Phoebe Buffay

Phoebe Buffay
Phoebe Buffay
Friends character
Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay
This file is a candidate for speedy deletion. It may be deleted after Wednesday, 23 November 2011.
First appearance "The Pilot"
(episode 1.01)
Last appearance "The Last One, Part 2"
(episode 10.18)
Created by David Crane
Marta Kauffman
Kevin S. Bright
Portrayed by Lisa Kudrow
Nickname(s) Pheebs/Phoebs
Aliases Regina Phalange
Princess Consuela Bananahammock
Phyllis, the Lady Who Sings About the Truth, Glenda ("The One With Joey's Bag")
Occupation Masseuse
Joey's pretend agent
(episode 3.04)
Family Frank Buffay (father)
Phoebe Abbott (mother)
Lily Buffay (adoptive mother, deceased)
Frances Buffay (grandmother, deceased)
Ursula Buffay (twin sister)
Frank Buffay Jr. (half-brother)
Unnamed Step-father
Spouse(s) Duncan Sullivan
(m. 1988–1994; green card marriage)
Michael "Mike" Hannigan
(m. 2004-present)
Relatives Frank Jr. Buffay (brother)
Frank Jr. Jr. Buffay (nephew)
Leslie Buffay (niece)
Chandler Buffay (niece)
Alice Buffay (sister-in-law)

Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan (née Buffay) is a fictional character on the U.S. television sitcom Friends (1994–2004), portrayed by Lisa Kudrow.[1] Kudrow received an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. Her twin sister was Ursula Buffay, who first appeared on Mad About You.


Religious beliefs

Phoebe's religion is never directly stated, as her beliefs seem drawn from a wide variety of world religions. She believes in reincarnation, and that a priest could damn a soul for all eternity. She can see people's auras, and apparently can tidy them up if they are in disarray. She clearly remembers her own past lives, including those in which she worked as a battlefield nurse in the American Civil war (1860-1865), and another one in which she was also a nurse in the battlefields of France during World War One (1914-1918). She lost her left arm due to exploding artillery fire in both of these lives. In season 10 she prayed to Thor. Her Grandmother's cab had a sign that said, "Beam me up, Jesus", possibly left over from when her grandmother owned the cab. In the episodes The One with the Lesbian Wedding and The One with the Flashback she wears a cross necklace, although it is uncertain whether this is simply a fashion statement. When she is pregnant, she purchases a pair of "maternity pants" at a thrift store, apparently not recognizing them as part of a Santa Claus costume, even when she finds the note containing names of children "good" and "bad". However, even though she does not recognize the clothing, she does seem to believe in Santa, and is shocked when someone else expresses disbelief.


Early life

Phoebe Buffay is the younger twin daughter born to Phoebe Abbott (Teri Garr) and Frank Buffay on February 16, 1967; her twin sister, Ursula (Lisa Kudrow), was born one minute earlier. Frank was married to Abbott's best friend, Lily, at the time; Lily adopted Phoebe and Ursula. The sisters were unaware until adulthood that Lily was not their biological mother. Phoebe does not talk much about her early years except to note that she was from upstate New York, that her father abandoned the family when she was very young, and that Lily killed herself. She occasionally mentions Lily's strange behavior and methods of raising her children.

Phoebe's life changed dramatically when she was 13 and Lily committed suicide just before Christmas by gassing herself in the oven. Phoebe's stepfather was in prison at the time. By age fifteen, Phoebe was living on the streets of New York. She never mentions what happened to Ursula after their mother's death, but they did not stay together.

Many references to Phoebe's colourful past on the streets are made throughout the series. Phoebe lived in many locations such as in a burnt-out Buick Lesabre automobile, in a Gremlin with "a guy named Cindy who talked to his hand," and with an albino man who washed windows outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal. She did not attend high school or college, but claimed that she met behind a dumpster with a small group to learn French, in which she is fluent. She also speaks some Italian. Phoebe occasionally resorted to mugging to survive; at one point, when she was fourteen, she mugged a teenage Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) near a comic shop, stealing the only copy of Ross's comic Science Boy, of which she claims it "taught me well". Phoebe also mentioned that she once lived in Prague, Czechoslovakia but she refuses to tell her friends about her time there. Phoebe claims that she contracted hepatitis when a pimp spat in her mouth; was stabbed by a police officer, whom she stabbed in return; learned to box at a YMCA; has been tortured; and at one point made sombreros (and got called 'bad little white girl' by her employer for not making them big enough).

