Here Are 23 Crazy Facts You Didn’t Know About ‘Friends’

15 years have passed since the last season of Friends aired on T.V. The show’s massive success turned it into a cultural phenomenon, but who would’ve predicted that it would still be this relevant over a decade and a half later? Platforms fight Netflix over its streaming rights while younger generations can’t stop binge-watching its 10 seasons as they fall in love with those 6 awesome characters. Here are some of the best behind-the-scenes facts about Friends, and don’t miss #14 and #6 to discover the actors’ real-life friendship!

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

#23. The Bet Between Matthew Perry And Bruce Willis

How could we forget about Bruce Willis’ role in Friends?! For one of the show’s most notable guest-star appearances, the icon played Elizabeth’s dad. After starting to date his ex-student, Ross discovers that her dad couldn’t approve less of their relationship. In addition, things get even spicier when Paul (Bruce’s character) starts to date Rachel…

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

Well, while this was going on, Matthew Perry (Chandler) was working with Bruce. That’s right, the two actors got to know each other while shooting the film The Whole Nine Yards. Matthew was so confident of the movie’s success that he bet Bruce that it would open at number one in the box office.

#22. Ugly Naked Guy!

Bruce Willis eventually lost the bet, and he had to donate what he’d earned from his role on Friends to charity. We can all agree on the fact that Paul was a hilarious character, but he’s nowhere near the legend status of someone like Ugly Naked Guy, that’s for sure!

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

Though he doesn’t appear much across the show’s ten seasons, there was obviously an actor behind the lazy guy who lived in Ross’ building. The actor’s real name was a complete mystery for a long while though, since he had decided to remain anonymous. A couple of fans finally succeeded at tracking down the man, who turned out to be actor Jon Haugen.

#21. Courtney Changed Her Last Name

Unlike Ugly Naked Guy, the names of the actors and actresses who play the show’s six protagonists always appear during the famous intro, while different scenes of the season alternate with glimpses of Chandler, Ross, Phoebe, Monica, Rachel and Joey dancing in the water fountain.

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However, have you noticed something strange in the credits of the sixth season’s first episode? If you pay attention, you’ll see that Arquette is added to their last names. This is because Courtney Cox (Monica) had recently married David Arquette. Since she changed her name to Courtney Cox Arquette, the rest of the crew decided to pay homage to the happy couple.

#20. Café Vs Diner, Friends Vs Seinfeld

Is Seinfeld or Friends the best sitcom of all time? Though the discussion sometimes includes other fantastic shows like The Office, the controversy is generally reduced to these two titans. It’s easy to understand why: they’ve been extremely influential and critically acclaimed.

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While both shows follow the lives in the city of a group of friends, there’s a notable difference regarding the place where they usually gather: while Seinfeld’s writers went with a diner, Ross, Phoebe, and company hang out in Central Perk. Here’s something you probably didn’t know: NBC initially had their doubts about choosing Central Perk, and they wanted to imitate Seinfeld’s diner. Fortunately, they didn’t end up copying their future rivals!

#19. Ross And Rachel, Rachel And Ross

Ever since we knew that Ross had always had an enormous crush on Rachel and that she sought someone who she could really fall for and feel passionate about, we immediately began to ship this incredible duo.

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

However, though we all know with the benefit of hindsight that the ups and downs of Ross and Rachel were the show’s most attention-grabbing and passionate romantic plot, this wasn’t the writers’ original idea! But, after observing David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston’s incredible chemistry on stage, the producers supported the idea of giving more and more relevance to this story.

#18. A Reunion? That’s A No-No

Although the last season of Friends finished in 2004, the show’s legendary status has only increased with time. Studies show that its popularity hasn’t changed during the streaming era of Netflix and its competitors… As a matter of fact, it constantly ranks as one of the most successful shows on the platform.

Photo: Courtesy of Popsugar.com

So, basically, Friends is more beloved than ever, especially amongst younger audiences. That’s why the incessant claim for a reunion episode or movie isn’t much of a surprise. However, the six stars and the creators are on the same page with this one: there’s won’t be a reunion anytime soon!

#17. Gunther Was Mute

Every Friends’ fan has a favorite character (if you ask me, I’d go with Chandler) and a least favorite one, but disliking Gunther is definitely unheard of. His love for Rachel and his hilarious hate towards Ross has gifted us some of the best scenes.

