Friends' Wildest Theory Suggests Parks and Rec Exists in the Same Universe

Rachel Greene has had many love interests during Friends. Some of her most memorable relationships included her ex-fiancé Barry, her assistant Tag, her personal shopping customer Joshua and of course her long-time lover Ross Geller. In between these longer relationships were several one-time dates Rachel went on that usually ended in disaster. One Reddit theory posted by u/Phefflin (a theory that also popped up in a Buzzfeed article back in 2015) suggested that Rachel had another bad love interest, but this one might have been from a completely different sitcom altogether.

In Friends Season 7, Episode 9, "The One With All The Candy," Rachel started dating Tag and tried to convince her friends that it wouldn't be a problem. When asked if they've slept together yet, Rachel responded that she doesn't sleep with someone on the first date. Monica then rattled off the names of several men Rachel did sleep with on the first date to call her out. One of the names Monica said sounded like Ben Wyatt, who just so happens to be a character on NBC's Parks and Recreation.

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Portrayed by Adam Scott, Ben Wyatt was one of the main characters of Parks and Rec as well as the eventual husband of the main protagonist Leslie Knope. Before coming to the town of Pawnee, Ben was elected mayor of a small Minnesota town at the age of 18. Unfortunately, Ben's time in office was short-lived, as he ended up bankrupting the town trying and failing to build an ice complex, leading to his impeachment and exit from the town. The theory suggested that after Ben was impeached, he traveled to New York and began a brief relationship with Rachel before moving to Pawnee.

The user who posted this theory cites the characters' ages as the main proof that something might have happened between them. During the events of "The One With All The Candy," Rachel was 29 years old, as evidenced by the fact that she turned 30 years a few episodes later and broke up with Tag when she realized he was too young for her. Meanwhile, Ben Wyatt was born in 1974, which would make him 26 years old around the same time Rachel started dating Tag. Since they're only a few years apart, Rachel and Ben could have conceivably started up a relationship around that time.

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The theory also stated that Rachel mentions that Tag has a "cute butt," which is something that Leslie often said about Ben. Whereas the evidence of Rachel and Ben's similar ages does hold some weight, her and Leslie's affinity for cute butts is much more flimsy since that preference isn't exclusive to just those two women. While it would be interesting if all the past and present NBC sitcoms lived in the same universe, Monica mentioning that Rachel slept with a Ben Wyatt on the first date feels like more of a coincidence rather than a substantial connection between Friends and Parks and Rec.

Additionally, many Parks and Rec actors appeared on Friends before, playing different characters. Paul Rudd, who played Phoebe's husband Mike Hannigan near the end of the series, played spoiled rich guy Bobby Newport for several episodes in Parks and Rec. The same goes for Jim O'Heir, who played the constantly renamed and mocked Garry Gergich in Parks and Rec for its entire run and an unnamed adoption agency worker in one episode of the final season of Friends.

It also doesn't help that watching the Friends episode on HBO Max today, the subtitles change the name to Ben Wire. Both the Reddit theory and the Buzzfeed article were published years before the series started streaming on the platform, though it really does sound like Monica said "Ben Wyatt."

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