She moved in with Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) as a result of answering a roommate ad, which began their friendship. While living with Monica, she married Duncan (Steve Zahn), a gay Canadian ice dancer, in order to help him obtain a green card. He later revealed that he is straight, and was just being gay "to fit in", resulting in a divorce, although Phoebe still had feelings for him. She moved out when she could no longer handle Monica's controlling tendencies, choosing to live with her grandmother at 5 Morton Street, New York City. After her grandmother's death, Phoebe inherited the apartment and her yellow taxi.[2]


Having not experienced a normal childhood, Phoebe is naïve and innocent. She is still a child at heart at times but also demonstrates wisdom. She did not learn how to ride a bike until Ross bought her one and taught her with training wheels. She believes Santa Claus exists, until Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) says otherwise. Paradoxically, she is also known in the group for having the best street smarts. Having grown up on the streets, she knows how to get by. At one point, she and Ross are almost mugged, and she ends up having a happy reunion with an old friend from her mugging days. She also keeps a knife in her boot in one episode. Although usually friendly, Phoebe, when sufficiently exasperated by others' thoughtless behavior, reverts to a harsher "Street Phoebe" persona, but only partially, noting that "Street Phoebe" would never have befriended the other characters. Phoebe sometimes shows little recognition of social niceties, and her straightforwardness is a running gag throughout the series.

As the series progresses, Phoebe becomes meaner and more self-centered. In later seasons, she can often be seen ridiculing the other five friends (especially Monica and Chandler), along with doing various things for self-gain at the expense of the others. For example, in The One With the Holiday Armadillo, she tries to force Rachel to move back in with her by attempting to annoy her then-roommate Joey with such things as a tarantula and a drum set. While, in The One Where Joey Tells Rachel, Phoebe attempts to annoy Chandler by introducing Monica to what she believes is her true soulmate.

Phoebe is the most promiscuous of the three women and is the one most often referred to as having casual sex. During the episode "The One with Rachel's Phone Number", Rachel attempts to convince Phoebe's boyfriend Mike Hannigan (Paul Rudd) to do her a favor by promising Phoebe will do anything he wants: "Seriously, I'm talking dirty stuff." Mike is surprised that it could "get any dirtier". In the second to last episode, while packing, Phoebe denies ownership of the fur-lined handcuffs found in Monica's spare room, saying they are much too flimsy for her uses, claiming that Mike is at that very time handcuffed to a pipe. It has also been suggested that Phoebe has had a threesome. In one episode, Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) and Phoebe fight over a man, and Phoebe says that she has not been on a date in a very long time. Rachel claims Phoebe had a date three days ago to which Phoebe replies, "That wasn’t a date! That was, that was just friends getting together…having sex." When Phoebe and Mike celebrate an anniversary, Rachel asks her, "So which anniversary? First date? First kiss? First time you had sex?" to which Phoebe replies, "Yeah". Phoebe also kisses Rachel in one episode to experience Rachel's claim to be a fantastic kisser. In "The One Where Rosita Dies", Phoebe states that if she works as a telemarketer, she probably will not have to say "spank" as much as she did in her last phone job, suggesting that she worked as a phone sex operator.

Phoebe often uses her chaotic childhood and traumatic past as sympathy ploys with her friends. References to her mother's death are usually used to get her own way. Phoebe does not seem to mind that the friends know it is a ploy. In one episode, Rachel says, "Now, wait a minute, you can't use that to get the cute guy's phone and the last blueberry muffin!" to which Phoebe replies, "Did I use that already today? I'm sorry." As the series progressed, the other friends indulge her less frequently.

Phoebe believes in reincarnation and refers to multiple gods; however, not all of Phoebe's beliefs seem internally connected. She is very open to the existence of paranormal phenomena and willing to consider the most bizarre scientific theories, much to Ross's confusion and despair. She does not believe in the theory of evolution or gravity, claiming she feels more pushed down than pulled; however, her disbelief at evolution was later used in a game against Ross. After making him question his belief, she states, "That was fun!". At one point, Phoebe is possessed by the spirit of an 82-year-old woman, who had unfinished business. Phoebe also claims to hear voices in her head, and at one point, even hears what Joey is singing in his head. In "The One With All The Thanksgivings", Phoebe reveals her belief that she possessed the same look in at least two previous lives — the American Civil War and World War I, during both of which she was a battlefield nurse who lost an arm on Thanksgiving. She says that Joey does not have any previous life memories because "he's brand new". In one episode of Season 4, she believes her mother's spirit has been reincarnated as a cat. Even though Phoebe has the cat, Joey states that the cat is male but Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) responds before he finishes his sentence 'Let it go.' Ross says she believes this because she has been spending time with her birth mother and she feels guilty about this. This is also shown when Phoebe is with the cat and receives a phone call from her birth mother, to which she says she will go into another room, so her 'mother' won't hear, 'I've got to talk to a certain mom at the B-E-A-C-H. I just spelt the wrong word.' However the cat is revealed to be Julio the cat, a missing cat that belongs to a little girl in Soho. In the same episode and due to her unusual beliefs, Ross states 'Little girl, missing her cat. Crazy lady, thinks her mom is in a cat.'

