Professional Movers Explain How the ‘Friends’ Gang Could Have Gotten That Couch Up the Stairs

Ross was right: There will be pivoting
Professional Movers Explain How the ‘Friends’ Gang Could Have Gotten That Couch Up the Stairs

“Pivot! Pivot!”

That’s what Ross obnoxiously shouts as he, Chandler and Rachel desperately try to get Ross’ new couch up the stairs in the legendary Season Five episode of Friends, “The One with the Cop.” Before or since, the word “pivot” has never been shouted with such passion and intensity. 

But since the couch ended up lodged in the stairwell, it begs the question: Was Ross even giving the right directions on how to get the couch up the stairs?

I asked a few professional movers on how the gang actually should have gone about moving such a large piece of furniture in such a tight space. 

How many people should you use to move a couch?

Maurice Gilliam, co-owner of Luxury Movers Moving Company in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: You really only need two people — one at the top and one at the bottom. 

Vin Solås, co-owner of We Gotchu Moving in New Orleans: Just two people. Chandler is completely in the way. He’s not doing anything useful; he’s just taking up space.

What would be the correct way to get that couch up the stairs?

Solås: It’s not as complicated as it seems. In the scene, they keep it the way that you’d sit on it, so it’s pretty flat, but you’d want to flip 90 degrees forward so that the back rest is in the air. That way, you can get around the corner when you pivot, as Ross keeps yelling. You can also take the legs off, as that’ll give you about three inches on each side. 

Gilliam: If the legs can come off, take the legs off. The next thing we’d do is pad wrap it and stretch wrap it to protect it from the walls and everything else. In that scene, there are two landings — or turns — in the stairwell; whenever we’d get to each landing, we’d put it vertical, that way it'd be at its skinniest point. It’d definitely fit if you put it vertical. 

Chris, former mover in Ontario: If you put it vertically, so the L-shape is against that beam there, they could have easily angled it around. Ideally, they’d also have straps to secure it. 

If the couch got stuck, how would you un-stick it?

Solås: They got it stuck by letting it go, so, to unstick it, you have to lift it up and wiggle it a little bit.

Chris: They basically have to retrace their steps backwards.

Gilliam: If it gets stuck, the best thing to do is go back the way you came. That, or throw that whole couch away and get a smaller couch.

Most importantly, were Ross and Rachel on a break?

Chris: They were definitely on a break.

Solås: Absolutely, they were on a break. Also, it’s totally reasonable to fall asleep while reading a fucking 18-page letter.

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