FASCINATING FACTS: 24 Interesting Facts About FRIENDS To Feed Your Nostalgia

The six best friends who come to the city in search of a new life and becoming a family is something that anyone can relate to no matter which generation they belong to. Even though the series finished in 2004, it remains much loved, much watched and much re-watched TV show ever! So, here are some interesting facts about Friends, that we collected from IMDB and other sources, to feed your nostalgia

1. The Friends cast were one of the highest paid TV show actors and they were also equally paid because they opted to negotiate their salaries together.

Image Source: independent

The cast members of Friends always did everything together. They appeared together on magazine photo shoots and they even entered themselves in the same acting categories for awards. They even became best friends off-screen. They always took care to keep their ensemble format and did not want to allow any hierarchy of importance among them. Their efforts, of course, paid off and the show was praised for being a “truly ensemble” show.(source)

2. The show was initially named Insomnia Cafe. The producers also considered the titles Friends Like Us, Six of One, and Across the Hall, before finally settling on just Friends.

Image Source: giphy

The idea for the series came from the time when the creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman had finished their college and started living by themselves in New York. So, they decided to make the series about “six young people in their 20s making their way in Manhattan”. The idea was first pitched as a seven-page treatment titled Insomnia Cafe in December 1993. After many changes in titles and ideas, and casting, the pilot premiered on September 22, 1994.(source)

3. David Schwimmer, who played Ross, directed ten of the show’s episodes.

Image Source: sfgate

Playing the hopeless-romantic paleontologist Ross Geller wasn’t the only thing David Schwimmer did on the sets of Friends. He also directed ten of the show’s episodes and went on to do more directorial work after the series came to an end. He was also very particular about not being typecast and went on to work on Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers in which he portrayed  Captain Herbert M. Sobel.(source)

4. The 30-second commercial spots for the series final episode sold in the UK for £1.2 million (approx $1.8 million), the most expensive commercial slots of any TV program in the UK with the exception of sports.

Image Source: uk.reuters

5. When Matt LeBlanc auditioned for the show, he had only $11. When the cast got their paychecks, the first thing he bought was a hot dinner. 

Image Source: vanityfair

6. Courteney Cox was originally asked to play the role of Rachel, but she asked to play Monica instead after reading the parts. 

Image Source: playbuzz

In the beginning the producers felt that the upbeat and cheerful energy of Courteney Cox was better suited for Rachel the way they had envisioned the character. They wanted Jennifer Aniston to play Monica. But they both disagreed about the roles and after Cox’s audition, they saw the point. So, they gave the role of Monica to Cox and Rachel to Aniston.(source)

7. 20 years ago, when Friends first aired on TV, People magazine gave it a D+ rating and Time magazine called them “dysfunctional morons”.

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There are both good and bad reviews about Friends when it debuted on TV. One of the criticisms was from Variety magazine that said “Concept is OK, but the humor’s less sophisticated than expected.” There were many comparisons between the show and its contemporaries back then such as “Seinfeld” and “Dream On”. The People magazine has accused the show of rimshot writing and said that “the show’s saving grace is that, as the weeks go by, the characters begin to grow on you.”(source)

8. Joey’s white dog statue was originally gifted to Jennifer Aniston for good luck by her best friend when she started acting. She offered to lend it to the show for the episode in which Joey becomes rich and buys lot of stuff. After that episode, the producers decided to keep it. 

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9. When the episode “The One with the Lesbian Wedding” aired in which Ross’ ex-wife and another woman gets married the producers “expected thousands and thousands of phone calls and hate mail” in response, but actually received only four complaints by telephone.

Image Source: hollywood

The episode contained a large amount of gay-positive jokes, with the lesbian wedding going on, Chandler’s father being gay, and Rachel fooling around with a girl back in college. Same-sex marriage at that time wasn’t yet legal and the episode attracted some controversy and censorship. Two of the networks that aired the show, refused to air the episode. But it went on to become the highest rated television program during that week with 31.6 million viewers.(source)

10. The original theme song for the show was “Shiny Happy People” by R. E. M., but was later changed to “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts.

11. In season one, Chandler and Joey’s apartment number was 4, and Monica and Rachel’s was 5. The numbers were later changed to 19 and 20 because the building in which the show takes place was too big to have 4 and 5 as apartment numbers. 

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The change in the apartment numbers was done rather haphazardly. Sometimes, the earlier episodes of the first season had higher numbers and the later ones had the small numbers. Even the production numbers of the episodes were not in order. This was because one of the guest stars had a scheduling conflict and so the production schedules had to be changed.(12)

12. Hank Azaria, one of the voice artists for The Simpsons and The Family Guy, auditioned for the role of Joey. But he was rejected, so he auditioned again and again, and was later cast as David, Phoebe’s scientist boyfriend.