Phoebe agreed to be a surrogate mother for her brother Frank Jr. (Giovanni Ribisi) and his wife Alice Knight (Debra Jo Rupp). In the Season 5 episode "The One Hundredth" ("The One with the Triplets"), she gave birth to their triplets: Chandler (originally intended to be named after Chandler Bing, as they were expecting a boy); Frank Jr. Jr.; and Leslie. While pregnant, she enjoyed seeing people's reactions after telling them, "I'm having my brother's babies".

Her opposition to large corporations is part of several episodes. Phoebe hates chain stores and the idea of corporate greed, such as Pottery Barn (although she ends up liking it). In season 9's "The One with the Fertility Test," she tries to convince Rachel not to redeem a gift-certificate to a massage spa because it puts independent massage therapists such as herself out of business. However, when Rachel clandestinely visits the spa to redeem her gift certificate, it is revealed that Phoebe is employed at the spa as a massage therapist because of the good money, benefits, and 401(k) plan. Even when Rachel says she should quit if she hates it so much, she apparently remains at the job.

Phoebe is occasionally referred to as a heavy drinker, although she never demonstrates any dependence that would make her an alcoholic. In a season 7 episode, when describing her feelings for a man she is dating, Phoebe tells Monica, "I feel like I've had ten drinks today...and I've only had six." She also had over twenty drinks at a charity event, stating, "The more I drink, the less there is for kids to drink." At Monica's 30th birthday party, when Monica gets very drunk, Phoebe decides to "get twice as drunk so no one will notice Monica". Chandler is uncomfortable with this suggestion, stating that drunk Phoebe is "mean". The morning after Ross and Rachel get married in Las Vegas, Phoebe and the rest of the friends eat at a breakfast buffet, where Phoebe drinks with the meal. Stating 'I'm drunk right now' and when the friends stare at her, she replies 'I'm on vacation, can't I have a mimosa at breakfast?'

Phoebe is also the only member of the group who is left-handed, but she does a large amount of work with her right hand. She is also shown to be different from the rest of the group. In "The One with the Mugging", she mentions that the other members have connections that go "way back". Ross and Monica are siblings, Rachel is Monica's old friend, and Chandler was Ross's college roommate. She is also geographically isolated from the group, as she is the only one living far out in the later series. When talking about who would be "phased out" of the group after Ross and Rachel's break-up, Rachel mentions, "I always thought Phoebe would be the one to go first, you live far out and you're not related." In season 6 it was revealed that Phoebe's sister is a porn star using her name.


The guitar is Phoebe's instrument of choice and she regularly plays in Central Perk.

Phoebe's somewhat dubious musical skills are a popular source of entertainment. Her array of rhyming songs includes "The Double-Double-Double-Jointed Boy", "Bisexuals", "Sue, Sue, Suicide", "Sticky Shoes", "Holiday Song", "Ode to a Pubic Hair (Little Black Curly Hair)", and most notably "Smelly Cat". In the series, "Smelly Cat" becomes both a jingle for a kitty litter commercial (performed by another singer) and a serious commercial release (also not sung by her). Other popular tunes include "The Grandma Song" (a song about grandparent's death) and "The Cow in the Meadow goes Moo" (a song about meat production and packaging). She sang the latter to the children in the public library program, earning her the name "The Lady Who Sings About the Truth". In "The One With Rachel's Dream" in season 9, Phoebe plays outside Monica's restaurant, much to Monica's dismay because Phoebe's songs clash with Monica's upscale restaurant. Patrons outside yell, "You Suck!" and "Shut Up and Go Home!" Phoebe misinterprets these as requests for two of her songs. She also sings a song called "Happy Birthday Emma" in Season 10, on the occasion of the birthday of Rachel and Ross's daughter Emma.

