Remembering Friends: 40 Fun Facts About the Classic 90s Sitcom - too cool 2 be true

Remembering Friends: 40 Fun Facts About the Classic 90s Sitcom

On September 22, 1994, the first episode of a new show produced by Warner Bros. was broadcast on NBC. Though nobody knew it at the time, this little show – Friends – would soon become the most popular sitcom of the 90s. It was so well-liked that fans are still smitten with this diamond in the rough of North American pop culture nearly two decades later. 

With numerous award nominations, several prizes it won, and its inclusion in the TV Guide list of Best Shows Of All Time, there’s no denying how popular it was. We’re sure many of you are still rewatching Friends over and over and are still obsessed with the lovable cast of characters. To keep the love alive, here are some interesting facts about your favorite television show that you may not have known.

A Genuine Friendship

Marcel, the monkey Ross brought home in the first episode of Friends, is one of the most memorable characters from the show. The two appeared to have such an incredible connection, and because animals are incapable of acting, this relationship had to be genuine.

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To provide the finest performance possible with the monkey, David Schwimmer created a close bond. He protested to the directors about Marcel’s trainers, who he claimed were overbearing and didn’t give him enough time to bond with the animal. 

Forever 29

Ross Geller was frozen in time for the duration of the show. He proclaimed himself to be 29 years old at different points throughout every season. This was a subtle recurring joke that was worked into the script on purpose.

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The actor and the character remained the same for three years. Perhaps the joke was a reference to the worry that many people have in their mid-twenties have about turning thirty. It is fair to remark that the producers’ “age move” was only picked up by die-hard fans.

Ross and Rachel Weren’t Supposed to Be Together

Rachel and Ross were not supposed to end up together when David Crane and Martha Kauffman were writing Friends. However, the two producers decided to go with the flow because of their strong chemistry in front of the camera.

It turned out to be an excellent decision because the love story between the pair leads to one of this sitcom’s most memorable scenes. There were many years of history between them. Seeing how they progressed from their awkward early years to ending up together was a delight.

Hank Wanted to Play Joey

Phoebe had a brief romance with a strange scientist named David. However, he didn’t stick around for long. The two of them had to end the relationship when David had to move away. However, fans may be surprised to learn that there’s a deeper story behind Phoebe’s lost love.

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It would have been a good idea if Perry had received an intervention during this time, but it was Jennifer Aniston’s who received one. The reason? She was always late for filming. We can see Rachel being late too. Perhaps Aniston was trying out method acting!

Chandler’s Struggles

It was just a matter of time until the rest of the world knew about Mathew Perry’s personal hardships during the filming of Friends. However, at the time, even his coworkers were none the wiser. They all learned about it later.

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It would have been a good idea if Perry had received an intervention during this time, but it was Jennifer Aniston’s who received one. The reason? She was always late for filming. We can see Rachel being late too. Perhaps Aniston was trying out method acting!

The Best English Teacher

Non-English speakers who watch North American television series have the advantage of not only relaxing and killing boredom in front of the television like everyone else but also learning a language in the process. You can learn English effortlessly from Friends.

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Numerous people from around the world have claimed that they learned English through watching Friends. RM, the leader of K-Pop band BTS, referred to the show as his “personal English teacher” in an interview. That’s arguably the best English instructor anyone has ever had!

Defying the Norms

There is an unspoken rule among Hollywood actors that they must follow in order to keep the set free of drama. They say that you should never criticize your colleague’s performance. This rule, however, was blatantly disregarded on the set of Friends.

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The primary cast promised to give each other honest feedback on their performances, with the understanding that no one would be angry if the criticism was too honest. They agreed to work together because they wanted to better their performance and the show’s quality.

Honoring the Arquettes

Maybe you didn’t notice this one, and that’s understandable because it was both subtle and adorable. The first episode of the sixth season, which aired in 1999, was dedicated to Courtney Cox and her new husband, David Arquette.

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What better way to honor the newlyweds and Cox altering her last name than to change the last names of the rest of the cast in the opening credits? We can all agree that this is a very clever and subtle move.

The Truth About Joey’s Hair

Matt LeBlanc, the actor who played Joey, was undoubtedly the sexiest male character on the show. Aside from being gorgeous and a talented actor, he had an impressive physique, fashionable clothing, and perfectly styled hair, which never failed to catch everyone’s attention.

