15+ Things About 'Friends' That May Completely Change The Way We Know The Show
Everyone that grew up in the 90s and early 2000s loved the show ‘Friends’. Recently, the younger generation has been getting to know about Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe as well thanks to Netflix. However, there are several things even die-hard fans do not know. Here are several details about one of the best sitcoms in history.
1. INSOMNIA CAFÉ
The creators of ‘Friends’, David Crane and Marta Kauffman, pitched a show called ‘Insomnia Café’, and the plot was completely the sitcom. Ross and Rachel were not the main couple, and Joey and Monica would have ended up together. The show changed names many times such as ‘Friends Like Us’, ‘Across the Hall’, and ‘Six of One’. Luckily, they landed on ‘Friends’ by its 1994 debut.
2. A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CAST
A show that needed six people obviously held auditions for many actors. Kathy Griffin and Jane Lynch met when they read Phoebe's part. Jon Favreau and Jon Cryer were up for the role of Chandler. Matthew Perry almost passed on playing Chandler because he auditioned for another pilot titled ‘LAX 2194’.
By the premiere, Courteney Cox was the only famous person in the cast, known for ads and Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ music video. She was initially asked to play Rachel, but Cox decided that Monica was better because of her strong personality.
3. ROSS WAS MADE FOR DAVID SCHWIMMER
Kevin Bright had worked with David before, and although Eric McCormack read for the part, the showrunners already had the idea of Schwimmer as Ross. That is also why the actor was the first cast member to be locked down for the part.
4. THE OPENING WAS NOT FILMED IN NEW YORK
The fountain in the opening credits of the sitcom might look like Pulitzer Fountain in Central Park, but it’s definitely not. While the guys dance around to ‘I’ll Be There For You’ by The Rembrandts, they were actually in the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank, California. Fans traveling through New York might be disappointed if they want to visit the ‘Friends’ spots.
5. THE CAST WENT TO LAS VEGAS BEFORE THE SITCOM STARTED
Director James Burrows directed several episodes of the show in the 90s and decided to take the cast to Las Vegas for a special trip - he felt like the show was going to be big. At Caesar’s Palace, he told them, “This is your last shot at anonymity. Once the show comes on the air, you guys will never be able to go anywhere without being hounded.”
6. LISA KUDROW HATED THE GUITAR
While everyone loves ‘Smelly Cat’, Kudrow had trouble with the guitar at first, “I didn’t like the guitar. I wasn’t getting it. So I think I even asked, ‘What if she plays the bongos?’” A teacher was hired for the actress, but after a couple of lessons, Lisa had enough. That might have been why Phoebe could only play some chords.
7. MONICA WAS A FAN OF MENTAL FLOSS
In the episode titled ‘The One With The Soap Opera Party’, Monica was reading a magazine called mental_floss. The site owes its fame to the show, or rather to David Arquette who gave Courteney the magazine because he thought it was interesting. A little free advertising for a publication and it’s still alive today.
8. THEY FILMED IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE
One episode of ‘Friends’ could take more than five hours to film, and they were actually shot in front of a live studio audience. The cast thought it was better that way. LeBlanc said, “It’s kind of like a test to see if the material works if the jokes work, if the story tracks.” And Perry said, “Our energy just elevates every time there’s an audience.”
9. EVERYONE THOUGHT CHANDLER WAS GAY
Lisa Kudrow said that she thought the character of Chandler was gay, so when she heard Matthew Perry reading the part, she was confused. Fans of the show also thought that the goofy guy was homosexual until 1997, when David Crane told Entertainment Weekly, “No, Chandler isn’t gay. Nor will he be gay.”
10. THE CAST NEGOTIATED AS A TEAM
The actors received $22,000 per episodes during season one, but by season two, they all had different incomes. In 1997, they got together to negotiate a salary of $100,000 per episodes. The New York Times said, “Stars of hit shows often threaten to boycott their series in pursuit of higher salaries. What is unusual is this cast’s effort to use solidarity as leverage.” By the final season, they earned $1 million per episode.
11. THE APARTMENT NUMBERS CHANGED
During the first season, Monica’s door had a 5, but the showrunners changed it because her apartment was on a higher story. It became apartment 20, and Chandler and Joey’s place was changed from 4 to 19. It’s a small detail that only a couple of fans have noticed over the years.
12. URSULA WAS THE WAITRESS FROM ‘MAD ABOUT YOU’
By the time Lisa Kudrow was cast in ‘Friends’, she had the role of Ursula on ‘Mad About You’. NBC said that she should continue the role, and then the producers decided they should be twins. Ursula Buffay also appeared on ‘Friends’ a couple of times, and she was just as aloof as the waitress everyone loved on the other sitcom.
13. KUDROW’S PREGNANCY BECAME PART OF THE SHOW UNLIKE COX’S
In 1997, Lisa got pregnant with her son Julian Murray, and the producers decided that Phoebe would become a surrogate for her brother’s triplets. However, Cox got pregnant during the final season, but Monica and Chandler couldn’t have babies, so they hid her pregnancy. The characters ended up adopting two children.