Phoebe's musical influences and favorite bands are heterogeneous. She seems to know some tunes from Lionel Richie by heart, yet a taste for rock, heavy metal and hard rock can be clearly noticed. To name a few examples:

  • In season 4, Phoebe and her mother both say that they like The Beatles. At her wedding with Mike in season 10, "Here, There and Everywhere" by The Beatles is played on steeldrums as she walks up the aisle.
  • In season 7, she expresses her love for the grindcore band Carcass.
  • In season 8, she attempts to meet Sting while pretending to be Susan (the wife of Ross' ex-wife, Carol), as Ben goes to school with Sting's son. She ends up with a restraining order.
  • In season 9, she says she is "working on a couple Iron Maiden covers".
  • In season 9, she sings Queen's "We Are the Champions" at a piano bar.

She has mentioned that she thinks the most romantic love song is the one that goes "Hold me close, young Tony Danza" (misunderstanding Elton John's "Tiny Dancer"). She describes her musical style as "acoustic folksy stuff".[3] In the early seasons, she plays in open tuning, which requires only one finger to play major chords. In later seasons, she plays in standard tuning. While attempting to teach Joey guitar, she professes to be "self-taught" and not know the real names of chords. She refers to G-sharp as "Ice Berg" and A as "Bear Claw" because of her finger formations while playing them.

"Smelly Cat" first appears in the second season episode "The One with the Baby on the Bus", where it is revealed to be Phoebe's least popular song, but Rachel's personal favorite. At the end of the episode, Phoebe teaches a character played by guest star Chrissie Hynde to play the song. She also performs "Smelly Cat" with guest star Chris Isaak at the end of "The One After the Superbowl", mocking his character's improvisation over the song. In "The One Where Eddie Moves In" Phoebe makes a professional recording of the song for possible commercial release, though her voice is replaced by E.G. Daily's voice. A short video for the song also appeared in this episode and is included in full as a bonus feature on the second season DVD set. In "The One with Phoebe's Ex-Partner", Leslie, played by guest star Elizabeth Daily, uses the song as a jingle for a cat litter commercial. In the fifth season episode "The One with Joey's Bag", Phoebe meets her estranged father, who reveals he sang a lullaby to her when she was a baby, called "Sleepy Girl", which has the same melody as "Smelly Cat". The "Smelly Cat Medley" track on the Friends Again soundtrack, credited to Phoebe Buffay & The Hairballs (featuring the Pretenders), features a recording of the scene, and then a new, more artistic recording of the duet between Hynde and Phoebe. Hynde then launches into a hard-rock version with new lyrics. The song became so famous that a group of Portuguese comedians chose Gato Fedorento ("Smelly Cat" in Portuguese) for their show's name, claiming they were fans of Friends. When meeting Mike's parents in "The One with Ross's Inappropriate Song", she sings it to them during dinner because nobody had spoken in seventeen minutes.

In 2009, a dance remix of the song became a popular internet meme.[4]

Animal rights and the environment

Phoebe has many principles, though she sometimes fails to stick to them. She is a vegetarian and does not eat "food with a face". She succumbs to her cravings for meat during her pregnancy, though only after Joey agrees to abstain from meat so that no extra animals would be killed. In season 1, Monica tells her that the vegetarian pâté she made for her actually had goose meat in it. It is also revealed in season two that after Phoebe's husband left her, she was so upset that she ate a cheeseburger. In the episode "The One in Vegas, Part One", she points out to Monica an advertisement for a 99-cent steak and lobster dinner, declaring that Las Vegas is better than London. When Monica reminds her that she doesn't eat animals, Phoebe replies, "For 99 cents I'd eat you". She once ate veal because of peer pressure when visiting Mike's parents, and she is sick afterwards in their coat closet as a result. In "The One With All The Lasagnas", she eats a meat lasagna with Monica. She frequently uses her vegetarianism to apologize for some behaviors, especially the ones which makes animals suffer; for example, when she punches Joey and makes him bleed, she is surprised and says, "Wow, and I'm a vegetarian."

She is against the wearing of fur coats, though decides she looks good in one that she inherits. She later stops wearing it because she believes a squirrel is judging her. She once became upset upon witnessing trees being cut down and sold as Christmas trees. She also becomes upset at old trees being put in a Chipper when Joey becomes a salesman for Christmas trees. She makes a woman apologize to a tree after putting out a cigarette on it. She also cries when flowers die (and even arranges funerals for them), and feels sorry about sitting on a line of ants and accidentally killing them. Phoebe names the rat and mouse in her apartment (Bob and Susie, respectively) and even leaves crackers out for Bob. When Bob has babies and is killed, she tries to raise the babies with Mike. She gives up when Mike tells her that, despite all the rat babies being siblings, they would mate with each other and the rat population would increase exponentially if they tried to keep them. Phoebe said the rats had to go to "good families, with children."

