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The Friends Timeline Detail That Doesn't Make Any Sense

Real fans of "Friends" know that, over the course of the NBC comedy sitcom's decade-long domination of television, Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) went through more big adulthood milestones than many of us have in real life. Whether it's making up (or breaking up, or making up again) with Ross (David Schwimmer), finding the right career path, or supporting the rest of her friend group, Rachel's life was truly a rollercoaster of events from season to season. And while it was generally fairly easy to keep track of what was going on in Rachel's life at any given point in the show, there is one memorable event from her Season 8 arc which remains a head-scratcher. That event? Her unnaturally long pregnancy with her daughter, Emma.

What makes Rachel's pregnancy storyline so notable is the fact that it lasted the entirety of Season 8. Yes, you read that right. Rachel was pregnant for much longer than the typical gestation period for an expecting parent. What's truly wild is that it seems nobody on "Friends" noticed while the show was happening and, wilder still, more than a decade later, it caught someone's attention. Rachel's unusual pregnancy was pointed out by Reddit user FrostedMiniWheats123 in the "Friends"-themed subreddit r/howyoudoin back in 2018.

Rachel was pregnant for about a year, which isn't exactly how that works

As FrostedMiniWheats123 notes in their very thorough Reddit post, Rachel is basically pregnant for an entire year. During the Season 8 opener, "The One After I Do," it's revealed she's been pregnant for at least a few weeks. The episode takes place after Monica and Chandler's wedding, which was set to occur on May 15. From here, "Friends" does a haphazard job of reminding us Rachel is supposed to be pregnant as the season unfolds. For example, when we cut to Season 8, Episode 5, "The One with the Halloween Party," Rachel is meant to be approximately five months pregnant — or, to put it another way, well into her second trimester — and yet she is barely showing. 

Even if we allow for the fact that she is a slim woman, it strains credulity that Rachel wouldn't have even the slightest of baby bumps by this point in her pregnancy. By Episode 9, "The One with the Rumor," Rachel is nearly done with her second trimester and still isn't showing, nor are any comments made by any of the characters about her pregnancy at this point in the season.

Rachel's pregnancy may not make sense, but it's fun to watch

Rachel's situation becomes a more active aspect of the show during the backend of Season 8, with a season finale two-parter focused on her giving birth to Emma. Aniston's costuming begins to show Rachel's pregnancy more so that, by the time we hit Episode 22, "The One Where Rachel Is Late," there is no mistaking she is truly pregnant. It's practically a miracle that Rachel manages to give birth in the Season 8 finale, which we know takes place in late May. We learned earlier in the season that her due date was set just before the premiere of Joey's next movie, which comes out on Memorial Day weekend.

If you actually track all of the time that passes within the "Friends" timeline as well as the actual timeline of the show's airdates (because major events on the show like holidays correspond with the airdate of a specific episode), Rachel was pregnant with Emma from late April or early May 2001 to late May 2002 — at least a whole 12 months. And so, while Rachel going through a pregnancy undoubtedly makes for good television, it definitely risks breaking your brain the second you pause to analyze exactly how it all plays out throughout Season 8.