It's been more than 10 years since the Friends series finale aired, but that hasn't stopped fans from soaking in all the Chandler jokes and Ross and Rachel moments (he will always be her lobster) thanks to those dusty DVDs and recently, Netflix. Superfan or not, these Friends facts are best enjoyed with a random episode playing in the background.
It wasn't always called 'Friends.'
The show’s working titles (opens in new tab) were Insomnia Café, Friends Like Us, and Six of One, before everyone settled on Friends.
No one was a real fan of the theme song.
According to Jennifer Aniston (opens in new tab), “We felt it was a little… I don’t know… dancing in a pond? A fountain felt sort of odd.” She says the only reason they did it because they “were told to.”
Before the pilot aired, the cast went to Las Vegas.
They dined at Spago inside Caesar’s Palace to enjoy their “last shot at anonymity (opens in new tab).” The cast would return some six years later to shoot Mr. Rachel's wedding to Mrs. Ross (and Joey's movie fail, among other things).
Courteney Cox was just like Monica IRL.
In 1995, show co-creator Marta Kauffman told The Los Angeles Times (opens in new tab) that Cox had "the neatest" dressing room. In the same interview, Cox said, "Okay, I am a neat freak. Not about myself. I don't use a lint brush or anything, and I don't iron, but I could easily pick lint off of someone else." To quote Ross, "MONICAAA!"
'Friends' was supposed to have just four friends.
Phoebe and Chandler were originally written as supporting roles (opens in new tab). Can you even imagine?
Monica and Joey were supposed to get together.
According Kauffman (opens in new tab), the studio audience’s response to Monica and Chandler first getting together was so overwhelming, the show went “a different direction.”
The names of all six 'Friends' were inspired by characters from 'All My Children.'
Chandler is for the Chandler family (opens in new tab), Rachel's last name, Green, is for Janet Green, Ross is for Ross Chandler (LOL), Monica is for Monique (Daisy Cortland), Joey is for Joseph "Joey" Martin, and Phoebe is for Phoebe Tyler Wallingford.
David Schwimmer didn't have to audition for Ross.
As Kauffman explained in 2012 (opens in new tab), "Schwimmer had auditioned the year before for a pilot we were making, and he just stuck in our heads. That was an offer. No audition."
Phoebe was supposed to be goth.
Phoebe was originally pitched as a “goth girl,” which prompted Janeane Garofalo to turn down the role. "There is some truth to it, but not exactly that," she later explained (opens in new tab). "Long ago before Friends was Friends, when it was in its infancy, it was a show called Friends Like Us, and I was being considered for a role, like a goth girl, which I think morphed into Phoebe."
Gunther was a barista IRL.
"I had a job at a coffee shop called The Bourgeois Pig in Hollywood, which is still around and one of the last independent coffee shops that hasn't been taken over or whatnot,"James Michael Tyler told BuzzFeed (opens in new tab) in 2014. "I was one of their first baristas—I think I started there in 1990 or so."
Hank Azaria auditioned for the role of Joey.
Twice (opens in new tab). It's Okay. He was destined to play David and go to Minsk for a really long time. (Maybe too long.)
Jane Lynch auditioned for Phoebe.
So did Kathy Griffin. Obviously we're going to need to see those tapes now. (Jane eventually did appear on the show as a real estate agent in the final season.)
The identity of the actor who played Ugly Naked Guy wasn't revealed until 2016.
Thanks to a Huffington Post (opens in new tab) investigation. Memorize this name for your next trivia night: Jon Haugen. We applaud you.
Paul Rudd got the role of Mike after a casting director wrote "dreamy" in her notes.
According to Leslie Litt (opens in new tab), “We had a casting session for that role but no one was quite it. Paul agreed to do a one-time meet and read with Lisa [Kudrow]. All I wrote on my notes was ‘dreamy’!”
There was an intervention for Jennifer Aniston's tardiness.
“David did it. Very kindly," Aniston later told (opens in new tab) Us Weekly. "The day my alarm didn’t ring.”