"Regina Phalange"

Phoebe frequently uses the alter ego Regina Phalange. The first reference to Regina Phalange is during season 5, when Phoebe is trying to contact Mrs. Waltham in England after Ross and Emily's wedding. She pretends to be Dr. Regina Phalange, who is Ross's brain doctor. Because Ross said Rachel's name at the wedding, she tries to justify the mistake by telling Mrs. Waltham that he has not been taking his medication and thus names are interchangeable in his mind. When the friends go to Vegas, Phoebe introduces herself to the blackjack dealer as Regina Phalange. When Phoebe, Rachel, and Melissa go out to lunch (The One With Rachel's Big Kiss), when asked by Melissa if she was in a sorority, she replies 'Yeah. Thigh Mega Tampon.' When Melissa says 'What?.' Phoebe replies 'Yeah, we were really huge too, until they had to shut us down when Regina Phalange died of alcohol poisoning.' She also used her fake name to show Chandler and Monica that people sometimes lie about their names. She introduces herself to them as Regina Phalange. Phoebe uses the name when helping Chandler with his interviewing skills in season 8. In the season 10 episode "The One Where Joey Speaks French", Phoebe attempts to spare Joey from humiliation by introducing herself as "Regine Phalange" and stating that Joey is indeed speaking an obscure regional dialect of French from her "hometown" of "Estée Lauder". Her attempts to convince the casting director and she resorts to "admitting the truth" that Joey is, in fact, her younger brother who is "un peu retardé" (a little retarded), and subsequently requesting that the casting director humor Joey's French-speaking abilities. The last reference is in the series finale when Phoebe successfully stalls Rachel's plane to Paris by saying there is a problem with the "left phalange", causing everyone on the plane to evacuate, including Rachel. A woman on the plane asks a flight attendant, "You fixed the phalange?" to which he replied, "Yes, the phalange is fixed. In fact, we put a load of extra phalanges on board just in case."



Chandler acts as something of a little brother to Phoebe, demanding on several occasions, "Pheebs! Play with me!" In "The One with the Metaphorical Tunnel", Phoebe and Chandler play hide and seek. He comes with her the first time she visits her estranged father's house. They also play games, like coming up with Superhero names and reclining the Barcaloungers like cowboys. They share a duet of "Endless Love" at the end of one episode, when Chandler is sad after a breakup with Janice. They spend a Thanksgiving pretending to watch football together to get out of working on dinner, which Monica is preparing. They share a distaste for Monica's aggressive side, and instead of being angry at Phoebe for firing Monica as her wedding planner in the middle of the rehearsal dinner, he chuckles and raises his glass.

Chandler views Phoebe as strange, making references to her being an alien from outer space in "The One with All the Resolutions" in Season 5. ("A plane? Better make it a space ship so you can get back to your home planet.") She seems to enjoy toying with him more as the seasons progress. In "The One Where Everyone Finds Out", he tells her in a comforting way that she can tell him anything, but she is merely attempting to trick him into believing that she is attracted to him. He is baited until Monica tells him that Phoebe finds him charming in a "sexless" way, indicating that any hints towards romance are jokes. She and Chandler face off in a seduction match they both know is a farce, with Chandler the visibly more shaken, though Phoebe is also uncomfortable. They share an awkward kiss and Chandler almost touches her breast but awkwardly moves his hand to her shoulder. He then pulls away, screaming that Phoebe has won, and that he is in love with Monica.

On some occasions, Phoebe hints that she has affection towards Chandler, as in "The One Where Ross Meets Elizabeth's Dad" when Phoebe tells Chandler that she will be waiting for him to make a move on her. In "The One With The Tea Leaves", Phoebe reads her tea leaves and learns that she will soon meet the man of her dreams. She says, "Probably not the guy I had a dream about last night" and then points towards Chandler and mouths the word "you". In "The One With All the Football" she throws Chandler off guard by flashing him, and he is visibly pleased. Chandler also asks Phoebe to help him select an engagement ring for Monica after she walks in on him looking at ring brochures. Chandler gives Phoebe away when she marries Mike, although Chandler is the only member of the group available; originally, Joey would have given her away but he is called on to perform the ceremony (he was ordained for Monica and Chandlers wedding in season 7). Chandler tells her that she looks "beautiful", and she seems happy, waving and saying "Hi, new dad!". He and Monica play a role in getting Mike and Phoebe back together in Barbados. They also spend time together in "The One with the East German Laundry Detergent", both trying to dump their significant others; Phoebe points out that they should spend more time together. He responds that maybe later they can run over puppies, which she tells him she does not want to do. However, she breaks up with Janice on his behalf, and he states that they should always break up together, to which she responds, "I'd like that!". She also decides that she would name one of the surrogate children of her brother after Chandler after trying to decide between the name Chandler or Joey. Much to Chandler's embarrassment, the baby named Chandler turns out to be a girl, whom Alice calls "Channy Fanny".

