“Friends” premiered on NBC in 1994 and ran for the next ten years, garnering a trail of devoted fans. Yet, even the most loyal “Friends” fan missed some interesting facts about the series.
Following the lives of six adults in their twenties, the television sitcom, “Friends” ran for ten seasons, making a lasting impact on pop culture. For ten years, the series remained one of the most viewed shows on television, garnering an impressive number of devoted viewers.
Notwithstanding the time and dedication put in by fans of the series through its 236 episodes on-air, a lot of surprising facts and behind-the-scenes moments went by unnoticed. Keep reading to find out 20 shocking events that slipped the anxious eyes of even the most obsessed “Friends” fan.
1. COURTENEY COX WAS ORIGINALLY CAST AS RACHEL
The showrunners originally offered the role of Rachel to Courteney Cox. However, the actress insisted she resonated more with the character of Monica, and hence, preferred the role. After thoughtful considerations, they obliged her request and cast Jennifer Aniston as Rachel at the last minute.
2. THE INITIAL TITLE WASN’T “FRIENDS”
At the inception of the show, NBC had a lineup of name choices, and “Friends” was not one of them. After accessing options like “Insomnia Café,” “Friends Like Us,” and “Six Of One,” the show creators eventually settled for the seven lettered word.
3. NBC WANTED OLDER CASTS
At the onset of the show, most of the cast lineup were in their mid to late twenties, which seemed too young for NBC. To rectify the situation, the network came up with the idea of introducing an older character called Pat The Cop,” to serve as a mentor to the group. Gladly, they thought better of it after the early draft of the pilot.
4. MONICA ENDED UP WITH JOEY IN THE INITIAL PLOT
Before the slight, well-appreciated twist of fate that threw Monica and Joey into the arms of other love interests, the duo was supposed to end up together and become the show’s main couple. Co-creator, Marta Kaufman confirmed it, saying the two were the “most sexual of the characters.”
5. ROSS STAYED 29 FOR THREE SEASONS
This was probably an overlooked glitch on the part of the producers, but it is worth mentioning all the same. Ross, played by David Schwimmer, was notably 29 years old for three years!
First, he declared his age as 29 in the show’s third season, while declining a chocolate milk offer from Chandler. Again in Season 4, he acknowledged being 29 as their reasons for not being keen on partying like they used to. Finally, Ross admitted he was yet to turn 30 in the fifth season while relaying fears he was headed for a second divorce.
6. ONE OF THE CAST WAS PREGNANT FOR REAL
Helen Baxendale, the Emily role player, was pregnant during the wedding scene. To conceal the baby bump, the costume designers got creative, altering the wedding dress a bit. Also in season five, Emily plays an entire scene under the bed covers as a creative move to conceal her growing bulge.
7. THE SHOW PAID A SUBTLE TRIBUTE TO COX AFTER HER MARRIAGE
Courteney Cox tied the knot with Dav Arquette during her stint on the show, undergoing a name change to Courteney Cox Arquette. As a special honor to the then newlywed, the show creators altered the opening credits of the following episode, adding “Arquette” to the name of each cast.
8. COURTENEY COX WAS THE ONLY “FRIENDS” CAST TO NOT LAND AN EMMY NOD
Aside from Courteney Cox, the other casts of “Friends” received Emmy nominations for their outstanding performances in the series.
9. THEIR COUCH AT CENTRAL PERK WAS SPECIALLY RESERVED
Ever wondered how the group always scored the same couch at each visit to Central Perk? Well, rumor has it that a very subtle “reserved” sign was scribbled on a coffee table in front of the couch.
10. GUNTHER WAS NEVER INTENDED AS A SERIES’ REGULAR
The Gunther roleplayer, James Michael Tyler worked as a real-life barrister up until his casting on the show. For the first season, his role was uncredited, so much so the character went unnamed until the middle of season 2. Even so, Gunther never had a surname through the 10-seasons run of “Friends.”
11. THE GOLDEN FRAME IN MONICA’S APARTMENT WAS IMPROVISED
Remember the golden frame around the peephole in Monica’s apartment? It was originally a mirror hanging on the door. However, one of the crew members broke it accidentally, reducing it to a mere frame. They left it hanging because it still appeared decorative despite the damage.
12. GUNTHER IS A NATURAL BRUNETTE
It is quite shocking to picture Gunther as anything but blonde, but his real-life hair color is brunette. To achieve the lighter shade, the actor bleached his hair every week through his ten-year stint on the NBC sitcom.
13. THE WHITE DOG STATUE IS A REAL THING
Joey’s massive white dog statue had a special significance outside the series. Interestingly, it belonged to the Rachel roleplayer, Jennifer Aniston, who acquired it from a friend as a good luck gift.
14. BRUCE WILLIS APPEARED ON THE SHOW FOR FREE
Reportedly, Bruce Willis lost a bet to Matthew Perry over how successful their joint film, “The Whole Nine Yards,” would become. The catch was to appear on Perry’s next movie as a favor. Therefore, after appearing on “Friends,” the legendary actor donated all his fees to charity, fulfilling the terms of their agreement.
15. MAGGIE WHEELER SOUNDED NOTHING LIKE JANICE
The actress who played Janice, Maggie Wheeler’s real-life voice is the direct contrast of her onscreen alter ego. However, the actress tweaked her voice and accent during her auditions, tapping inspiration from some of her real-life acquaintances. The production crew liked the creative input and urged her to keep up with it.
16. THE MOVIE WAS NOT FILMED IN NEW YORK
Contrary to the sitcom’s storyline, none of the episodes of the series was filmed in Manhattan. In fact, the filming took place several miles from New York, with the majority of the episode taking form in Burbank, California. Additionally, none of the Las Vegas scenes happened in Las Vegas.
17. RACHEL AND JOEY’S ROMANCE WAS A SPACE-FILLER
The romance between Rachel and Joey in the final season of “Friends” came off wrongly. Notably, the roleplayers, Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc thought it inappropriate, so much that they rallied the other cast to air their grievances to the showrunners.
It turned out the producers only hooked them up to let some time pass before Rachel and Ross got back together. Ultimately, Rachel and Joey’s fling only lasted three episodes.
18. THE REFRIGERATORS CONTAINED ACTUAL REFRESHMENTS
Throughout the series, the refrigerators in the male and female apartments were stocked with real refreshments for the cast and crew members to feast on when famished. Way to double as a movie prop and an off-screen necessity.
19. PHOEBE’S ROLE PLAYER FEARED CHANDLER AND JOEY’S DUCK
Underneath the layers of cuteness oozed by the animal-loving Phoebe while playing with the farm-animal pets, lay a terrified woman. That’s right! Lisa, the Phoebe actress was especially scared of the boys’ duck but had to keep up the charade of interacting with it playfully when the scene called for it. Who would have guessed?
20. THE FINAL SEASON WAS INTENDED TO BE 24 EPISODES
NBC initially renewed the show for a tenth season, with twenty-four episodes in mind. However, Aniston, who was at the peak of her movie career opted out of the show due to the lack of adequate time allowance to fit it into her busy schedule.
Hence, rather than lose a main character, the show decided to shorten the number of episodes to eighteen, making it possible for the actress to work on the show while staring on her other projects.
Remarkably, these interesting facts about “Friends” could have changed the general outcome of the series had they played out differently.