Rewatching classics from our childhood and teen years can be a dangerous decision. Something that seemed so innocent and pure can show it’s true colors with age; or, at least, with more social context. Although not every movie and series is capable of making us feel iffy, Friends certainly does. This is not to say that Friends is in any way a bad show; in fact, it was a very good show. Most of us were basically brought up on it. Regardless of its faults, it’s still filled with heartwarming and laugh-out-loud moments, but it was also very much a product of its time. Many of the elements of Friends couldn’t, or just wouldn’t, be done today, and if they were done, they’d be given the side-eye at best. Additionally, rewatching a series like Friends reminds us of some of the questionable things these characters got away with. Seriously, even a lovable character like Joey Tribbiani did some pretty downright bad things during the course of the show’s ten-year run.
This article will exclusively feature a bunch of Joey’s uncomfortable moments and/or unappealing personality traits. Although we may have seen one or two of these elements when we were young, seeing them all together reminds us that we totally choose to ignore bad behavior. None of this should dissuade anyone from re-watching Friends, it’s a completely binge-worthy show, after all. But it should cause us all to pause and question some of the messages this character sent to audience members of all ages. Without further ado, here are 20 Things Wrong With Joey We All Choose To Ignore.
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20 He Was A Male Stereotype
Part of the joke of Joey’s character design was the fact that he’s a total male stereotype: he loved sports, women, food, and everything that’s perceived as “masculine.” Of course, the real comedy came in moments where he showed his more “feminine” side, and from a purely comedic standpoint, none of this should be judged since the main goal was to get people to laugh, which it undoubtedly did.
However, when you think through it and apply it to real-life standards, the fact that Joey was held up as a defining male character is pretty unpleasant. Throughout the show, he acted in ways that would put any gender to shame. And yet, we totally gave him a pass because we bought into the perception that his behavior was true to his gender.
19 He Was A Womanizer
Regardless of gender, everybody objectifies the person they’re attracted to in some way or another, but Joey took it to an extreme. In fact, he womanized every single female he came across, rarely seeing them as anything more than their looks, and this attitude was encapsulated in his catch phrase: “How you doin’?”
Every woman he came into contact with, he saw as a potential conquest. The running joke with his character was how he abandoned these women after he felt like he gained everything that he wanted from them. In short, he treated them as if they were less than human. A lot of this was done for comedy, which is totally fine, but we still totally ignored the fact that if he were a real character, he’d be the biggest scumbag around.
18 He Sabotaged A Student Actor
In an early season of Friends, Joey got a job as an acting teacher. While there, he showed us just how inept he was at imparting information as well as how shallow his knowledge of the craft of acting was, but he also straight-up sabotaged one of his students because they were competing for a role that Joey wanted. Letting his sense of entitlement get the better of him, Joey gave the actor some truly bad advice in order to take him out of the running.
However, this backfired on Joey as the casting directors loved what the student did and decided to hire him instead of Joey. This is precisely what Joey deserved as he tarnished what teaching is all about.
17 He Was “The Other Man” And Didn’t Learn Anything From It
In the first season of Friends, Joey quickly fell for his co-star, Kate, and they began to spend time with each other (even though she was with someone else). However, she later brushed it off as a “one-time thing.” This really hurt Joey, who actually had some feelings for her and didn’t like being used in such a way. This caused him to call up some of the women that he never phoned back and apologize for his actions.
This would have been a really engaging and likable character arc for him, but things went right back to the way they were in the next episode and it continued until the series finale. In short, Joey learned nothing from this experience and we totally ignored it.
16 He Wouldn’t Share Food, But Would Happily Eat Off Someone’s Plate
It’s completely understandable not liking when people eat off your plate. Maybe you’re afraid of germs or maybe you just like your own space. Regardless, claiming that is fine, but to then reach across the table and eat someone else’s food is utterly hypocritical.
Joey made a huge deal about not wanting to share his food but had no problem forcing others to share their own. This is the very definition of entitlement. His behavior may have been a running gag on the show, but it doesn’t make it right. If he were an actual friend of ours, we wouldn’t put up with this type of conduct. In fact, we’d probably stop being around him. And yet, we totally ignored this fact about Joey.
15 He Hit On Women Even If They Showed No Interest
Joey couldn’t take no for an answer. It doesn’t matter if the woman he was crushing on continued to evade him, he would still pursue her. This is generally a good trait in a character, as we connect with those who are active and relentless in the pursuit of their desires, but that doesn’t mean that the reason for Joey’s desire wasn’t unpleasant.
