You know how Friends is the only cross-generational show that you can still watch re-runs of despite knowing every word of every scene, and still laugh when you’re supposed to?
Well, you may never see it in the same way again.
We thought our worlds had been turned upside down when a theory surfaced that the show was all a figment of Phoebe’s drug addled imagination.
But then author and Friends fan D.F. Lovett came up with a far more plausible theory and sufficiently ruined our day.
You know Ross’ son Ben? Yeah, the one who disappears for a few years (seasons)? Well, according to Lovett that’s because Ross is psychologically unstable and lost custody of his son.
We know he lost it over his sandwich, but could the reality of his fragile personality go a lot deeper?
Lovett writes on his website:
Sure, on first thought, Ross's shenanigans seem just as cheeky and fun as the rest of the gang.
He loves dinosaurs. He dresses up as the Holiday Armadillo. He claims to have invented the Got Milk? catchphrase. But what about all that other weird stuff he does?
He goes on to outline some of Ross' most ridiculous actions and storylines, like that time he tried to kiss his first cousin or convince a self-defense instructor to help him "scare" his female friends.
He also brings up Ross' tendency to be disrespectful in relationships - his consistent intellectual snobbery towards Joey, or the way he calls out Phoebe for her unconventional lifestyle. And he was hardly the poster boy for relationships.
He sleeps with at least one of his students. He is known for being a terrible professor, both unethical and unskilled.
And finally, worst of all, there is the situation with his children.
Can you remember the last time you see Ben on the show? Not in the last two seasons:
Sure, he mentions Ben in these last two and a half seasons, but does he have any role in Ben’s life?
When he references Ben, is he referencing something that once was, a child he no longer sees or knows?
Think about everything we know about Ross.
He’s very jealous. He’s possessive. He’s arguably emotionally abusive ... and, as the seasons unfold, narrowing down to the ending where he and Rachel end up ostensibly happy every after, he seems to be coming completely unhinged.
The author and blogger goes on to suggest that Ross' "insanity" may have hit a breaking point with his ex-wife, Carol.
Could she no longer handle his nice-guy syndrome and homophobic snickering? Did she decide to take full custody of her son?
Did Ross even fight her for Ben, or just let him go, shifting his focus to the new baby he had with the woman of his obsession? He couldn’t even handle his daughter having a male caregiver.
He ends on a high note, summarising by saying:
People like to give Ross the benefit of the doubt, wondering if perhaps he was a better father off-screen. Perhaps his children met but the audience never saw.
The more likely answer is that he was such a deadbeat father that he completely faded away from his son’s life, pretending to his family and so-called friends that he still saw a boy he barely knew.
Could we be any sadder?
Watch Friends every day on Comedy Central UK