Joey Tribbiani is the typical definition of a ’90s alpha male. He is strong, loves beer, food, women, and sports. But behind the charming, women and food-obsessed Knicks fan is a man with a sensitive man with a heart of gold.
Even though Joey is often the comic relief of Friends, and his easy-going personality rarely ever seems bothered by the mishappens of life, a deeper look into Joey’s life is enough to see he had his fair share of problems. Here are the saddest things about Joey Tribbiani.
10 He Has A Dysfunctional Family
Joey is the only male in a family of eight children, and surprisingly, he is the well-adjusted one. Though his seven sisters, Gina, Tina, Dina, Mary-Angela, Mary-Theresa, Veronica, and Cookie, don’t show up a lot in Friends, Joey often talks about them, and we can get a clear picture of how dysfunctional the Tribbiani family is. Besides his father having an affair with his mother’s knowledge and blessing, we also know that one of his sisters is in jail, another one gets pregnant as a teen, one has a restraining order against her filed by her own husband, and a different one claims to have shot her husband and celebrated with a glass of vodka. In comparison, Joey seems pretty normal.
9 He’s Forced To Accept His Father’s Affair
In the first season, episode “The One With The Boobies,” Joey accidentally discovers his father is having an affair with a woman named Ronni, who is a pet mortician. Joey strongly disapproves of his father’s mistress, and as the gang tries to cheer him up, he confesses to consider his father a different person after the discovery. Joey eventually convinces his dad his doings are wrong, but then his mother scolds him for doing so. She confesses she prefers Joey Sr. now that he has a ‘hobby’ and while they end up happily in a quasi-poly relationship, Joey is still not happy about the situation.
8 He’s A Bad Actor
Joey is a bad actor. His friends know it, the audience knows it, his manager knows it, but he is completely oblivious to his lack of talent, and it is just plain sad to watch. Joey dreams of becoming a star, and kudos to him for his determination and resilience, but from what we can see in the show, chances are he is never going to make it to the A-list.
Even though he gets cast in multiple plays, gets small parts in movies and TV shows, and even stars in the very famous soap-opera Days Of Our Lives, time and experience don’t seem to improve his craft.
7 He Kills Dr. Drake Ramoray
Even though Joey is not a good actor, he is good-looking and finds his way to an amazing opportunity to star in the long-running soap opera Days Of Our Lives. The role of Dr. Drake Ramoray allows Joey to find financial stability, and it’s a big step forward in his acting career. However, he screws up that chance when he angers the show’s writers by taking credit for his character’s lines. Dr. Drake Ramoray’s dramatic death is falling off an elevator shaft. Later on, Dr. Drake Ramoray returns to the show when his brain is transplanted to another character’s body, but he is killed off again, this time while performing surgery, as we learn in an episode of Joey.
6 He Is Not Bright
Joey is not the sharpest tool in the shed. And the saddest thing about it is that he is not smart enough to realize it. His lack of intelligence is often made fun of by the other characters, and it’s definitely one of the easiest traits to insert comedic elements into the show. Like Phoebe, Joey never went to college, and he even admits that his time in High School was used more for partying and hooking up than actually studying. No wonder he is always the last one to get the joke.
5 Never Finds Real Connection
Joey is known for being a big-time womanizer. Throughout the 10 seasons, he goes out on multiple dates and is very admired for his smooth abilities to get on with the opposite sex. But in a closer look, Joey rarely ever finds a deeper connection with the women he dates.
Friends follows a big chunk of the gang’s adult lives, and during this time, the other five characters explore longer relationships and heartbreaks. Still, Joey seems stuck in the one-note meaningless-sex routine, and his lack of emotional connection seems more like a problem than a personal choice.
4 He’s Often Seen As A Piece Of Meat
When Monica and Chandler sleep together for the first time in London, Monica was actually looking for Joey. After getting sad about her failed love life and getting confused with their mother, Monica decides she wants to have good meaningless sex. And who does she goes to? Joey.
Monica is not the only one to seek out Joey for his looks and not his personality. In season 9 of Friends, hot paleontologist Charlie Wheeler dates Joey for four episodes, when she dumps him for Ross, even though the two have nothing in common, except for physical attraction.
3 He Falls In Love With Rachel
One of the few times Joey actually falls in love is with Rachel. Aware that his feelings create a complicated dynamic between his friendships with Ross and Rachel, Joey tries to hide his feelings, but slowly the gang begins to find out. Eventually, Joey’s feelings are too big to be kept a secret, and he confesses them to both Ross and Rachel. In the end, he’s turned down by Rachel, even though, deep down, he always knew it was an impossible love.
2 He Struggles With Toxic Masculinity
Fans of Friends know that behind Joey’s hunky body and charming moves, he is nothing but a soft-big-hearted man with a lot of feelings. However, the toxic masculinity within society forbids him from expressing his true self naturally. Joey and Chandler need to balance a friendly hug or a meaningful exchange with beer and foosball in several episodes. He constantly hides when he cries, and the few times when he tries to explore his feminine side, he gets too scared of how far he goes and halts immediately, like when he tries on Rachel’s underwear, puts on make-up, or uses a purse.
1 His Friends Outgrow Him
Of all the six friends, Joey is the one with the less significant arc in the show. From 1994 to 2004, the audience watches the gang grow up from young mid-20s adults to mature 30-year-olds. But as one by one they all get married, have kids, and find stability in their careers, Joey ends up pretty much where he started. The only single one between the friends, and with no kids, it’s hard to imagine many occasions in which Joey would be hanging out with Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Phoebe, and Mike outside of holidays. Unless, of course, he takes Chandler’s offer to spend his old age living in an apartment above his friends’ garage.
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