Even if you weren’t tuned in way back in 1994, these days, it’s highly possible you’ve seen at least one episode of “Friends.” The series – which recently celebrated 24 years since its debut – is still watched (or binged) and loved around the world. But even the most passionate “Friends” fans might not know all of the show’s behind-the-scenes secrets.
For instance: did you that there was a reason the group was always able to snag their Central Perk couch? Or that a member of N*Sync was nearly a guest star? It’s time to learn a few little-known “Friends” facts … and maybe ace some “Friends” trivia in the near future.
“Friends” wasn’t the first name choice for the show.
It actually had a number of working titles – Insomnia Cafe, Six of One, and Friends Like Us – before it was shortened to the single-word name, according to NBC.
Courteney Cox wanted to play Monica, but was originally offered the role of Rachel.
Two of the main cast members almost missed out on the show because they were signed onto other projects.
Matthew Perry was starring in a FOX pilot called “LAX 2194,” which was about alien baggage handlers in the year 2194, while Jennifer Aniston had auditioned for six pilots that year and was waiting to see if one, called “Muddling Through,” would be picked up. Neither show ended up making it, but, unfortunately, Jennifer was still waiting for the news by the time the cast took their photos, so she had to sit out for a few – just in case, according to People magazine.
NBC thought the cast was too young.
They wanted to add an older character who could be a mentor of sorts to the group. In an early draft of the pilot, this character was called “Pat the cop,” according to NBC.
Matt LeBlanc said he really needed to get this job.
He admitted that he had only $US11 in his pocket when he auditioned for “Friends,” in an interview with The Sun.
The show exists in the same universe as another hit ’90s show.
Lisa Kudrow had been playing a character named Ursula on the series “Mad About You.” It was a recurring role and Lisa was still making appearances on the show, so Ursula ended up being written in as Pheobe’s twin sister. There was even one episode where Helen Hunt, who played Jamie on “Mad About You,” confuses Phoebe for Ursula at Central Perk.
Speaking of Ursula, you might recognise the bar where she waits on Joey and Chandler.
The theme song wasn’t meant to be a single.
After a radio station played it on loop, it began getting a lot of requests and airtime. So The Rembrandts, aka the band behind the catchy tune, ended up making a second verse and releasing it, according to BuzzFeed. For eight weeks, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay list in the US, and also peaked at number one in Canada for five weeks in a row.
Monica was originally supposed to end up with Joey and be the series’ main couple
The two apparently “seemed the most sexual of the characters,” according to co-creator Marta Kaufman.
Ross was 29 for three seasons.
In the third season, he denies Chandler’s offer for chocolate milk by saying, “No thanks, I’m 29,” according to HuffPost. In the fourth season, when the guys realise they don’t like partying as much as they used to, Joey says to Ross and Chandler “We’re 29.” In the fifth season, Ross wonders what to do about Emily, saying “I either keep my wife and lose one of my best friends, or I keep my friend and get divorced for the second time before I’m 30.”
An episode was altered following 9/11.
In “The One Where Rachel Tells Ross,” there was meant to be a scene where Monica and Chandler are detained at the airport after Chandler makes a bomb joke. It was deleted following the attacks.
The actress who played Emily, Helen Baxendale, was pregnant during the wedding scene.
The costume designer had to alter her dress in order to hide her growing belly, according to Racked. This is also the reason why we see Emily in bed, under covers, talking to Ross on the phone in season five, according to Comedy Central.
Legend states that Bruce Willis agreed to be on Friends for free after losing a bet to Matthew Perry.
In actuality, he was paid for the appearance and donated the paycheck to charity, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Chandler said “I love you” to Monica for the first time twice.
Once in “The One With All the Thanksgivings” (while she has a turkey on her head) and another time when he blurts out “Because I’m in love with Monica!” in “The One Where Everybody Finds Out.”
They honored Cox’s new marriage.
In the episode following Courteney Cox’s marriage and name change to Courteney Cox Arquette, the opening credits were altered so that everyone in the cast had Arquette after their name.
The show’s creators once got a call that Justin Timberlake wanted to be on the show.
Jerry Seinfeld once accused “Friends” of being a ripoff of his show, Seinfeld.
When he was asked whether he thought “Seinfeld” would still be as successful today, he asked “Has ‘Friends’ been on too?” When the answer was yes, he replied, “So they managed to steal it without seeing it,” according to the New York Post.
Most of the cast received Emmy nominations for their performances.
Courtney Cox was the only member of the cast who was never nominated.
If Joshua’s dad looked familiar, that’s because his real-life son was on the show.
In the episode “The One with Rachel’s New Dress” – where Rachel means to surprise Joshua in a sexy dress and then his parents walk in – the role of Joshua’s dad was played by John Bennett Perry, who is Matthew Perry’s father.
There was a mistake in Joey’s rehearsal dinner speech.
Addressing the crowd at Ross and Emily’s rehearsal dinner, Joey claims he “first met Ross at this coffeehouse back home,” in “The One With The Flashback,” the two actually meet at a bar that later turns into Central Perk.
There’s a reason the group was always able to sit on their couch at Central Perk.
There was a very subtle “reserved” sign on the coffee table in front of it, as Bustle pointed out.
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