Erin Mallory Long
April 30, 2015 11:56 am

Every week, in honor of #ThrowbackThursday, we look back at a trend that we totally forgot about, but totally shouldn’t have. Check out past #TBT columns here.

My visceral aversion to a voice mail notification on my phone is hilarious considering the pure, unadulterated joy I used to experience running upstairs to check the answering machine.

Answering machines gave us an outlet for creativity. What kind of outgoing message would we have? Would it be like George Constanza’s on Seinfeld? Because that was kind of the best.

The world was our oyster! You could have an answering machine message that seemed like you were picking up (“Hello?…just kidding”), or you could do song parodies. I mean, answering machines were AMAZING! You didn’t have to be constantly available and more importantly, it was up to the other person to tell you they called. With cell phones, you’ll see the missed call. (Or, more than likely, you’re watching the call come in and just ignoring it.)

Answering machines were also helpful ways to let you know a movie character had no friends. That “no new messages” message was BRUTAL. And the entire concept of “screening your calls” which is what we just all naturally do now with cell phones came from the ability to let your answering machine pick up and see if the person calling decided to announce themselves.

And almost 100,000 plotlines on Friends would never have existed without answering machines.

Monica would never have accidentally re-recorded Richard’s message.

Chandler would never have been “screening his calls” and gotten the message from hot stranger Jude.

Rachel and Phoebe would never have to have a power struggle as new roommates over the answering machine message.

Ross would never have heard about Rachel’s love for him via drunken message (she just would have texted incoherently)

And Chandler would never have known pre-maturely that Monica booked a location for their wedding.

Answering machines allowed us the freedom to leave our homes without making us feel guilty for avoiding phone calls. And I say we should bring them back! ASAP!

And we’d never have this perfect reaction from Chandler:

(Main image via, Monica gif via, Weird and sensitive gif via, Chandler wedding gif via, Ross/Rachel gif via, leaf blower gif via)