Friends Finally Returns!

Yes! The day we’ve been waiting for since 2004 has finally come. NBC has confirmed that we will soon be able to see our favorite New Yorkers on-screen together (minus Matthew Perry, sadly). Don’t get too excited – it’s going to be a tribute to director James Burrows. Still, seeing the gang back together is sure to bring up nostalgia from one of the best sitcoms of our time.

We’ve got some of the best, funniest, and little-known trivia about this long-running show. Check it out!

What was the show almost called?

friends original name

Did you know that the original name of the show wasn’t Friends? The creators wanted to call it a few different things – Insomnia Café, Friends like Us and Six of One. It’s hard to imagine calling it anything but Friends!


Who almost played Phoebe?

friends lisa kudrow

Lisa Kudrow almost didn’t make it on the show. Not only did other people audition for the part (Kathy Griffin and Jane Lynch tried out for the role and actually became friends at the audition), but she was originally cast as Roz in Frasier.

The casting directors changed their minds and she got the part of Phoebe on Friends, which she later said was one of the best things that had ever happened to her.


Where did show execs want the gang to hang out?

friends central perk

NBC originally thought that Central Perk was too hip and trendy, so they wanted to have the cast meet at a diner. Imagine – hard vinyl booths in place of a cushy couch, and no Gunther!


Two characters were meant to only be supporting characters – find out who, next!

friends original four characters

Originally, it was going to be just four characters – Monica, Rachel, Ross and Joey. Phoebe and Chandler were only going to be supporting characters.


Who was responsible for all those Magna Doodles?

friends doodles

Did you ever notice the always-changing Magna Doodles in Joey and Chandler’s apartment? Crew member Paul Swain was the mastermind, creator, and artist behind them, though he went uncredited. They became really popular with fans. Swain said, “They were looking for hidden meanings being given through the Magna Doodle.”


What did show producers think would make Monica unlikeable?

friends first episode

In the first episode, Monica sleeps with someone and then forgets his name. Studio executives were worried that this would make her unlikeable, so they took a survey. Since that bit stayed in, she passed that test!


After getting their roles, where did the cast go to bond?

friends vegas

Before the show, to encourage bonding, James Burrow’s brought the gang to Caesar’s Palace in Vegas to have a good time. “This is your last shot at anonymity,” he told them. “Once the show comes on the air, you guys will never be able to go anywhere without being hounded.”

We also see Caesar’s Palace again – Ross and Rachel drunkenly get married there at the end of Season 5!


Ever notice this funny blooper?

friends apartment door

The apartments change numbers! Originally, Monica lived in apartment #5, but the studio executives realized that didn’t make sense for someone who didn’t live on the ground floor. They changed it to #20, and Chandler and Joey’s became #19 to match.


Who was really pregnant in the show?

friends phoebe pregnant

The storyline where Phoebe carries triplets as a surrogate for her brother was written into the show because Lisa Kudrow was pregnant in real life!


Ross is pretty smart, but can’t keep this simple thing straight.

friends ross gives finger

Ross seems to not really know his own age, or birthday. In seasons 3, 4, and 5 he mentions that he’s 29, despite major holidays passing in between. Maybe he’s really Peter Pan. Also, he mentions that his birthday is in December, and later says it’s October 18. For a scientist, he’s pretty bad at remembering simple information like ages and birthdays!


Why was Chandler so nervous around women?

friends matthew perry

Chandler’s character was awkward around women because Matthew Perry told the producers that he was! We’re glad he got over it and got the girl. Speaking of…


Did you know he and Monica weren’t really meant to be together?

friends rachel and joey

Monica and Joey were supposed to be the central couple. Also, Rachel and Ross weren’t meant to get together at all, but when the producers saw their chemistry, they wrote it into the plot.

Speaking of couples, everyone agrees that Rachel and Joey were totally wrong. “It felt wildly inappropriate,” Matt LeBlanc told Vanity Fair in 2012. “Everybody got super-defensive about the whole thing. We went to David and Marta as a group and said, ‘We’re really concerned about this. It doesn’t feel right. We have a problem with it.'”


Who was Ross written for?

friends david schwimmer

Ross’s character was written specifically with David Schwimmer in mind. In fact, he was the first one cast in the show.


What’s Gunther’s backstory?

friends gunther

Gunther, the cranky barista, is played by James Michael Tyler. At the time when he was cast, he actually worked as a barista. He kept the job for a while until his role became more time-consuming.

He also decided that Gunther lived in New Jersey and was so cranky because he had a 15-stop commute to work. Makes sense to us.


What did Jennifer Aniston think of her haircut?

friends the rachel

Remember the ‘Rachel’ haircut? The one that inspired thousands of women to march to their hairdressers with a photo of Jennifer Aniston? She actually HATED that look.

“How do I say this? I think it was the ugliest haircut I’ve ever seen. What I really want to know is, how did that thing have legs? Let’s just say I’m not a fan of short, layered cuts on me personally, so I don’t love revisiting that particular era,” she told Allure.


We would have loved to see this couple end up together!

friends phoebe and joey

Why did Phoebe and Joey never get together? Their friendship was one of the sweetest and most convincing ones throughout the show. In fact, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc appealed to the writers to create that plotline – perhaps reveal that they’d been hooking up throughout the years.

