Joey Tribbiani is an actual genius—not a low-key genius, not a pseudo-genius but a real, actual genius. I know, it’s a little too much to take especially if all you’ve seen him as is a dumb player. But hear me out, Joey could be the smartest ‘Friends’ character there is.
For the past weeks, I have been binging on ‘Friends’ and people around me have been having discussions as it plays on the monitor. Were Rachel and Ross on a break? What happened to Ben? Among all these questions, no one really asked: “Can Joey be an actual genius?” Because you bet I can present cases on why he is one. Not to mention, Joey can just be really the kindest person among the six.
He’s an actor
I know it’s a long shot but hear me out. Being an actor couldn’t be an easy job. He takes on different roles every single time and for all we know, he could really be an acting genius. Remember when he starred as Al Pacino’s double? He got kicked out of the set saying he’s “acting too much”. If a man who can make a single part of his body act isn’t a genius, I don’t know what is.
He knows a lot about the culture
Joey may not be a math whiz or a science geek but here’s where he excels most: culture. Literature, art, TV, and movies—name and Joey probably knows it. Remember that time when they were playing Pictionary? Rachel drew a single bean-like thing (no one really knows) and Joey was quick to guess that it was “The Unbearable Lightness Of Being”, a novel by Milan Kundera. Gives a Dr. Seuss book as a gift? A cultured man indeed.
He’s a fast learner
While most people think he’s slow-witted, Joey is actually quick to catch on things. Helped a lady give birth once and he becomes an expert the second time. It’s not easy to digest these ideas especially if everyone’s adrenaline is high in that situation but still, he picked it up easily and kept it in mind for later use.
He’s pretty rational too
Fridge stopped working? Ate everything in it.
He doesn’t judge
He may be leaning more on the lazy side of the spectrum but him being an open-minded person makes it easier for him to be accepting of people. He refuses to judge and his level of self-love is impeccably high. Throughout the series, he has shown progress on how he embraced his feminine side. From appreciating a handbag Rachel gave him to adoring the way his female roommate has decorated their apartment, Joey has grown to become more sensitive about these things.
He hates lying
Anyone can be a genius or a really good person but Joey seems to be both. When caught between the Monica-Chandler blunder, he had a really hard time keeping it a secret. For the most part, he hated the fact that he’s lying to his friends. “I’m Joey. I’m disgusting. I take off my underwear at other people’s homes.”
He has his priorities straight
Chandler once thought he’s not doing something special in his life, quitting his high-paying job for it. Ross had to have a monkey hold his hand before he realizes he’s becoming a father. Everyone around him didn’t really have one goal in life. But Joey’s different—he just followed his dreams regardless of the twists and turns his life had to go through. With his hard work, he groomed his own career to blossom into something. Even on the smallest things, once his mind is set on something, he tries his best not to veer away from the conflict at hand until it gets resolved. Now that’s a dedicated man.
He gives really good pieces of advice
While it may all sound just like “moo point” to a lot of people, Joey Tribbiani’s two cents usually make sense. He usually does this best when he stands in the shoes of the people involved. An empathic guy with a genius brain—can Joey be any more perfect?
If these don’t really convince you, I suggest you revisit the show and be more observant of Joey. Usually discounted as just a stereotypical man with needs, Joey doesn’t really get the appreciation he very much deserves. But going through the series, once I had my eyes set on him, it wasn’t really easy to forget that I was trying to catch the genius in his every word and action. Needless to say, Joey never once failed me.