There's a reason "The One Where No One's Ready" takes place entirely in Monica's apartment.
Showrunners used a "bottle episode" format for this season three favorite due to budget restrictions, at it was later revealed in the 2005 special, Friends: Final Thoughts (opens in new tab).
Lisa Kudrow hated the guitar at first.
In fact, she suggested that Phoebe play the bongos (opens in new tab) instead. (Thankfully, the guitar stuck.)
Bruce Willis guest starred on the show after losing a bet.
The bet was with Matthew Perry, his co-star in The Whole Nine Yards (2000). Rumor has it that Bruce donated his money to charity. Either way, he will always be the neatest guy.
Monica is actually older than Ross IRL.
Courteney Cox is two years older than David Schwimmer, despite playing his little sister.
The orange sofa in Central Perk was found in the basement of Warner Bros. Studios.
You know what they say about one man’s trash becoming one of the most famous couches on TV…
Monica's apartment number changed from "5" to "20."
(Top photo: season 1; Bottom photo: season 10) The change was made after the writers realized an apartment with the number "5" did not denote a unit on a higher floor in New York City. Chandler and Joey's apartment also changed from "4" to "19."
Phoebe is actually not swearing while playing Ms. Pac-Man.
“Oh! I don't know if I was allowed to actually swear," Lisa Kudrow revealed in a Reddit AMA (opens in new tab). "We pre-shot that part, and I think I remember Kevin Bright, our executive producer, laughing and saying 'I know, but no one should even be able to read it on your lips.'"
Ross lied about not liking ice cream.
Here he is eating ice cream with Marcel ("The One After the Superbowl") and Elizabeth ("The One Where Ross Dates a Student"). Doesn't look like your teeth are hurting in both cases, Ross.
For a long time, 'Friends' was not allowed to show even a condom wrapper during the 8 p.m. slot.
As co-creator David Crane told Vanity Fair (opens in new tab) in 2012, “The rules kept changing. For the first three years we could say ‘penis.’ Then we couldn’t say ‘penis.’ Then we could say ‘penis’ again.” Added Kauffman: “They’re masturbating on Seinfeld and we can’t show a condom wrapper.” Warren Littlefield, then the president of NBC Entertainment, said he had a lot of battles with broadcast standards. “What could be more socially responsible than these characters practicing safe sex?”
The big white dog actually belonged to Jennifer Aniston.
"Pat the dog" was given to Aniston by a friend for good luck on the first day of shooting Friends.
Lisa Kudrow's pregnancy was written into the show.
"Here's what was difficult about having a child: when he visited the set, it was hard to be in character," Kudrow later said (opens in new tab). "Because i didn't want him to ever experience me as anything OTHER than his mother."
Cole Sprouse (Ben) had a huge crush on Jennifer Aniston.
“I had a really, really hard time working with Aniston because I was so in love with her,” he told the New York Post (opens in new tab) in 2017. “I was infatuated. I was speechless—I’d get all bubbly and forget my lines and completely blank… It was so difficult.”
Marcel was actually played by two monkeys, Monkey and Katie.
The pair would go on to star in Bruce Almighty, 30 Rock, and other things. In 1995, Schwimmer told Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab) that he actually hated the monkey. "The trainers won't let me bond with it. They're really, really possessive. It's like, 'Land on your marks, do your job, don't touch or bond with the monkey.' It's a bummer." AGREED.
Everyone's last name in the opening for "The One After Vegas" included "Arquette."
They were celebrating then-newlyweds Courteney Cox Arquette and David Arquette, who were married from 1999 to 2013.
Matthew Perry's dad made a cameo in season four.
John Bennett Perry played Joshua’s dad in “The One with Rachel’s New Dress.”
All the 'Friends' have kissed each other except Monica and Phoebe.
Courteney Cox is the only 'Friend' to not receive an Emmy nod for her work on the show.
Even Christina Pickles, who played Monica's mom Judy got a nomination for her guest role one year. Guess the Emmys had no love for Monica's tidiness, wit, and that incredible "7" scene.
