ByKristin Lai, writer at
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai
Kristin Lai

Friends has been off the air for over a decade, but I still can't get enough! What is this hold you have over me, Friends?

If you're anything like me and your binging has started to quell - likely because you've already finished all 236 episodes - then you've probably started to look for some behind-the-scenes trivia to get your fix. If so, you've come to the right place! Here are twelve fun trivia facts you may not have known about the series.

1. Only a few people knew whether Rachel would get off the plane or not

Much like the famed ending of the 1942 classic, Casablanca, most people were in the dark regarding Ross and Rachel's roller coaster relationship. Of course, we all know now that Rachel got off the plane, but at the time this resolve was kept so under wraps that even Marta Kauffman's children didn't know how it was going to end.

2. One of Phoebe's dollhouses still exists

Phoebe's awesome handmade, one-of-a-kind dollhouse was actually more like six-of-a-kind. Because they had to keep reshooting the scene dollhouse ends up burning down, multiple copies of the house were created and at least one of them wasn't used. So that means that there could be a licorice room out there for me yet!

3. It was filmed in front of a live studio audience

And a pretty big one at that! This is something that I find is often contested, but yes, most episodes were filmed in front of a studio of about 300 people.

4. Chandler's awkwardness and speaking style were based on Matthew Perry's

Naturally, the writers started taking pieces of the casts members' personalities and writing them into the series, but some of Chandler's quirks were very specific to Matthew Perry. Chandler's missteps in love were based on Matthew Perry's own and according to Jennifer Aniston:

He has this way of speaking, using questions like, 'Could this be any more this or that?' So they wrote an entire episode about how everybody at his office makes fun of him because of the way he talks.

That probably explains his choice emphasis on "be."

5. The apartment was based on the set designers' own from the '70s

The show explains the apartment's origins and size pretty well, but in real life it was based on the set designers' own apartments that they had in the '70s.

We'd all had similar New York experiences in the late '70s, so we kind of reached into our communal New York lives and withdrew a lot of elements that we felt were appropriate for the story...We had lived in a sixth-floor walkup, so we knew you got a bigger apartment for less money if you're willing to climb six flights of stairs.

6. The reaction to Carol and Susan's wedding was overwhelmingly positive

There had been a lot of concern from the network over what the response to Carol and Susan's wedding would look like. In David Wild's book he quotes the Executive Producer Marta Kauffman when she said:

NBC expected thousands and thousands of phone calls and hate mail.

But in the end, they only received four complaints by telephone. Good on you, Friends fans!

7. The alternate titles for the show weren't as simple

Other working names that were allegedly proposed before they landed on the simple title of Friends were: Friends Like Us, Six of One, Across the Hall, Once Upon a Time in the West Village, and Insomnia Cafe.

8. This is what the theme almost looked and sounded like

The song “Shiny Happy People” by R.E.M. was the first choice for the theme song, and was even used in the pilot episode. But, as we all know, it was replaced by the, now iconic, song "I'll Be There For You" by The Rembrandts.

9. Monica's refrigerator actually worked and was put to good use

Whenever anyone was pulling a Snapple or Yoo-hoo out of Monica and Rachel's refrigerator, it was actually cold! Instead of just leaving it a simple set piece, they made sure it was in working order and it was used to store drinks for the cast and crew.

10. The white dog originally belonged to Jennifer Aniston, not Joey

Joey's famous white dog that he bought when he signed on for Days of Our Lives originally belonged to his co-star Jennifer Aniston in real life. One of her friends gave it to her as a gift. Needless to say, that was the gift that kept on giving as it was used for years to come as a running gag for the show.

11. The show's writers came up with Phoebe's song lyrics, but she wrote the tune

"Smelly Cat" was a combined effort between Lisa Kudrow, the writers, and Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders). In her Reddit AMA, Kudrow stated:

The writers wrote it, I wrote the tune, and had a little help from Chrissie Hynde. She was amazing.

12. These recognizable actors could have starred in Friends

While it's hard to imagine anyone else playing the roles of Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler and Joey other than this group, there were some other near-casting choices that were made that would have completely changed the show.

Rachel – Tea Leoni, Elizabeth Berkley

Tea Leoni was actually the studio's first choice to play Rachel Green, but she turned it down to pursue other roles. Elizabeth Berkley from Saved by the Bell and Showgirls also auditioned to play Rachel.

Originally, the studios wanted Courtney Cox to play Rachel, but she ended up fighting for the role of Monica. Eventually the casting directors agreed and gave her the role we all know and love her in today.

Ross – Eric McCormack

McCormack went through a few rounds of auditions for the role of Ross, but ultimately it went to David Schwimmer instead. McCormack still went on to have a highly successful TV career playing Will on Will & Grace, which first aired only a few years later.

Monica – Leah Remini, Janeane Garofalo

Like McCormack, by not getting the role of Monica Geller Leah Remini was able to go on to co-star in The King of Queens for nearly a decade alongside Kevin James. As probably the biggest surprise on this list, Janeane Garofalo turned down the role of Monica to be on the comedic TV juggernaut Saturday Night Life instead, which she later described as “the most miserable experience of my life.”

Chandler – Jon Favreau, Jon Cryer, Craig Bierko

Writer, director, and all around Hollywood Renaissance man Jon Favreau turned down the role of Chandler, but later appeared in the series briefly as Monica's millionaire boyfriend Paul. Due to a stroke of fate, Jon Cryer's audition tape never made it to the studio before Perry was cast. Still, he managed to land the role of Alan Harper in Two and a Half Men, so everything turned out okay. Craig Bierko was actually the first choice to play Chandler, but he turned it down for another pilot, which was sadly never picked up.

As far as I know, there's no word on actors that auditioned to play Phoebe or Joey, but if anyone knows I'm definitely interested in knowing!

Well, I hope that this appeased some of your Friends fix, or that you learned something of interest. Now, the only thing I'm left wondering is how I'm going to get my hands on Phoebe's dollhouse.


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