The idea was shot down, but we would have liked to see them together! Though Paul Rudd was pretty fun to watch as Phoebe’s love interest, Mike!


Where did Courteney Cox get her big break?

friends courteney cox

Courteney Cox, who plays Monica, got her earlier break on TV in commercials. In fact, she was the first person to ever say “period” on national television for a Tampax commercial.

After auditioning, producers wanted her to play Rachel, but Cox, displaying why she was the perfect Monica, lobbied for that character, liking how she was a stronger character.


Has everyone on Friends made out?? Probably! We tell you more, next!

friends kissing

Almost all the characters have kissed each other! Find the full breakdown here, but here are a few examples.

  • Ross and Rachel (duh)
  • Ross and Phoebe (TOW the Flashback, TOW All the Resolutions)
  • Ross and Joey (TOW Barry and Mindy’s Wedding)
  • Ross and Monica, when they find out they kissed each other at a party and didn’t know it was each other. This, thankfully, wasn’t shown on-screen.
  • Ross and Chandler (Chandler apologises for kissing Monica when he was drunk in TOW Chandler Can’t Remember Which Sister, to which Monica, Rachel AND Ross all say, “it’s okay” indicating Chandler kissed Ross and Rachel, too)


Where did the white dog statue come from?

friends white dog

The big white dog in Joey and Chandler’s apartment actually belonged to Jennifer Aniston, whose friends decided it was a good congratulatory/good luck gift for her after she landed the role of Rachel.


Ever noticed how Friends and Mad About You crossed over?

friends phoebe ursula

Do you remember Mad About You? Lisa Kudrow had been guest-starring on the show for about two years as Ursula Buffay. The creators of the show decided to name her character Phoebe Buffay, with a (maybe) evil twin Ursula to create a funny crossover.


Wait, Monica and Chandler were supposed to only hook up once?

friends monica chandler

We can’t imagine anything but Monica and Chandler ending up together, but their hookup was only meant to be a one time thing. However, studio audiences loved them together so much that they changed the direction of the show entirely.


Lisa Kudrow hates the guitar! Find out more, next.

friends guitar

Phoebe is a lot of things, but a good musician she is not. That’s mainly because Lisa Kudrow hated playing the guitar. She said, “I didn’t like the guitar. I wasn’t getting it. So I think I even asked, ‘What if she plays the bongos?’”

She learned a bit of guitar but decided that her character should know only a few chords anyway, and her hilariously tone-deaf, untalented musical side was created.


Who had difficulty in real life getting pregnant?

friends pregnancy difficulties

Sadly, some of this show imitates real life. Monica and Chandler have a hard time conceiving on the show, just like Courteney Cox and her then-husband David Arquette in real life. In a moment that must have been gut-wrenching, Cox had to film the scene where Rachel gives birth to Emma after suffering a miscarriage.

In the final season, however, Cox was pregnant with her daughter, Coco. Obviously it wasn’t written into the show as writers had established that Monica was unable to get pregnant. Instead, they hid her belly with props and outfits.


The cast of Friends did something unprecedented when negotiating their salaries.

friends salary negotiations

When the show started filming in 1994, cast members made $22,000 an episode. Apparently, by the second season, each actor was getting paid different salaries, and in 1997, they did something unprecedented and negotiated as a group for a raise, eventually netting $100,000 per actor per episode. The New York Times reported, “Stars of hit shows often threaten to boycott their series in pursuit of higher salaries. What is unusual is this cast’s effort to use solidarity as leverage.”

By the end of the series, they were all making $1 million an episode!


Was Chandler gay?

friends chandler gay

Lots of people thought Chandler was gay! Lisa Kudrow said she was surprised when she heard Matthew Perry reading his lines for Chandler because she thought he was gay. In 1997, David Crane decided to clear everything up and told Entertainment Weekly, “No, Chandler isn’t gay. Nor will he be gay.”


How much did Bruce Willis charge to be on the show?

friends bruce willis

Bruce Willis made a super fun cameo on the show as Elizabeth’s dad. He actually played the character for free after losing a bet to Matthew Perry, who he acted alongside in The Whole Nine Yards. Perry bet Willis that the film would be number one in its opening weekend. He won, and Willis played the part and didn’t keep the money he made, donating it to charity, instead.


What’s the story behind that awesome dollhouse?

friends dollhouse

In The One With the Dollhouse, Phoebe builds the coolest dollhouse in the world from cardboard. It catches on fire, which meant that the props department had to make six versions of the dollhouse! The Friends props director, Marjorie Coster, has described it as the “pièce de résistance” of the department.


What made David Schwimmer almost cry?

friends huddle

Finally, this close-knit cast had a huddle before every episode. Every week before filming, the six of them would huddle – just them, no crew members – and prepare. David Schwimmer talks about dreading this moment the last time they huddled.

“I started to lose it in this ritual that we had before the show,” he said, “which is just a group hug, kind of get in a little circle, right before we come out. And that was the moment I was dreading for a long time because I knew that moment of just looking at everyone in their eyes, and saying ‘Have a good show,’ and knowing that was the last time we were going to be able to be in our little circle.”


Finally, check out this awesome semi-reunion, brought to you by the good folks at Jimmy Kimmel.

We kind of got a reunion – on the Jimmy Kimmel show. Check out this terrible (terribly funny) final scene!

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