It’s been exactly 14 years since we said goodbye to our friends: Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, and Chandler. Of course, thanks to syndication (and Netflix) it wasn’t a forever farewell. You can’t go a day without finding a rerun somewhere on cable, and the show is still winning over the hearts of fans old and new. Being that “Friends” is one of my favorite shows of all-time, I couldn’t let the day go by without commemoration. Read on to learn some trivia you may not know about “Friends”.
Fun Facts of “Friends”
For all of you who are programmed to clap four times after hearing, “So no one told you life was gonna be this way”, this one is for you. Even some of the biggest “Friends” fans may not know some of these fun facts, so kick back, relax, and enjoy a blast from the not-so-long-ago past. And, remember, “We were on a break”, is not a sufficient reason for not reading until the end!
- The show became such a hot set and was something every actor in town wanted to be apart of. Due to this, celebrities ranging from Julia Roberts to Charlie Sheen had guest starring roles on the show. Fans of the show will remember Bruce Willis guest starring in a few episodes as the father of Ross’s girlfriend/student, Elizabeth. What viewers may not know is that Willis played the role because he lost a bet against Matthew Perry while filming “The Whole Nine Yards”.
- Although it’s hard for us fans to wrap our heads around the fact that the show ended 14 years ago, we still have a way to make the show apart of our hearts – and I’m not just talking about re-runs. Those visiting the Los Angeles area can stop by Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank for a behind-the-scenes look at some of Hollywood’s most famous productions. Among them is the still-standing set of Central Perk. Fans can immerse themselves in the nostalgia of the show and can even sit on the famous orange couch. But don’t be expecting it to look the way it does on TV. The actual distance between the “door” of the coffee house to the couch is only about three steps and is made to look bigger for television! And while you’re out there, you can take a detour to the Bourgeois Pig where you might be lucky enough to be served a cup of coffee by James Michael Tyler, AKA Gunther, who goes back to his roots every so often to serve coffee to fans.
- In the episode where Joey lives on his own (poor Chandler!) and goes a little spending-crazy, he racks up quite the Visa bill on a number of ceramic animals to decorate his apartment with. Among those animals is large, plastic, white dog that Ross buys for Joey in order to save it from being repossessed. The dog became a staple on the show and was used for Joey and Chandler’s infamous entrance into their “new home” when they lost a game to Rachel and Monica, winning their apartment. However the dog wasn’t just something found in the basement of the studio (side note: this is where the Central Perk couch was found) but was actually owned by Jennifer Aniston. A friend had given Aniston the dog as a gift when she started acting, and she allowed the producers to use the dog for the show.
- Viewers will remember the tragic episode in which Dr. Drake Remoray (A.K.A. Joey’s “Days of Our Lives” alter ego) falls to his death down an elevator shaft. Coffee making aficionado, Gunther, sympathizes with Joey as he tells him that he used to play Bryce on “All My Children” and was killed in an avalanche. This may have been the very reason that James Michael Tyler (Gunther) got the role on “Friends” as it seems that creators were fans of “Children”. Each of the main characters of Friends were named after characters on “All My Children”: Rachel Greene comes from Janet Green, Monica from Monique Courtland, Phoebe for Phoebe Tyler Wallingford, Joey for Joey Martin, Chandler for the Chandler Family, and Ross for Ross Chandler.
- There is a conversation in the episode “The One With Frank Jr.” where the group makes celebrity lists of what famous people they would get a bypass to sleep with while in a relationship. For example, Ross had Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder on his list. Both actresses would later appear as guest stars on the show. What’s even weirder is Chandler’s list member of “Jessica Rabbit”. The cartoon character was voiced by Kathleen Turner who would eventually come to play Chandler’s dad!
- Though it’s hard to imagine anybody except the six main actors playing there respective roles, there was a time when things may have been completely different. Courteney Cox originally auditioned for Rachel, while Jennifer Aniston read for Monica. The ladies and producers decided that Aniston was better suited for Rachel while Cox was better for Monica. Other actors that were considered for roles include: Tea Leoni and Elizabeth Berkley for Rachel, Jami Gertz and Leah Remini for Monica, and even the great Ellen DeGeneres for Phoebe!
- The show was not only a smash hit with fans but with critics as well. Jennifer Aniston won two Emmys for her performance, while Lisa Kudrow and Matt Le Blanc both took home an Emmy themselves (Le Blanc also won a Golden Globe for his performance). Each of the main actors on the show were nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards, with the exception of Courteney Cox. Some aforementioned guest stars also took home Emmy awards for their roles including; Bruce Willis, Christina Applegate, and Marlo Thomas.
- Before the show was officially cast and the chemistry was seen, the dynamic of the show was plotted to be different. The original thought was that the show would focus on Rachel, Monica, Ross, and Joey while Chandler and Phoebe would be more of supporting roles. And though the writers always had Ross and Rachel in mind (remember when they shared an Oreo in the pilot and our hearts swooned?), the decision to make Monica and Chandler a couple wasn’t decided until later on in the show. And before casting was complete, the main love storyline was to focus on Monica and Joey!
- “I’ll Be There For You” by the Rembrandts will forever go down in history as a result of this show. During the 4 A.M. shoot of the infamous opening credits in the water fountain, the cast was given the lyrics to the song but it was not played during the shoot since it had yet to be recorded. If you watch the pilot, you can see Jennifer Aniston lip-syncing the song. However this is the only episode in which this shot is used. After the popularity of the show grew, the song became a number-one hit single on the American pop charts as well as going number-one on the Billboard Hot 100.
- As one may assume, the cast of “Friends”. could probably get away with never working another day in their lives, and DVD sales and syndicated re-runs are just a small portion of that. At the start of the show, each cast member made approximately $22,500 per episode (which means they each made close to half of a million dollars for the first season). During the tenth and final season, each cast member made a whopping $1,000,000 per episode, meaning they each made $22,000,000 for ONE season! The six of them were known for standing firm as a team, and one never made more money than another.
And although fans may be disappointed by the recent shut-downs of reunions by the cast, they can enjoy the “Friends” working together in a variety of different projects. For example, Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox worked together in an episode of Cox’s short-lived series “Dirt”. Cox also reunited with Aniston, as well as Lisa Kudrow and Matthew Perry, on Cox’s hit comedy “Cougar Town”. Kudrow is also busy these days with her webseries “Web Therapy” which has featured Cox as well as Matt Le Blanc. Le Blanc can be found playing himself on the Showtime series “Episodes”, while Perry has been bouncing around from a few different starring roles on television, and David Schwimmer has kept busy behind the camera. But at the end of the day, the reruns will always “be there for you”.