When Joey wanted a woman, he felt like he was deserving of her. She could protest all she wanted, but he’d still attempt to assert his dominance. It was only with Rachel that he showed any sign of backing off, but that had more to do with Ross than it did with his female friend. Sorry, folks, but Joey really was inconsiderate when it came to women and we brushed it under the rug.
14 His Chick And Duck Just Vanished
It may seem like Joey and Chandler’s pets were only around for the first couple of seasons of Friends, but in reality, they were consistently in the first six seasons of the show. That’s more than half! But come season seven, they were merely mentioned and not seen at all. For the final three seasons, they didn’t even get that kind of acknowledgment. They were simply cast aside.
We can decipher that Joey and Chandler’s beloved chick and duck passed, but it’s odd that there was never any real closure to this storyline. Chances are, you completely forgot that this even occurred. That has to do with the fact that we all totally ignored this Joey-related plot hole.
13 He Pretended To Be A Doctor To Gain Someone’s Personal Information
We all know that Joey played the character Dr. Drake Ramoray on a fictional version of Days Of Our Lives, but we may have forgotten that he actually pretended to be the character in the reality of Friends. This occurred when the main cast was hanging out at the hospital while Rachel was giving birth to Emma.
During this time, Phoebe found a patient that she had a bit of a crush on, however, she didn’t want to get involved with him if he had any negative traits. So, she sent Joey in as a fake doctor in order to retrieve the man’s personal information. Frankly, this act was just plain wrong, but we just laughed it off and brushed it aside.
12 He Chose To Save A Sandwich Over His Friends
One of the most famous episodes of Friends was when everyone thought Joey sacrificed himself for Ross. This was because he threw himself over Ross after he thought he heard a gunshot. In reality, Joey was actually protecting his prized meatball sub, which was sitting right beside Ross. Yep, he would have harmed himself in order to protect a sandwich…
The situation was utterly hilarious, especially when the truth came out, but that didn’t stop us from ignoring the fact that Joey valued a sandwich more than the friends who have always had his back. Sure, it’s outlandish, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. How did anyone stay friends with him after this incident?
11 He Borrowed Tons Of Money And Never Paid It Back
The fact that Joey borrowed a lot of money from his friends came up many times throughout the series, but each time, it was usually brushed aside by the other characters. This is because they never truly expected Joey to pay them back. Chandler and Ross, in particular, both lent (or gave) notable amounts of their hard-earned money to Joey, which he would use on his lackluster acting career by purchasing more headshots or enrolling in specialty classes.
It’s a beautiful thing for people to financially support the passions of their friends, but in return, the friend should work tirelessly to return the favor. Instead, Joey sort of fumbled throughout his career and spent most of his time flirting and hanging out at a coffee shop.
10 He And Chandler Tried To Force Ross To Move Out
It’s understandable that Joey and Chandler would occasionally get annoyed with Ross – after all, he has some particularly irritating habits – but the two of them betrayed his friendship when they attempted to get him to move out.
This event happened in an early episode of the show when Ross lost his wife and was basically homeless. Initially, Joey and Chandler took him in, but they soon discovered that they couldn’t deal with him. Therefore, they decided to do everything they could to push him to move out and into the worst apartment imaginable. We often cut Joey some slack since he was perceived as a good friend, but this proved that the only person he truly cared about was himself.
9 He Took On A Female Roommate Just To Be With Her
Given the context of what’s happening in today’s news, rewatching the season where Joey was scouting for an attractive female roommate should cause us all to pause. After all, Joey literally put out an ad that stated that he didn’t want an “ugly” roommate. As funny as this is, it’s pretty piggish, and to make matters worse, he attempted to be with every single one of the women he interviewed.
Finally, he landed Janine, played by international supermodel Elle Macpherson. Once she came into the picture, he tried to be with her nonstop. This type of behavior is totally predatory and inexcusable, yet, we still convinced ourselves that Joey was a great guy despite all of this.
8 He Made Someone Else’s Award About Him
This entry is equal parts charming and reprehensible because we can all relate to the struggle it takes to achieve our dreams. We all want to succeed and be acknowledged for our hard work, which is what Joey absolutely wanted when he was nominated for a Soapy Award. Of course, he didn’t win, but his co-star did, and she didn’t even bother to show up for the ceremony.