Image Source: glamour

13. The Magna Doodle on Joey and Chandler’s apartment door has a different drawing in every episode in which it could be seen. 

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The doodle isn’t just always different, it also seems to contain some kind of message. The Magna Doodle board was first introduced in the episode “The One With the Hypnosis Tape” in season three with a message that says “Joey, call your dad”. Several times the doodle contained cartoon faces, or sometimes smiley faces. In the episode “The One Where Chandler Crosses the Line” in season four, Treager had left a message that said “Clean up the duck feathers in the hallway! Treager”.(source)

14. Originally, the show was to be focused on four characters, with Phoebe and Chandler in supporting roles. The creators toyed with the idea of Chandler being gay, but changed their mind after they met Matthew Perry. However, they did insert many jokes about Chandler having gay mannerisms. 

Image Source: giphy

15. James Michael Tyler, who plays Gunther, was hired because he was the only extra who knew how to use an espresso machine. He is also the only supporting member of the cast to have appeared in over 100 episodes, 151 to be exact. 

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16. In the series, Monica says the first lines and Chandler says the very last lines. 

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17. In the opening credits of season six episode “The One After Vegas”, all the names had “Arquette” added at the end as a gag on Courteney Cox Arquette who had recently married David Arquette.

Image Source: fffriends

18. Jennifer Aniston almost lost the part of Rachel because of her commitments to another series called “Muddling Through”. She was allowed to film Friends under the condition that if Muddling Through became a hit, she’d pull out from Friends pilot.

Image Source: stylecaster

When the casting process for Friends started, Jennifer Aniston was working on “Muddling Through”. So, during that time she had to stand out of the group photographs because of the uncertainty. Some of her friends would phone her and tell her that they were auditioning for her part. So, for a period of two weeks she had to travel between Sony and Warner Bros. studios. But, in the it all turned out well as “Muddling Through” was cancelled as expected, and she joined the cast for good.(source)

19. Bruce Willis guest starred in Friends because he and Matthew Perry, who co-starred with him in “The Whole Nine Yards”, thought it would be fun. He did the role for free and donated the money to charity.

Image Source: huffingtonpost

Matthew Perry, who plays Chandler in the show, and Bruce Willis became great friends while filming the comedy movie “The Whole Nine Yards”. They both decided that it’d be fun for Willis to guest star in the show. So, he starred in three episodes as Paul Stevens, the father of Ross’s student and girlfriend, Elizabeth, whom he fathered when very young. Willis’ character shows a strong dislike of Elizabeth and Ross’ relationship because of the age gap and threatens to call his university if it wasn’t ended.(source)

20. The golden frame around the peephole of Monica’s apartment front door was originally a mirror which was accidentally smashed by one of the crew members. But series makers thought it looked good and decided to leave it there. 

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21. The orange couch in Central Perk, the coffee house the six main characters frequent, was found in the basement of the Warner Bros. studio. 

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22. Except for the crucial parts or finales, all the scenes on Friends were filmed in front of a live audience.

Image Source: friends.wikia

When the filming began in the summer or 1994, the audience were given a summary of the series to familiarize themselves with the six main characters. To entertain the audience between the takes, they also hired a comedian. It took them around six hours to film each episode of length 22 minutes, which was actually twice the amount of time most sitcom tapings take, because of the many retakes and changes in the script they had to do.(source)

23. Monica and Joey were originally intended to be the main couple of the show, but was abandoned because of Matt LeBlanc’s approach to their relationship had a “big brother vibe” rather than a romantic one. 

Image Source: fanpop

Monica and Joey, who were conceived as the show’s most sexual characters, were replaced by Ross and Rachel. When the writers saw the way LeBlanc played his character, they felt that Joey’s brother-toned relationship with Monica felt much better than a romantic one, causing them to prefer the former. However, the writers also made an episode “The One That Could Have Been” in which the characters imagine how their lives would be if things had worked out differently. Monica and Joey were shown to be a married couple in it.(source)

24. Ross was the first of the six to be cast. The character was written with David Schwimmer in mind.

Image Source: telegraph

When the auditions first started, there were around a 1,000 actors who applied and were shortlisted to 75 by the show’s casting director. However, David Schwimmer was the first to cast among all the six characters. The creators of the show, Crane and Kauffman, had worked previously with Schwimmer and wrote the character Ross Geller with him in mind.(source)


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