Here’s the thing about Joey Tribbiani: If you mention his name out loud, someone is going to yell, “Joey doesn’t share food!” It’s an inevitability like the sun rising or your name being misspelled on your Starbucks cup. Joey doesn’t share food has almost become something outside itself, more important than the show Friends. Do you know how many memes there are for Joey Doesn’t Share Food? Are you aware? The answer is too many.
Friends is old enough at this point that we’ve all but forgotten most of the non-memeable moments; Ross and Rachel were a thing, sure, Phoebe was quirky-weird, and something about Monica. There was a Chandler? The real point is that if it wasn’t a joke of some kind, we probably don’t remember it at this point. Which is why Joey + Food is the truest and most important pairing of all; it was hilarious, and it was real. Let’s remember what’s worth remembering, people: the most epic love story of a generation.
The Garden Salad Incident
No one has ever been personally betrayed the way Joey was during the Garden Salad Incident. During a date with Sarah, a friend of Phoebe’s, said date seemed to forget the golden rule of food-sharing; namely, that it doesn’t happen. Her fry-grab is accompanied by her untouched garden salad and Joey’s look of deep emotional betrayal. We can only imagine ‘Ave Maria’ playing in the distances, as Friends was unable to get the rights to the song.
Rachel Tries to Cook
Another running joke in Friends: Rachel was a terrible adult. We could argue that none of them were really very good at adulting, really, but this is about Joey and Food and not about how no one seems able to just let a girl live. Come on. In this episode, Rachel famously made “a trifle and half a shepherd’s pie,” disgusting everyone but food’s #1 fan, Joey. And that’s the beauty of his food love, really: it’s patient. It’s kind. It’s nonjudgmental. It loves all food, even the gross kinds. Except, as we’ll see below, vegan stuff. Majestic.
The Jacket Fork
Here, we’ve met with a Romeo and Juliet-esque story in which Rachel and Chandler try to hoard a cheesecake all to themselves, convincing Joey not to eat it by telling him it’s made of tofu. Fools! Later in the episode, Joey and his true love are reunited despite the odds, even though one of them is now dead (or on the floor, whatever). Joey, always prepared for food, is reunited with his love, cake, and all is well.
Joey Knows Who He is and He’s Not Sorry
Coming to us from the same disaster date that brought us the Garden Salad Incident, Sarah makes the mistake of ordering the last chocolate mousse that the restaurant had, then going to the Ladies’ room and leaving Joey alone with dessert. And considering her affinity for fry-stealing, isn’t this kind of a retribution? It is, Sarah. It is that.
If a pizza is just left outside a residence, and the person who lives in said residence has taken greater than five-ish minutes to retrieve their pizza, then that pizza goes to probate and becomes a ward of the state. Is that how the law works? The point is, Joey found that pizza fair and square. So really, even if the NYPD were there to arrest, who knows, Chandler, probably, they certainly can’t take away a fair-claims pizza. Joey is a man that knows his rights.
The Joey Special
Urban Dictionary defines the Joey Special thusly: “It is two pizzas.” And really, shouldn’t we just be glad that the Joey Special has remained purely the ordering of two pizzas, and not turned into a term for a weird sex thing? There’s still beauty in this cruel world. And beauty is two pizzas.
The Answer is Always Both
Joey has the same reaction many of us would have to being asked the question, “Would you rather have food or sex?” And that reaction is angrily demanding both, at once, immediately. It’s that kind of every-man mindset that makes Joey a modern icon. Also, you know, there are pizza condoms, inspired by Joey himself. So really, dreams do come true!
Joey Chooses His Sandwich
This clip, with convenient Slovenian subtitles, really captures what it means to be in love. Look at that acting. The tender way Joey says “I wasn’t trying to save Ross,” like a confession of undue love is going to come spilling out next. And in a lot of ways, it does. “My sandwich was next to Ross,” Joey says, rocking Chandler’s world and our own. Of course Joey wouldn’t pick between Ross or Chandler. They’re both people, and people are terrible. What really matters is food.
Kudos to Joey for not taking the easy way out and just eating all the ice cream in the freezer. While he’s holding a chocolate pudding, we can see some clear evidence on the table. That’s at least two limes that he’s gone through, probably some leftovers, and what appears to be a spray-bottle of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Remember when butter spray was a thing? Is it still a thing? (Yes.)
This happens to be the Friends episode with Brad Pitt in it, but the real guest stars are Phoebe’s super ’90s maternity pants, which Joey has converted into Thanksgiving pants. Converted, of course, means that he stole Phoebe’s maternity pants without asking and put them on so he could eat more. But it’s not like she was using them, and you can’t fault Joey for being thrifty. He did also put away a whole Thanksgiving turkey, and then proceeded to have pie off-screen, so those pants were a worthwhile steal. Joey’s really combining looking good and feeling good on this one.