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Apparently, the dark hair everyone has been going crazy about all these years was not the actor’s natural color! At the time, Matt LeBlanc’s hair was not completely black – he had a lot of greys. Indeed, it was a work of art created by a hairdresser.

All Is Fair

Before the start of filming, each actor’s contract was distinct from the other actors’ contracts. It was clear that some of their rates differed significantly. The six actors felt that they were all putting in the same effort for the show, so they took to the streets to express their dissatisfaction.

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David Schwimmer, who had the highest rate, was the driving force behind the protest, which eventually resulted in all of them being paid the same. Over time, their wages jumped from $22,500 per episode to $100,000 per episode. There were a total of 236 episodes in the entire series. We’ll let you do the math!

Strong Intuition

According to popular belief, visualizing and acting as if your dreams have already come true can help you make them a reality. This will then allow you to experience the life you’ve always wanted. In the case of the Friends cast and producers, this is precisely what happened.

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In Las Vegas in 1994, the show’s director James Burrows arranged a trip for his ensemble to enjoy their last sliver of anonymity before the show’s premiere. The filmmaker had a gut feeling about the outcome of his project, and he was correct.

Phoebe’s Pregnancy

I guess you still recall when Phoebe’s brother and his wife asked her to be their surrogate, and she agreed. Few people are aware that Phoebe accepted because Lisa Kudrow didn’t have any choice. Lisa was pregnant at the time.

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Despite Kudrow’s swelling belly, the filmmakers were able to modify the script and incorporate it into the plot. Isn’t there something adorable about this? They placed padding on Kudrow’s stomach to make her appear to be pregnant with triplets, even though she was only carrying one child.

Friends with Benefits

The sitcom featured Phoebe and Joey as best friends. Though they were close, they were the only ones who didn’t have more than just a platonic friendship with any other members of the group. Ross and Rachel fell in love, as did Monica and Chandler.

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At one point in the show’s finale, the two actors struck upon an idea. What if, for all those years, their characters had been friends with benefits? Despite their love of soap operas, the producers feared this would be too predictable.

The Suspenseful Scenes

Friends was filmed in front of an audience that was always ready to provide their honest reactions and contagious laughter. However, did you know that some cliffhangers were filmed without the audience in the room?

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No one was in the audience when Ross got married or when the father of Rachel’s was disclosed. Jen Aniston says the producers intended it this way because they didn’t want anyone to know what would happen before it was released on television.

Central Perk

One of the most well-known fictional café in the world, Central Perk, has inspired at least one coffee shop of the same name. What you can see in the image below is far from a fantasy story. In Beijing, there’s a real Central Perk.

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This TV show has become so popular that several savvy entrepreneurs have decided to bring it into the real world. Tourists travel to Beijing solely to drink coffee at Central Perk, and they are not disappointed. There’s also a Central Perk in Liverpool, and both are perfectly styled after the show.

Goodbye, Central Perk

Do you remember one of the final moments from the last season of Friends, where Ross runs to prevent Rachel from leaving the country? If you were hoping for them to have a good ending to their love story, that scene had a significant impact.

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As it turns out, the airport was a recreation of the Central Perk set, which had been demolished and redecorated to resemble an airport. This explains why the characters didn’t head to Central Perk for their usual coffee in the last episode.

Bruce Willis

When Friends became popular, several high-profile performers from the entertainment industry expressed interest in joining the cast for a single episode. Bruce Willis was a recurring guest star on Friends during the course of the show’s ten seasons.

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Bruce Willis was cast as Ross’ girlfriend’s terrifying father, and it wasn’t because he sought the part. Willis and Mathew Perry had a wager, and Willis lost. We guess the bet paid off since he was awarded an Emmy for his performance.

Neat Freak

In her role as Monica Gellar, Courtney Cox realized that she and the character were destined to be together from the start of the show. One obvious similarity between the two is a preference for tidiness.

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According to her co-stars, Courtney Cox is also a neat freak. She used to keep her dressing room immaculate, and if one of her coworkers’ garments had lint on it, she would go ahead and clean it for them out of concern. That’s exactly what Monica would do!

Chandler’s Unique Personality

Chandler’s persona leaned more toward femininity than the rest of the cast. In addition to his heightened emotions, his father was also transgender. Many people made assumptions about his sexuality based on these features.

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Lisa Kudrow, like some others, assumed Chandler was gay until the very first table read when she was surprised to discover that Mathew Perry’s character was into women. That delicate masculinity and unabashed acceptance of himself was refreshing, and fans were always going to love Chandler no matter what.

