In Appreciation of Phoebe Buffay

Friends Phoebe buy a computer

Posted by Sage

Get ready to feel old as the hills, y’all, cause our favorite flighty Friend turned 50 this week!

Well, Lisa Kudrow did anyway. And that makes now the perfect time to post my companion piece to Kim’s In Appreciation of Ross Gellar. Because we all know that Phoebe Buffay is the most historically underrated of the Central Perk girls.

“She was the weak link.”
“They’re all my favorite, except for Phoebe.”

These statements and others like them inspire rage deep inside my heart, and not just because I am a TOTAL Phoebe. (“P as in Phoebe, H as in Hoebe, O as in Oebe, E as in Ebe, B as in Bebe, and E as in…’ello there, mate!”) Rather, it’s because Lisa took on such a deceptively one-note character with the full weight of her comic talent. And any fan of The Comeback or Web Therapy can attest that it’s formidable.
The Friends ensemble grew into each other over the years, and it’s clear that the writing staff wrote more and more to each actor’s strengths in every consecutive season. Phoebe was never just the crunchy one or the dumb girl, even in the pilot. But that character is as much Lisa Kudrow’s as she is the writers’, and I doubt that another actress would have inspired the lovable evil genius that Ms. Buffay became.
Won’t you join me in appreciating one of my favorite comedic characters of all time? Here’s 10 reasons why you should.
1. She’s humble.

Friends Phoebe ass that won't quit
While Monica and Rachel would occasionally hem and haw over what boys thought of them, Phoebe was all confidence. She was cute, knew it, and wasn’t going to let anyone make her question it. She wasn’t above using her sexuality as a weapon, and heaven help the poor sap in the crosshairs.

Friends Phoebe a little bit of this

2. Her street-smarts

Friends Phoebe he stabbed me first

In the event of a nuclear apocalypse, Phoebe would be the only Friend to survive past the first day of our crumbled civilization. Her vagrant days prepared her to live off the land and maybe – just maybe – kill to survive. She’s the only one who has it in her, and you know it.

3. Gladys

Friends Phoebe Gladys Joey

She’s also an accomplished artist, with an impeccable grasp of texture, color, and scary-as-fuck mannequin heads, from which not even Hugsy the bedtime penguin pal can protect you.

4. “They don’t KNOW we know they know we know.”

Friends Phoebe seduces Chandler

Remember that poor sap from reason #1? Well, in “The One Where Everybody Finds Out,” it’s Chandler.

Find me a Friends fan who doesn’t have this episode in their top 5 list. Chandler and Phoebe’s double-fake-out dance of seduction will just never not be funny. Phoebe, of course, wins this game of sexual chicken, by saying hello to “Mr. Bicep”; suggesting that Chandler rub lotion on her; and in a final power move, just showing him her bra. Watch, learn, and don’t eat her cookie.

The Chan-Chan Man just can’t handle the thunder, which is just as well, since he’s in love with Monica anyway. Not just doin’ it. And who do we have to thank for that revelation and the subsequent validation of Chandler/Monica? That’s right.

5. Oh, for god’s sake, Judy.

Friends Phoebe pick up the sock

In my opinion, no matter how old you are, the birthday is sacred. Your friends simply have to drop everything, ignore all responsibilities, and spend the day – okay, the week – telling you how fantastic you are and doing all the things you want to do. Having a kid or two? No excuse.

So I can understand Phoebe’s frustration when Judy and Emma crash her birthday dinner and Ross and Rachel try to mime a little parenting note to grandma at the bar. It’s just a sock. Nobody’s getting hypothermia in midtown. But seriously, Judy. Look alive.

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