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17th May 2019

Ranking all six Friends from least to most rat-arsed in that Vegas throwback photo

Friends are the family you choose, much like drinks are the happiness you create

Ciara Knight

*Extremely Inbetweeners voice* F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Not sure if you’ve seen it plastered all over the internet today, but Courteney Cox has posted a throwback photo of our six favourite Friends on Instagram.

To clarify, the image shows Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Courteney Cox on a plane going to Las Vegas.

Legend goes that all six chums went on holiday after they filmed the pilot episode of Friends so that they could bond and also presumably get absolutely rat-arsed together.

As the throwback photograph shows, that objective appears to have been achieved.

So, let’s rank all six buddies from least to most rat-arsed.

6. Matt LeBlanc

Matt LeBlanc is stone cold sober. Nobody, under the harsh light of what appears to be a disposable camera, has ever done an open-handed wave while intoxicated. That is the sign language symbol for ‘Please help me, I am six beers behind everyone else and trying to catch up as best I can’. Matt LeBlanc is so sober, the mere idea of a photograph being taken was enough to cause him to break out into a cold sweat. Everyone is at the shouting stage of their journey into getting blackout drunk, while Matty LeB can still feel the rigidity of his fancy clothing upon his skin

He’s sitting closest to the TV, which he was intently watching right before the photograph was taken. Matt LeBlanc needs 20 minutes alone in a bathroom to vape and administer a healthy dose of social lubricant. Unfortunately at 40,000 feet into the air, this is not an option. He must persevere, focussing all of his attention on playing catchup with these relative strangers while they laugh at unfunny things such as baristas spelling your name wrong and the concept of Budweiser’s ‘Whasaaaaaaaa’ catchphrase ever getting old. I feel you, Matt LeBlanc. Sip up, champ.

5. Courteney Cox

Truthfully, Courteney is probably sufficiently on it at this point in the Vegas trip, but she’s got the rare ability to pull off a sober expression in photographs, regardless of her current state. That’s a gift that only 4% of the population are said to be blessed with. The only telltale sign of her insobriety rests in Courteney’s stabling arm just out of frame. She’s using it to steady herself on the seat, which we could potentially put down to mild turbulence, either airborne or internal. Essentially, she’s swaying and a long exposure photograph would’ve accurately highlighted that.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it’s important to point out that nobody is wearing a seatbelt either. Sure, they’re probably cruising at a safe altitude that doesn’t require a harness, but if Courteney was in any way sober, she would’ve kept that seatbelt on for extra security. The invincibility of a drunken mind is evident here. She could land that plane if necessary, such is her current confident state. Look at that plastic cup, it’s perfectly level. Even upon takeoff and landing, not a drop was spilled. That’s the smile of a woman who is tipsy, but not fully rat-arsed just yet. She is 1.5 plastic cups of alcohol away from being sufficiently rat-arsed.

4. David Schwimmer

Similar to his fictional sister, David is very much on the way, but still has the presence of mind to mislead the photograph’s interpretation of his mental state. Schwimmer is having a wonderful time, he doesn’t even know what the future holds – that one day he could be playing the role of Robert Kardashian complete with a jazzy little grey streak of hair for accuracy. In this moment, he is simply a young guy who has just landed a role in an upcoming sitcom that may or may not do well, sitting on a private plane heading to Las Vegas with five lunatics. Life is good.

Dressed like an office worker who microwaves fish in the staff kitchen every day, David is just one drink away from loosening that tie and opening his top button. But not yet, for now, he is in a relatively tranquil state. Thanks to the standard definition quality of the photograph, you cannot see his eyes. Were they in focus, both for him and in the photograph, his rat-arsity would become apparent. But by the good grace of technology’s limitations in the early 90s, David Schwimmer appears to be moderately sober, or at the very least, suffering from hay fever on his way to a job interview at a bank that will feel the full weight of the economic collapse in 13 years time.

3. Lisa Kudrow

Still somehow looking glorious, Lisa Kudrow has had a beer (or similar beverage of her choosing). That is the facial expression of someone who was midway through a rambling story about that one time she got a free muffin at the drive-thru because the queue was so long. Right as she was about to get to the non-existent punchline, some genius shouted ‘SMILE’ and Lisa continued to talk through the photograph being taken with all the determination of an unruly toddler telling a very loud joke at what they don’t realise is a very sad funeral ceremony.

She’s been caught off guard, but still manages to conceal her rat-arsed nature because she is an actress and that is simply what they do. Lisa can turn it on like a busker when they notice a wealthy person nearby, which coincidentally was a recurring storyline for her Friends character in the years that followed. They’re going to Las Vegas and as the rule stipulates, us mere mortals will unfortunately never know what happened once that plane landed. Did Lisa finish her story? Did her ears pop from the altitude? Did she ever get to close her mouth? Sadly, it is none of our goddamn business.

2. Matthew Perry

Matty P is rat-arsed. He is drunk. The man has been boozing since long before the plane took off, thankful that private jet inhabitants aren’t subjected to the same level of sobriety stipulations as regular flying muggles. He’s got spare drinks stuffed in his pockets for when they reach Vegas, he’s just shotgunned a beer at the request of absolutely nobody and the repercussions are starting to take effect. You can’t see it, but I’m absolutely certain that Matthew Perry has got a giant wet patch on his shirt at the moment of the photograph being taken.

Contrast his expression with Matt LeBlanc’s, if you will. They are yin and yang, one desperately regretting not availing of the airport lounge’s free drinks, the other satisfied with his past self’s decisions. Matthew Perry is literally and metaphorically on cloud nine. Nothing can bring him down, not even being reminded that he will forever be known as a character stupidly-named Chandler Bing. This is happiness, raw and vulnerable. Have you ever been so content that you smiled like a purring cat? You have. But was it captured on camera and shared to Courteney Cox’s 1.9m Instagram followers a concise 25 years later? Unlikely.

1. Jennifer Aniston

Ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between, may I present to you the people’s champion, Jennifer Aniston. This is how you’re supposed to look on a flight to Las Vegas, regardless of the decade. This is a woman with wild Vegas energy that cannot be tamed. This is a woman who is going to feel the full force of aeroplane drunk versus sea level drunk when she lands. This is a woman who is going to have a trendy haircut named after her in the coming years. This is a woman who is going to fuck Brad Pitt. This is a woman who understands what it means to go on an all-expenses-paid work trip with your new colleagues and get value for goddamn money.

Jen’s hair is fashionably disheveled, her smile is crooked, her posture is a damn mess and for some reason, her hand is draped around an invisible friend. She is rat-arsed, that is an undeniable fact. She is precisely the right amount rat-arsed for a flight to Vegas. Matt LeBlanc is sad because he is yet to reach her staggering height of inebriation by natural means. Jennifer Aniston is living her truth. There’s no pretence here, the woman is drunk and the 25-year-old grainy photograph proves that. She is a hoot. The woman didn’t even know that she would go on to star in such timeless classic movies as Horrible Bosses, We’re The Millers and Dumplin’, and several adverts for a gentle and natural moisturiser, yet she’s still high on life. That, my Friends, is living. Get it, sis. Get it for all of us. Thank you for this bountiful gift.

Images via Instagram