Over the course of the series, Phoebe's attitude to Chandler noticeably declines, to the extent that her mocking of him becomes something of a running joke. On more than one occasion she puts him down in front of Monica, suggesting she can do better, or that he doesn't suit her (most noticeably when she deliberately introduces Monica to a man she believes to be her "soulmate", despite Chandlers obvious insecurity).

Phoebe is the initial reason that Chandler quit smoking in "The One With the Thumb", after an argument between the group about his smoking he is leaving the apartment when she offers him $7,000 never to smoke again. Whether she actually does or not remains unspecified.


Phoebe and Joey appear to understand each other. They are the only members of the group who lack a college education. Joey is Phoebe's best male friend; they have dinner together once a month to talk about the rest of the group. Both characters show a softness for each other, even when joking or when they are upset with the others. In "The One with the Race Car Bed", it is implied that Phoebe can hear Joey's thoughts. In "The One With the Ride Along", she explains that "when the revolution comes, I will have to destroy you all...not you, Joey". Joey is angered when Ross does not support his "identical hand twin" idea, and Joey says that none of the group can live in his hand-shaped mansion "except for you, Pheebs, you can live in the thumb". Later, she helps Joey by pretending to be Regina Phalange, a businesswoman interested in hiring identical hand twins. However, she says that she does not want her surrogate kids to "grow up in a world where Joey is right" after an argument in which Joey insisted all good deeds are selfish.

Joey respects Phoebe's knowledge of such things as reincarnation. Phoebe unsuccessfully tries to teach Joey how to speak French because he claims fluency on his résumé. She also tries to teach him the guitar, but forbids him to touch one, and they have a brief falling out when he seeks out a qualified teacher. Phoebe reportedly had a crush on Joey, and was jealous of his relationship with Ursula. Phoebe and Joey's relationship never goes past a kiss (which happens five times during the course of the show). Joey proposes to Phoebe in the episode "The One with the Red Sweater" thinking that she is pregnant and doesn't want her to 'go through it alone'. She responds with "Hell yeah, I'll marry you!", but before anything actually happens, Monica steps in and tells him that Rachel is the one who is actually pregnant, and that Phoebe was only covering for her. He takes back the proposal and asks for the ring back from Phoebe. In "The One Where They All Turn Thirty", Phoebe laments all the things she has failed to do before turning 31, including having "the perfect kiss" and meeting a Portuguese person. Joey kisses her and says, "Oh, I'm 1/16 Portuguese". Phoebe frequently hits on Joey. On two separate occasions, Joey suggested that since Ross and Rachel and Chandler and Monica had become couples, if she thought that the two of them should do the same. She tells him that they will get married because she thinks that Chandler and Monica's marriage will fail. In her prediction, Joey marries Rachel for her children and Phoebe marries Chandler for his money, then they both get divorces and marry each other with Chandler's money and Rachel's children.

Kudrow later revealed in an interview that she and LeBlanc had pitched an idea to the writers involving Joey and Phoebe having casual sex all along, but the pitch was rejected. David Crane and Marta Kauffman have also said that they "always assumed Joey and Phoebe were having a secret affair".


Phoebe and Ross, while loving, do not always get along. They debate the theories of evolution and gravity, and whether Phoebe's dead mother had been reincarnated as a cat. Phoebe suggests that, at some point in the future, she and Ross will have a disagreement that ends with her killing him. In "The One With Joey's Big Break", Phoebe claims to be mad at Ross but "can't remember" why. She remembers that he called her boring, but this turned out to be merely a dream. When she is getting ready to celebrate her birthday during the 9th season, Ross and Rachel say that only one of them can attend a dinner with her, she quickly chooses Rachel, leaving Ross to sarcastically comment - "Gee, thanks. I'll make sure to put a lot of thought into your gift". She finds it amusing to argue with Ross and get him riled up. Despite their differences, both turn to one another for advice or help.

While they were teenagers, Phoebe mugged Ross, stealing his backpack and the only existing copy of his cartoon "Science Boy". She returns "Science Boy", which she has stored in a box labeled "Crap from the Street" ever since. She claims that she had kept it only because it was too good to sell or smoke. Apparently, Phoebe learned a lot from "Science Boy" whilst she was growing up on the street. She also thinks the history is "neat", because it gives her and Ross a link from their childhood that she does not share with the others, which Ross replies with "It's not the best!"

