Although Friends closed up shop at Central Perk almost a decade ago, inquiring scientific minds still want to know: considering the INSANE amount of coffee the characters appeared to ingest on the show, should Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe have ended the series taken out on gurneys? Scientific American says yes.
To prove such an outlandish accusation, one has to make a lot of equally outlandish assumptions, Jezebel’s summary points out. And while it’s true that some (…or all) of these suppositions may be melodramatic, I like them. And to fuel a stimulating, caffeine-related discussion about one of my favorite NBC sitcoms to date, hell, I EMBRACE them. I hope you’re with me, Be Wellers.
Here are the rules we must adhere to for the study results to stand:
- Given their famous 20-ounce mugs, we must assume that when they drank coffee, each friend drank 20 full ounces of it.
- We must assume that each friend consumed two 20-ounce cups an episode.
- We must assume that this kind of “coffee mainlining” occurred over each of Friends’ 236 episodes.
After accepting these truths for the sake of discussion and entertainment, we are allowed to conclude a few things about our favorite TV friends.
If each friend drank two mugs of coffee over each episode, the whole gang downed, in total, 445 gallons of coffee. You could brew that amount of coffee in five large water heaters. These six friends could start a small coffee importing company.
Okay, but how much caffeine would have killed them? SA puts forward that some reports value the overdose amount for caffeine between 5 and 10 grams; in keeping with our analysis, “distributing all the caffeine the friends ingested over the decade at Central Perk would be enough to send almost 300 people to the hospital—if not outright kill them.”
… Oh. Alternately:
Of course, each episode of Friends represents a small portion of the characters’ days (sometimes longer). So what if we are only joining the gang once a week? If each episode represented a week of time, on average, then these java junkies downed nearly 3,100 gallons of coffee—enough to fill over half a freight container. This amount of joe could send over 1,900 people to the hospital.
Well, there you have it, folks. According to science (and, um, a whole lot of speculation), there’s simply no way that Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe could’ve realistically survived those ten years at the caffeine rate they were going, and I expect NBC to put right what’s wrong.
GIVE US A REUNION, am I right?