Originally created 05/03/04

'Friends' Finale: A look back at Phoebe



What will we do without Phoebe to massage our funny bones? Here's a look back at how she caterwauled her way into TV history:

THE FRIEND: Phoebe Buffay.

SHE IS: A hippie chick a few decades after Woodstock. And she's been on some bad trips: Her mother killed herself, her stepfather went to prison, she lived on the streets. But obladi, oblada, life goes on, and no one knows better than Phoebe. Or sings about it worse, in her own oddball, out-of-key folk songs. Phoebe is sweet, big-hearted, liberated and uncensored. She's wispy but tough as nails. Delightfully ditzy, she's an alien invader from the planet Non Sequitur, but right at home in the Village with her friends.

PLAYED BY: Lisa Kudrow.

QUOTE: "Looking back on all the fun ... is not going to help me leave. I mean, that's exactly what I can't be thinking about because that's the saddest part for me."

WHY WE LOVE PHOEBE: She keeps the '60s alive!

HIGHLIGHT: Scores a $7,000 settlement from the soda company after finding a thumb in her soda can.

LOWLIGHT: Composes and performs a song called "Smelly Cat."

HOOKUPS: Characters played by Hank Azaria; Alec Baldwin; Chris Isaak; Sean Penn; Michael Rapaport; Charlie Sheen; and Fisher Stevens. Plus Robert, whose gym shorts were way too short. And, of course, her eventual husband Mike.

TEN YEARS FROM NOW: Through a crazy succession of events we won't get into here, Phoebe will enter "American Idol" and move on to the finals. Then, one memorable night, she unexpectedly sings one of her own weird songs. She is scratched from the competition, and the FCC, deciding her lyrics are obscene, sues the Fox network for millions. Phoebe returns to Greenwich Village, hanging out as a sidewalk musician.