When Ross discovers that Phoebe has never ridden a bike, he buys her an exact copy of a neighbour's bike that she used to envy. She does not ride it, so Ross gets annoyed and convinces her the bike will die unless she rides it. She scoffs at this, but when he leaves, she whispers to the bike, "Please don't die!". When Ross realizes that he is in love with Rachel, Phoebe pushes him to tell Rachel how he feels. She is also the one he chooses to tell that he did not annul his marriage to Rachel in season 6, and Phoebe stays loyal to his confidence. Ross and Phoebe sometimes turn to one another when they need emotional or sexual advice. Ross asks Phoebe for advice about telling Monica about Rachel moving in, and Phoebe turns to Ross for advice about Mike. Ross upsets Phoebe by telling her that he thought marriage was "too normal" for her, although it was okay for "a guy like him". He upsets her when discussing the fact that she had never had a long-term relationship, and then makes things worse by revealing that fact to Mike.

The two also bond over Ross's supposed musical talent. Despite the fact that Ross's music is rudimentary and reliant on sound effects such as doorbells, cow sounds and whistles, Phoebe is the only friend who thinks he's a genius that is "not appreciated in his own time", even going so far as to say she feels "dwarfed" by his "gift". She eventually hears it for what it is, although Ross feels that he intentionally plays poorly just once in order to make sure Phoebe continues to play.

In a "flashback" scenario episode, it is revealed that after Ross and Carol's relationship broke down, she and Ross almost had sex. She hits on him a couple of times, some in jest, others to get what she wants, like when she and Rachel compete to be a bridesmaid. He sometimes returns the flirtations, as they boost his ego, but she usually makes him uncomfortable with her sexuality, like when she calls him "daddy" and asks him if he is going to spank her in the episode "The One with the Lottery". In "The One with George Stephanopoulos", she declares that she thinks Ross is "kind of cute". They kiss in "The One with All the Resolutions", and when Joey lies and says that Ross wanted to kiss her, she smirks and says it is obvious. They also date a divorcing couple in one episode and end up fighting in the same manner as a married couple.

In the last episode of Friends, Phoebe drives Ross to the airport in her taxi, and delays Rachel's flight so that Ross can declare his love to Rachel. When they realise they have gone to the wrong airport, Phoebe calls Rachel and causes a commotion that delays the flight. Rachel initially turns him down, and Phoebe comforts him as he cries.


Although Phoebe and Monica are close, Phoebe often finds her competitive and compulsive behavior bothersome. During one of Monica's outbursts Phoebe jokes about how she "woke the beast". When explaining why she is moving out of Monica's apartment, Phoebe says, "I need to live in a world where people can spill!" She moves out surreptitiously, taking one possession at a time to avoid discovery. Once she is discovered, she states that she still wishes to be Monica's friend. Before the first episode, she attempted to "cut Monica out" of her life. This is revealed in "The One With Ross's Tan" (Season 10) and causes a brief rift between them. They also clash when Monica becomes Phoebe's wedding planner and annoys Phoebe with her demanding behavior. Monica is annoyed and embarrassed when Phoebe sings outside of her restaurant; Phoebe responds by insulting Monica's cooking and restaurant.

During Monica and Chandler's engagement, Monica tells Rachel and Phoebe that she cannot decide who to pick to be her maid of honor at the wedding, so leaves the decision to them. Initially, it is decided that Phoebe could be Monica's maid of honor, as Phoebe says that she has never been a maid of honor for anyone before. When Rachel discovers that this is not true, Joey and Ross hold a competition in which Rachel and Phoebe act out potential maid of honor scenarios. Phoebe wins, but later tells Rachel that she can be Monica's maid of honor since it means more to her. Phoebe is soon glad, however, that she does not have to put up with Monica's controlling nature during the planning. When Monica takes control of Phoebe's wedding, Phoebe tells Monica that she is tired of her bossiness and fires her.


Phoebe and Rachel are roommates for a time in season six, although this leads to some minor clashes. Rachel becomes embarrassed at Phoebe's jogging style but then runs like Phoebe after realizing that she hurt her feelings. Phoebe admits that, if she had to choose which of her two female friends to have a lesbian relationship with, she would pick Rachel because she is not as high-maintenance as Monica. At the end of the episode, while Rachel tells Phoebe that she would pick her above Monica to have a relationship, she and Monica both jokingly mime behind Phoebe's back that they would definitely pick each other. At one point, Phoebe insults Rachel's waitressing, saying to her, "Yeah, otherwise someone might actually get what they ordered". This sparks a huge row between some of the other friends.

