Joey Tribbiani Was Right!

Joey Tribbiani

Who doesn’t love Friends? Everyone has their favourite characters, of course, and mine happens to be Joey Tribbiani. Now, I know Joey might not be the brightest spark in the box but sometimes he emerged with incredible pearls of wisdom in amongst the hilarity that is everyone’s favourite sitcom. One such revelation was brought to our screens during Season 5, Episode 4, also titled “The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS”. For those of you who can’t remember the storyline, here goes:

Joey gets a job as a co-host for a telethon on PBS and announces he is doing a good deed (much like Phoebe did carrying her half-brother’s children …). Phoebe, however, argues that Joey isn’t taking the job because it’s a good deed; he’s doing the gig because it gets him on television, therefore making it selfish. Joey’s counter-argument is that Phoebe felt good about having enabled her brother to have a family, so her act as a surrogate mother wasn’t selfless either. Still with me? Joey claims there is no such thing as a selfless good deed. In fact, ‘all people are selfish’, he states, and therefore like to perform good deeds to better their own lives in one way or another. Phoebe refuses to believe this and vows to find one selfless good deed. Here’s a list of her attempts and failures throughout the episode:

  • Sneaking over and raking up all the leaves on her elderly neighbour’s front stoop – when he found her doing so, he ‘force-fed’ her cider and cookies which made her feel wonderful.
  • Going down to the park and letting a bee sting her, thereby making the bee happy (in Phoebe’s mind) and leaving Phoebe in pain and sad – Joey breaks the news that the bee probably died, oops.
  • Pledging $200 to the telethon Joey is working for despite hating PBS (Sesame Street didn’t write back to her after her mother killed herself) because she knows the TV channel do good things but she’s not happy about supporting them – Joey, who’d previously been stuck off-screen taking pledges, then gets on TV thanks to Phoebe’s donation which makes her feel happy … oh dear!

So, yes, Joey Tribbiani was and is right. There is no such thing as a selfless good deed because if you do something nice, you feel good within yourself. An act of kindness innately makes human beings who perform them feel better about themselves because it’s part of our genetic make-up to want to do good things for other people.  Now, don’t take Joey’s evidence for the apparent selfish nature of good deeds as a reason not to do them. In fact, it’s a reason to do them! Make yourself feel awesome and help someone else at the same time – perfect. And if you want to feel really great, why not post your good deed on more good deed’s app where every act of kindness will then be turned into a $1 donation for your chosen charity. Two good deeds, two little buzzes of happiness. Share and spread the kindness.

Go, do, experience. More Good Deeds.