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Friends creator finally reveals truth about that dark Phoebe Buffay theory

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Kayleigh Dray
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When you’re feeling low, there’s nothing quite like curling up on the sofa and watching endless reruns of Friends. After all, the Central Perk gang generally occupy a permanently happy space and therefore lift our own spirits, even if we have definitely seen every single episode a hundred times over.

But two years ago, a seriously dark fan theory about Phoebe Buffay emerged on the internet – and it almost ruined the show for us. Now Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman has had her say, and it turns out she has some strong feelings about it.

According to the above Twitter user, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) wasn’t actually part of the gang at all. Instead, she was a homeless meth addict who caught sight of a life she might have once had through the window of a cosy coffee shop. She made up stories about her ‘friends’, concocting a whole ten series’ worth of holidays, relationships and torrid ‘we were on a break!’ arguments.

She even gave herself the ‘happy ever after’ she had always been denied in the form of Mike Hannigan (Paul Rudd).

Yet, despite succumbing almost entirely to her fantasy, she couldn’t stop the darkness of her life from seeping in. Remember when she told the gang that a pimp spit in her mouth? Or a crazy man chased her round and round a dumpster with a knife? Moments that didn’t quite fit with a nice gentle sitcom.

According to the theory, Monica (Courteney Cox), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and the others are all real, mind you: they’re just ordinary folks who sit in Central Perk and drink coffee, sans Phoebe. In fact, they think of her as nothing more than  ‘the crazy lady that always stares at us’.

She basically is the real-life Smelly Cat.



The idea set the internet on fire, with Friends fans turning on one another as they fought over whether or not it held water: some (twisted individuals) argued that it made perfect sense, while other, saner folks shoved their fingers in their ears and started singing as loudly as possible to drown out all of that negativity.

Now, at last, the theory has reached the ears of co-creator Kauffman. And she has… well, let’s just say that she has some thoughts about it.

Marta Kauffman wasn't impressed by the dark fan theory

Marta Kauffman wasn't impressed by the dark fan theory

Speaking to ET Online, Kauffman reacted with surprise – and the horror – when they relayed the theory to her.

“That's the saddest thing I've ever heard,” she said.



Going on to strike a blow for all the non-believers out there, the writer went on to utterly dismiss the conspiracy out of hand.

“That's a terrible theory,” reiterated Kauffman. “That's, like, that's like crazy alt-television theory. Wow.”

And then, taking aim at the creator of it, she added: “I just think that someone needs a life.

“Someone needs a life, that's all I'm saying.”

Thank goodness for that, eh? Now we can lose ourselves in Friends all over again, without our hearts breaking for Phoebe a hundred times over.

Images: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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