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

But Central Perk’s iconic shy and white-haired manager was actually nameless for several episodes. Yes, that’s right, Gunther’s name is finally revealed in the second season’s midpoint. Another curiosity is that he appeared without speaking a word for more than 30 episodes!

#16. Ursula Already Existed

Do you know what Gunther said after all that time without any lines? He simply said: “yeah”. What a way to win over the audience! While we’re talking about some of the most unforgettable secondary characters, let’s take a moment to learn more about Ursula.

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

Many remember Ursula Buffay as Phoebe’s twin sister with who she had a distant relationship. But what many people don’t know is that Ursula’s character existed before Phoebe, since she had made recurring appearances on Mad About You, a show that premiered two years before Friends.

#15. What Happened To Dr. Drake Ramoray?

Mad About You then continued for seven seasons, and its last episodes reveal that Ursula finally became New York’s Governor. On the other hand, Ursula doesn’t appear a lot on Friends, except for the part where she starts dating Joey for a while.

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

And if you’re one of those who can’t help but love Joey, I bet you remember about Dr. Drake Ramoray, his amusing character on Days of Our Lives. After the famous neurosurgeon is killed off the show, he’s brought back with a brain transplant. Believe it or not, Drake Ramoray’s fate was then revealed on the lackluster spin-off, Joey. Here, we discover that Drake has been killed off once again, poor Drake!

#14. True Friends

Everyone has tried to explain the reason behind the jaw-dropping success of Friends, but the truth is that the frenzy around the show was probably caused by numerous factors. One of them is the great chemistry between the characters and the fact that they were intentionally showed together during most scenes.

Photo: Courtesy of Rolling Stone

This helped to reinforce the idea of a true, unique bond between them. But this wasn’t only thanks to their undeniable acting skills or because of the script: the six of them did, in fact, become close friends in real life while shooting the first season. A clear example of this was the group hug that they would have before filming. How cute!

#13. A Dangerous Doll-House

If you’ve binge-watched the entire ten seasons recently, then I bet you already know which episode we’re talking about. Yes, I’m referring to The One with the Dollhouse, one of season three’s funniest episodes!

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Here, after her aunt passes away, Monica receives her antique dollhouse. When Phoebe realizes that Monica doesn’t want her to play with it, she brings her own weird cardboard house, which later catches fire. What you probably didn’t know is that the producers made not one, not two, but SIX of these houses to ensure that they got the right shot.

#12. Beware The Duck

Do you remember about Joey and Chandler’s pets, the chick and the duck? Though none of the characters seemed to be particularly afraid of them, the truth is that Lisa Kudrow was. And this wasn’t the only case where some of the actors hated an animal that appeared on the show.

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

I’m sure you fell in love immediately with Marcel, Ross’ pet monkey, right? He was actually cut off the show because no one tolerated sharing a scene with him. Jennifer Anniston, Matt LeBlanc, and company have all said that Marcel would behave terribly and sometimes defecate all over the set!

#11. Mysterious Messages

Those weren’t the only important animals that appeared on the show, however… that is, if we count Joey and Chandler’s odd white ceramic dog. The weird sculpture actually belonged to Jennifer Aniston, how about that!?

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

But the white dog wasn’t the most intriguing element of the boys’ apartment, that’s for sure. The Magna Doodle on their door was the thing that drove fans crazy. Many thought that the doodles had some kind of secret messages in them, but these were only wild theories.

#10. Pregnancy Problems!

The whole part of Phoebe having her brother’s children was a creative and smart move from the writers and producers. Kudos to them, because they had to think fast when Lisa Kudrow announced that she was pregnant!

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

Most people don’t know, however, that Courtney Cox also got pregnant. The show was already coming to an end, and besides, they had already decided that Chandler and Monica couldn’t have kids. That’s why they didn’t include Courtney’s pregnancy in the script, and they simply concealed it with camera angles and costumes.

#9. Equal Pay

Friends was already garnering a lot of attention when the first episodes aired. By the end of the debut season, thousands across America were desperate to know what would happen between Ross and Rachel. With the constant increase in the show’s ratings, the six stars rocketed towards fame, and logically, the amount of money that they earned per episode began to rise.

Photo: Courtesy of Rolling Stone

Though the distribution was totally equal at the start, they were receiving a different amount per episode on season six. That’s why Matt, Matthew, Lisa, Jennifer, Courtney, and David all decided to protest together, using their power to achieve equal pay for the group. Eventually, they would end up earning 1 million dollars per episode during the final season, that’s a lot of money!

