There are plenty of sitcoms today that all compete for our attention, but it is an undeniable fact of the 1990s that most of us were watching Friends. Coming straight after Seinfeld and before some modern hits like The Big Bang Theory, the group of six 20-something New Yorkers had the hearts of millions around the world.
You may think you know everything about this staple of your childhood. You may believe you have all the trivia stored in your head ready for your next quiz night. What you don’t know is that a lot of behind-the-scenes drama that took place, and stories that made it onto the small screen straight from the actors’ trailers. Check out our list of definitive Friends facts that will surprise even the biggest fans out there.
The Working Title
Originally, the sitcom was referred to as Friends Like These. When the script was being written, it took on a few more titles such as Insomnia Cafe, Six of One, and Friends Like Us. Ultimately, the creators found Friends more punchy as a title and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
They Never Went To New York
Even though it’s common knowledge Friends was shot in California, fans might be surprised that even the famous opening sequence was filmed at Warner Brothers Studios.
A Last Supper
The night before the pilot episode aired in 1994, producers took our six leading actors to dinner in Caesar’s Palace Hotel. According to Jennifer Aniston, they were told to enjoy their last night of anonymity.
Originally, the core group of friends was restricted to Ross, Monica, Rachel, and Joey – Phoebe and Chandler were only supporting roles. Amazing to think how that would have changed things – particular when you consider Chandler and Monica’s marriage in later seasons.
Monica and Joey Were The Original Ross and Rachel
The initial will-they-won’t-they couple was intended to be Type-A Monica with her Type-B counterpart, Joey. They put this aside and had Monica hook up with Chandler in a later season finale. The audience reaction was so positive that they changed the direction of the entire show after.
Not All Hook-Ups Were Encouraged
Putting Rachel and Joey together can often be described as the show’s biggest mistake. It wasn’t just audiences that felt strongly, either. Matt LeBlanc explains that the cast actually went to the writers with complaints, calling it ‘wildly inappropriate’.
Ross is 29 for Three Years
We know sitcoms don’t always stick to continuity, but this was a huge mistake from the writers! In seasons 3, 4, and 5, Ross refers to himself being 29. This anti-aging effect is particularly strange since he says he has two birthdays – October 18 and an unconfirmed date in December.
A Post-9/11 Episode
The One With The Halloween Party was the first episode of Friends to be filmed after 9/11. According to Lisa Kudrow, people would walk up to the cast members and thank them for helping them laugh again.
Upon filming the last few episodes of Friends, the cast was hit with what they knew was an end to an era. LeBlanc said the anxiety it caused him actually resulted in picking up smoking again.
She Was Always Getting Off The Plane
Writers knew from the very beginning that Ross and Rachel would end up together, even if it took a few years to get there! Over the show’s run, the couple got together, broke up, got together, broke up, got married, got divorced, kissed, had a baby, lived together, and somehow still remained friends along the way.
The One With All The Cameos
Friends attracted multi-generational guests over its 10-year run, with actors appearing from film and TV careers. One star who never got to know the friends, however, was Justin Timberlake. I guess he said bye, bye, bye to that opportunity once the show ended.
Joey And Phoebe – The Couple That Wasn’t
There was always a certain chemistry between Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow, which might explain one of the initial ideas for the finale. Speaking to People, LeBlanc explains: Towards the end, we actually pitched the idea that Joey and Phoebe had been having casual sex the entire time. We’d go back and shoot all the historical scenes and just before a moment that everyone recognizes, there are Joey and Phoebe coming out of a broom closet together. But they were like, ‘Nah.’
The Kept Janice’s Appearances A Secret
The writers of Friends always wanted to surprise their audience, so they made sure to bring back fan-favorite Janice back at least once a season. Maggie Wheeler explains that they would keep the actress backstage and hide parts of her under a black screen so the audience wouldn’t see her before she appeared.
The Finales Were Never Filmed Live
Of course, it makes sense to think about it, but the final moments of each episode were never filmed in front of an audience. This way, the cast and crew could make sure there were no spoilers and that the endings were always a hit. Perhaps the biggest cliffhanger is when Ross says Rachel’s name at the altar to his wedding with Emily. Oops.
The One Who Never Received An Emmy Nomination…
Courtney Cox is the only actor over the 10-year period to never receive an Emmy nomination for her work. Hard to believe, when you consider her performance in the famous ‘Seven‘ scene.
Before he played Phoebe’s half-brother Frank Junior, Giovanni Ribisi had an uncredited role as ‘Condom Boy’ in season two. Eager fans will spot him at the end of the episode.
Matthew Perry’s Dad Guest Starred
Matthew Perry’s father, John Bennet Perry, guest starred in season four as Joshua’s dad in The One With Rachel’s New Dress. Both stars share the same cheeky humor and delivery in the short but memorable appearance.
Marcel Was Played By Two Monkeys
Similar to how productions often use identical twins for children in roles, the part of Marcel was split between two monkeys in Friends’ freshman season. They both went on to ‘star’ in other productions like Bruce Almighty, 30 Rock, and more.
Matt LeBlanc Actually Broke His Arm
In the opening episode of season three’s The One With The Jam, we hear Joey dislocate his arm. It turns out the injury was real – and occurred while filming the previous episode The One Where No One’s Ready.
Phoebe Doesn’t Swear When She Loses At Ms. Pac-Man
In the famous few moments in season eight’s The One Where Joey Dates Rachel, Phoebe swears in front of Ben, Ross’ son. Despite the scene being silent, Lisa Kudrow revealed that she’s not saying anything too dirty just in case anyone read her lips.
Cole Sprouse Had A Crush on Jennifer Aniston
Like father, like son! Apparently, during filming for the sitcom, one-half of the Sprouse twins admits his love for Rachel got him a little too distracted when filming his scenes.