25th Friends Anniversary: Back Up Your Friends Mastery With These Well-Hidden Facts
Ohhhh Myyyyy Gaawwwd (In Janice’s voice) – It’s been 25 years since the all-time-favorite sitcom – Friends first aired on TV! Despite almost three decades have passed since its first season aired, Friends is still a highly popular TV show everybody likes to turn to. (One research even found that Friends was the most binge-watched show of 2018!)
In the honor of the audience’s most loved cast, we are revealing you 17 well-hidden facts about Friends! There will surely be a lot of Friends-themed quizzes these days, so make sure you back up your knowledge! In any case, if you’re a true Friends fan, you don’t want to discuss your favorite TV show ever again without knowing these 17 things. Let’s start!
1. The role of Ross was written for David Schwimmer
Although Eric McCormack who played Will in Will & Grace auditioned for Ross “two or three times”, the executive producer of Friends had Schwimmer in mind from the start.
The writers were developing Ross’s character in David’s voice from the mere beginning, and in fact, he was the first person cast on the show.
2. Bruce Willis played in the show for free because of losing a bet to Perry
It seems that Matthew Perry liked to set bets with his colleagues. While Perry and Willis were shooting The Whole Nine Yards, the two got into a debate whether the movie would reach the top position in the box office on its opening weekend.
Bruce disagreed, while Perry believed it would certainly happen. When the movie appeared in February 2000, it became a number one film of the list. As a result of his lost bet, Willis had to donate his earnings for the guest stint to charity.
3. The show was originally called Insomnia Café
David Crane and Marta Kauffman, the creators of Friends, initially wrote a seven-page pitch for Insomnia Café. Not only did they change the title, but they planned that the main relationship of the TV show was Joey and Monica, not Ross and Rachel.
After NBC bought the pilot, the show was named Friends Like Us, but another title was in the game Across the Hall. Like it wasn’t really enough, they switched to Six of One only to finally choose Friends when the show premiered on September 22, 1994.
4. Lisa Kudrow wasn’t really a fan of guitars
Lisa admitted that she hated the guitar that her character Phoebe used to play in the TV show. She even asked if she could play the bongos instead. Nevertheless, Kudrow ended up having a guitar teacher, but the lessons didn’t last long.
As soon as she learned a couple of chords she didn’t want to hear about the lessons anymore and decided that Phoebe would only know few chords only. Thank God! Because we couldn’t imagine “Smelly Cat” in any other way.
5. The cast could have been much different
Before Matthew Perry got the gig for the role of Chandler, Jon Favreau and Jon Cryer also made it to the last round.
Courteney Cox became famous before the show premiered thanks to her breakout in Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the dark” music video. The Friends producers actually saw Cox playing Rachel, but she insisted to get the role of Monica because of her “strong” character.
6. All episodes were filmed in front of a live audience
A typical episode was being shot for at least 5 hours, with multiple takes and breaks between scenes to change sets. The whole show was filmed in front of an audience made up of 300 fans. Audience’s energy seemed to have motivated the actors to give their best for each episode.
LeBlanc said: “It’s kind of like a test to see if the material works, if the jokes work, if the story tracks”. Perry agreed on this. But not all the scenes were filmed in front of a live audience. The cliffhangers were intentionally filmed without the audience in order to avoid spoiling reactions during shooting.
7. The Friends acting crew was the first TV cast to negotiate an equal salary as a group
All of the actors were earning around $22,000 per episode each during the first season. But according to some sources, by the second season, each actor’s salary became slightly different.
They showed that there was an amazing solidarity between them even offset, and in 1997, they refused to work until they all had an equal salary of $100,000 per episode. Their negotiation worked amazingly for them because, by the last season, each cast member was earning $1 million per episode.
8. Ursula Buffay, Phoebe’s twin sister, was also a character on Mad About You
When she was cast on Friends, Kudrow was already playing Ursula, a waitress on Mad About You.
The producers of Friends decided to address this and say that Phoebe has a twin sister. In fact, Kudrow played Ursula Buffay in eight episodes of Friends as well.
