When FRIENDS first aired in 1994, it was just another sitcom and no one knew quite how huge it would become. However, it became the biggest sitcom of the ‘90s. Without any surprise, it is still attracting new fans today thanks to its addition to Netflix. The relatable lives of those six friends were a smash hit on the television. It not just bounced the cast to unattainable heights of fame but also awarded them up to 1 million dollars for every episode by the end of the show.
Even though FRIENDS fans would think that they know everything about the show and its cast, there are certainly a few things that even the biggest FRIENDS fan might not know. They would surely know who Rachel dated (throughout her on-again, off-again relationship with Ross), what Chandler did for a living (not a transponster), how Monica organizes her photos, and how much Joey owes Chandler after all these years. What you don’t know is all the secrets from behind the scenes.
So, here are some unknown secrets about FRIENDS TV Show and its cast that might surprise you:
1. Lisa Kudrow Wrote “Smelly Cat” Melody
Yes, you heard that right. The former FRIENDS actress revealed in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” Q&A that she wrote the tune of the famous song “Smelly Cat” with a little help from Chrissie Hynde. She said, “The writers wrote it, I wrote the tune, and had a little help from Chrissie Hynde.” Hynde is quite famous for being the lead musician in the band “The Pretenders”.
2. Joey Was Supposed To Be A Jerk
Joey Tribbiani was written as a jerk in the original script. However, the character was changed when Matt LeBlanc pointed out it didn’t make sense. He also asked that why the other characters would be friends with him if he would be a jerk. So, the script was improvised and Joey became a sweet-natured but dim-witted person we all love.
3. No Street Set Outside For The First Season
For the first season, there was no actual street set outside Central Perk due to budgetary reasons. They used a painted backdrop instead. If you didn’t notice, there was a window in front of it which was tinted intentionally. To hide the fact the backdrop was fake, they also used a number of potted plants. However, the set was added and the window made clear in the second season.
4. Many People Thought that Chandler Was A Gay
Kudrow admitted that she was surprised after hearing Perry’s interpretation of Chandler because it struck her that Chandler was supposed to be some gay character, an incident she recalls from the time she first read the script. And she wasn’t the only one. Apparently, a few fans too speculated and predicted Chandler’s partner orientation while watching the first few seasons and episodes of the show. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, David Crane said, “No, Chandler isn’t gay. Nor will he be gay.”
5. Central Perk’s Location Was Never Revealed
Since some of them referred to it as “downstairs”, many fans assumed the Central Perk was on the first floor of their apartment building. However, exterior shots of the front of their building show that a restaurant with red awnings has taken up that place. If you remember, Joey once mentioned that the coffee shop was exactly 97 steps away from their apartment. Interestingly, no one knows exactly where Central Perk is located on their block.
6. Re-Shot The Scenes With Tom Selleck
Tom Selleck was so popular that his entrances would get standing ovations from the audience every time he guest-starred on an episode. It made the sound quality of the scenes horrible. The footage was unusable and they’d have to ask the audience to please be quiet and re-shoot the scenes.
7. Monica Was An Early Mental Floss Plan
In “The One With the Soap Opera Party” episode, Monica is shown casually reading while hanging out at Central Perk a new magazine called “Mental Floss”. We really owe David Arquette because he’s the one who made it happen. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, David said, “I thought it was so interesting, I gave it to Courteney for the show.”
8. FRIENDS Invented The Term “Dropping The Monkey”, Opposite Of “Jumping The Shark”
Ross had a pet monkey named Marcel in the first season. It was a stunt that never actually worked. Marcel was dropped in the second season and critics and fans agreed that the show got amazing from that point on. This finally coined the term “dropping the monkey”. When a show makes a change that drastically improves or even saves it, then it is used. It was the opposite of “jumping the shark” that was coined by the show “Happy Days”. It indicates the point at which it’s all downhill for a show.
9. Marcel Was The First One To Star In A Movie
Marcel (real name Katie) was cast in “Outbreak” the following year. As a matter of fact, among all the cast members, she was the first cast member to star in a movie role, which was amazing. And we always thought Jennifer was the one who tasted the best of success!
10. The World Trade Center Attack Of September 11, 2001, Didn’t Happen In FRIENDS Universe?
If you missed it out, it actually happened. However, through various props, the show honored the tragedy. There were several messages of support for the FDNY on the doodle board in Joey’s apartment. Joey was once seen wearing a t-shirt that said “Captain Billy Burke”, he featured it at a later time in the season, in the episode, “The One Where Chandler Takes A Bath”. It was a tribute to a real-life firefighter who died on September 11, 2001, battling the blaze.
11. Gunther’s Bleached Hair Was Accidental
While taking an interview with the media house named BuzzFeed, James was quoted saying, “I had a friend who wanted to be a hairdresser and wanted to practice bleaching someone’s hair, so I offered what hair I had left at the time. It came out white and that was the night before I was called in for the first day of shooting the first season.” Since he was hired as a background actor, it didn’t seem like a big deal. But, as we all know, later his role became a recurring one.
12. Rachel Wore A Total Of 703 Outfits
From her shaggy bob to her outfits, Rachel Green inspired a number of real-life trends. That is why she was known as the fashionista of the group. She wore 703 different outfits throughout the ten seasons of the show. It is an average of just under three outfits per show.
13. Lisa Based Phoebe’s Character On Jennifer Aniston
Phoebe was a spiritual, free spirit, and hippie character. Lisa actually based Phoebe partly on Aniston. If you don’t know, Aniston was very much into spiritual and New Age subjects. So, that is what made Phoebe’s character so much lively.
14. Lines And Jokes Are Tracked Obsessively
It is hard to get through a show where the six main characters are all leads. To ensure they balanced out to the same amount of lines and jokes to each character, the writers used pie charts to track it down. Well, it was surely a hell of a task.
15. Jennifer Aniston Watches The Show As Much As You Do
There are many actors who prefer not to watch any of their works. But, Aniston is different from them, at least we can say that when it comes to FRIENDS. While taking an interview with The One, Jennifer confirmed that when it comes to TV, it’s hard for her to resist leaving an episode from the sitcom on. She said, “I can’t help it. First of all, I’m trying to remember which episode it is. Then, half of the time I’m saying to myself, ‘I don’t remember that!’ It’s just that you can get sucked into the nostalgia of it.”