What if Friends didn’t end with our six favourite pals going for one last coffee in Central Perk, everything having ended happily ever after, but with an altogether darker finale? Over the weekend, fan Gareth Stranks tweeted a bizarre idea for how the curtains could have closed on the hit ’90s sitcom and it&’s left us both impressed and depressed.

Stranks’ last episode reveals that all 10 seasons were in fact the visions of a drug-addicted, homeless Phoebe&’s “fevered imagination” as she peers into the window of Central Perk, watching Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Monica and Ross having fun together. “Each kooky aside, each time she made everything about her, each example of how she&’s an outsider, it all makes sense,” he wrote. “All she ever wanted was Friends.”

Stranks suggests that the final scene could have seen Phoebe walking away as the other characters, all with different names and personalities, gossip about “the crazy lady who always stares at us”. Poor Phoebe heads back to the park where she sleeps in front of the fountain, puts up “six dirty but brightly coloured umbrellas” and everything “fades to black”. Pretty intense, huh?

Stranks, a 30-year-old graphic designer from London, told us a little more about how his “unique” ending came about. “Me, my girlfriend and our flatmate had been watching Friends all Sunday afternoon,” he said. “Over dinner we were saying how Friends was basically the story of Rachel Green. Then we started talking about the different big themes across the show and I thought it would be hilarious if there was a ‘big reveal’ ending that tied it all together.

“The ‘It was all a dream’ thing is such a cheesy trope, so I thought it would be funny if there was that kind of finale. It was a very tongue-in-cheek idea, one of those ‘It all makes sense!’ stupid realisations that you could give Friends a really depressing ending.”

Stranks admitted that Phoebe was his least favourite Friends character, which probably explains the dire situation he chose to put her in. “Phoebe is the worst. Maybe I wanted revenge on her!’ he joked, as we felt shivers rising up our spine.

Time to whack on “The Last One” and remind ourselves that it wasn’t all this miserable…               

(The independent)