9. In the opening credits for the episode “The One After Vegas”, everyone was given the last name “Arquette”
This episode was the premiere of the sixth season, but it was special for another reason. It was the first episode after Courteney Cox married David Arquette. In the credits, her name showed as “Courteney Cox Arquette”, and all other cast members also got an extra surname “Arquette”.
The episode was dedicated to the newlyweds with a message “For Courteney and David, who did get married”.
10. Jennifer Aniston almost didn’t return for the last season
By the end of the show, Aniston became the most famous cast member. She filmed The Good Girl and Bruce Almighty and was also married to Brad Pitt.
The rumors were saying that she had a slight responsibility of the premature ending of the show. Later in 2004, in an interview with Matt Lauer, she admitted that she did have doubts. She wanted for the show to end while people were still loving it and while they could give their best performance. She was also wondering how much more of Rachel did she have in her. However, Aniston eventually agreed to film the final season.
11. Kudrow’s pregnancy was included in the show’s plot, but Cox’s was not
In 1997, Kudrow got pregnant with her son, Julian Murray. Lisa was afraid about Phoebe getting pregnant too, but the writers came up with a great idea. They decided to have Pheobe be a surrogate for her brother’s triplets.
On the other hand, Cox was pregnant with her daughter, Coco Arquette, while filming the final season. But, her pregnancy wasn’t written into the story because it was already established that Chandler and Monica couldn’t have kids. So this pregnancy was successfully hidden with costumes and props.
12. The actors didn’t always play well with animals.
We saw a lot of animals during the seasons of Friends. It was known that Lisa Kudrow was afraid of the duck that showed in the third season. But before it, Ross had a pet monkey, Marcel. What people didn’t know is that Marcel was played by two monkeys: Monkey and Katie.
In the end, the producers couldn’t keep Ross’s pet in the show because it became too time-consuming to shoot scenes with a monkey. Anyway, the show cast enjoyed some funny moments with these little monkeys and shared few legendary bloopers with them.
13. Courtney Cox and Matthew Perry confronted Judd Nelson about a bet
On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Cox told the story of a bet between her and Matthew Perry that ended up involving the major ’80s star. “One day I was on the set, and I was sitting around, reciting this line, like, doing this imitation of Anthony Michael Hall,” she told Leno. “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.’ ”. The two co-stars were both 100% sure about their beliefs and the bet was set.
As stakes kept rising, they realized that Judd Nelson was in a nearby soundstage doing Suddenly Susan and ran over there to find out that it was definitely a line from The Breakfast Club. What was the bet about? Well, Perry had to be Cox’s “man slave” for 5 months!
14. Matthew Perry struggled with addiction during production.
It seems that 1997 was quite of a hectic year for this show’s cast. During this year, Perry went to rehab in order to fight his addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, that time wasn’t enough and he went again in 2001.
Later Perry told for 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.”
15. The cast had a huddle before every episode
Every week before shooting, the Friends six-member cast would get together to prepare for the show. They had a ritual before the show of having a group hug before they came out.
Before the finale, David Schwimmer admitted that he was going to miss this ritual when the show ends and the feeling of their little circle working together.
16. A Lot Of People Thought Chandler Was Gay (Even Lisa Kudrow)
Lisa Kudrow expected that Perry’s character was supposed to be gay. And it turned out that she wasn’t the only one. In numerous episodes of the TV show, puns about Chandler’s sexual orientation made everyone laugh.
During the first few seasons, a lot of fans speculated about Chandler being gay. But in 1997, David Crane said : “No, Chandler isn’t gay. Nor will he be gay.”
17. Fans Spotted A Bizzare Thing In Joey’s Oven The Final Episode
A fan on Reddit noticed one of the greatest misteries of this TV show in the final episode titled “The Last One”. At first look, it seems like Joey is baking a small child inside his oven.
Ofcourse, fans presented the most various theories about the creepy thing that was spotted in Joey’s oven. Some suggested it was a rubber chicken, or Rachel’s hairless cat, but in the end, they came to the conclusion. It’s Joey’s yellow M&M toy, and apparently, the oven is the place where he likes to keep it.