Mistakes That Are Hard To Ignore In Friends

Friends might be one of the most popular sitcoms to ever grace TV, but it's absolutely littered with errors. Even the very fountain made famous during the opening credits isn't actually located in Central Park — a fact some of us New Yorkers are just not willing to accept despite visiting the Central Park fountain on numerous occasions. According to Fast Company, the series has the most mistakes out of any television show, averaging 149.2 errors per season ... and there are 10 seasons.

You'd think a multi-million dollar enterprise would be able to hire a huge team of continuity supervisors, but the flippant editing and prop mistakes kind of give Friends a certain allure. That and the fact that the cast is living in an NYC utopia, where 20-somethings hang out with their friends rather than haunt the subways in a frazzled fugue state of student loan debt and rising rents. Ain't the life of Friends grand? 

If you didn't notice these mistakes the first time around (or on second or third viewing), you'll certainly never be able to unsee them during the rest of your binge-watches before Friends leaves Netflix in 2020.

The one with Friends' changing Magna Doodle

The Magna Doodle hanging on the back of Chandler and Joey's door is a thing of Friends infamy. There are whole, in-depth articles dedicated to every single message the Central Perk crew had ever written. It's also the source of one major Friends continuity error that we never noticed.

Around the 12-minute mark of "The One with the Wedding Dresses" (Season 4, Episode 20), the words on the doodle shift from "get out!" to "poop" to "get out!" again. This is most apparent behind David Schwimmer's Ross, who enters the apartment to invite Rachel, Joey, and Chandler to his wedding.

While the snafu is probably the fault of whoever was in charge of continuity, the text can possibly be attributed to Paul Swain, the best boy on the electric crew. According to Mental Floss, Swain was the one who primarily did the doodles in the later seasons. When the show wrapped, Matt LeBlanc ended up stealing the Magna Doodle from the set and gifting it to Swain for his efforts.

The one with the disappearing necklace mistake

Rachel Green was known for her fashion sense, but a certain Season 2 episode of Friends certainly didn't do it any justice, if only because what she was wearing made no sense at all. Typically, necklaces don't magically appear, though it'd be cool if they did.

In "The One Where Ross Finds Out" (Season 2, Episode 7), Rachel's necklace randomly appears across cuts while she's finding out that Ross and his girlfriend are getting a cat. It's emphasized by the fact that she's wearing a white V-neck shirt, which makes the necklace a focal point. How the editing crew missed this one is completely inexplicable.

Regardless of the necklace, Jennifer Aniston probably wasn't thrilled about this look in general — particularly that haircut. "Let's say there have been moments I'd rather not relive, like that whole Rachel thing," she told Allure (via People) in 2011. "How do I say this? I think it was the ugliest haircut I've ever seen. What I really want to know is, how did that thing have legs?"

The one with the shape-shifting Rachel

It's not uncommon for TV shows to use stand-ins for their stars, we just usually don't notice it. Unfortunately, Friends didn't age so well in the transition to wide-screen because the body doubles are way more apparent when we get to see more of them. 

During the very first scene of "The One with the Mugging" (Season 9, Episode 15), Rachel is completely replaced by an entirely different person who really doesn't look a thing like her. They're not even wearing the same shirt and certainly don't have the same color hair.

In truth, there's probably a lot more stand-ins for Jennifer Aniston than we might think. The star was reportedly almost written off the show during the first season because she had a scheduling conflict with the CBS series Muddling Through, which was set to air before Friends even premiered. Aniston had already shot six episodes, and according to Entertainment Weekly, the actress would have been forced to leave Friends if Muddling Through had been picked up for a full seasonIn other words, Ross and Rachel would have been on a permanent break (or never happened at all), and we would have missed out on the most epic sitcom love story of the '90s ... beyond George Costanza and himself.

The one where Monica is replaced by a body double

Rachel wasn't the only Friends character mysteriously replaced with a fake in the series. The stars can't be on set all the time, but the camera people also weren't being very careful with their shots. In "The One with Rachel's Date" (Season 8, Episode 5), Courteney Cox's stand-in is very visible on the right hand side of the screen, but looks absolutely nothing like the actress. The incident occurs around the six-minute mark. 

Of course, the gaffe was totally exacerbated by the transition to widescreen, but you can still see the stand-in's nose — which is clearly not Cox's nose — in the original. Though this is obviously a mistake, it does sort of support the bizarre fan theory that the entire series was happening in Phoebe's head. Maybe Monica doesn't even exist.

The one where Joey transforms juice into soda pop

The continuity supervisor on Friends was clearly having a bad time during "The One with the Mugging" (Season 9, Episode 15). Not only was Jennifer Aniston's stand-in completely visible and wearing different clothes than the star, but Matt LeBlanc was given completely different props while filming another scene.

The gaffe occurs around the 15-minute mark, when Joey is raiding Monica and Rachel's fridge for drinks before an audition. LeBlanc is first seen holding some bottles of juice (it looks like Tropicana by our untrained eyes). After the cut, he's holding two cans of Coca-Cola.

This error probably didn't help ease LeBlanc's nerves, which were apparently pretty bad during the earlier seasons of Friends, according to Christina Pickles, who played Ross and Monica's mother, Judy Geller. "Every time he did something, he would look for approval to the director, the producers or the writers if they were around," she told The Guardian. "There would be a look of: 'Am I doing this right?' He ended up being amazing. He was so perfect as Joey."

The one where Joey's hands flip on Friends

Las Vegas is a special place for the Friends crew. Director James Burrows took all six of the stars to Sin City for one last trip before mega-fame as they awaited the show's premiere. "We ate at Caesar's Palace in Spago. I had me and six of them, and I said — I don't know why I said this — I said, 'This is your last shot at anonymity,'" he recalled (via Us Weekly). "I said, 'Once the show comes on the air, you guys will never be able to go anywhere without being hounded.'" Of course, Burrows was absolutely right.