Pre-show Ritual

You may not have heard of this one before. Before each episode, the cast would get together for a large group hug. They’d perform this routine religiously before filming, which only shows how close the cast of Friends truly was.

Our favorite characters were not only friends on the program but also in real life. According to the actors, their embracing practice would help them feel more like friends and strengthen their bonds. It must be why the connections appeared so genuine.

Friends Was Criticized

Today, network television is far more progressive than it was back in 1994 when Friends first debuted. It’s also worth noting that the sitcom was criticized for its openness and promiscuity when it aired. Don’t worry if you have trouble visualizing it.

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In terms of promiscuity and “never seen before” television moments, it’s worth recalling that four out of the six main characters kissed at least once during the course of the show’s ten seasons. Monica and Phoebe were the only ones who didn’t.

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake was one of the celebrities that requested a cameo appearance on the television show. He was desperate to be a part of the show, but producers were unable to offer him a position that suited his personality and demeanor.

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Timberlake must have been really disappointed. Following his development into an incredible performer on both stage and screen, we must wonder: did the producers regret passing him up when he was younger? Perhaps they did, but he managed to make it on his own.

It Was Supposed to Be a Diner

Central Perk, the fictional café featured in the famous sitcom Friends, was initially intended to be a diner. For a time, the directors were influenced by the diner where the Seinfeld characters would gather. Eventually, they chose a coffee shop instead.

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In the end, that may have been the best course of action for them to take. Though bars and diners were on-trend at the time, Friends did its own thing. As we’ve already mentioned, there are a few Central Perks around the world.

Rachel and Joey

Most of the audience was appalled at the thought of Joey and Rachel having a romantic relationship. The audience was really against this idea. And guess who else was not a fan?

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The idea bothered the entire cast and crew so much that they banded together and brought it up in conversation with the show’s producers. They were determined that Rachel and Ross should find a way back to each other. It’s a good thing that the producers heeded their concerns.

Courtney’s Pregnancy

In contrast to Lisa Kudrow’s pregnancy, which was included in the storyline, Courtney Cox’s pregnancy was not. For the duration of her pregnancy, they used baggy clothing, impediments, and cunning camera angles to conceal her belly.

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It was good work except for one minor flaw. A pregnant Courtney Cox was clearly seen in the shot above. Many people missed this scene since it happened so quickly. Then again, we’re all just people, and even award-winning producers have their share of blunders.

Monica Was Courtney Cox’s Favorite

Initially, Courtney Cox was invited to audition for the role of Rachel. The script she read made her fall for Monica’s personality and even identify with her, which she shared after reading it. As a result, she requested an audition for that part as well.

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As soon as Cox started playing Monica, the two producers were sure that she was the perfect fit for the role. So, they began searching for a new Rachel. As far as we’re concerned, everything worked out perfectly.

The Perfect Rachel

With Monica’s role taken care of, they set out to find Rachel. The producers continued to audition a variety of well-known and lesser-known actresses. They scoured the market for a long time before deciding on the right candidate.

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Jenifer Aniston, of course, was the perfect match. Before her part in Friends, she had appeared in several other films. Among others who auditioned for the character were Tea Leoni, Jane Krakowski, and Tiffani Thiessen. However, the producers made the finest decision. We’re so glad they went with Jen! 

David Schwimmer Is Actually Ross

There is just one actor who did not audition for a position in the show. While every other cast member had to go through the process, David Schwimmer was the only member of the cast that didn’t try out for the series.

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David and Friends co-creator Kevin Bright had previously worked together on another production. Kevin was so taken with David’s performance that he expressly created Ross for David to play. This explains why David’s performance as Ross was so flawless!

Courtney Cox Was Unique

Though the six performers are now superstars and have been household names for more than two decades, none of them were well-known when they began filming the Friends series in 1994. Courtney Cox, who had appeared in a notable horror film, was the only exception.

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Her participation in Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” music video, where she performs and plays the drums, was the catalyst for her ascent to stardom. Seeing her play the drums in the opening segment shows just how different she is in many ways from the character she played on Friends.

Ellen Auditioned Too

Several well-known actors and television personalities tried out for the sitcom’s main cast, and some of them turned down the opportunity. Ellen DeGeneres nearly played Phoebe Buffay. Despite being the producer’s first choice, she turned the role down.

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Ellen was too preoccupied with her own endeavors, which included starring in a sitcom named after her. No other actress could have played Phoebe better than Lisa Kudrow. We thank Ellen for being wise enough to turn it down, and we’re so glad it went to the perfect person.

