Cue our best Chandler Bing voice: could Friends be any more iconic? In the latest example of the show’s continued cultural relevance, writer and comedian Emily Heller started a fan war over one of the beloved series’ main characters — more than a decade after its last episode.
If you need to a quick reminder, Friends aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004 and was one of the best sitcoms ever created. Please do not try to argue this particular point. You will lose (or at least we won’t listen to you.)
So if fans are all in agreement there, what’s the hitch? Enter Heller, who tweeted a simple yet provocative theory on Sunday.
Just realized they HAD to make Monica & Ross brother and sister otherwise all the F•R•I•E•N•D•S would have stuck with Carol in the divorce
— Emily Heller (@MrEmilyHeller) May 12, 2018
“Just realized they HAD to make Monica & Ross brother and sister otherwise all the F.R.I.E.N.D.S would have stuck with Carol in the divorce,” Heller wrote. And, well, that was enough to send superfans into a frenzy. In Friends-speak, “the one where Heller racked up over 40,000 likes and 7,000 retweets.”
Some fans agreed wholeheartedly, treating Heller’s theory as the gospel truth.
Could this be any more true? pic.twitter.com/jPaLec6xaY
— Marie la Bleue (@mlbookworm) May 12, 2018
He’s the Brandon Walsh of Friends. Ten years of the other characters insisting he’s the best guy, and we just almost *never* see proof of it.
— Kimberly (@Kinderby36) May 13, 2018
Other fans leaped to Ross’ defense.
I used to find Ross annoying but he really grew on me through the constant rewatching of the show. He is thoughtful (Phoebe's bike!) And his plotlines are often the funniest! See:
– His leather pants
– The "I hate Rachel club"
– The holiday armadillo
– His maple candy
— atkf (@AKelly227) May 13, 2018
Exactly! To the OP and everyone else who thinks that Ross didn’t really belong, I’ll leave you with this thought: pic.twitter.com/s1X4h8K6lr
— Shahed Chowdhuri @ Microsoft (@shahedC) May 13, 2018
Many pointed out the logistical issues with Heller’s statement — as in why would Ross’ friends pledge their loyalty to his ex?
They would never even be a group if Ross and Monica weren’t siblings. The only reason Monica knows Chandler is through Ross and the same goes for Ross and Phoebe knowing each other because of being Monica’s roommate
— YoungTut (@DioRando1) May 13, 2018
Eh, I don't think Carol was their friend. She was the wife & then ex wife of Ross. Joey was Chandler's roommate, & Chandler was Ross' friend. Rachel was Monica's friend & phoebe was Monica's former roommate. They were friends with Carol because she was married to Ross.
— Cestrum Nocturnum (@Cestrumnocturn1) May 13, 2018
• Chandler – Team Ross (went to college with him)
• Phoebe – Team Ross (was sympathetic towards him when he found out in TOW The Flashback)
• Joey – Team Ross (moved in with Chandler after Ross found out in the same episode)
— Anshuman Goswami (@AGoswami_1) May 13, 2018
As for Heller, once she realized the nostalgic divide of apocalyptic proportion she’d created, she attempted to clarify her original comment. “Truly meant this not as a Ross burn but a Carol compliment,” she explained, albeit after the internet lay in ruins.
Truly meant this not as a Ross burn but a Carol compliment
— Emily Heller (@MrEmilyHeller) May 13, 2018
If we were to unpack the theory, we’d probably have to admit Heller’s theory does have some merit. Yes, we understand that some of the characters — namely Chandler and Joey — met Monica through Ross. However, if we’re really rolling with this alternate universe theory, that could still stand. Monica and Ross would be friends who introduce each other to each other’s friends, right? In that world, Carol may have enjoyed a more meaningful arc on the show and endeared herself to more fans.
However, this would only work if Carol became Monica’s best friend in that universe. Then, we could see Heller’s theory playing out.
Why would Ross’ friends side with Monica (and by proxy Carol)? Aside from the fact Monica was arguably the best character, let us count the ways. Joey would probably stick around just for the grub. Could he actually survive without Monica feeding him? Debatable. Chandler would have fallen in love with Monica either way.
The ladies aren’t as cut-and-dried, though. Phoebe never really cuts anyone out of her life (exhibit A: her horrible twin sister, Ursula). And Rachel, well, we’d have to edit out several seasons worth of episodes if her relationship with Ross never transpired.
So even though Heller makes an intriguing point, it doesn’t stand for one simple reason: Friends wouldn’t be Friends without the inimitable Ross Geller, for better or worse.