When Joey accepted the award on her behalf, he made the entire acceptance speech about him, his hard work, and even mentioned his parents. He also continued to hold on to the award for longer than he should have. All of this was very funny, but it was still the wrong thing to do. It’s just another example of how Joey cared more about himself than anyone else.
7 He Got His Friends Tickets To A Play So They Weren’t At His Party
How could any of us claim that Joey was a good friend? He constantly did things that benefited himself and only himself. Although most of the characters on Friends did the same thing, Joey may have taken the title for “worst friend” when he bought Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Monica, and Ross tickets to a play on the night of his party. He did this because he didn’t want any of them to embarrass him in front of his soap-opera friends.
A true friend wouldn’t have done this. If he were that concerned with how they would act around his business associates, he should have simply been honest about it. Instead, he attempted to weasel himself out of a slightly awkward scenario.
6 He Was Weird With Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe
Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe are obviously attractive individuals, but one would think that Joey would have been a tad more respectful towards them after they all grew close to one another. In fact, they were almost like siblings. And yet, Joey still acted very creepily with each of them on multiple occasions.
Even before he grew romantic feelings for Rachel, he attempted to flirt with her and catch her in slightly compromising positions. The same goes for Monica and Phoebe, who he’d happily make uncomfortable on the off-chance that they would become physical with him. We completely brushed this fact aside because Joey showed so many boyishly charming attributes, but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a creep.
5 He Takes His Neighbors’ Food
Joey was the biggest mooch of all. He was essentially the Kramer of Friends as he had no problem sneaking into Monica’s apartment and stealing her food. Of course, Monica was the best chef of any of the characters, but that doesn’t mean she constantly wanted Joey eating her delicious treats.
She, as well as the other characters, worked hard for what they had and Joey knew that, but it didn’t stop him from feeling like he was entitled to the food that was in their fridges and cupboards. He just came and went as pleased, taking whatever he desired without ever offering to compensate for it. There’s just no way that any of us would put up with this in real life.
4 He Was Remarkably Unintelligent
It’s hard to fault anyone for being completely stupid. If they try hard to learn and still can’t, it’s not really their fault. They just don’t have the necessary abilities. But, Joey often fell into the camp of people who just didn’t care to learn. Sure, he wasn’t able to, but aside from a few episodes, he never showed any interest in higher knowledge or expanding his mind.
What was truly remarkable about Joey was the fact that he couldn’t even grasp basic language or trivia knowledge. He never seemed to care, though, as things would often fall into place for him. If there was no pressure on growing, why would he? Of course, this is not a positive trait, but we put it aside because Joey was funny and seemingly charming.
3 He Helped Create A List Of Pros And Cons For Julie and Rachel
The blame for this particular instance should be shared amongst a few characters on Friends, however, it was Joey who came up with the idea to create a list that compared and contrasted the traits of Rachel and Ross’ girlfriend, Julie. To make matters worse, these traits were just the perceptions of Ross and Joey. This all came about when Ross had to pick between continuing his relationship with Julie, or pursuing the love of his life, Rachel. But, instead of following his heart, he took Joey’s lame advice.
The list, which Joey even added to, was incredibly insulting to both Julie and Rachel. Needless to say, it did not go well. So, bravo again, Joey!
2 He Threw A Woman’s Wooden Leg In The Fire
It’s odd that the story Joey is most ashamed of would get such little air-time on Friends. Nevertheless, we heard it once, and we still totally choose to ignore it. The story in question would be the time that he threw his ex-girlfriend’s prosthetic leg on the fire.
It all happened during the middle of the night when Joey tried to keep her fire going. He reached for something that he thought was a log and then added it to the fire. Unfortunately, it was her prosthetic leg. This made him so ashamed that he actually wished that he had picked up her dog instead. To make matters worse, Joey didn’t even fess up to this. He simply left her in the middle of the night without saying a word. Seriously, dude, that’s a low blow!
1 He Left Ross’ Son On A Bus
Lastly, we really can’t let Joey get away with one of the worst things he’s ever done. That would be the time that he and Chandler left Ross’ son Ben on the bus. Yes, that’s right, Joey and Chandler completely left the little guy on a public bus all by his lonesome.
The reason this happened was that Joey and Chandler were busy flirting with a couple of women on the bus. Clearly, this was more important than watching the child that they were entrusted with. Not only was this sloppy on Joey’s part, but it was also totally reprehensible. Oh well, if Ross could forgive him, we suppose we can as well.
What do you think we ignored about Joey? Let us know in the comments below!