With the Friends reunion looming over us like an extinction-level asteroid coming for the dinosaurs, I must get all of my Friends feelings out of my system. Though my Friends thoughts run rampant in eager anticipation, one opinion remains consistent through each and every re-run of this sitcom: the only good friend on this show was Phoebe Princess Consuela Banana Hammock Buffay-Hannigan.
Because she was set up as the poor dumb blonde, Phoebe’s contributions to the friend group are often overlooked or altogether ignored in favor of other, blander options like Monica or Chandler. This is wrong and unfair to Phoebe, the only bearable person in the Friends inner circle. Monica is considered the good friend because she essentially housed and fed everyone. But she also pushed every single person away, except for Chandler who somehow found her neuroses charming. Some might argue that Rachel is a good friend because of her perceived loyalty to the group. But if you recall the episode with Brad Pitt, you’ll remember that Rachel was actually a huge ass to her friends when she was young and is only made redeemable by the fact that she lost everything when she ran away from her own wedding.
Chandler is a perfectly fine friend but he is middle of the road at best. Sure, he’s around when you need him, but he has no notable qualities to speak of other than wearing questionable shirts. He would definitely toss all of the other Friends under a moving car if it meant sparing Joey’s feelings. Joey and Ross don’t even register on the good friend meters because they were both incredibly self-absorbed and consumed by their careers.
That leaves us with Phoebe who has all of the qualities that a person would seek out in a long-term friend. First and foremost, Phoebe is a hot mess and while some people pretend that they want a drama-free life, everyone loves a friend that has a good story to tell over drinks. Phoebe’s entire very confusing familial history is enough material to span an eternity of brunches. Despite her inner turmoil, Phoebe doesn’t feel the need to suck up all the air in the room with her troubles as Rachel does. Rachel could not function without the validation of her friends and the ancillary men in her life.
Phoebe also rarely complained about the mistreatment she faced at the hands of her friends. They mocked her relentlessly, minimized the trauma she endured from her fractured family, and gossiped about her music behind her back. But despite all that Phoebe was the keeper of secrets and even helped Chandler pick out an engagement ring for Monica. Phoebe was also the catalyst for Chandler telling Monica that he loved her for the first time. She also carved out a tentative peace between Ross and Susan as well as covered for a pregnant Rachel.
What these actions tell us is that in her heart of hearts, Phoebe valued the happiness of her friends. In fact, it’s Phoebe who can be thanked for facilitating the show’s most important relationship during the finale (although it’s debatable whether that relationship should have happened in the first place). I sincerely hope that during the reunion, Phoebe’s given her due for being the one friend that followed the Friends theme song to the absolute letter. She was always there for them.