bit on his resume.)
Total days worked in 10 seasons: 115

Ross
Despite having the most advanced degree of the group, and once enthusiastically proclaiming that he “can’t get enough dinosaurs,” Ross really isn’t seen working all that much. He technically comes in third place in this list, but his number is far behind that of Rachel and Joey’s. Perhaps all of those weddings and divorces got in the way of getting much work done.
Total days worked in 10 seasons: 73

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Chandler
It was a surprise to see Miss Chanandler Bong work so little, considering it’s heavily implied throughout the show that he makes good money as a “transpondster,” and takes his WENUS very seriously. Shockingly enough though, he was the only Friend to go an entire season (the 6th, to be specific) without being seen working at all.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that he truly didn’t work, but we don’t see it taking place, and that’s what counts here. There are plenty of times that Chandler is shown wearing a suit, but with no work story or briefcase to provide supporting evidence, it couldn’t really be included.
Total days worked in 10 seasons: 63

Phoebe
Ah, Pheebs. It’s really no shocker that the free spirit is next-to-last in this study. She held consistent jobs as a massage therapist and Central Perk performer, but a lot of the work we see are side jobs, like catering with Monica or temping as a secretary for Chandler. Of course, it can’t be forgotten that she also held a one-day stint as a life-saving telemarketer.
Total days worked in 10 seasons: 56

Monica
It’s a bit cringe-worthy when the most competitive person in the group comes in dead last. However, although we don’t see Monica working as much, I’d hesitate to call the woman lazy – she cooks and cleans for everyone, gives the best bad massages, and is always the hostess. In a way, Monica was the stay-at-home mom to the other five. Especially when she made lunchmeat foreskins for Joey.
Total days worked in 10 seasons: 50

 

So, fellow Friends fans, what are your thoughts on this list? Could you BE any more surprised by the winner? Which character’s work record surprised you the least?