14. JOEY’S MAGNA DOODLE
The staff of the show would end up drawing things on the Magna Doodle on Joey’s door. But, in the last few seasons, Paul Swain, part of the electric crew, was in charge. Fans loved seeing what would appear on the board every time someone walked by Joey’s door. Paul even said, “They were looking for hidden meanings being given through the Magna Doodle.”
15. IN ‘THE ONE AFTER VEGAS’ EVERYONE HAD THE LAST NAME “ARQUETTE”
Courteney Cox married David Arquette before the premiere of season six, and so she changed her name to Courteney Cox Arquette. The rest of the cast decided to do the same as a joke for the opening credits of that episode. The screen showed Jennifer Aniston Arquette, Lisa Kudrow Arquette, and the rest. The dedication read: “For Courteney and David, who did get married.”
16. THE ACTORS DID NOT LIKE ANIMALS SOMETIMES
Joey and Chandler had a duck and a chicken, while Ross had a pet monkey. Lisa Kudrow was afraid of the duck, and Marcel was written out of the show because it was too problematic to shoot his scenes. One of the monkey’s trainers, Nerissa Politzer, said that Marcel once had to pick up a bra, but the animal threw it at Aniston.
17. COX AND PERRY HAD A BET ABOUT AN 80s STAR
They told Jay Leno about it. Cox said, “One day I was on the set, and I was sitting around, reciting this line, like, doing this imitation of Anthony Michael Hall. He has this line in a movie. The line is, ‘Chicks cannot hold their smoke, that’s what it is.’ And Matthew Perry walks over to me and very adamantly says, ‘Oh, Weird Science.’ And I said, ‘No, Matthew, that’s The Breakfast Club.’ And he was 100 percent sure that it was Weird Science and I was 100 percent sure it was The Breakfast Club.”
Everyone on set got excited about it. Courteney continued, “We realized that Judd Nelson was over on stage 29, doing Suddenly Susan. So, we ran over there and found out that yes, indeed, it was The Breakfast Club.” As a reward for winning the bet, Cox would ring a bell and Perry had to bring her a tissue paper.
18. BRUCE WILLIS WAS ON THE SHOW FOR FREE THANKS TO ANOTHER BET
While filming ‘The Whole Nine Yards’, Perry and Bruce Willis argued about whether the movie would be a big hit. Perry said it would, but Willis was not sure. In 2000, it was number one. Willis was to appear on the show as Ross’ girlfriend’s dad; for losing the bet, he gave his proceeds to a charity.
19. THE CREW MADE SIX DOLLHOUSES FOR ‘THE ONE WITH THE DOLLHOUSE’
In an episode for season three, Phoebe made a dollhouse because Monica would not let others play in hers. The dollhouse is burned through, but for the shooting, they had to have six different ones. The staff made it in three days thanks to props master, Marjorie Coster.
20. THE KID IN ‘THE ONE WHERE OLD YELLER DIES’ KEPT TALKING
In this episodes, Rachel heard Ben, Ross’ son, speak for the first time, but when Ross was trying to get him to talk, the kid wouldn’t. However, they had to film that scene many times because the actual child kept talking when he wasn’t supposed to. Ben was played by Cole Sprouse, who later starred in ‘The Suite Life with Zack & Cody’.
21. MATTHEW PERRY HAD PROBLEMS WITH DRUGS
In 1997, the actor went to rehabilitation for his addiction. He kept struggling with drugs and alcohol later on, and he went to an institution again in 2001. Years later, Perry told People, “I was never high at work. I was painfully hung over. Then eventually things got so bad I couldn’t hide it and everybody knew.”
22. THE CAST WOULD GATHER BEFORE FILMING
Before they started working each day, the cast would huddle up for a moment. David Schwimmer actually dreaded their last huddle. “I started to lose it in this ritual that we had before the show which is just a group hug, kind of get in a little circle, right before we come out.”
“And that was the moment I was dreading for a long time because I knew that moment of just looking at everyone in their eyes, and saying ‘Have a good show,’ and knowing that was the last time we were going to be able to be in our little circle.”
23. JENNIFER ANISTON ALMOST LEFT BEFORE THE FINAL SEASON
Jennifer was very famous by the time the show ended thank to her movies. Therefore, some rumors started circulating back then that she might leave the series before the tenth season. In 2004, she admitted that it was a possibility. “I had a couple of issues that I was dealing with,” she said. “I wanted it to end when people still loved us and we were on a high. And then I was also feeling like, ‘How much more of Rachel do I have in me?’”
24. THERE ARE REAL CENTRAL PERKS
There might not be a Central Perk in New York City, but several cafes opened up thanks to the show. A fan in Beijing, Du Xin, opened one in 2010, and it quickly became really popular. In 2012, another one opened in Liverpool.
25. NO REUNION IN THE WORKS
In 2015, Cox appeared on the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’, and he asked her about a reunion. “It’s not going to happen,” she said and then added that it was already very difficult for the whole cast to even plan to have dinner. The creators also feel the same way. In 2014, Crane said, “People say they want it, and the more that we say it’s a bad idea, people [disagree]. But I think if we actually gave it to people, there would be such backlash.”
Let us know which of these details surprised you the most about ‘Friends’. If you liked this article, share it with your friends who agree that it was the best sitcom of the 90s. See you next time!