Phoebe’s Guitar

When Phoebe began playing the guitar, we were all filled with laughter. Those were some of the funniest and most memorable moments of the show. In real life, Lisa Kudrow’s guitar talents are on par with Phoebe’s.

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Lisa Kudrow had no interest in the guitar and never wanted to learn how to play it. However, for Phoebe’s sake, she had to take guitar lessons to be able to play the few chords the character had memorized. It all happened when she failed to persuade the filmmakers to make Phoebe a bongo player.

The Silent Waiter

A fascinating truth has been discovered by someone who is most likely utterly enamored with the show. The quirky waiter at Central Perk, Gunther, didn’t speak until the 33rd episode. However, he had been present the entire time.

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The filmmakers believed that Gunther should remain silent throughout the series. The actor in question was not even an actor but a barista hired to make Central Perk appear more genuine. In the second season of the sitcom, he said, “Yeah” for the first time.

Two Marcels

Marcel, Ross’s exotic little companion, the monkey, was a mischievous one to be around. In truth, he was played by not one but two monkeys during the series. Monkey and Katie portrayed Marcel, and neither had ever performed in a film before.

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Though the two animals were well-trained, the directors still found it difficult to film with them. Due to the fact that they would have to film numerous takes for each scene, the actors did not particularly appreciate filming with the obnoxious monkeys.

Jane Lynch

Were you surprised to learn that Jane Lynch was nearly cast as Phoebe Buffay? After watching Phoebe for ten seasons, we can’t really picture Lynch in the role either. Nonetheless, she appeared in a minor role in the show, as did other celebs.

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In an episode entitled “The One in Which Estelle Dies,” Lynch made an appearance. When Chandler and Monica go house hunting in the suburbs in the final season, Jane Lynch plays a realtor who shows them around.

Insomnia Café

Here’s something most people didn’t know (but you probably won’t be surprised to learn): Apparently, the title of the sitcom was initially going to be Insomnia Café rather than Friends. What a strange-sounding name for a show that we grew up watching.

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They also considered calling it Six of One and Friends Like Us, but in the end, they opted to keep it simple with Friends. It was a smart move because we couldn’t imagine calling it by any other name!

The Fountain Scene

The scene in which the six main characters are dancing in the fountain from the opening sequence of Friends will be remembered as one of the most adorable moments in television history. Everything appears to be in order, and they seem to be having a blast.

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Although it appears like a lot of fun, filming that moment made them feel a little awkward. Performing in a fountain was uncomfortable, and they couldn’t make any sense of it with the story. However, this does not diminish the epicness of the spectacle.

The Fountain Was Fake

While we’re on the subject of the famous fountain where the characters splash about, having a great time, here’s something interesting to know about it. In reality, the Pulitzer Fountain in New York City was nothing like what we’d all assumed.

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The fabled fountain was a hoax, and it wasn’t even in New York as everyone assumed; instead, it was on the grounds of a Warner Bros. studio in Los Angeles. Many of you may be shocked to hear this, but you probably won’t ever have a chance to frolic in the Friends fountain.

The Twin Sister

Ursula Buffay, Phoebe’s wicked, greedy, and delightfully spiteful twin, is hard to forget. She was the polar opposite of Phoebe, who was always sweet and likable. Funnily enough, Ursula was developed before Phoebe. The character was inspired by the sitcom Mad About You.

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As a result of their admiration for the character, all three writers decided to incorporate her into the Friends storyline. If you’re going to introduce an evil character, why not place her in the same frame as an innocent one? We can’t argue that it’s a great idea.

Janice’s Appearances

Whenever Janice made an appearance on the show, the producers kept it an absolute secret. While other actors for the show would be visible on set, the actress who played Janice was made to hide in her dressing room until the moment she entered the scene.

Maggie Wheeler, the actress who played Janice, recalled how difficult it was to stay hidden on a crowded set. However, this tactic never failed to delight the audience, who offered a genuine reaction of glee when Janice unexpectedly arrived. 

The Magna Doodle

Most of us are unlikely to have seen this, but if you re-watch the episodes, you will find that there is a doodle board on the door of Chandler and Joey’s flat. Every time it’s in the frame, a new message is featured.

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This doodle board appears to be the center of a massive conspiracy. Fans believe that the words and pictures on the board were designed to convey secret messages. However, the cast of Friends tells us that this was not the case.