#8. Was Chandler Gay?

Did you know that Lisa Kudrow was pretty sure that Chandler was gay, after reading the first scripts? But Lisa wasn’t the only one who was surprised after finding out that this wasn’t true: several fans also had speculations about his sexuality.

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

That’s why David Crane (one of the show’s creators) clarified the doubts in an interview. Some say that those speculations rose from the fact that Chandler acted awkwardly around women. The character wasn’t originally planned that way, but when Matthew Perry himself admitted that he felt awkward around women, they decided to portray Chandler with the same trait!

#7. Hard Work

Yes, Friends indeed brought huge success to the actors, creators, producers, and the rest of the people involved. The six stars started making about 20 grand each per episode during the first season, and we’ve already mentioned that they earned a million per episode by the last one.

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But that shouldn’t overshadow the fact that filming each great episode required a lot of time, concentration, and hard work. Each episode usually took 5 or 6 hours to shoot, with multiple takes of every scene. The creators also chose to shoot the scenes in front of a live audience, in order to test their jokes. No wonder there were no bad episodes!

#6. Lisa Kudrow Hated The Guitar

Smelly cat, smelly cat… what are they feeding you? I bet you’ve got Phoebe’s signature song stuck in your head at least once if you’re a true Friends fan! But, although we think of Phoebe’s guitar as an essential element of her character and hippie-ish persona, Lisa Kudrow hated the instrument.

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

That’s right! Since she didn’t know how to play it, the producers hired a guitar teacher for her. She quit the lessons after learning the basic chords and said that Phoebe was going to be just fine with those basics. Turns out she was right!

#5. Last Trip Before The Fame

The curious thing about Phoebe is that she was originally written as a goth girl, rather than a hippie. That’s a hard thing to imagine, right? But going back to the rocketing fame of the six stars, rumor has it the crew had one last trip before they became celebrities.

Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay

James Burrows, who worked with the directors of Friends during the first seasons, convinced the cast to visit Las Vegas before the pilot appeared on T.V. He felt that the show was going to be a hit, so he told the guys to enjoy their last days of anonymity.

#4. That Monica Rings A Bell!

By the end of the last season, Jennifer Anniston was definitely the most famous of the group. However, despite having had some roles in other shows or movies, the stars of Friends were relatively unknown before the first season.

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

Actually, almost no one knows that Matt LeBlanc was in a terrible economic situation before earning the part for Joey. On the other hand, some recognized Courtney Cox while seeing the first episode, since she had appeared in the video for Dancing In The Dark, by Bruce Springsteen.

#3. “Friends” Was Not The Original Title

It’s practically impossible to imagine Friends without its iconic name and logo. The show has undeniably become a pop-culture phenomenon: people quote some of the lines in a regular conversation, hoping that the other person recognizes the reference.

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

And we’ve all seen at least one guy wearing a shirt with the famous logo, those seven letters separated by colored dots are instantly recognizable. However, most people don’t know that the producers planned to call the show Insomnia Cafe. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? After switching to other options, like Friends Like Us, they finally went with the most straightforward one: Friends.

#2. No More Central Perk

The crew’s favorite hangout place has some recreations, but none of these are in New York. There are only two real versions of the classical coffee shop, one in Liverpool and one in Beijing. We all know that some of the show’s most touching moments take place during one of the guys’ reunions in Central Perk.

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

The place is so important that it has the honor of appearing indirectly in the last joke of the final episode, and there’s an unknown curiosity about Chandler’s last line. Remember that Rachel asks if they want to grab a cup of coffee before Monica and Chandler move out when Chandler asks “where?”. Well, Central Perk’s set had been torn down, which means that they really didn’t have a place to go!

#1. Four Instead Of Six

That’s right, they had to get rid of the Central Perk set, in order to build one for the scene in the airport where Ross asks Rachel to stay. And for our final fact about this awesome show, we have another revelation about some of the original plans for Friends.

Photo: Courtesy of Friends Tv Show

The title wasn’t the only thing that was originally supposed to be different. The first drafts of the script actually concentrated on only four main characters. Yes, that’s right, if that idea had succeeded, two of the guys would’ve had minor parts. Rumor has it that Chandler and Phoebe were those two. I’m glad they didn’t go through with that!

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