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If you’re like most die-hard Friends fans, you’ve probably wondered exactly how much Joey’s friendship was worth to Chandler. Now, thanks to an enterprising fan who did the math, we have a pretty good idea.
Spoiler alert: Joey must have been one hell of a friend, based on the size of Chandler’s investment in him.
One of the most whimsical aspects of Friends was its basic conceit that Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Monica, Rachel, and Ross could all survive and thrive in one of the trendiest parts of Manhattan, despite the fact that their work lives were intermittent at best.
At various points, the show itself made cheeky reference to this phenomenon, most notably in episode 8×22, “The One Where Rachel Is Late.”
Chandler essentially served as Joey’s sugar daddy in one of the world’s most expensive neighborhoods for three years straight.
In it, we learn that the well-off Chandler has paid for basically all of Joey’s living expenses since he moved to the city—everything from rent to acting lessons. Though we’re never told how much the figure comes out to, it’s enough to make Joey decide to forgive Chandler for falling asleep during the debut of the movie that (hopefully) signifies Joey’s big break.
Reddit’s r/theydidthemath is a forum devoted to solving various math problems posed but left unanswered in pop culture, like “How much would it actually cost to produce a real-life Truman Show?” and “How fast would you have to swing your dick for it to catch fire?” Thanks to a number of enterprising redditors with extremely good memories (or access to the Friends Wikia), we have a good idea of the total debt Joey incurred.
- We can calculate that Chandler’s Manhattan rent was about $3,500 a month. (To compare, Monica’s grandmother’s apartment, rent-controlled since the ’40s, could have been about $200.) Split two ways between Chandler and Joey for three years, as stated in the episode, the total is: $63,000
- We know utilities weren’t included in their rent, so we’ll follow user ASmileThatKills’ lead and calculate Joey’s half at $1,000.
Total so far: $64,000
Now for food. ASmileThatKills tries to guesstimate the amount Joey, known for his love of eating, spends on food every week—or rather the amount Chandler spends covering him. ASmileThatKills speculates the total is “$100 a week on groceries + $100 a week on pizza/takeout/coffee + $50 a week for Joey’s dates, every week for 3 years.”
So that’s $5,200 annually for groceries. Joey went on a lot of dates, and this is Manhattan. Let’s bump it up to $75, so $3,900 yearly. And since we all saw how much coffee those poor kids drank, let’s tack an extra $15/week onto the takeout total, or $5,980. That brings the three-year total for food costs up to $45,240.
Total so far: $109,240
But wait, there’s a lot more:
- Two sets of acting resume head shots, $500 each: $1,000
- Discounting inflation, Joey’s half of the phone and cable bills would have been around $35/month. Plus, if we assume that Chandler didn’t want to have to fight Joey for the phone when Joey was using their dial-up Internet, then they probably had another separate phone line for their computers, so an additional $10 for Joey: $1,620
- In season 4, episode 2, Joey is responsible for all of their apartment furniture getting stolen. Yikes! The roundup of valuables Chandler loses in this ep includes “a TV, a stereo system, a CD collection, 2 Lazy boy chairs, a full-size couch, a few different seating chairs, and an early laptop, which was pretty expensive at the time, as the technology was new.” ASmileThatKills estimates this total cost at roughly $5,500.
- In season 6, episode 18, Chandler mentions that Joey owes him $3,400. Presumably, this could be for some of the costs mentioned in this list—except we already know that after two years living together, that total would be a lot higher than that, so we can probably assume it’s for services unknown: $3,400.
- While Joey temporarily lost his health insurance prior to an expensive surgery that Chandler otherwise would have had to pay for, he got it back by the end of “The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance.” $0.
The grand total: $120,760
Yowza. As numerous redditors pointed out, Chandler was basically Joey’s sugar daddy in one of the world’s most expensive neighborhoods for three years straight.
How you doin’, Chandler?
Photo via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 3.0)
Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.