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How Did We Never Notice This Odd Thing About Bruce Willis's Cameo In Friends?

How Did We Never Notice This Odd Thing About Bruce Willis's Cameo In Friends?

Curious indeed!

Jade Moscrop

Jade Moscrop

Just because Friends has ended, doesn't mean that we don't still watch endless repeats. However, watching re-runs inevitably means that you'll spot something odd, like a continuity error or someone amusingly chewing coffee in the background of a scene.

There are also theories galore about all the unanswered questions, meaning we're forever stuck in a Friends-shaped hole, not that we mind of course.

A lovely chap named Joe who works in our office recently pointed out something that is baffling our brains, and it involves Bruce Willis's appearance in the series.

Credit: NBC

You may remember when Willis appeared in three episodes as Paul Stevens, Ross's girlfriend's dad. His character then fancied the pants off Rachel and gave us the hilariously awkward relationship combo we know and love so well. Willis even ended up winning a Comedy Emmy Award for Best Guest Actor for the stint. But there's one thing we've never been able to figure out - Ross, Chandler and Joey were all mad Die Hard fans, right? Let's just refresh our memories with this hilarious scene:

Credit: NBC

We'd say that's as manic a fans come. So, the big question is this...

Now of course, we know it's just a TV show, but they definitely could have nodded to the fact that he "looked" like Bruce Willis, or maybe they just swept their previous reference under the continuity rug?

It turns out we're not the only ones who've thought about it, in fact a Quora user pointed it out back in 2015, and it appeared on Reddit two years earlier.

Credit: Quora

Credit: Reddit

A Quora user named Geoffrey kindly took the time to explain exactly what we were experiencing during the episode.

What you're describing is an example of the Celebrity Paradox. The issue here is that popular culture and celebrities are a pretty big part of our world. In the world portrayed in those shows, do they have the same popular culture? You might assume that they don't, and their popular culture is completely different from ours, but that breaks down the first time they mention a TV show, movie, actor or anything else that we recognize.
Now we have a problem. Within the universe of "Friends", the show "Friends" obviously doesn't exist. But other shows and movies do, and the existence of "Friends" can't be the only thing missing, because popular culture is all interconnected. Even if Bruce Willis hadn't guest-starred, you'd still have a problem. If "Die Hard" exists in this universe, then Bruce Willis exists. And Bruce Willis was in "The Whole Nine Yards" with Matthew Perry. Why doesn't anyone mention how much Chandler looks like Matthew Perry? And if Bruce Willis exists, he was in the movie "The Player", which Patrick Swayze was also in. If Patrick Swayze exists in this universe, then he was in "Abby Singer" with Jennifer Aniston. Amazing how much that famous actress looks like Rachel, right?
You can link celebrities up like that all day, but I think the point is clear. There are two ways to deal with this paradox. You can just ignore it, which is what most studios do, or you can assume that the pop culture of this universe is just different enough from ours to make it work. For example, we assume that in the Friends-verse, there's an actor named Bruce Willis who was in a movie called "Die Hard", but he happens to look completely different from the Bruce Willis we all know. And he was never in a movie with Matthew Perry, or else this universe's Matthew Perry looks different from Chandler, and was never in a show called "Friends"
Unsatisfying, perhaps, but if you must examine the logic of fictional worlds, you have to make that type of assumption.a

Reddit user Acidic_Jew also pointed out that it isn't the first time it has happened either.

Friends has lots of these. Susan Sarandon was on Ross's "list" of women he was allowed to sleep with; Joey later slept with a character played by Susan Sarandon. Ross referred to himself as "Cro-Magnum P.I.," Monica later slept with Magnum, P.I. They try to get a table by giving the name "Winona Ryder", Rachel went to school with a character played by Winona Ryder. At one point they were trying to come up with the capital of Cambodia, and guessed, "Sean Penn," who they later met. Ross came up with the idea for "Jurassic Park," and Joey later met a character played by Jeff Goldblum.
Most disturbing: Jessica Rabbit was on Chandler's list of celebrities he could sleep with, his FATHER was played by Kathleen Turner, who voiced Jessica Rabbit.

Fascinating stuff!

Featured Image Credit: NBC

Featured Image Credit:

Topics: Bruce Willis, Mistake, Die Hard, NBC, Nostalgia, TV, Friends