Ross is 29 for *three* years.
For three consecutive seasons (3, 4, 5), Ross mentions that he's 29. (In season five, he actually says he's getting divorced twice before he's 30.) Naturally, Ross also has two birthdays on Friends: Oct. 18 and some time in December. Ross can indeed.
Cliffhangers were never shot with a live studio audience.
The season four finale, “The One With Ross’s Wedding," where Ross says "I take thee Rachel," is a prime example. "We couldn't have an audience for that," Aniston said in the 2005 Friends: Final Thoughts (opens in new tab) special. “We always remove the audience for the cliffhangers because, obvious reasons, you don’t want to spoil it.”
Jon Favreau (Pete) originally auditioned for Chandler.
But don't worry, Favreau's still got a soft spot for Pete after all these years (opens in new tab). "Pete Becker was a man of tremendous focus and conviction. He set his heart to being the Ultimate Fighting Champion and I have no doubt that he gave it his all. I'm only sorry that that chapter was never closed by the Friends writers because I'll always have to live with the uncertainty of what his fate held."
Gunther's first line came after 33 episodes, when he said "yeah."
Gunther also didn’t have a name (opens in new tab) until the middle of the second season, and his hair was bleached every week for 10 years because James Michael Tyler's hair is brown IRL.
Janice's appearances were always kept secret.
Explains actress Maggie Wheeler (opens in new tab), “They would keep me hidden—I could barely come down to get a doughnut. I had to stay in my dressing room until the last moment and then they’d secretly move me from behind the set to the right spot and they’d keep a black screen so the audience couldn’t see me until I made my first entrance.”
"The One With the Halloween Party" was the first episode they filmed after 9/11.
According to Lisa Kudrow (opens in new tab), who says it's her favorite episode of Friends ever, "That whole week, while driving in L.A., people would pull up, and give me a very sad look, and a quiet 'thank you' for making them laugh."
Justin Timberlake really wanted a cameo.
According to show co-creator David Crane (opens in new tab), there was a meeting with JT, “but we didn’t have a good part for him.”
Joey and Phoebe could have been a thing.
In 2016, Matt LeBlanc told EW (opens in new tab), "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’s Joey and Phoebe coming out of a broom closet together. But they were like, ‘Nah.’"
The espresso machine at Central Perk was never on because it was too loud.
“That was a real antique coffee machine. I never actually made one coffee!" James Michael Tyler (Gunther) later told BuzzFeed (opens in new tab).
The finale caused Matt LeBlanc so much anxiety he started smoking again.
"I had quit smoking for four years, and in that final two weeks I started smoking again because we were so aware that our time together was coming to an end," he told Vanity Fair (opens in new tab) in 2012.
When the series wrapped, each cast member took home a piece of Central Perk.Specifically, pieces of the fake sidewalk outside Central Perk.
Specifically, pieces (opens in new tab) of the fake sidewalk outside Central Perk.
Central Perk was torn down to become the airport where Rachel takes off from.
Central Perk was torn down to become the airport where Rachel takes off from.
Jennifer Aniston almost said no to the final season.
Speaking to Matt Lauer in 2004 (opens in new tab), Aniston said she had "a couple issues" with another season. “I wanted it to end when people still loved us and we were on a high. And then I was also feeling like, ‘How much more of Rachel do I have in me?’” She eventually agreed to the final season, just as creators lowered the episode count from 24 to 18.
The creators knew "early on" that Ross and Rachel would end up together.
"We had dicked the audience around for 10 years with their “will they or won’t they,” and we didn’t see any advantage in frustrating them," according to David Crane (opens in new tab).
Peggy is Cosmopolitan.com’s entertainment writer, specializing in Leonardo DiCaprio, This Is Us, and the royals. She’s also a proud Canadian and pug lover. When Peggy’s not obsessing over Leo’s latest lover or gut size, she can be found watching old episodes of Friends or Gilmore Girls. Her dream is to one day live on a pug farm and write children’s books, with illustrations by her very talented husband Greg.
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