In another early episode, Phoebe talks Rachel into getting tattoos together. Rachel gets a heart tattooed on her hip, but Phoebe ends up getting only a tiny blue dot because she can't stand the pain of the needles. She rationalizes it by saying the blue dot is what Earth looks like from where her mother would see it, in heaven.

The pair get closer as the show goes on, but Rachel is forced to move out when a fire destroys their home. When it is rebuilt, Phoebe thinks Rachel would rather live with Joey. She tries to make life miserable for Rachel in Joey's apartment so that Rachel will move back in with her. When trying to comfort Phoebe, Rachel says that they should leave and make their own group because they are "the best ones". Phoebe agrees and says, "Alright, but let's try to get Joey".

In the seventh season, Phoebe does not believe Rachel when she said that she had kissed a girl (her old college friend Melissa), so Rachel brings Phoebe to dinner with Melissa, the girl she claimed to have kissed. Melissa denies it at first, but later states that she is a lesbian and has never forgotten the kiss. When Melissa leaves, Phoebe kisses Rachel to find out "what all the fuss was about". Rachel, looking shocked asks, "And?" Phoebe shrugs and says, "I've had better".


In Season 9, Joey introduces Phoebe to Mike Hannigan by randomly selecting him for a date with Phoebe. Phoebe and Mike begin a long relationship, which temporarily ends after Phoebe learns that Mike, having already been through one failed marriage, never wants to marry again. Mike then learns that Phoebe's first boyfriend, David, is planning to propose to her; he changes his mind about marriage and proposes to Phoebe before David can. Phoebe rejects the proposal because she only wanted to know that marriage was a possibility; she and Mike become a couple again. They become officially engaged in "The One Where Rachel's Sister Baby-Sits". In "The One with Phoebe's Wedding" during the final season, they are married in the street outside Central Perk, with Monica as maid of honor, Rachel as a bridesmaid, Joey officiating, Chandler giving Phoebe away, and Ross holding Mike's childhood dog as a groomsman.

When she changes her name after the wedding, Phoebe learns she can change it to anything. She briefly becomes "Princess Consuela Bananahammock" but requests that the friends call her "Valerie". To show her how ridiculous it sounds, Mike suggests changing his name to "Crap Bag". Phoebe relents but wants to keep the name "Bananahammock" until learning that it is slang for a Speedo. She changes her name to Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan.

Phoebe has been married at least once before. Her previous husband, Duncan, was an apparently gay Canadian ice dancer, an old friend, and someone Phoebe was in love with. They married so that he could get a green card; he later confesses that he is straight but divorces Phoebe anyway. It is also possible that Phoebe was previously married in Las Vegas at some point in the past. She indicates her belief that people married in Las Vegas are only married within the city limits, and is surprised when Monica informs her such a union is legal all over the world. After a moment of mild distress, she shrugs off the revelation.

Phoebe is also briefly engaged to Joey. In "The One with the Red Sweater", Joey believes that Phoebe is pregnant and proposes to her. Phoebe agrees and accepts his ring, but Joey takes the ring back and proposes to Rachel when he learns that she is actually the pregnant friend.


Phoebe's pregnancy during Season 4 was to account for Lisa Kudrow's actual pregnancy. Kudrow gave birth to a boy after production ended for the season.

Phoebe's first line at the show was "Wait, does he eat chalk? Just, 'cause, I don't want her to go through what I went through with Carl". Phoebe's last line is "So, I guess this is it" before everyone leaves Monica and Chandler's apartment forever.


Lisa Kudrow won the role because the producers liked her recurring role as Ursula, the waitress in Mad About You.[5][b][6] The characters were retconned to make them twin sisters. The producers said they liked the elements of Lisa in Ursula, but they needed Phoebe to be sweeter.


TV Guide ranked her #11 on their list of "TV's Top 100 Characters". Entertainment Weekly voted Phoebe Buffay on Friends as Lisa Kudrow's best performance.[7]


  1. ^ "Lisa Kudrow Information". CNET Networks Entertainment:;name;4. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  2. ^ "episode,The One with Joey's Bag"
  3. ^ Crazy For Friends - Lisa Kudrows
  4. ^ Lisa excited at Smelly Cat success, MSN Entertainment, accessed 17/09/2009
  5. ^ Bright, Kevin S., Friends: Final Thoughts
  6. ^ Wild, p. 209
  7. ^ "The EW Office Poll: Lisa Kudrow Dishes It Out," Entertainment Weekly 1026 (December 19, 2008): 12.


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