Friends is iconic for a reason, actually lots of reasons, including great actors, quirky characters, hilarious writing and unparalleled storylines. Everyone longs for the friendship the famous six have, and who hasn’t imagined sitting in Central Perk listening to Smelly Cat, before heading back to their idealistic New York apartment? No…just me?
If you’re like me and have watched every episode countless times, clap in the right place during the theme song without missing a beat, and use quotes from the show in everyday life, then now is not the time to go on a break, pivot your eyes below as this is the one where you learn some awesome facts that’ll make you love the show and cast even more (it was tough choosing just 25).
1. Like many TV shows, Friends originally had a number of different names before finally landing on the perfect title. Some of these names included: Insomnia Café, Across The Hall and Friends Like Us. All of these make sense (except the first one kind of sounds like a Thriller film), but I think they ended up picking the perfect name.
2. We can’t imagine the show without the actors that played the six main characters so well. But others who were close to getting the main roles include, Jane Lynch who auditioned for the part of Phoebe, Vince Vaughn who read for the role of Joey, Tiffani Thiessen who auditioned for the part of Rachel – but looked too young in comparison to the rest of the cast – Frank Azaria who auditioned for Joey and Jon Favreau who auditioned for the role of Chandler. Although Favreau and Azaria didn’t get the roles they auditioned for, they later appeared as a guest characters for a number of episodes respectively. Oh, what could have been…but thankfully wasn’t.
3. All episodes were filmed in front of a live studio audience, except cliff-hangers and surprise endings (like when Ross said Rachel’s name at the altar). These episode endings were kept highly secretive, and filmed after the audience had been removed.
4. Lisa Kudrow was already playing Ursula the waitress on a sitcom called Mad About You when she was cast on Friends. NBC and Mad About You encouraged Kudrow to take both roles, and the producers of Friends decided they would be twins. She went on to play Ursula Buffay in eight episodes of Friends.
5. Courtney Cox was the most famous cast member when the show aired as she had done a number of commercials and guest roles before the show. The Friends producers approached her to play the role of Rachel, but Cox wanted to play the role of Monica as she was a “strong” character. By the time the show ended (and even now) Jennifer Aniston became, arguably, the most famous cast member with numerous film roles. Aniston even wanted to drop out of the show before the final season, but thankfully didn’t.
6. James Michael Tyler who plays Gunther was a barista in real life when he got his role as, well, a barista on the show.
7. Tyler let his friend dye his hair before his first day of shooting. Because he was an extra, it didn’t seem like a big deal. But when he became a recurring character, he had to bleach his hair consistently for ten years.
8. Our favourite coffee shop manager didn’t even have a name until midway through season two, and didn’t have a line until 33 episodes after his first scene.
9. The characters of Phoebe and Chandler were originally written as supporting roles, before writers decided to have a group of six friends.
10. All the main characters were named after characters from the American soap opera, All My Children. Chandler was named after the Chandler family from the soap, Rachel’s last name is for Janet Green, Ross is for Ross Chandler, Monica is for Monique, Joey is for Joseph “Joey” Martin, and Phoebe is for Phoebe Tyler Wallingford. I guess the writers of Friends were huge soap opera fans; what with this fact, and also because of the prominence of Days Of Our Lives in the show.
11. Lisa Kudrow did not want Phoebe to play the guitar as it was difficult to learn (I can vouch for that). She opted for the bongos instead! She then learned three chords so she could play hits like Smelly Cat.
12. Courtney Cox is two years older than David Schwimmer despite playing his younger sister.
13. Matthew Perry’s dad, John Bennett Perry, who is also an actor made a cameo on the show. He played Joshua’s dad in ‘The One with Rachel’s New Dress’. Could that BE any cuter?
14. The reason why ‘The One Where No One’s Ready’ was filmed entirely in Monica’s apartment was due to budget cuts. They were not able to afford multiple filming locations. Talk about making the most with what you’re given!
15. This same episode caused Matt Leblanc to injure his shoulder in real life, so in the following episode, ‘The One With All The Jam’, his injury had to be added in. The reason given on the show is that Joey was ‘jumping on the bed’; highly plausible.
16. The cast hated the idea of Joey and Rachel as much as we did. They even went to the creators with their concerns, but it was added into the show regardless.
17. Janice’s reappearances would always be kept a secret. They would keep Maggie Wheeler, who played the iconic character, hidden away until she made her entrance.
18. Courtney Cox is the only one out of the main six not to receive an Emmy nomination for her work on the show. Rude? I KNOW!
19. The creators of the show do not want a reboot of the show, as they said that it is about a time in your life when your friends are your family, and it ended in the perfect place.
20. David Schwimmer directed ten episodes of the show, and still continues to direct to this day.
21. Central Perk‘s set was torn down to become the airport where Ross begs Rachel to stay. How sad? She got off the plane anyway!
22. As expected, everyone was really emotional whilst shooting the last episode, so much so that they could barely get through scenes. Oh, to be a part of the audience on that historical day.
23. A few of the cast and crew stayed back once the final scene was shot, and went to the roof of the Warner Bros. Studio to drink champagne, watch the sun rise, and reflect.
24. The cast has still remained good friends after all these years, especially the three female leads. They have group chats, and the six even encouraged each other to get onto Instagram.
25. I cannot wait for this reunion interview/episode (filmed earlier this year) to air! Could I BE any more excited?
I hope you loved these fun facts as much as I do. Tell your friends, ’cause, they don’t know that we know…
With Love, Abi X
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