FRIENDS’ 25th Anniversary: Inside Phoebe's Oddities - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FRIENDS’ 25th Anniversary: Inside Phoebe’s Oddities

September 17, 2019 by  

Friends Phoebe

Photo by NBC – © 2012 NBCUniversal, Inc. – Image courtesy

[On Thursday, September 22, 1994, NBC debuted the pilot of FRIENDS. The sitcom, about a group of six 20-something friends, went on to become a pop culture touchstone. In honor of the milestone, we’re doing 25 Days of FRIENDS, looking back at the show in big and small ways.]

For as much as FRIENDS fans knew about the core characters over the show’s ten seasons, no one remained more of an enigma than Phoebe Buffay.

Phoebe had the tendency to drop little pieces of nuggets about her backstory which were, frankly, mind-blowing. There still should never be any continuation of the FRIENDS universe, but if they had to do any kind of prequel, Phoebe’s past contains at least five seasons of nuggets.

Here are some of the tidbits we learned about her over the years:

  • Debbie, her best friend from junior high, was struck by lightning.
  • Her mother worked on a barge.
  • She may be able to read thoughts. (She heard Joey singing in his head.)
  • There’s a spirit of an old Indian woman in her ceiling.
  • She spent time as a sombrero maker.
  • She lived in Prague.
  • Carries a knife in her boot.
  • May have past lives.
  • Her friend Fritzy is number 11 on the Most Wanted list.
  • Somehow speaks Italian.
  • Has been in jail before.
  • She married someone in Vegas. (But seemingly not her first former husband, whom she knew she was legally married to.)
  • She may or may not have had a roommate named Denise.
  • She wrote 14 books.
  • The coins had a vendetta against her, but seem to have forgiven her.
  • She had an affair with the guy who kept the pigeons on the roof.
  • She currently can’t have a passport, but by the end of the series, she thought she’d be able to travel internationally soon.
  • She and Richard Dreyfuss no longer speak because of a falling out due to lending money.
  • She slept with Billy Joel.
  • She held up under torture in the past.
  • Guy in van was her first love.
  • She went to the ER after drinking booze Joey made.
  • Spent her 16th birthday being chased by an escaped mental patient who was trying to kill her.

How did Phoebe A) survive all of that?! B) end up being friends with her group of people. It’s honestly stunning. And given how much drama her family had that was dealt with on-screen—her father ditched the family (and his second family, which included Phoebe’s half-brother), her mother killed herself, Phoebe discovered her birth mother was someone else who had also abandoned her and her twin—it’s truly stunning how many odd pieces of Phoebe’s past there are. All of them make sense, but it also feels like she’s lived 100 lives before she ever met Monica.

But, perhaps, Mike said it best during their wedding vows: She’s “wonderfully weird.”


Follow @GiveMeMyRemote and @marisaroffman on Twitter for the latest TV news. Connect with other TV fans on GIVE ME MY REMOTE’s official Facebook page.

And be the first to see our exclusive videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel at

Filed under Friends

Comments Off on FRIENDS’ 25th Anniversary: Inside Phoebe’s Oddities


Comments are closed.