Ever since its release as a full series on Netflix on January 1st of this year, Friends has become a sensation once again. Many collegiettes are guilty of binge-watching the show from start to finish—maybe even more than once. But, as it's been posted on many websites this week (including TIME), there's a fan theory circulating the web about the show's ending that, if true, would make the entire series much, much darker.
The show's actual ending leaves audiences with a feeling of closure, as each character says goodbye to the apartment—which all six had lived in at one point or another—and leaves their keys on the counter. To this day, the episode is one of the most-watched finales in television history. According to a Huffington Post list, it comes in at #5 after drawing 52.46 million viewers when it aired in 2004. In this new theory, however, as suggested by Twitter user @strnks, the show should have instead ended with the revelation that all of the events in the series were figments of a homeless Phoebe's drug-induced imagination.
— Xenophon Moscrop (@strnks) August 24, 2015
Of the six friends, Phoebe Buffay was always the one with the most interesting and wild backstory, and throughout the show mentioned many times that she lived on the street for a part of her life. This, on top of the countless other off-the-wall storylines that were never elaborated upon—including that she apparently mugged Ross years prior to the show's timeline, and that her mother committed suicide, then didn't turn out to be her biological mother—does give some feasibility to @strnks's theory. Even if it was given that some of Phoebe's stories were true, it would explain how she would have come to be living on the street and dreaming up friends in a coffee shop.
Whether or not you buy into this theory, it's certainly one that you won't be able to get out of your head as you binge-watch the series... again.