The Central Perk crew's on-screen Vegas trip didn't go off as swimmingly, mainly because Matt LeBlanc had a major acting flub that somehow made it into the final edit. Around the 19-minute mark in "The One in Vegas: Part 1" (Season 5, Episode 23), you can clearly see Joey point at Chandler with his left hand while they're arguing about Joey being hand twins with a cards dealer. In a cut scene, he's shown pointing with his right hand. Whoops!

The one with Ross' mathematical mistake

This Friends gaffe is more of a script issue than a continuity mistake. Even though Ross has a PhD in archaeology, and there's a huge emphasis on his education throughout the series, he apparently has some issues with basic math. In the episode "The One with Five Steaks and an Eggplant" (Season 2, Episode 5), Ross miscalculates what everyone owes once they split the bill at his birthday dinner.

Ross, who's assuming everyone is splitting the bill six ways, says each of them owe $28. This makes the total bill $168 — but when he decides Monica shouldn't have to pay because they were also celebrating her promotion at work, he claims the five of them owe $33.50 each. This would make the bill $167.50, which means Dr. Geller's math is off by $.50. 

But hey, no one ever said script writers were mathematicians. Friends co-creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman are the duo likely responsible for the mistake. According to Christina Pickles (Judy Geller), who spoke to The Guardian, "David and Marta didn't write every show" but "they had the final say, and they had impeccable taste" (just not very good math skills, apparently). 

The one where Monica's wedding present wraps itself

Weddings are usually filled with tons of tiny snafus, and Monica's was no different. In "The One with the Red Sweater" (Season 8, Episode 2), Monica absolutely couldn't wait to open her wedding gifts, so she ends up opening them all without Chandler. Around the five-minute mark, we see her unwrap a present that appears wrapped once again only a few seconds later.

This might be a continuity error, or it might be the universe righting its wrongs. Apparently, the couple were never meant to be an actual item — let alone married — and it was totally random. In an interview with Today, co-creator David Crane admitted, "We didn't really know that Chandler and Monica were gonna end up together until even after that episode in London where they wake up in bed together. And the audience went insane. Originally that was going to be a thing, like a little mistake and funny. And they were so great together, and it kept giving us stories."

The one where we see the Friends sound stage

Monica and Rachel's purple apartment seems like a source of constant commentary in Friends. Beyond the fact that there's absolutely no way a struggling chef and barista would have been able to afford such massive digs in Manhattan, it also becomes very apparent that the apartment isn't actually real. 

By the time we make it to "The One Where Ross Dates a Student" (Season 6, Episode 18), Rachel has moved in with Lisa Kudrow's Phoebe, but Phoebe accidentally starts a fire in their apartment with a candle, destroying their bedrooms. When the pair is deciding who should move into Monica's guest room around the nine-minute mark, we get a glimpse into the actual Warner Bros. Studios sound stage, leaving the kitchen and living room part of the set in the shot. Oops!

Having the edge of the set in the frame is surprisingly not the strangest thing regarding the infamous flat. A lot of it doesn't make any sense, particularly the fact that it was built with a door that led to nothing. Eventually, the door became Monica's messy closet, but it originally had no purpose. In an episode of Great Big Story, Friends production designer John Shaffner admitted, "We put a door all the way up [Monica's] hallway and we didn't really say where it went to. I said, 'Why don't we just wait and see where the stories take us.'"

The one where Ross' foam finger vanishes

The first season of Friends is absolutely littered with continuity errors, but one of the most apparent happens in "The One with George Stephanopoulos" (Season 1, Episode 4), in which Ross, Joey, and Chandler attend a New York Rangers game. Around the 12-minute mark, Ross is clearly shown with a Rangers-branded foam finger, which disappears seconds later.

This isn't even the most egregious error in the short scene. That title is given to the fact that they made Matthew Perry — who is a die-hard Ottawa Senators fan — root for the Rangers. He probably smiled just a little bit when Ross gets smacked in the face with a puck.

The one where Phoebe teleports on Friends

Friends' pilot episode kind of sets the precedent for how many glaring mistakes will happen in the rest of the series. About eight minutes into "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate" (Season 1, Episode 1), we see Phoebe magically teleport herself from standing in the kitchen to sipping from a mug behind Monica's date in the living room in a split second. 

The mistake is easily missed because we're focused on Rachel hanging out in her wedding dress — which is quite distracting — but it also might not really be a mistake at all. Phoebe's always been one of those friends with the weirdest fan theories about her, so would we really put it past her to pull a Stranger Things? Even executive producer Kevin Bright revealed to Today that modern-day Phoebe is the leader of a "very positive cult." Perhaps that cult also teaches the powers of teleportation.

The one where the apartments move up a couple of stories

The only reason we notice one of Friends' major mistakes is because it's actually a correction that needed to be made in order for the rest of the series to make any sense. During Season 1, Joey and Chandler live in apartment No. 4, and Monica and Rachel live in apartment No. 5. The numbers are clearly visible on their doors, but in later episodes, they're swapped out for No. 19 and No. 20 — but why?

Well, if you've seen the stunning exterior of the Friends apartment building, which really is located at 90 Bedford Street in Manhattan rather than the Warner Bros. studio, apartment No. 4 and 5 are first-floor units. Monica and Rachel definitely didn't live on street level because they had a balcony where they could see into the apartment of the Ugly Naked Guy. Plus, the stairs wind up playing a crucial role in some of the show's drama, so it wouldn't really make sense for them to have ground floor addresses.